Civilian property used by Army in North handed back
Scaling down of troop presence:
Northern Governor, Major General G.A.Chandrasiri yesterday said that
state land will be provided to relocate troops who are currently
occupying civilian property in the Jaffna peninsula within the next 2- 3
months. He said that the matter had been discussed in detail with
government officials in the Northern Province recently where an
agreement had been reached. The Governor said officials were currently
in the process of identifying state land within the peninsula.
Meanwhile Security Forces Commander of Jaffna Maj. Gen. Mahinda
Hathurusinghe said he had made a request to the Governor seeking state
land to relocate troops occupying private property.
He said that 56 per cent of the private land occupied by troops had
been handed over already and at present troops were only occupying 400
private houses within the peninsula.
Meanwhile, the troop strength in the Jaffna peninsula has decreased
by over 10,000 during the last two and a half years.
Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe who took over as Security Forces
Commander for Jaffna in the latter part of 2009, said the troop strength
in Jaffna has come down from 26,000 then to around 15,600 today.
Referring to the status of military occupied civilian property, Major
General Hathurusinghe said 56 percent of private properties occupied by
troops in Jaffna have been cleared and handed over.
He said others which can be cleared without compromising security
will be handed over soon as the military finds adequate space to
relocate troops occupying those properties. He said a request has been
made to the Northern Governor in this regard.
Major General Hathurusinghe said since 1995, the military had to
occupy some private properties. “However the government has always paid
full rent to owners of these properties at all times.”
Questioned about the validity of claims by some about troop numbers
increasing instead of decreasing, he said the numbers expose the lie.
Commenting on the current security situation in the peninsula, Major
General Hathurusinghe said it has been very peaceful and the incidence
of crimes and violent acts was low.
“In fact it is on par or better if you compare with other parts of
the country,” he said.