The national anthem was sung in Tamil in the presence of President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga at an event, where the lands taken over by the military to establish a High Security Zone were handed back to the legitimate owners at Valalaai, Valikamam East on Monday (23).
The land owners who were internally displaced from Vasavilan, Valalaai in the Thellipalai and Koppay areas were given the documents to have their lands back by President Maithripala Sirisena, who had pledged the government’s support to resolve the humanitarian problems faced by the people in the war-torn North.
Minister of Resettlement and Reconstruction D.M. Swaminathan, Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, TNA Parliamentarians, former Minister Douglas Devananda and the Northern Provincial Councillors were present at the event.
The ITAK leader and the General Secretary of the Tamil National Alliance commenting on the event said that though the TNA appreciated the new government’s move to hand back the lands of the people in the North, the lands that are still in the possession of the Security Forces should also be released to the civilians.
“During the event at Valalaai on Monday I pointed out to former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga that the Army had built hotels, swimming pools and the soldiers were also cultivating in private lands. The former President was listening sympathetically what I had explained to her. However, the Jaffna Security Forces Commander denied what I had told the President and said the Army was not using private lands. I would call the Jaffna Security Forces Commander a liar,” Senathiraja said.
Minister of Resettlement D.M. Swaminathan commented that the people in the North should approach the government in the right manner over their problems instead of agitating.
He also assured that the new government was keen to solve the humanitarian problems of the Northerners.
Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran and senior Security Forces and Police officials were also present at the event.
By Mirudhula Thambiah