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Release the land occupied by Military without the consent of civilians, TNA tells Sirisena

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Image courtesy of Ceylon Today.

In a letter to President Sirisena leader of the TNA, R. Sampanthan  requested  to release the land at Keppapulavu, Mullaitivu District belonging to displaced Tamil Civilian without delay. The letter further says that “It is more than a decade since the civilians were compelled to vacate the Land; it is more than eight years since the Armed Conflict came to an end; these civilians have been demonstrating at the entrance to this land for 165 days up to now ,and the demonstration continues in the sun and the rain ,amidst immense suffering.

“The Land was taken over, without the consent of Civilians, and despite their strong protests, and has been occupied without the Land being legally acquired.”

The letter follows:

1th August 2017

Mr.Kapila Waidyarathne PC
Secretary
Ministry of Defence
No-15/5,Baladaksha Mawatha
Colombo-03

Dear Sir,

Land at Keppapulavu,Mullaitivu District belonging to displaced Tamil Civilians

I thank you for your letter No: MOD/PAC/01/L/938/AY of 09.08.2017 in regard to the above received by me yesterday.

This matter has been under consideration at different levels for some time, the last discussion was under the Chairmanship of Hon D M Swaminathan,Minister of Rehabilitation on 26th July 2017,at the Ministry of Rehabilitation.

I confirm all that I have stated in my Letter of 20th July 2017, to His Excellency the President with Copy to you and others. Secretary to the President has responded to my aforesaid letter by his letter No: SP/4/1 of July 28, 2017.

A decision was reached at the meeting held on 26th July 2017,at the Ministry of Rehabilitation to release the Land in extent 111 Acres at the earliest and the Hon Minister of Rehabilitation agreed to provide the required funds, within a few days to enable the Sri Lankan Army to commence the process of vacating the said Land.

As per the agreement reached, the vacation of this land should now be in progress. The only issue that remains is the land in extent 70 Acres 2 Roods, which I believe is the same block of Land,reffered to your letter of 09.08.2017 as being in extent 73.11 Acres .In regard to this block I confirm what I have stated in my letter of 20th July 2017 to His Excellency the President.

Confirmation of this position is also contained in the response of the Secretary to the President in his letter dated July 28, 2017

In the circumstances, it would appear that the only outstanding matter is the time frame for the vacation of the Land in extent 70 Acres 2 Roods/73.11Acres.

It is more than a decade since the civilians were compelled to vacate the Land; it is more than eight years since the Armed Conflict came to an end; these civilians have been demonstrating at the entrance to this land for 165 days up to now ,and the demonstration continues in the sun and the rain ,amidst immense suffering.

The Land was taken over, without the consent of Civilians, and despite their strong protests, and has been occupied without the Land being legally acquired.

Such action is clearly not within the frame work of the Law of the Land.

Moreover there is enough State Land available in the Area to meet the needs of the Sri Lankan Army. The extents of 111 Acres and 70 Acres 2 Roods/ 73.11 Acres were primarily the Lands largely used by the Civilians, for residence and other social and economic needs and which they have owned and occupied for generations and centuries. They have an attachment to the Land on which they were born and bred.

I do not think that these civilians should be deprived of these Lands any longer. It would be unjust to do so, and would be immensely harmful to the promotion of good will and reconciliation.

I have to strongly urge that the lands of the Civilians including the extents of 111 Acres and 70 Acres 2 Roods/73.11 Acres be released and handed over to the civilians without any further delay.

I shall be grateful if this matter receives your earliest attention.
Yours faithfully,

R Sampanthan
Member of Parliament
Leader of the Opposition

Copies to: (1) Hon Ranil Wickremesinghe
Prime Minister
(2) Hon D M Swaminathan
Minister of Rehabilitation
(3) Secretary to H E the President
(4) General A W J C Silva, Chief of Defence Staff
(5) Lt. General Mahesh Senanayake
Commander of the Sri Lankan Army

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