New regime silently steps up military land grab in North

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 18 March 2015, 09:01 GMT]
The occupying Sri Lankan military has again started to seize private lands outside the so-called High Security Zone (HSZ) in the North. While releasing some of the lands in the HSZ back to people in the North, the SL military is silently seizing lands outside the HSZ to maintain and expand its cantonments in the country of Eezham Tamils. Informed sources from the district secretariats of Ki'linochchi and Mullaiththeevu told TamilNet Wednesday that the military seizure of lands has been stepped up during the past 3 weeks at more than 20 localities in Vanni. Under the Rajapaksa regime, the SL officials were open about the military seizure of lands. But, now the process is almost invisible. Surveying officers are also brought from Colombo and legal notices are not issued in order to avoid public protests.

PTK protest


On Tuesday, a Sinhala land officer, M.M. Thilakaratne, a land officer from the Ki'linochchi office was organising a meeting to legally transfer 40 acres of private lands situated in front of the Divisional Secretariat in Puthukkudiyiruppu to the occupying SL military.

Sri Lanka Army's 682 Division has illegally seized 20 acres of land, where Dr Ponnambalam Memorial Hospital was situated under the LTTE-run civil administration.

More than 20 private owners of these lands have been collectively opposing the seizure of the lands for military purpose during the past 6 years.

On Tuesday, the Sinhala official was trying to deceive one of the landowners to sign a document. At the same time, the official had invited land-surveying officials from the South and had arranged for a meeting with Divisional Secretaries and Village Officers (GS) of Puthukkudiyiruppu at the Divisional Secretariat.

The landowners, supported by the people in the area and the civic members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), gathered in front of the DS office and blocked Mr Thilakaratne from proceeding to the scheduled meeting. The land officer later ended up at the SL military camp and was trying instruct the DS and the GS officers to come to the SLA camp.

Suresh in Vazhalaay
Suresh in Vazhalaay


In the meantime, Tamil parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran, who visited Vazhalaay in Jaffna recently to witness the released lands to the public, has complained that only 233 acres of lands have been released. More than 400 acres of lands are yet to be handed over to the public. The SL military has put up a new border 200 meters behind the previous line, he said adding that Vazhalaay was still under the military rule.

Even the members of parliament are allowed beyond that point into the village by the SL military, he said. The released lands are mostly agricultural lands. The SL military is reluctant in releasing residential lands back to the people, he said.



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