22 September, 2020

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Gota Ousts Residents From Their Homes To Build Them A Sports Ground

The Urban Development Authority (UDA) yesterday threatened residents of the ‘34 Watte’ located in Wanathamulla, Borella, ousted them from their homes and demolished their properties violating an undertaking made before the Human Rights Commission (HRC) in March in order to build a sports ground for the ousted families.

Gotabaya

Gotabaya

In a fine example of the rampant militarization and impunity reigning in Sri Lanka, some UDA officials along with two military personnel in uniforms had visited the area last afternoon in order to administer the demolishing of the houses. Several homes in the 34 Watte were bulldozed yesterday as a result – homes that the victimized families have been residing in for the past 50 years.

Some of the residents objected to the demolishing but to no avail. They were threatened by the military men and the demolishing proceeded after the protesting residents were compelled to move due to rains. The victimized residents point out it is unfair since the alternative housing offered by the UDA requires an initial payment of Rs. 50,000 to be made. Upon moving in, each family is supposed to pay another Rs. 50,000.

“The alternative housing offered to us is much smaller than the ones we have been residing in. Besides, we have no economic capacity to pay Rs. 100,000 to move into a new house,” the aggrieved residents pointed out.

In a  ridiculous justification of their actions, a UDA official stated that it is only a few families who are objecting to the move and added the area is being acquired in order to build a sports ground for the families who are being ousted from the area.

The Human Right Commission gave an order in March preventing the demolition. The military official who allegedly threatened petitioners is a respondent in the case that had been filed. The demolition is carried out following a writ application that was filed by four persons residing in the 34 Watte in August that prevented the UDA from demolishing their homes. The case is presently before the Court of Appeal.

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Latest comments

  • 9
    12

    Where on earth one can get a proper housing unit for 50,000 + 50,000? It seems, this writer likes people in ‘watta’ continue to live in shanties. Just Google and read how shanti dwellers are evicted in India.

    • 12
      5

      I suggest you look up what this “watta” really looked like, they were NOT shanties !

      http://groundviews.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IMG_6664.jpg

      Yes, maybe for the likes of you living abroad it maybe but for a majority of Sri Lankans it is not.

    • 0
      0

      ‘Cleansing the Augean Stables’ became an idiom because a difficult job accumulated over 30 years was accomplished by Hercules in a day by diverting rivers to wash out the dung.

      Shanties and shacks which created a festering sore called slums are getting dismantled after inaction for 50 years and more. If all those responsible had discharged what they had been designated to do, will a single person get all the ire from several quarters now? To that person will not the path of least resistance offer ready and better sleep? Shouldn’t castigation from media and individuals be directed at those of yester decades for their dereliction?

      Much is said about the value of a perch and continued residence. How much value was added through their own effort at land development. Whatever the location, how much is the value of a perch? Government Valuer edified us saying a perch; 68’x4’=272sq.ft. is of little or no value as residential or commercial property.

      What is noteworthy is that alternative accommodation is being developed as is gathered from the public domain. If Rs. 1 lakh is to be paid for a unit by a tenant, is it the value of what he is getting?

      “The King can do no wrong” is as far erratic as to say “The SL government can do no right”.

      • 2
        1

        Dear Mr.Sivathasan,

        If it was this day and age, Herculoes would have had to get various permissions and the requirements of due process to divert a river to clean the Augean stables! Are we living in old Greek times now in Sri Lanka? If so, should we?

        If they are poor or lower middle class, those forcibly displaced will not have the Rs. 50,000 or Rs 100,000 to pay to get the alternate dwellings, supposed to be much smaller than the ones they had. There are no takers as property prices are high in Colombo. The prices do not respond the the supply and demand equation either. Further, how many of these people would like to live in a multi-story apartment building? Are they culturally attuned to that? What will become vertical slums are being built to replace the horizontal slums! However, what are being demolished are not slums as we have known them.

        Further, the price for the political and bureaucratic follies of the past, cannot be remedied at the expense of the poor and the helpless being treated in an inhuman manner.

        Dr.RN

  • 5
    3

    I should not be crual when someone is suffering but according to my memory about news i read long time ago, wanathamulla people are involved with most of the communal troubles and may be in the jail killings. You will harvest only what you saw.People who ate kiributh to celebarate mullivaaikal will harwest very soon. Every tamil and singhalese will harvest what they have cultivated in north and east. God will decide when. Jesus told only genuine man to thorw stone at the prostitude, but none of the men came forward.

    • 3
      2

      Times have changed. When Sinhalese Buddhists give food to S-Buddhists monks, they declare all those S-Buddhists as “Sath Purushoyos” or non-sinners. Jesus’s greatest teaching fails here because Sinhalese Buddhists were taught they are non-sinners, so would not hesitate to stone the prostitute. This is one of core issues in S-Buddhist practice…

      • 0
        0

        Where have you learned that Sinhala Buddhism. Better ask Amaraya or read Mahawamsa again and again.

  • 14
    3

    “Gota Ousts Residents From Their Homes To Build Them A Sports Ground”

    Gota is the modern day butcher of Asia: He exterminated hundreds of thousands with impunity; the Matale mass grave, which is only a tip of the iceberg is hushed-up open secret. He got the taste for blood and blood-soaked hands.

    He is ousting ordinary people from their homes mercilessly to ape the wealthy nation like the US where he was a 7-11 employee: However much he apes Sri Lanka is not going to be a well to do or prosperous country in his life time. The policies of the junta are so corrupt and cock-eyed that it is bound to failure.

    He is having a boru show to boost his ego and his familial clan’s egos. Besides that he thinks that people, both Sinhalese and Tamils, can thereby be made to forget the crimes against humanity he committed against them.

    The day will come when the masses of Sri Lanka will not only oust the Mara clan from their homes, they will be hanged in public for their authoritarian atrocities and their ill gotten immense wealth confiscated from their offspring.

  • 14
    4

    This is one of the ugly faces of the development being pursued in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka in a time gone by, scored high on the ‘ Happiness Index’. Though we were poor materially, we had a quality where it needed to matter in life. The free education system, free cradle to grave health care and the cooperative store system to distribute food cheaply, ensured this. Are the people happy today? For that matter is anyone other than the bribe takers, drug smugglers and politicians, happy today? What is the price we are paying to become a pseudo- middle income country? What is the value of a human being, poor though he may be, in this country?

    The market value of a perch of land in Borella is at present around Rs.4,000,000/=. Are those who are being evicted after living in these lands for fifty years, compensated for the land they are losing? Where is the system to defend these helpless people from a rapacious government? Are we beautifying Colombo, at the expense of its poor and helpless, unjustly using military might?

    Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

    • 8
      1

      Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

      “Where is the system to defend these helpless people from a rapacious government?”

      Come on, this is Sri Lanka, miracle of Asia.

    • 8
      2

      Will Vasudeva, DEW, Dr Tissa etc., agitate for justice for these people?

      The idiom ‘What goes up must come down’ is right one day Gota’s property will become his own gallows or beyond that.

      • 7
        0

        Salted Fish

        “one day Gota’s property will become his own gallows or beyond that.”

        Which property?

        Hasn’t he got properties and investments in other parts of the world, Seychelles, USA, India, …..

        • 5
          0

          Native Vedda

          All of them, including the properties and investments in his Manike’s name except his Chinese properties.

          He is Baya Gota and he is baying innava. He will be the first to board a flight to China to claim asylum if the City of Colombo start to smoulder over his and his family rule.

    • 2
      10

      Dr.Narendran, If you do not have a clear title for a land no matter you have lived there for 50 years, it belongs to someone else and you are a squatter. So who wants to buy a land with no title for the market value? These watta joints must also be developed like other areas in Colombo. Having said that, I too believe occupiers must be paid a reasonable compensation. I am sure, flats they’re given with a clear title for Rs.50,000 + 50,000 is reasonable exchange because it can be sold for millions in time.

      • 10
        1

        Dear Mechanic, once again you are WRONG, they had CLEAR titles !!

      • 2
        0

        The proscription rights, except in the war zone in the north and east, recognise claims to ownership to those who have ocupied a land for more than ten or 15 years, as I remember.

        Dr.RN

    • 2
      1

      “helpless”? have you been to wanathamulla? No, scratch that. Have you HEARD of wanathamulla? People avoid the place like a plague for a reason. While I do agree that proper protocol must be followed and fair compensation made to these people (shanty dwellers or no), breaking up these ‘wattes’ is long bloody overdue.

      For once, I have to say, this regime has got something right.

      As for your argument about the ‘good old days’, i’ll remind you that this country’s economy is in the state it is today partly due to this ridiculous ‘government must pay for/subsidize everything’ idea.

      • 2
        0

        kp,

        Because Wanathamulla has criminals, does it mean the law should not apply to their affairs? Because the UDA has the armed forces behind it, it cannot bull dose its way, trespassing the laws of this land and its centuries old humane ethos. The end does not justify the means!

        Should we have a free for all and some take it all economy, which crushes the porr and helpless? Even the capitalist West is in the process of humanizing their economies.

        Dr.RN

        • 3
          0

          Dr.Rajasingham Narendran

          “Because Wanathamulla has criminals, does it mean the law should not apply to their affairs?”

          kp should be bulldozing the parliament and other state institutions first and then move on to other areas.

        • 0
          1

          To the valid and pertinent comments made by Dr Narendran and kp, I would add: I lived in the Baseline Road near Wesley College in the 1950’s and was a regular visitor to the august Tamil Union Oval built on the highest point of Wanathamulla. The area was dense scrub, snake and vermin infested and prone to flooding when the rains came down. Nature abhors a vacuum, and soon the first settlers could be seen, putting up their, effectively, hovels. A criminal class too joined in the fray and often there were polarising fights over the best bits of land. Patronising politicians of various different hues then took to ‘guaranteeing’ squatters rights. The settled people then rightly assumed they had legalised their position. Nearly all of the families there could easily and validly claim to have been there anything between 20 to 50 years.

          YES, on the age-old principle that ‘bad will drive out good’ there is a higher than normal concentration of the ‘criminal class’ but that is NOT an excuse for all (or anyone) to be deprived of what should ideally be their rights; due process, equitable and fair restitution, acceptable alternatives etc.There is every indication that these qualities/principles are ones that are NOT readily attributable to the present ruling regime.

          Given modern building practices, this land will provide many profitable opportunities for the rapacious developers currently living off the Regime.

          As a postcript, I would add that an easier and altogether more valuable prize would be to demolish that historically disgraced prison on the Baseline Road and the many acres would provide a much much bigger bonanza for builders.

        • 0
          0

          See, that’s a bad argument to make. Because now you’re just saying something for the sake of saying something. Did you not read the full comment I just wrote or were you in a hurry to quickly nip in the bud any sort of realistic (read: not anti-govt.) argument? I specifically said that proper protocol must be followed, and fair compensation should be made. That said, the breaking up of what are no more than ghettos is a good thing, is what i said.

          As to the socialism point: yes, many western countries are. And that is commendable. But let me again point out two things here:

          a) next to none of these countries (i can’t say ‘none at all’ here, since that would require more research than i am capable of doing at the moment) have got to where they are (ie- first world/developed country status) by subsidizing everything and having a sprawling government pay through the nose for everything
          b) you cant at the same time run a socialist state with free healthcare, education, higher education, etc. and reach developed status. You could, through borrowing heavily. But since the anti-govt. crowd here is determined to deride anyone who criticizes the handout system or anyone who doesn’t criticize the lunatic borrowing we’re doing now, maybe my words fall on deaf ears. Face it, most people here simply want to criticize the govt. without first accepting that some things that these people do is a systemic problem that we as citizens are unwilling to change.

          I remain convinced we need a regime change, but not at the expense of bashing everything out of some misguided belief that we live in a cartoon world, where evil people are always evil and good people always good. Sometimes, doctor, there’s overlap. This is one of them.

  • 9
    0

    Is this what Hirunika Premachandra got for her people by sitting on the lap of the President?

  • 0
    0

    [Edited out]

  • 4
    3

    Next should be Maligawatte and Wellawatte. They are drug dens.

    Clean them thoroughly Gota.

  • 0
    1

    It is very difficult to say this perticular action is right or wrong. They are sitting on gold(very expensive land) and harming srilankan ecconomy and tourism. The subsiquent governments occationally employ these people to kill tamils or to contract kill even singhalest, with a cost of bottles of arrak and biriyani.No individual can become a thug without the help of these kind of people, hope this type of insidence will educate them. God punish people to educate them – may be tamils in north and east could have acumulated lot of sin in the past and at mullivaikal gamethey have passed the sin-ball into sighalese court.All in all it is a game played by God.God is greate.

  • 4
    0

    Modaya,

    Then who will cleanse MARAYA & GORAYA ? TSUNAMI FUND SWINDLERS, MASS MURDERERS & PLUNDERERS OF THE NATION.SINCE OF LATE, TRAITORS OF THE NATION FOR SELLING OUT THE WHOLE OF SRI LANKA TO CHINA.

    You have a habit of running away with one comment like your MASTER GORAYA, WHO BOLTED TO USA AT THE HEIGHT OF LTTE INSURGENCY.

    Be a man for once will you, for the meat you eat from your Masters.

  • 4
    0

    Isn’t it obvious that the [Edited out] Mechanic is the first one to review, he has no other job but paid by Gota or Gota himself commenting positively to justify HR abuses. Best is to in ore the [Edited out]. and NEVER REPLY to his comments. He probably gets an org……sm every time someone replies!!!

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