Dairy farmers feel harassed after exposing Sinhala encroachment in Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Monday, 15 June 2020, 16:41 GMT]
An Information Officer attached to the Media Unit of Batticaloa District Secretariat was harassing the dairy farmers who had met journalists and rights activists in Chengkaladi division on 01 June to complain about the encroachment of pasturelands by Sinhala colonists. Within three days of the meeting, the Information Officer wrote a letter to the Regional Director of Health Services in Batticaloa exerting pressure on the latter to take action regarding the meeting. The District Secretariat officer, S.V. Jeevananthan, who is a Tamil, was acting in a biased manner, the dairy farmers who had to travel 60 km to meet the RDHS officials in Batticaloa on Friday told media on Monday. Mr Jeevananthan was blaming the organisers of the meeting of failing to comply with the measures against COVID-19 spread. He was citing social media posts about the meeting.

The letter sent by Batticaloa District Media Unit officer Jeevananthan to RDHS
The letter sent by Batticaloa District Media Unit officer Jeevananthan to RDHS
The dairy farmers said the meeting was not an organised one. Journalists visited the dairy farmers while they were working as usual on the farm. The visiting journalists and rights activists maintained physical distance with the farmers, they said.

However, the District Secretariat Information Officer was only acting against Tamils, who were meeting the journalists, they complained.

When Sinhala colonists conduct meetings and clear the jungle in groups, nobody acts against them for failing to comply with COVID-19 measures, they said.

Furthermore, the Kachcheari media unit officer was going beyond his duty limits in harassing the dairy farmers, they complained.


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