Eastern colonisation ongoing- UNP

[TamilNet, Saturday, 25 April 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A massive illegal colonisation of Sinhalese sponsored by the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party is taking place in the Trincomalee district said UNP sources in the eastern port town today.

Thousands of Sinhalese have illegally encroached and are being settled in the large area south and south west of Trincomalee from Kantalai to Vaan Aaru (renamed Vaan Ela in Sinhala language), which is 24 kilometers in extent, by the local SLFP organiser with the backing of some state officials said the sources.

The UNP sources accused the Kantalai SLFP chief organiser M.K.D.S Gunawardana of being directly involved in illegally settling pro-government Sinhala civilians in the area on state land allocated for development schemes.

Mr.M.K.D.S Gunawardana was formerly a police officer in Kantalai. He was accused of being a racist by Tamil politicians at that time.

In 1994 Gunawardana resigned from the Sri Lankan Police force to contest the Parliamentary elections as a PA candidate. Although he was not elected, he has become a powerful local SLFP leader since then said sources.

The colonisation is aimed at enhancing the SLFP vote base in the Kantalai said sources.

UNP sources in Trincomalee said that the their party's Kantalai Pradheshiya Sabha chairman R.M Ratnabandara had taken up the matter at the last Trincomalee District Co-ordinating Committee (DCC) meeting on April 20.

Mr. Ratnabandara had accused the Kantalai divisional secretary Mr.A. Wijeyadasa of providing water and electricity to the illegal settlements.

He demanded, at this DCC meeting that there should be an immediate and impartial inquiry into the illegal encroachment and settlement of outsiders currently in progress in the Kantalai - Vaan Aaru area.

UNP MP for Trincomalee Mr.Ariyapala Walpitagama said that it has become impossible now to build a modern town in Kantalai due to this large scale illegal colonisation that has been going on in the area since the PA came to power in 1994.

Kantalai was a traditional Tamil village until 1954 when large scale state backed Sinhala colonisation dramatically altered the demography of the region.


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