Protests at Illegal Settlement

[TamilNet, Thursday, 09 July 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A Tamil Member of Parliament protested to Indika Gunawardene, Minister of Housing, Construction and Public Utilities, about moves by the Sri Lanka Government (SLG) to give illegal Sinhalese occupants the titles to lands and houses belonging to Tamils, said sources in Trincomalee.

R. Sampanthan MP, (Tamil United Liberation Front Trincomalee District) in a letter said that the Tamils had demanded that possession of their homes be restored to them in keeping with their legal entitlement.

The homes in question are part of the Aided Self Help Housing Scheme allotment No. 2, down Love Lane, in the suburbs of Trincomalee, which had been allocated to Tamil residents. During the 1983 ethnic pogrom the Tamils fled the area and their homes were taken over by Sinhalese.

When the Indian Peace Keeping Forces (IPKF) arrived in Sri Lanka, the Tamils were able to re-settle in their old homes. However, when the IPKF was withdrawn from the area, the Sinhalese chased away the Tamils, and occupied the homes once again. President Premadasa had agreed that steps would be taken to restore the homes to the legal claimants, but he was assassinated before the plan could be implemented, said Mr. Sampanthan.

He said that he has information that the SLG was planing to legalise the illegal occupation. He proposed that the action contemplated by the SLG be halted forthwith, illegal Sinhalese occupants evicted and Tamil owners re-settled. He called the proposed action by the SLG a travesty of justice and asked for preventive measures to be taken.


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