Tamil protesters in Lanka want govt to release occupied lands

COLOMBO - Hundreds of protesters thronged the previously war torn streets of Jaffna on Tuesday demanding that the government release private land occupied by security forces.

By Qadijah Irshad

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Published: Thu 21 Jun 2012, 8:49 PM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 11:45 AM

Carrying placards and shouting slogans, “Don’t deny us our lands, allow us to go back home,” the protesters demanded immediate resettlement in Valikaamam North.

The riot squad was deployed by the country’s police in Jaffna, which was recently home to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE), once a formidable terrorist groups in the world. Led by Mavai Senathirajah of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the country’s main minority Tamil Party, the protesters were denied entrance to the divisional secretariat by the police. After talks between the police and Tamil party leaders, a four member delegation handed over the appeal on behalf of the Tamil demonstrators for the reclamation of private lands.

The protesters and Tamil politicians question the government’s land acquisition policies in the North. A local weekly reported that requests have been made to various local bodies by the Department of Land Administration and the military to identify private and state owned land to be acquired by the military. However, the government denies that private lands are being required by the military for profitable ventures.

“We are in the process of relocating the troops in the North, and we are not acquiring private lands to do so,” said the military spokesperson, Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasoorya.

“The 1950 Land Ordinance states that the government can acquire land for public purposes from the people. This includes for the purposes of building roads and such activities. This is the national law of the country, not the martial law,” said the military spokesperson.

news@khaleejtimes.com



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