SLN occupies most of military-seized lands outside ‘HSZ’ in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Friday, 19 June 2015, 20:28 GMT]
Around 30 of 47 acres of lands seized together with residential houses outside the so-called High Security Zone (HSZ) in Jaffna district still remain occupied by the Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) in Neduntheevu (Delft), Maruthangkea'ni of Vadmaraadchi East and in Thellip-pazhai, according to the latest data collected by the District Secretariat in Jaffna in February 2015. SL Police has occupied 88 houses, SLN has seized 57 properties and the occupying Sri Lanka Army (SLA) keeps 23 properties outside the ‘military zones’ in the district. The SL military has reiterated several times now that it has no plan of reducing the military deployment in the country of Eezham Tamils. The Chief Minister of Northern Provincial Council, Justice CV Wigneswaran, who has been demanding de-militarisation of North recently characterised the density of SL military occupation as one soldier per 4 civilians.

SL Military occupation of civilian properties.
The extent of SL military occupation of civilian properties outside the Sinhala Military Zone in Jaffna

The SL military has officially admitted that there is no change in the pattern of the military occupation of North.

Jaffna district is the densely populated district in the Northern Province. The SL militarisation, targeting Sinhalicisation and colonisation, is far more extensive in the other four districts.

Two months ago, Lieutenant General Crishanthe De Silva, the SLA Commander appointed by Maithiripala Sirisena, went on record stating that neither troops nor camps would be withdrawn from North.

“No military camps have been withdrawn to release land to the original owners. Neither troops nor camps will be withdrawn from the North. Private lands adjacent to various Army camps have been released from time to time, after the war ended in May 2009,” Crishanthe had told Sunday Observer on 29 March 2015.

SL military with journalists from South
SL military with journalists from South
SL military with journalists from South
On 10 June 2015, the SL military brought more than 40 journalists from South in a guided tour to Jaffna from Colombo. The journalists from South were told that the SL military was keen in releasing lands back to the Tamil people. The intention of the guided tour was to influence the diplomatic circles in Colombo through news stories in the English press.

Tamil journalists in Jaffna were not invited to this guided tour as Colombo wanted to avoid questions from the Tamil journalists in front of the journalists from South. A press conference was held at the Palaali SL military base.

However, the PR exercise gave opposite results when Rajapaksa-friendly sections of the Sinhala journalists began producing stories claiming that the SL military had closed down 59 camps in Jaffna this year alone. Sinhala opposition politicians, including the former SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa, started to question the new regime.

On 17 June, the SLA Headquarters in Colombo categorically denied closure of SLA camps after January.

The SL Military has issued statements saying 59 outposts were closed down between May 2009 to December 2014. None of these outposts were closed down after January 2015, the figures given by the SL military stated.

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