Sinhala colonisers in Batticaloa challenge officials with Sirisena-issued land permits

[TamilNet, Sunday, 02 October 2016, 23:01 GMT]
A group of government officials belonging to various departments including the officials from Mahaweli ‘development’ authority, which comes under the SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, were confronted by the Sinhala settlers, who claimed the lands were given to them by none other than Mr Maithiripala Sirisena, when he was serving under Mahinda Rajapakasa a few years ago. The officials were on a fact-finding mission to Mayilaththa-madu and Maathava'nai pasturelands, situated in the interior Koa'ra'laip-pattu South (Kiraan) division in Batticaloa district. The visit took place on 25 September after repeated complaints coming from Tamil dairy farmers in the division. However, there was no sign of action from the authorities, the farmers told TamilNet on Sunday.

The Sinhala colonisers were in possession of land permits issued by Mr Maithiripala Sirisena's ministry a few years ago under the regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The settlers from Polonnaruwa, the native district of Mr Maithiripala, claimed they were given ownership documents for residential and agricultural lands under the Mahaweli scheme. But, the officials from Mahaweli authority who accompanied the delegation said they were not aware of the ‘activities’. The pasturelands come under the purview of Forest Department and the officials from that department too also said they had no knowledge of these settlements.

Tamil dairy farmers who went to the place together with their village officer and the inspecting delegation said Sinhala cultivators had recently burnt down the pasturelands and prepared the area for slash-and-burn cultivation and that a large village of more than 300 Sinhalese settlers has been established around the training base of the occupying Sinhala military at Mazhama'ndi.

The Sinhala settlers also claimed that they had obtained bank loans in 2010 by utilising the papers given by the ministry of Mr Maithiripala Sirisena.


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