The presentation of title deeds of the lands to the farming community in Walawa zone and Mahaweli ‘’H’’ zone under the National Programme to offer 100,000 title deeds to Mahaweli settlers who are Sinhalese will be held on 11th and 12th August 2017 under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena.
This is the first time such a large number of title deeds are to be presented, giving solution for a prolonged issue faced by the Mahaweli settlers. On 11th, 5,000 title deeds will be presented to the farming community in the Walawa zone at 10.00 a.m. at the Embilipitiya Gam Udawa grounds, and another 5,000 title deeds will be presented to the farming community in the Mahaweli ‘’H’’ zone on 12th August at 10.00 a.m. at the Talawa Pradeshiya Sabha grounds under the patronage of the President.
According to the policy of giving each and every Sri Lankan citizen right to own a land and a house, and under the directive of President Maithripala Sirisena these title deeds will be presented to the Mahaweli (Sinhala) settlers and through this initiative they will get an opportunity to prosper their lives.
Six years after the end of Sri Lanka’s long and bloody civil war, a “silent” conflict is being waged across the island, with tens of thousands of government troops continuing to occupy the north and east and the army expanding its property developments on land belonging to displaced Tamils, a new report claims.
Although the 26-year-long conflict between the majority Sinhalese government and Tamil separatists finally ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE), the study by the US-based thinktank the Oakland Institute finds little meaningful evidence of reconciliation.
It says hopes of peaceful coexistence are being thwarted by the enduring displacement of Tamils, the appropriation of their land by the military, the new government’s refusal to take the country off its war footing, and the delay in investigating allegations of war crimes committed by both state forces and the Tamil Tigers.
“Six years later, a silent war continues under a different guise,” says the report, The Long Shadow of War: the Struggle for Justice in Postwar Sri Lanka. “One major issue is the continued displacement of people from their lands and homes as a result of persistent military occupation of the northern and eastern provinces.”
The study says thousands of Tamils are still internally displaced and without homes and livelihoods, adding that those who have been “resettled” through government schemes have often been moved involuntarily to areas that lack proper infrastructure.
Equally disruptive is the Sri Lankan army’s ongoing occupation of what the government terms “high security zones” in the north and east of the country. The reports estimates that in 2014, there were at least 160,000 almost entirely Sinhalese soldiers stationed in the north. With the area’s population standing at a little more than 1 million people, the occupation means there is one soldier for every six civilians.
One woman, whose husband was arrested by the army in 1990 and has not been seen since, told the report’s authors that she and her family had been forced from their home by the army the same year and were still unable to return.
“Today, my home is still occupied by the army, which pays LKR 300 [$2.25; £1.60] a month for the land,” she said. “I went to the human rights commission … and to the district officer to protest the continued occupation of my home. The army says, ‘If the government asks us to move, we will vacate the lands.’ But there is no legal procedure to obtain my land back.”
Having lived in a camp for internally displaced people and then a village that was destroyed by the 2004 tsunami, the woman now relies on a charity to put a roof over her head.
“I have no hope of my husband returning – I hear there are mass graves of the missing – nor that the government will return my land,” she said. “I hear that the UN is investigating. I want the UN to know and investigate what I have gone through.”
The report argues that the military occupation has long ceased to be about ensuring security.
“The army has expanded non-military activities and is engaged in large-scale property development, construction projects, and business ventures such as travel agencies, farming, holiday resorts, restaurants, and innumerable cafes that dot the highways in the northern and eastern provinces,” it says. “The army officially runs luxury resorts and golf courses that have been erected on land seized from now–internally displaced peoples.”
It says tourists can book holidays at luxury beach resorts by calling numbers at the ministry of defence, adding: “These resorts and businesses are located on lands that were previously home to the local Tamil population, who were displaced by the war. They see no sign of return, despite numerous demands and petitions.”
The study says the recent land grabs fall into an old and familiar pattern that has resulted in the marginalisation of Sri Lanka’s Tamil population through violence, pogroms, repressive laws and a “government-orchestrated colonisation of the northern and eastern parts” of the island, traditionally the Tamils’ homeland.
2 Mar 2017 – War-hit people in north & east ask army to return their land. … Tamil’s demand is reasonable and their right to be remedied forthwith is their
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