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Friday, April 19, 2024

Land grab in the North: Residents to file fundamental rights law suit against Police

A group of northern residents are to file a fundamental rights law suit against the Sri Lanka Police claiming their houses are being forcibly taken over by them.  In the wake of allegations of land grab by the security forces in the north, it is revealed even the police are culpable for attempting to own houses belonging to Jaffna residents.

Residents in Ilavalai, Jaffna, are up in arms against a move by the police to acquire thirteen houses and lands to set up a police station in the region sources said.

While protesting against the moves to acquire their lands the residents have also come forward to file a fundamental Rights law suit against the officials who are planning to take over their assets sources said.

According to the residents of St. James Street, Ilavalai thirteen houses and the adjoining land areas were acquired to set up a police station and police quarters in 1991.

The police presence has been there in St. James Street Ilavalai for the past 21 years from 1991.

However, the owners of the houses were paid a rent of Rs 250/- from 2010. Whereas the displaced tenants of the houses have been paying more than Rs 3,000 as rent for the houses where they are residing presently, sources said.

A few days ago the police officials occupying the St. James Street houses in Ilavalai held a meeting with the owners of the houses to explore possibilities of acquiring the houses and lands to establish a new police station in Ilavalai. The police officials have also requested their tenants to fix the prices for their houses and lands.

However, the tenants had vehemently condemned the move by the police to acquire their assets and urged the officials to give up the idea of taking over their assets. As there was no positive response from the officials, the residents have decided to file a fundamental law suit to get their assets back, sources said.

Meanwhile, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarians Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy in a press conference held at his residence in Jaffna on Thursday warned that the Security Forces in the Peninsula were all out to grab the lands in the Peninsula and he would bring this issue to the notice of the UNHRC.

Another TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran in Parliament on Friday also pointed out that despite repeated assurances given by the government; the Security Forces are forcefully acquiring land in the North. He also pointed out that the military has summoned the civilians in certain areas in the peninsula to their camps and have asked for the deeds of their lands.

Meanwhile, Jaffna District Parliamentarian and Minister Douglas Devananda convened a special meeting at his office in Jaffna over the land issues in Jaffna on Friday.

Devananda expressed his concerns over the land grabbing issues, and also on the encroachments into lands in various places in the peninsula. 

Devananda also paid attention to the state and private lands in the Peninsula. Mayor of Jaffna Yogeswari Patkunaraja and several government officials were also present at the minister’s meeting, sources said.
 By Our Jaffna Correspondent


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