Committee to address illegal cultivation by muslim farmers
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 02 July 2003, 02:06 GMT]
Following complaints by cattle owners that muslim farmers are cultivating land that was set aside for cattle grazing in Vattamadu, Thirukovil pradeshya sabha region, Amparai district, the members of Muslim-Tamil subcommittee which was formed to resolve land issues, surveyed the disputed site Tuesday morning, said sources in Amparai.
In a recently concluded meeting of the Sub-committee the President of Cattle Union, N. Konamalai, had raised the issue that illegal farming has dangerously reduced the available grazing ground for cattle endangering livelihood of several Tamil residents of Thirukovil. The Sub-committee made a decision to see for themselves the prevailing situation.
250 acres of state land given to the Cattle Union came under the jurisdiction of Thambiluvil agricultural district. However, Akkaraipattu officials claimed that the said land belonged to their agricultural district and have been issuing permits to muslim farmers to cultivate the crown land, Konamalai told the subcommittee members during the meeting.
Parliamentarian Ariyanayagam ChandraNehru, Amparai district LTTE's head of political section, Pawa, Thirukovil District Secretary A.K.Thavarajah, Deputy Commissioner of Irrigation K.Rajendra, and N. Konamalai represented the Tamil side. I.M.Ibrahim, U.L.Yuvais, Deputy Commissioner of Education A.Lebbe represented the muslims. Representative of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and about five hundred cattle breeders accompanied the subcommittee to the site visit.
The subcommittee decided that a resolution to the dispute can only be found when the appropriate documents relating to the ownership and conditions of use of the land are presented to them. A meeting was scheduled for 10 July for reviewing the collected documents of proof to make a determination, officials said.