Army Controlled Land To Be Released In Northern Province

February 13, 2015

The Sri Lankan government will release 1000 acres of land in Northern Province that were until now under the Army’s control, senior Ministers said on Thursday following a Cabinet decision.

To start with, the government would resettle 1,022 families displaced by the war in a model village that is to come up in 220 acres in Valikamam North, in northern part of Jaffna Peninsula, Minister for Resettlement D.M. Swaminathan said.

Ever since the war ended in May 2009 thousands of Northern Tamils have been demanding that their land be released so that they could return to the land where their homes once stood. Their homes, several old schools and places of worship were taken up by the High Security Zone which only the army had access to.

Thousands dislocated during the country’s brutal war still live in camps for internally displaced persons. Even after this move of the government, the Sri Lankan Army will have control over 5,000 acres of private land in its high security zones.

Swaminathan told media that the government is working out the modalities of returning the land. There are aspects pertaining to ownership and possession which the government has to look into, he added. The government will work with the TNA to speed-up the process, he also said.

His announcement comes two days after the TNA-led Northern Provincial Council passed a resolution on the Sri Lankan government’s “genocide against Tamils.”

However Swaminathan said that the resolution was probably brought due to a political compulsion and that it will not hamper the government’s relationship with the TNA.

The government would also take measures to release Army-controlled land in the Eastern Province and in the southern parts of the island, Swaminathan said.
(with inputs from The Hindu)

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