Thousands of acres of land in the Batticaloa district in the Eastern Province are likely to be appropriated under the Land Reform Laws of the occupying Sri Lankan State, according to informed civil sources in Batticaloa. The Colombo government is to appropriate lands that have been legally possessed by Tamils for the last fifty years under the one-acre permit scheme. Colombo and its Eastern Provincial Council are to formulate necessary legislation to appropriate lands above one-acre in 14 DS divisions in the Batticaloa district. More than one hundred acres of lands are to be appropriated under the Land Reform Laws of the Sinhala government.
Majority of residents possess one-acre permit only.
Apart from that, permits for lands had not been issued to majority of residents during the times of war in Poara-theevup-pattu, Paddip-pazhai, Vavu’natheevu, Koa’ra’laip-pattu South (Kiraan), Ea’raavoorpattu (Chengkaladi), Koa’ra’laip-pattu North (Vaakarai) divisions.
These lands are going to be appropriated for Sinhalicisation, civil sources said.
There was no evidence to show Sinhalese were living in Paduvaankarai area. But after the end of war in the eastern province in 2007, nearly thousand acres of lands belonging to Tamils in the area had been appropriated by the Sinhalese encroachers with the backing of the occupying Sri Lanka Army.
Those affected by the Land Reform Laws had placed their grievances before a workshop held in July in Batticaloa under the aegis of the National Peace Council.
The ‘objective’ of the workshop was to brief the ‘recommendations’ by the so-called Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).
Prominent persons from all three communities, representatives of resettled persons and university lecturers had been invited to the NPC workshop.
When the affected people placed their grievances at the workshop, Batticaloa Mangalarama Viharathipathi Ambitiya Sumana Ratna Thera, who was present there, intervened. The organizers allowed him to speak and the Buddhist monk started shouting that lands were being given to Tamils and Muslims and not to Sinhalese.
The Buddhist monk also said that the workshop was being held with ‘wrong agenda’. Tension prevailed in the workshop following Thera’s speech. He later complained that he had been attacked when the organizers of workshop had asked him to stop his speech.