Colombo wants to seize lands of Muslims near Mannaar Fort

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 August 2018, 21:41 GMT]
The occupying Colombo has now started to claim ownership to the lands of Tamil-speaking Muslim residents, who have been resettled in Koanthaip-piddi area, where the Dutch Fort of Manaar is situated. SL Archaeology Department and SL Wildlife Department have started to harass the Muslims after seizing the lands of Eezham Tamils under the so-called claims of protecting heritage and conservation. SL Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and SL Deputy Minister for Rehabilitation & Resettlement K. Kader Masthan are equally powerless as the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran in safeguarding the land rights of the people against the occupation from the conservation agencies of the unitary state of genocidal Sri Lanka, Tamil-speaking political observers in Mannaar said.

The Tamil-speaking Muslims living in Koanthaip-piddi, located east to the Mannaar Fort, have received resettlement assistance and housing through SL Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

However, the SL Archaeology Department and the SL Wildlife Department are claiming ownership to their lands.

The SL Wildlife Conservation Department claims that the coastal stretch along with residential lands located to the east of the Mannaar Fort come under Vangkaalai ‘Bird Sanctuary’, which is located in the mainland.

At the same time, the SL Archaeology Department has been demanding the lands located close to Mannaar Fort as coming under its purview.

Koanthaip-piddi is situated in Uppuk-ku'lam GS division of Mannaar Divisional Secretariat.

The housing was provided after 2009 to Tamil-speaking Muslims, who were forcefully evicted from Mannaar in 1990.

The issue became a hot topic at the District Development Coordination meeting which took place in Mannaar on Monday.

Mr Bathiudeen, a cabinet rank minister and who has been collaborating with the Sinhala politicians and who was suppressing everyone else other than his supporters in the delivery of humanitarian assistance, was seen seeking the solidarity of NPC Chief Minister on the matter.

Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran, SL Minister of Industry & Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen, State Minister for Rehabilitation & Resettlement K. Kader Masthan and ITAK Parliamentarian Charles Nirmalanathan co-chaired the meeting.

The SL Forest Department, an agency that comes under the SL Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, controls 55% of the forest lands in the entire island. SL President Maithiripala Sirisena is also the SL Minister of Environment. He is also the Commander-in-Chief of the military forces of genocidal Sri Lanka.

The SL Ministry of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Conservation is controlling the remaining 45% of the forest lands through its agencies amongst others the SL Department of Wildlife Conservation, SL Department of Zoological Gardens, SL Department of Botanical Gardens, the SL Wildlife Trust and the Secretariat of Sustainable Development.

Sarath Fonseka, the former Commander of the SL Army, is the minister of Sustainable Development and Wildlife Conservation. Fonseka's ministry controls twenty-two ‘national’ parks, five botanical gardens, sixty-three sanctuaries, two zoological gardens and the Strict Natural Reserves in the island.

SL Ministry of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs is the ministry claiming SL Department of Archaeology under its organisational structure. However, the SL Department of Archaeology enjoys powers beyond the sphere of the SL ministry.

According to the Antiquities Ordinance, No. 9 of 1940 and its Amendment No. 24 of 1998, the protection of heritage in the island is the sole responsibility of the Director General of SL Archaeology Department. “No organisation or other authority can deny the responsibility held by him,” states the website of the SL Archaeology Department.


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