Ampaa’rai Tamil politician questions Rauff Hakeem on land justice

Traditional lands belong to Tamil people in the Ampaa’rai district have been continuously grabbed by those sitting in power in Colombo, according to Selliah Rasaiah, the chairman of Kaaraitheevu Piratheasa Chapai (PS) situated in Ampaa’ria district of the Eastern Provice. Mr Rasiah, a Tamil National Alliance (TNA) politician, has asked the SL Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem, whether the Tamil people chased out of their villages in the district would be able to demand their lands forcibly occupied by the Sinhalese and Muslims. The SL minister had recently gone on record saying that he would make laws to enable those who lost their lands in the times of the war to gain them back.

Tamil villages Mallikaith-theevu, Pazhaia Va’laaththaappiddi, Karangkaa, Varampu-va’laivu-veddai and Yazhppaa’nam Junction, located six kilometers east of Ampaa’rai district do not exist in the map now as these villages have been subjected to intensive land grab over the years, Mr. Rasiah told media.

Sinhalese grab Tamils lands with the backing of occupying Sri Lanka Army and Muslims with the political backing of those sitting in power in Mahinda Rajapakse regime, the chairman of the PS says.

In 1956, the population of Sinhalese in the villages Pathkoda, Paaragama and Uhana was only 4.8 %.

Now these villages have been developed and their status has been upgraded to Divisional Secretary division. But, there is no trace of many traditional Tamil villages that existed in the district, he says.

There were around 12 thousand Tamil voters in the Ampaa’rai town. Tamils, who were initially driven out from the town and its suburbs, moved to Va’laththaapiddi following the encroachment of Gal Oya valley by the Sinhalese.

Even the grazing lands in Akkaraippattu are not accessible to Tamils anymore.

Tamils have also been forced out of Aalaiyadiveampu, located in the Thirukkoyil DS Secretariat.

Lands belong to Tamil people in the Ampaarai district have been systematically grabbed under the regimes of the United National Party (UNP) and United People Freedom Alliance (UPFA), Mr Rasaiah said.

The Tamil politician further said that no infrastructure facilities have been provided to the villages Veeramunai, Udumpan-ku’lam, Thangka-vealaayutha-puram and Kagnchi-kudichchaa’ru that suffered due to war and pogroms in the past. The resettled people are currently undergoing immense difficulties for their survival without proper livelihood assistance.

The people, seriously affected by the December 2004 Tsunami have not received proper assistance, he said blaming the Sri Lankan Government Agent of the Ampaa’rai district for failing to attend to the welfare of the people despite repeated complaints by the plight of the people and concerned Tamil politicians.

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