Sri Lanka president ducks deadline to release occupied land (VIDEO)

Tamils in Sri Lanka’s war torn north were forced to continue with their protest to end military occupation as the president failed to meet his own deadline of handing back their land before the dawn of the new year.

Displaced landowners in the northeastern Mullaitivu district, on an ongoing protest for more than 670 days, demonstrated opposite the Keppapualavu army camp, Monday (31), demanding the army to vacate the premises as promised by President Maithripala Sirisena three months ago.

“President Maithripala Sirisena instructed the authorities to complete the process of releasing the lands in the North and East Provinces to their original owners, before December 31st, after resolving all the issues,” his press office announced in October.


Protesters in Keppapulavu were requesting the military to hand back 482 acres of occupied land following the bloody war that concluded in 2009.

Local officials who came to meet the protesters promised to take up their demand with the president.

“We will write to the president and the resettlement ministry to get a response within a month,” Mullaitivu district additional secretary K Thanapalasunderam told journalists.


Army officials behind security wire netting could be seen filming the protesters.

A few days ago, more than a hundred individuals and organisations wrote to the president reminding him to fulfil his commitment.

“We, whose lands have been taken away from us forcibly and are still suffering immensely nearly ten years after the end of the war, demand that you keep this promise and ensure that authorities abide by instructions you gave them several months ago,” said the letter on December 27.

They were representing scores of families from the north and the east who were forced to give up thousands of acres of land to the occupying military.

Earlier, security forces had refused to vacate the north and east unless they are paid.

The Sri Lanka military is the single largest landowner in the predominantly Tamil north running many lucrative businesses including upmarket tourism, depriving many locals of their livelihood.☐



Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka

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