Feature Article
2ND LEAD

SL military releases 0.6% of occupied Valikaamam lands with big propaganda

[TamilNet, Friday, 07 April 2017, 23:14 GMT]
There are at least 7,900 private landowners, still uprooted from Valikaamam North in Jaffna division. The extent of private lands occupied by the military of genocidal Sri Lanka in Vali North stands at 4,589 acres, according to the statistics from the District Secretariat. On Friday, the new Jaffna commander of the occupying SL military, Maj. Gen. Darshana Hettiarachchi released 28.81 acres of lands in Oo'ra'ni, a coastal village in Valikaamam North in Thaiyiddi North (J/249) and a section of Mayiliddith-thu'rai North (J/251). The landowners witnessed that all their houses have been completely demolished, except a few houses that have been modified and extended into military-resorts. These houses, except one, were being fenced off. The house owners were told that it would take 8 months or 1 year to release the houses. The entire coastal stretch is also fenced off by the military.



What was being released back to people was only 0.6% of the total occupied lands in Valikaamam North, commented Shageevan Shanmugalingam, one of the leaders of associations voicing for the release of lands that belong to the people of Valikaamam North.

Tamil politicians, civic members and councillors did not attend the military-organised PR event on the occasion of releasing the lands. Only SL Government Agent N. Vethanayahan, Divisional Secretary of Thellip-pazhai, Mr Srimohanan and Additional Divisional Secretary M. Muralitharan were taking part at the event.

In the meantime, sources close to Jaffna GA Mr N. Vethanayahan, when contacted by TamilNet verified the figure given by Mr Shageevan and gave the full statistics of private lands still being occupied by the SL military.

There are 8,065 landowners who are deprived of their lands due to military occupation of their lands in the Jaffna district. In reality, the number is at least two to three times high, as the figure doesn't count family units, the DS officials, who didn't wish to be named told TamilNet.

Data from District Secretariat in Jaffna
Data from District Secretariat in Jaffna


At Oo'ra'ni, the people who were allowed to enter their lands on Friday witnessed total demolition of their houses.

The SL military announced the area as ‘High Security Zone’. There was no war destruction. It was the SL military that caused all destruction. Many of their houses were standing, also after 2009. But, as the SL military was transforming the HSZ into a Sinhala Military Zone, the houses, except those that were being used by the military were destroyed.

Destroyed House
People walk over a demolished house


Therefore, the SL military and the SL State are solely responsible for the destruction caused to their properties, the uprooted people said.

There were at least 100 stone houses when they fled their village in 1990. There were at least 400 families that were living in the area that is being released. More than 250 families are prepared to resettle in Oo'ra'ni village, civil sources said.

69-year-old Mudiyappu Anton Ganasegaram, who was one of the uprooted landowners, said his house was fully demolished without a trace. Even the well is no more. Many families were unable to trace the borders of their lands, he said. He was having two acres. Still half of his lands are occupied by the military, he says. “We spent lakhs of rupees to construct the house. Now, we need to begin from the start,” he said.

Oo'ra'ni map
28.8 acres of lands released on Friday are fenced off in all four directions including the sea. There are at least 5 military-resorts, which are being fenced off by the Sinhala military. Lands belonging to 17 houses of the villagers are still under military occupation.


House changed into a military-resort at Oo'ra'ni
House changed into a military-resort at Oo'ra'ni
House changed into a military-resort at Oo'ra'ni
House changed into a military-resort at Oo'ra'ni
65-year-old Gunaleela Arulanantham Ragesh said her house was also fully demolished. “All I want now is to build a house in the place and live there before I close my eyes. I have nothing more to say.” The extent of her land is 1-acre. A part of it is also fenced off by the military, she says.

43-year-old Vincent Vijayakumar Rajendram said his house, which left with his family has been transformed into a military resort. The Sinahala military has extended it into a two-flat house. The occupying military says it will take another 8 months or one-year to release these houses.

“When we left, we were one family. Now we are three families. My father has passed away. My mother came to see her house and was shocked to see that it was not released,” Mr Vijayakumar says.

75% of the village is released. 25% still remains under military control, says 56-year-old Philip Leonard.

House changed into a military-resort at Oo'ra'ni
House changed into a military-resort at Oo'ra'ni


The uprooted people were of the opinion that a full de-militarisation of their village and their homeland only would ensure a peaceful life and a prosperous future.

Until a permanent solution is achieved, there would be no end to the miseries of Oo'ra'ni people, says Mudiyappu Anton Gnaesegaram, who has come from Ki'linochchi to resettle in his lands.

House changed into a military-resort at Oo'ra'ni
The house of Vincent Vijayakumar Rajendram extended into two-floor resort by the occupying SL military. The house was being fenced off by the SL military.
House changed into a military-resort at Oo'ra'ni
The SL military has been using the resorts to its visitors from South while Thalsevena Resort, situated nearby, targets outside visitors
The entire coast is fenced off by the occupying military
The entire coast is fenced off by the occupying military
The entire coast is fenced off by the occupying military
SL commander at oo'ra'ni
Jaffna commander of the occupying SL military, Maj. Gen. Darshana Hettiarachchi, arriving at Oo'ra'ni on Friday
SL military commander in Jaffna at Oo'ra'ni
SL military commander of Jaffna shaking hands with Jaffna GA at Oo'ra'ni


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