1474 Tamils of the Northern Peninsula have filed writ application No. CA (Writ) 125/2013, pleading for relief from the Appeal Court, against steps by the ruling Rajapaksa regime to grab an area of approximately 25.8 square kilometres (6381 acres), including their traditional homes. The Colombo Telegraph reliably learns that hundreds more are to follow suit in desperation.
The petitioners state that the so called land acquisition is flawed in several ways, and point out that proper procedures have not been followed, and that there is no proper public purpose to be served for which their land is to be taken over, as set out in the petition.
The petition demonstrates that the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo City itself spans an area of 37.21 square kilometers and that the approximately 25.8 square kilometres of Jaffna Peninsula lands to be acquired is about ‘two-third the entire land area on which Colombo City is established’.
Here is a map of the Colombo area with approximately 6384 acres depicted as the extent enclosed within 3 marker points, which is annexed to the petition (marked “P3”) and presented to court to demonstrate how massive the land extent being acquired is.
The petitioners say they have repeatedly interacted with State functionaries and are easily identifiable. The petition also states that a large number of the petitioners have been listed by the State as ‘displaced’ and are languishing in ‘welfare camps’ established by the State and languish there after being refused permission to return to their lands. The petitioners complain that in these circumstances, the challenged acquisition notice wrongfully claims that “Person claiming ownership over the land: cannot be identified”.
The petitioners urge that the Appeal Court quashes the acquisition notice marked “P1” and prohibits action being taken based on it and plead for an interim order till the case is heard, that would effectively prevent further steps being taken to dispossess the petitioners of their lands, pointing out that grave and irreparable loss, harm and damage would otherwise be inflicted on them.
Here is the full petition dated 14/05/2013 filed by lawyers, Sinnadurai Sundaralingam & Balendra settled by – K. Kanag-Isvaran (President’s Counsel), M. A. Sumanthiran, Viran Corea, Lakshmanan Jeyakumar, Bhavani Fonseka and Niran Anketell.
Read the petition here