Vakaneri fields cleared for paddy cultivation
[TamilNet, Saturday, 29 March 2003, 13:21 GMT]
Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Saturday 29 March, permitted paddy cultivation in more than 90% of arable land owned by Muslim farmers in the Vakaneri irrigation scheme located in Kalkuda, 34 km northwest of Batticaloa district, LTTE sources in Batticaloa said.
LTTE Commander Ramesh addressing the meeting
During discussions between representatives of Muslim community and the LTTE last Thursday in Vavunathivu, Batticaloa, it was decided to hold three additional sub-committee meetings to discuss issues related to farming in LTTE controlled areas in the Batticaloa district.
In the first sub-committee meeting held at the the Vakaneri Gokulum Vidyalayam, Saturday, it was decided to permit immediate cultivation in majority of Vahaneri lands. Nearly 10% of farming lands located in close proximity to LTTE camps and training facilities will be gradually released for farming, sources attending the discussions said.
Batticaloa-Amparai special LTTE commander T. Ramesh, head of LTTE political section, Kausalyan, head of LTTE finance, S.Suvi, Kudumbimalai LTTE commander Jim Kelly Thatha, Aandankulam LTTE political head, Thothiran, and representing the Muslim community Deputy Minister Bazeer Seku Dawood, U.L.M.N. Mubeen and M.L.M. Hussein participated in the discussions.
T. Ramesh speaking to the Muslim farmers attending the meeting presided by Suvi said, "We are assembled here today in happier circumstances. In the past, due to war, there were restrictions on transportation and you were not given permission from entering Vahaneri area. The Memorandum of Understanding has made possible to farm fertile lands that remained fallow for several years.
"Tamils and Muslims lived in harmony for many decades in the past. Majority of Muslim people lent support to our struggle. Nefarious elements who are against peace have caused distrust between our two communities. We have to be vigilant on any future activities of these elements.
"Our leader Pirapaharan has given us clear direction that Muslim people should have the equal and same rights as the Tamil people. Our senior commander Karuna is strict that directive is implemented in practice.
"Both communities have made mistakes in the past. We have to learn from these mistakes and move forward to build a future where our communities can live in peace. We urge the Muslim farmers to adhere to disciplined cultivation and to respect procedures that are applicable to all farmers," added Ramesh.
Deputy Minister Bazeer and Kausalyan also spoke.
LTTE is also taking steps to establish a conducive environment for Muslim farmers to engage in their trade and is also organizing small groups in every irrigation region to resolve issues as they arise.
The second and third meetings of the sub-committee are to be held in Karadiyanaaru on Sunday, and in Kokkadichcholai on Monday, sources said.
Section of attendees
Fallow fields within Vakaneri Irrigation Scheme