Land dispute leads to arson in Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 August 2008, 11:40 GMT]
Unidentified persons set fire Saturday around 9:30 p.m to more than fifteen temporary huts built by Muslims in Meeraavoadai in Koa’ra’laippattu Divisional Secretariat area in Batticaloa district, sources in Batticaloa said. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and police had intervened earlier Friday in a confrontation between Tamils and Muslims related to ownership of lands in Meeraavoadai and dispersed the two parties, the sources added.
Muslims in Maanchoalai village located next to Meeraavoadai village, a traditional Tamil village, often attempt to encroach into lands in Meeraavoadai, and the Tamils have taken legal action against the encroachment.
Two decades earlier, a road separating the Meeraavoadai Tamil village and Maanchoalai Muslim village was constructed under Janasaviya, a government project. The road was destroyed when the SLA constructed sand bunds around the Muslim village during the 1990 SLA offensive.
When resettlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) following the 2002 Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) was started Muslims were also settled in Meeraavoadai, and the Divisional Secretary of Koaralaippattu had sought the help of the police to stop the Muslims from encroaching Tamils’ lands.
When the matter was brought to court the magistrate directed the contending parties to draw up a plan by a surveyor showing the boundary line separating the two villages.
When the case was taken for inquiry last June, Muslim residents failed to appear in court, and the Vaazhaicheanani Divisional Secretary Surveyor present in the court pointed that the signature of the surveyor in the plan submitted was false. The case remains unresolved until now.
On Friday, confrontation broke out between Tamils and Muslims when both tried to claim ownership of the lands in Meeraavoadai and the temporary huts put up by the Muslims were set fire to Saturday night.