Sunday Times (Sri Lanka)
PM asks for settlement of landless families- SLAF camp issue:TNA MP
Defence authorities have been directed to find a solution to dozens of families who had been demanding the return of their lands occupied by the air force in Mullaitivu following continuing protests, Vanni Parliamentarian of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Selvam Adaikalanathan said.
Protesters in Keppapulavu of Mullativu have been demanding that their lands be handed over.
Adaikalanathan said Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe directed defence officials to meet the protesters following a meeting on Thursday.
But Adaikalanathan said a concrete decision was not taken.
The Divisional Secretariat has been asked to take measures with defence authorities to shift military camps to state lands. A ministerial team is to visit the protesters early next week.
Over the past 12 days, more than 20 families in Pilavukkudiyiruppu village, Keppapulavu of Mullaitivu have been protesting in front of an Air Force camp. They allege that their lands had been acquired by the military after the war ended.
Some 84 families of Pilavukkudiyiruppu of Keppapulavu, a small village in the Divisional Secretariat of Maritimepattu in Mullaitivu district began protesting on January 31 demanding the government return 25 acres. An Air Force camp is located on the land.
Mother of three Sathees Kawsalya, who earns a daily wage as a labourer, has spent most of her days and nights with others in front of a temporary shed erected by protesters. “We are determined to go to our lands. Until we are allowed to go, we won’t give up. It was the military who forced us to protest. They told us they will release the lands but cheated us,” Kawsalya told the Sunday Times.
She said families have been waiting for more than eight years. “We are fed up of assurances given by politicians and government ministers. The President and Prime Minister should intervene immediately.’’
Residents alleged that they had been assured by government officials on January 31 that their lands would be returned when President Maithripala Sirisena hands over documents at a ceremony. President Sirisena’s visit was cancelled due to bad weather.
Following their displacement during the final phases of the war in 2009, Keppapilavu and Pilavukkudiyiruppu families lived in the Aananda Kumarasamy section of Menik Farm camp in Chettikulam, Vavuniya before they were resettled by the military in a model village in Keppapulavu.
Keppapulavu model village was mooted by the military to resettle families of three villages – the Pilakaadhu, Sooriyapuram, and Keppapulavu Grama Sevaka divisions. Lands belonging to at least 300 families were acquired by the Defence Ministry. The residents were then resettled in plots of state land temporarily.
“These families have been demanding the return of their lands for eight years. They feel that they can not wait anymore,” said Thurairasa Raviharan, a member of Northern Provincial Council representing the Mullaitivu district.
Keppapulavu model village was mooted by the military to resettle families of three villages – the Pilakaadhu, Sooriyapuram, and Keppapilavu Grama Sevaka divisions. Lands belonging to at least 300 families were acquired by the Defence Ministry. The residents were then resettled in plots of state land temporarily