Residents of remote Mannaar village protest against NGO removing soil
[TamilNet, Saturday, 27 December 2008, 15:59 GMT]
Civilians of Madukkarai, a remote village in Naanaaddaan division of Mannaar district, marched towards their Divisional Secretariat Friday after armed policemen from Murungkan Police beat up the protestors last Tuesday. Police interfered after the villagers held NGO workers of LEADS (Lanka Evangelical Alliance Development Service) as captives for almost one day alleging that the NGO workers were removing fertile soil from the premises of their housing scheme in Madukkarai for a long time despite their objection.
The NGO workers attached to a work station in the area, engaged in a fertilizer project, had been removing fertile soil from the settlement area for a long time, the protestors alleged. The NGO workers said they were removing soil according to the permission provided by the Divisional Secretary.
The protestors who blocked five tractors and a jeep of the NGO last Monday, almost held the workers captive demanding the authorities to intervene and put an end to the practice of removing their soil.
The DS came on Tuesday to discuss with the protesting villagers. Meanwhile an armed squad of policemen dispatched from Murungkan police entered the settlement and beat up the civilians. The violent behavior by the police, has irked the villagers.
The land and the housing scheme were provided to the villagers by the government. However, anybody who want to remove the fertile layer of the soil from the land of the settlement should have obtained the consent of the residents, the protestors who have called for an immediate end to the practice, said.