Senior TNA leader R. Sampanthan had forcibly entered a military installation at Paravipanjan area in the northern Kilinochchi district. File
Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has asked the army to verify the ownership of the land, TNA sources said.
Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance on Wednesday called for a probe on the alleged illegal occupation of civilian lands by the military in the Northern Province.
The Tamil National Alliance was responding to accusations that on April 16, a group of party legislators led by the main opposition leader R Sampanthan had forcibly entered a military installation at Paravipanjan area in the northern Kilinochchi district.
“There is no camp there so there was no illegal entry. The military was occupying civilian lands so we went for an inspection,” MA Sumanthiran, a senior TNA legislator told reporters on Wednesday.
He said some 84 families had been displaced when the army occupied the area in the Tamil-majority Northern Province.
Mr. Sampanthan also met the Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the morning to complain about the incident.
Mr. Wickremesinghe has asked the army to verify the ownership of the land, TNA spokesperson said.
The alleged illegal entry by the Tamil politicians to a military installation drew fire by the opposition groups and majority Sinhala nationalists who urged the President Maithripala Sirisena to arrest Mr. Sampanthan.
The incident comes in the backdrop of last week’s resolution in the TNA controlled northern provincial council to set up a federal Tamil government in the north.
Mr. Sumanthiran said the Northern Council had not advocated a separate Tamil unit by passing the resolution.
He also said the Sinhalese and Muslims displaced from the north were welcome to return back
Kilinochchi controversy: TNA denies forcible entry, demands troops vacate public property
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Strongly denying accusations regarding Opposition and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan, MP and a group, forcibly entering an army camp at Kilinochchi on April 16, TNA spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran yesterday called for an urgent review of public property still occupied by the military.
Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran insisted that Trincomalee District leader Sampanthan had gone there to inspect a cluster of houses occupied by the military for over six years after the conclusion of the conflict.
The Army captured Kilinochchi on January 1, 2009 following a four month battle.
Attorney-at-law Sumanthiran told The Island that the TNA leader accompanied by owners of some of those houses occupied by the military had visited the area situated east of the Kandy-Jaffna A9 road. Sumanthiran quoted Sampanthan as having said that sentry opened the barrier. Therefore, there was absolutely no basis for claims that Sampanthan stormed an army base at Kilinochchi.
Responding to a query, MP Sampanthan said that he had been among four members of parliament, including Sampanthan who met those having grievances. People complained about disappearances, continuing detention of their loved ones as well as the army refusing to vacate public property.
Those who had been trying to exploit MP Sampanthan’s intervention to tarnish the image of the TNA leader as well as the grouping were silent on the suffering of those still denied their own property.
MP Sumanthiran said that a proper inquiry would reveal the failure on the part of the military to give up land occupied during the conflict. The MP insisted that there couldn’t be any justification whatsoever to occupy Kilinochchi houses nearly seven years after the conclusion of the war.
The TNA spokesman said those who had been demanding action against MP Sampanthan should verify facts. The MP urged the army to vacate Kilinochchi houses without further delay. The attorney-at-law said that the TNA welcomed an inquiry as it would help establish the ownership of the houses.
The TNA couldn’t keep quiet over contentious issue of the military occupying public property.
The reportage by a section of the media was meant to cause a rift between communities, the MP said.
Senior military officials told The Island that since late 2010, troops had vacated substantial part of land captured during operations. Unfortunately, the TNA had conveniently failed at least to acknowledge gradual release of army-held land and property in the Northern and Eastern Provinces.
MP Sumanthiran said the people wanted their property back. It would be the responsibility of the government and the military to ensure facilitate early release of public property.