The writ petition against the Government take-over of former Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar’s land in Jaffna which is set to become a symbolic and landmark case in the ongoing struggle for land in the north was taken up before the Court of Appeal today.
The Court of Appeal issued notice on the Minister for Lands, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Land Acquiring Officer of the Jaffna District A. Sivaswamy and the Land Survey Officer of the Jaffna District who have been cited as respondents in the petition filed by the former Minister’s son last week.
According to the petition, Minister Kadirgamar became sole owner of the prime property on the Keerimalai-Kankesanthurai Road in May 1968. With the Minister’s assassination in 2005 by the LTTE, in accordance with Tesawalamai laws the property passed to his son, Sriraghavan Kadirgamar.
The Minister’s son is praying the court to prevent the respondents from taking any further steps on the acquisition until the application is heard. He also seeking a Writ Certiorari to quash the acquisition notice.
In his petition Minister Kadirgamar’s son says that he is being prevented from using and enjoying his rights to his ancestral property due to barricades and barbed wire fences manned by security forces personnel and unauthorised construction taking place in the vicinity. Evoking the ancient laws of the Jaffna District, the petition says that his ancestral land is tied to the petitioner’s identity and his family’s identity, a facet recognised in the law of Tesawalamai that applies to residents of Jaffna.
Analysts say the high profile victim of an ongoing land grab in the north by the state, will lend a hitherto absent dimension to the northern peoples’ land struggles.