Grabbing pastureland in Ampaa’rai district goes unabated
Over four thousand acres of pastureland allocated for grazing in Chaakamam area in Ampaa’rai district is being grabbed day by day for illegal settlement by Sinhalese, civil sources in the district said. Next to agriculture and fishing, one of the major livelihood activities in Ampaa’rai and Batticaloa districts for resettling Tamils is livestock farming. Colombo’s Sinhala establishment, backed by its occupation military, is occupying these pasturelands with the intention of accomplishing structural genocide on Eezham Tamils and Sinhalicisation of traditional Tamil villages in the East.
According to a Sri Lankan government gazette notification 217/151 of 17 June, 1976, under section 2, around four thousand acres of lands lying between the dams of Rubes Tank and Vammiyadik-ku’lam within the Akkaraippattu DS division is meant for grazing.
The then Government Agent for Ampaa’rai District D.Wijesinghe in 1974 in a circular had categorically defined that the said land is solely meant for cattle grazing and for growing good quality grass. No illegal encroachment on this land would be allowed, the circular had clearly stated.
Mr Wijesinghe had further ordered all those who were engaged in clearing land for settlement to leave the area.
However, some Muslim politicians continued to defy the order by the GA and encouraged their supporters to grab large tracts of grazing lands including residential lands that belonged to Tamils who were chased away from their villages bordering the grazing lands.
Currently, the Colombo-centric Sinhala establishment and its politicians are in full swing in occupying the pasturelands for settlement of Sinhalese, depriving the Tamils of their major livelihood.
Also in Batticaloa district, pasturelands were demarcated in early 1970s. But, Colombo government has seized the lands, depriving the Tamils access to one of their major livelihood vocations in the region.