Half of IDPs can be resettled with latest land release | Page 2 | Daily News

Half of IDPs can be resettled with latest land release

With the latest release of lands in Thelippalai recently, 50 percent of those currently in IDP centres would be able to return to their rightful lands, Commander, Security Force–Jaffna, Major General Darshana Hettiarrachchi said.

The Sri Lanka Army, in keeping with the government’s policy of returning lands held by the military to its rightful owners, released another 683 acres of land to 964 families (3309 members), at a ceremony presided over by Army Commander Lt.General Mahesh Senanayake at Mailadi on April 13.

Under the guidance of Major General Hettiarrachchi, lands belonging to four GS Divisions in Theleppalai DS Division were handed over to civilians who were in IDP camps or living with relatives.

Accordingly, the land was handed over to the Jaffna District Secretary, Nagalingam Vethanayaham, to be handed over to the rightful owners after due process.

According to Major General Hettiarrachchi, this was a goodwill gesture towards the people of Jaffna for the New Year.

Meanwhile, the Army Commander speaking at the ceremony said the Kankesanthurai to Point Pedro road could now be used for public transport and for their private vehicles between 6 am to 7 pm. Army Commander Senanayake said, “This is your Army. This is the Army of the country.

Our responsibility is to ensure the well-being of citizens of this island, whether it is the South or North, irrespective if whether they are Sinhala, Muslim, Tamil, Buddhist, Christian, Islamic or any other race or religion.”

The District Secretary (Jaffna), Additional Secretary (Land), Divisional Secretary (Theleppalai), beneficiaries, villagers and several Senior Army Officers and Army personnel also attended the ceremony.

Speaking to the Daily News Major General Darshana Hettiarrachchi said it’s been nine years since the war ended and it would not be fair to allow them to be living in IDP centres under difficult conditions.

“These people have suffered for a long time and they deserve to have their lands back and to return to their peaceful living. We have moved our military establishments into the army cantonment area so that these lands could be returned to the people.”

Meanwhile, the Jaffna SF Commander refuted allegations that the releasing of these lands could pose a threat to the Palali airport etc.

He said, due measures have been taken to fortify the security requirements in the area to ensure the safety of all. He noted that the Security Forces are there to safeguard the country and the Tri-Forces are very capable of their duties.

Hence, he said it was not required to hold onto people’s lands for security purposes and allow them to suffer in temporary shelters.

“They too have the right to lead their normal lives and live in peace. If reconciliation is to happen, we must return their lands to them and not hold more than what is absolutely necessary.

The releasing of these lands are being done after meticulous consideration and planning and there is absolutely no threat to national security by returning these lands to these people,” Maj. Gen. Hettiarachchi noted.


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