SL Forest Department grabs agricultural lands of 45 Tamil farmers in Madu

[TamilNet, Monday, 05 February 2018, 19:19 GMT]
Colombo-based SL Forest Department is blocking 45 Eezham Tamil families in Madu DS division of Mannaar district from accessing their own agricultural lands in extent of 175 acres at Chinnak-kungchuk-ku'lam, the villagers of Periya-kungchuk-ku'lam complain. All the land-owners are in possession of land deeds or LDO permits provided by the Assistant Government Agent of Madu. The families were owning the agricultural lands for more than 40 years. Due to the war and displacement, they were unable to engage in agriculture for almost 15 years and the SL Forest Department has put up border stones seizing their lands. The people having valid documents of ownership to their agricultural lands are being confronted by the guards of SL Forest Department, which disregards the rights of resettled Tamils. Some of their land deeds are from 1930s.

Periya-kunghcuk-ku'lam means the pond of Periya-Kungchu (a personal name in Tamil) which is the big one of the two little ponds. It comes under the GS division of Maathaa-kiraamam and is situated bordering Musali division.

Along with the SL military, the SL departments of Forest and Wild-Life and Archaeology of occupying Colombo have been occupying the lands of Tamils in Madu and Musali divisions.

The SL military occupying the lands at Madu Road Junction, which is the entrance to the Holy Shrine of Madu, have been disturbing the prayerful atmosphere through transforming the entrance site into an amusement and business site by operating a restaurant and conducting parties at the locality, Rev Fr S Emilianuspillai, who is the Administrator of the Shrine of Our Lady of Madu, complained in a letter to SL President Maithiripala Sirisena in October 2017. The Administrator was urging Mr Maithiripala, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the SL armed forces, to remove the military presence at the locality.

In the meantime, the resettled people at the village of 2nd Mile Post, which is situated along the road to the Madu Church, have also complained of various harassments by the guards of the above-mentioned departments as well as the SL Police and the STF.

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