Keppapilavu residents protest over lands | Daily News

Keppapilavu residents protest over lands

A group of Keppapilavu residents staged a protest opposite the Mullaitivu Security Force Headquarters on December 31 demanding that their lands be released to them as promised by the government. They charged that the government had promised to release all private lands prior to December 31, but had cheated them by not delivering on their promise.

The land that the protestors are demanding back is the land where the Mullaitivu Security Force Headquarters is located. It is reported that around 2014, the majority of these families had consented to accepting compensation for their lands and around 270 houses had been built for them. However, around nine families had not agreed to accept compensation and had wanted their lands returned to them.

Subsequently, the rest of the families who had earlier agreed to give up their lands and accept the compensation by the government had changed their minds and are demanding that their lands be returned to them. However, it is said that only some of those demanding for the lands possess legal documentation to prove ownership to these lands.

The protestors alleged that despite all the promises, no significant amount of lands had been released to the public prior to the promised date of December 31, 2018.

The protestors had demonstrated opposite the main gate of the Mullaitivu Security Force Headquarters.

Mullaitivu Additional District Secretary K. Dhanabalasundaram had arrived on the scene and having discussed the matter with the Mullaitivu Security Forces, had promised the protestors to notify the President regarding the situation and give them a response by January 25.

When contacted regarding this matter, Military Spokesman Brigadier Sumith Atapattu said that the matter had been resolved and the protest had been called off. He said that the matter would be discussed with the government and a decision would be taken regarding this issue.

When the Daily News contacted Mullaitivu GA, Mrs. Ketishwaran regarding this issue, she said that there are 55 families demanding for the return of their lands spanning 59 acres in extent which is now occupied by the Mullaitivu Security Force Headquarters.

She noted that around 10 families had accepted the compensation from the government, but the rest of them want their rightful lands back.

However, when asked if those demanding for these lands have proper legal documentation to prove their rightful ownership, she said that some of them had legal documentation proving their ownership, while some do not hold such ownership documents. However, she noted that the matter would be taken up with the President, adding that this was a matter of national security and beyond her authority to take a decision on the release of these lands. She said that they hoped for a response from the government within this month.

Meanwhile, the protestors said that this would be their last warning and if their lands are not released prior to January 25, they would forcibly take possession of their lands.

The Keppapilavu residents are currently on their 672nd day of protest demanding the release of their lands. 


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