There is plenty of land available for the Army to use –if they so need, without the payment of any compensation whatever, Leader of the Opposition, R. Sampanthan has told the President.
Writing a letter, Sampanthan has today urged the President to return Keppapulavu land to the civilian people.
We publish below the letter sent to President Maithripala Sirisena by Sampanthan:
Land at Keppapulavu – Mullaitivu District belonging to displaced Tamil Civilians
1. I write further to my letters of 20th July 2017 and 11th August 2017 to your Excellency in regard to the above matter. Members of Parliament Mavai Senathirajah and M.A. Sumanthiran have met your Excellency and discussed this matter on 22nd August 2017
2. At the said meeting it was agreed that 132 Acres of Private Land would be released. The Army was confident that the Land could be released within 03 months of 22nd August 2017 – 23rd November 2017.
3. Additional Secretary Ministry of Defence has informed me by his letter dated 10th October 2017 that 133 Acres of Land will be released by the end of the year 2017.
4. People have been demonstrating at the entrance to this land braving the Sun and the Rain for over the past 250 days, that these lands be released to them at the earliest. I would earnestly urge that this extent of 133 acres referred to at (2) and (3) above –should be released at the earliest. The people are expecting that the land would be released to them by 23rd November 2017.
5. The balance Private land is in extent 73 Acres. This land was taken over without the consent of the people, the land has not been acquired as required for a public purpose the people have consistently asked, from the commencement of the Army’s occupation, that the land be returned to them, and I would state that the Army cannot justify, it’s continued occupation of the land. This is private land ancestrally owned by Tamil Civilians for generations to which they have a strong personal attachment. This is Land in which they and their ancestors have lived and used for generations for their social religious and occupational purposes. These Civilians are not interested in alternative land or compensation. Their attachment to their land is so intense, that no other alternative can ever satisfy them. I would earnestly urge that the wish of these Civilian people should be respected and not disregarded. They have undergone immense suffering to get back their land, and they should not be disappointed.
There is plenty of other land available for the Army to use –if they so need, without the payment of any compensation whatever.
In the context of the determination that these civilian people have shown to get back their land, denial of their legitimate right to their land would be immensely harmful to reconciliation. This would have an adverse impact generally on reconciliation.
I would earnestly urge that this extent of 73 Acres be returned to these Civilian people at the earliest.
I request Your Excellency’s intervention in this matter.
Member of Parliament, Leader of the Opposition Sri Lankan Parliament
Copies to: –
(1) Hon .Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister.
(2) Hon. D. M Swaminathan, Minister of Rehabilitation
(3) Defence Secretary, Ministry of Defence
(4) General Mahesh Senanayake, Army Commander.