Women in week long sit down to regain occupied land threaten self-immolation

Tamil women in Sri Lanka's war ravaged north demanding access to their ancestral lands occupied by the military have threatened to take their lives by self-immolation in the face of government inflexibility.

The sit down led by Tamil women reached its seventh day, while a similar demonstration by another group of Tamils continued for the fifth day.

Both protests against the ongoing military occupation is continuing in the Mullaitivu district.

Women who were originally from Pilavkudiyiruppu village in Keppapuilavu division of the Karaithuraipattru divisional secretariat launched their protest when officials refused to hand over nearly 20 acres of land under Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) occupation as promised on January 31.

They have been camping outside the SLAF camp since that day determined to continue with their protest until their traditional lands are given back.

Two days later, Tamils displaced by military occupation in Puthikudiyiruppu (PTK) launched a protest in front of the divisional secretariat demanding the return of their land.

The protest demanding the return of 19 acres continues to this day.

Hiding war crimes

Mullaithivu district was the main area where tens of thousands of civilians were massacred by Sri Lanka government's indiscriminate bombardment in the last stages of its war against Tamil Tigers.

While the UN has stated 'that there could have been as many as 40,000 civilian deaths', an Internal Review Panel on United Nations Action in Sri Lanka concluded in 2012 that 'other sources have referred to credible information indicating that 70,000 peopele' may have died in last few months.

The protesters originally from those areas have a strong belief that they are kept away from that former battle zone to stop unearthing evidence of war crimes.