118 Muslim families demand occupying SL Navy to release their lands in Mannaar

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 March 2019, 17:33 GMT]
One hundred and eighteen Tamil-speaking Muslim land-owners from the strategic coastal village of Chilaavath-thu'rai in Mannaar are waging a continuous protest since 20 February demanding the release of their 36 acres of lands. The SL military has been occupying their lands since 2007. Currently, the SL Navy is stationed in their territories. Despite repeated assurances by SL Prime Minister Ranil Wickramasinghe who visited Musali division in January 2018 during the local government election campaign and the latest promise from the SL President Maithiriipala Sirisena that their lands would be released before 31 December were only false promises, the protesters said.

“Even our politicians whom we trusted in the past have disappointed us. They did nothing else than mentioning our plight in the parliament,” said Azeez Raheem, a grassroots activist engaged in the protest. He was seeking support from all communities in the Northern province. “We are also prepared to take our protest through various forms that have never been witnessed before in the North,” he said.



The Divisional Secretary of Musali division had allocated alternative lands to the SL Navy at Meaththan-vel'li. However, the SL Navy is refusing to relocate itself, the protesters said.

Chilaavath-thu'rai, which was the centre for pearl fisheries conducted by Tamils in the ancient times, is located in the mainland south of Mannaar island facing the Gulf of Mannaar.

The SL Navy is occupying almost one-third of the entire coast of Chilaavath-thu'rai, which is also the main town in the Musali division. The 36 acres of the lands in question are located in the heart of the town.

The Tamil-speaking people who were forced to displace from the entire Mannaar district in the 1990s commenced their resettlement from Puththa'lam district after the Ceasefire Agreement between the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka in 2002.

Chilaavath-thu'rai was mostly under de-facto control of the LTTE. The SL military stationed at Parikaari-ka'ndal on Murungkan-Chilaavath-thu'rai Road was also keeping the coastal town under its surveillance.

Most of the 118 Muslim families had returned to their lands during the ceasefire. However, they displaced again to Puththa'lam as the SL State resorted to a genocidal war in 2007.

The onslaught was launched first on Musali division.

Among the 118 land-owners, 35 have annual permits, 18 have Land Development Ordinance (LDO) permits, four persons have Grant deeds, and 13 owners own private land deeds. The remaining people are also able to document their connection to the lands through declaration documents, the protesting people said.

The occupying SL State and its navy have deceived the protests of Mu'l'lik-ku'lam Tamils and Ma'richchuk-kaddi Muslims in the past. The uprooted Muslims from Chilaavath-thu'rai said they are determined not to allow their protest to be watered down through false promises.

Mu'l'likku'lam
The location of Chilaavath-thu'rai. The SL military is stationed everywhere including the localities marked in the map


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