Police intimidate Muslim villagers
[TamilNet, Monday, 18 January 1999, 11:32 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Police and home-guards have been intimidating the residents of a small farming village in Aaleemsenai, in the eastern district of Ampara, said villagers.
They said that the Akkaraippattu police, who regularly patrol the area, have been using threatening behaviour in order to get the villagers to vacate.
The police claim that the area is a sacred Buddhist site, the villagers say.
The situation in the village became tense after the arrest of 4 Muslim villagers on January 14, they added.
The police held the villagers for several hours, they said.
Muslim farmers had been cultivating rice in the Ponnan veli, Karadik Kulam, Vellakal Thotam, Kulathu Poomi and Palkerni Vattai areas for more than 40 years.
These land were then made state-lands for the purpose of sugar-cane cultivation and latter Sinhalese from Mathara, Ratnapura, Kegale, Kurunagale were settled there.