SL judiciary harasses Tamil dairy farmers in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Saturday, 31 August 2019, 23:36 GMT]
The representatives of the largest dairy farmers association in Batticaloa complain that fifteen of their members had to spend 300,000 rupees on travelling forth and back between Dehiyattakandiya and Batticaloa throughout the last four years to face a case filed against them by the SL Forest Department in 2015. The Forest Department guards detained the cattle herders and filed a lawsuit against them at the Magistrate’s Court in Dehiattekandiya in Ampaa'rai. The representatives of the Live Stock Farmers’ Society in Mayilaththamadu and Periyamathava'nai (LSFS-MP) told TamilNet that the petitioner was failing to attend the hearings and that the case was being postponed every time. It is a form of systematic harassment meted out to Tamil dairy farmers, they complained. Every time, when the case is scheduled the group of farmers and their cattle herders have to travel 140 km both the ways.

The Forest Department was acting in favour of Sinhala colonists who were opposed to Tamil farmers accessing the pastureland, which they wanted to colonise. Although the colonisation was stopped through pressure, the case and other forms of harassment continue.

The dairy farmers have been using Periya-maathava'nai and Mayilaththa-madu as pasturelands for almost sixty years.

The central grazing lands come under the two village (GS) areas of two different divisions: Kudumpimalai GS area in Koa'ra'laip-pattu South DS Division and Eera'naik-ku'lam GS area in Ea'raavoorpattu DS division.

The de-facto status of the pastureland was being established through district-level meetings, which were held at the beginning of each Maha and Yala paddy cultivation seasons every year.

These meetings take place with the participation of the District Secretary and the elected parliamentarians of the district.

Puluddu-maanoadai, Periya-maathava'nai, Measaik-kal malai-veddai, Ve'l'lak-kal malai-veddai in Eera'naik-ku'lam GS area in Koa'ra'laip-pattu South DS Division, Pu'liyadip-poththaanai in Kithul-weva GS area and Kidaaram-poadda-madu in Koappaa-ve'li GS area constitute 4,164 hectares of pastureland.

The extent of pasture lands in Meeraa'nda-vil in Vada-munai GS area and Ampu-munai along with the villages Paalak-kaaddu-veddai, Murungkaiyadip-paddi, Vammik-ku'la-veddai, Ne'li-kal-veddai, Mayilaththa-madu in Kudumpi-malai GS area of Koa'ra'laip-pattu South DS division stands at 4,078 hectares.

Altogether 35,000 cattle were using the 8,242 hectares of lands for grazing until 2018.

Around 300 dairy farmers (Pa'n'naiyaa'lar) from Chengkaladi, Kommma-thu'rai, Vanthaa'ru-moolai, Maavadi-vempu, Chiththaa'ndi, Mu'rak-koddaagn-cheanai, Chanthi-ve'li, Koarakalli-madu, Kiraan, Ki'n'naiyadi, Chungkaan-kea'ni and Ka'ruvaak-kea'ni own the cattle.

There are around 500 workers and their families that are dependent on the livelihood.

The LSFS-MP, known as Kaal-nadai Va'larppoar Kama-nala Amaippu, is led by M. Yogendran (President), K. Ponnuththurai (Secretary) and S. Thiyagarajah (Treasurer).


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