By R. K. Radharishnan –
Large tracts of private land being occupied by security forces
Even as the Tamil political parties are crying foul over the armed forces occupying large tracts of private land, the Sri Lankan Army is organising a seminar to “share the experience on the journey towards lasting peace and stability through reconstruction, resettlement, rehabilitation, reintegration and reconciliation.”
The Army organised a seminar last year to share with the world how it defeated terrorism in Sri Lanka. This year, from August 8 to August 10, it will share with the world its model of how lasting peace can be achieved.
Meanwhile in Mannar, on Saturday, the Tamil National Alliance organised a protest, against appropriation of land by security forces, and the ‘pass’ system for fishing in the northern province. “We are also Sri Lankans. Let us live peacefully,” read a placard.
The protest, organised in Mannar, is the third such in a series that the TNA has planned. The Alliance alleges that about a fifth of the land in Mannar district has been taken over for military purposes. Land held by the military, not being released back to the original owners, is a serious issue in all of the Northern Province, which was once in the hands of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.
In addition, though fishing activities have resumed, the Navy, which has its base in the port of Mannar, has impeded free fishing operations, the party alleges.
TNA MP Mavai Senathirajah demanded that the military move out from people’s private properties. Another Alliance MP M.A. Sumanthiran called on people to join similar protests. Mannar Bishop Rayappa Joseph also joined in the protests.