Feature Article

1033 lands, houses to be permanently appropriated for SL military in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 13 June 2012, 23:41 GMT]
After appropriating thousands of acres of land in Mullaiththeevu, Ki'linochchi, Mannaar and Vavuniyaa districts of the Northern Province, the SL military establishment in the North has accelerated its drive of appropriating 1033 properties, most of them privately owned lands and buildings, for the three SL armed forces outside the already seized ‘High Security Zone’ in the peninsula, civil officials in Jaffna told TamilNet, giving statistical breakdown of figures from the internal records of the occupying military. Colombo has passed the responsibility of land appropriation in Jaffna to its colonial military governor Maj. Gen. (retd) GA Chandrasri, according to the informed officials. In the meantime, the commander of the occupying SL military in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe, has defended the military move to maintain permanent camps in areas outside the so-called High Security Zones.

Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe has given articulation to Colombo's interpretation that what it means with ‘reconciliation’ is a process of familiarising the gagged Tamil people with the militarisation of the occupying Sinhala military.

In parallel to the land grab in the North, the SL military, has been conquering the interior lands of the Eastern province bordering the Sinhala districts and its coastal stretch, through paramilitary-run provincial council in the East.

In an interview to a local newspaper in Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe, the Gucci peace prize awarded commander of the genocidal Colombo, has justified the SL militarization as being carried out for the ‘security’ of the civilians at their request. He blatantly refused the accusation that the SL military was intervening in the civil affairs of the people.

The interpretation of Hathurusinghe is that de-militarisation doesn't mean removal of bases. Until the SL military builds up its permanent bases, the military needs places to stay, where can they go, asked Hathurusinghe.

While merely reiterating the rhetoric of closing down the camps in the suburbs of the Jaffna city, Maj. Gen. Hathurusinghe is keeping mum on the existence of 51-2 brigade headquarters at the heart of the city of Jaffna, the civil officials, who did not wish to be named due to security reasons, told TamilNet.

Of 1,033 properties to be appropriated by the three forces of the occupying SL military, 1,004 are owned by private persons. Only 29 lands come under so-called State-ownership, the sources said.

The SL military has illegally appropriated the lands with houses, as enclaves of groups of houses, in densely populated areas among the civilians. Now, the occupying military wants to legalise these appropriations. Normally, when the military occupies an enclave in a crowded area, people vacate even the neighbouring houses fearing the military. Thus each enclave has an undeclared no-man's territory.

Almost all of the properties are situated in residential areas, except Choanappu village Hindu cremation grounds in Vadamaraadchi South West (Karaveddi) Piratheasa Chapai (PS). The chairman of the civic body, K. Viyakesu, has turned down the request by the SL military to hand over the cremation grounds to them.

Sometimes back, the chairman of Kaarainakar PS had to sign on the papers at gunpoint. However, the civic bodies have unanimously refused to entertain the request from the military.

According to recent reports, the SL governor in North has instructed his officials to appropriate 61 acres of lands from the civic bodies in the district for military purposes.

The SL military, since 1996 when it seized the control of Jaffna, had begun to illegally appropriate most of the 1033 properties.

The figures do not include the properties in the already military-seized ‘High Security Zone’.

716 private properties are already in the possession of the SLA. Of these, 371 lands are with houses, 283 are plain lands and 46 lands contain buildings of businesses. The SLA has also seized 9 public lands for its use outside the HSZ.

Now, the SL military is seeking to legalise the seizure to enable itself to establish permanent cantonments in Jaffna.

Further 253 lands are under the control of the Sri Lanka Navy, 123 of these are with houses, 104 plain lands, 7 lands with commercial buildings and 19 public lands.

64 lands are under the control of the SL Police. 57 of these lands are with houses, 5 plain lands and at least one with a commercial building.

The SL military has not dismantled the HSZ. The lands of HSZ are not handed over to the owners. Colombo initiated large propaganda drives promising resettlement in the occupied lands of HSZ, each time during the presidential and civic elections. But still most of the properties have not been handed over to the people.

“The Sinhala military will indefinitely stay as leeches on Tamils in Jaffna,” a grassroot political activist in Jaffna told TamilNet adding that the SL military's land grab, especially in the aftermath of the UNHRC resolution in Geneva, only testified that the so-called domestic mechanisms were deemed to fail.”

“Likewise, how could a provincial council, resist the land grab, when the occupying military could proceed with occupying lands despite the resistance shown by the civic bodies,” the activist asked.

“Only an international mechanism, which recognises historical, earned and remedial realities of Tamil sovereignty and the right of Tamil Nation to exercise its Right to Self-Determination as a nation in parity with that of the Sinhala nation in the island, could address the situation,” he further said.

“However, the global outfits, promoting the implementation of the genocidal LLRC recommendations, talk of Sinhalicisation, Buddhisisation and land grab, omit addressing the national question only seeking a regime change favourable to their geopolitical outlook,” he said adding that the continued injustice on the part of the global establishments was the real hurdle in resolving the national question of Eezham Tamils.

“The counter-insurgency establishments want us Tamils to toil with the day-to-day issues like land grab, instead of allowing us to focus on addressing the root cause. After allowing unchecked colonisation, structural genocide and the change of 'facts on the ground', they would tell us that the ground realities have changed and that we should accommodate ourselves to the ‘changed’ realities,” he said urging global Tamils to give highest priority in attending the root cause than getting waylaid by the Establishments that seek to exploit the plight of the Eezham Tamils.


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