SLA accelerates colonization of east

[TamilNet, Saturday, 22 March 2008, 15:18 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) is involved in planned encroachment of lands belonging to Tamils in Koaraalaipattu North in Batticaloa district, and colonization of other Sri Lanka Government controlled areas by resettling Sinhala civilians, local residents of affected areas in Koaraalaipattu said.

Sinhala fishermen, brought from western littorals including Puththa’lam and Negombo, are being settled in Maangkea'ni and Vahaarai centre by SLA troops under the direction of Major Bertie Perera, civilians coordinator, the local fishermen said.

Since 14 March, Sinhala fishermen brought from elsewhere have set up temporary huts and have begun fishing in the sea in the vicinity of the Christian church located in Vaaharai centre, sources said.

Similarly on 18 March, a large number of Sinhala fishermen with fishing gear arrived in 9 Lorries at the SLA military base and, Major Perera is providing necessary accommodaton and initial support to make a living in the new area, according to local fishermen.

Under existing rules, one has to obtain permission from the District Secretariat before commencing drag netting, and once the permission is granted an area of 350 metres will be allocated to the applicant.

However, the newly brought in Sinhala Fishermen, without approvals, have already begun fishing activities in the area of their choice with the assistance of SLA troops. In addition, military officials provide required facilities to these fishermen, overriding the administrative activities of the district secretariat, local civilians said.

Soon after the 2005 Tsunami, Sinhala fishermen from elsewhere arrived in Maangkea'ni and Kalkudaa but due to opposition from local fishermen and complaints made through the Federation of Fishermen’s societies to Fisheries department, the new comers vacated the area.

Meanwhile, when officials from Koaralaippatu District secretariat officials complained that SLA has begun interfering with the administration, Military officials had informed the representatives of Governmental and Non Governmental Organizations (NGOS) that all administrative activities in the area are now being handled by the military.

Major Perera has also told the area civilians that they should extend their cooperation to the newly brought in Sinhala fishermen.

 

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