The lands of some Pilavu villagers who had been protesting for all of February were released on Wednesday.
Although the release was cause for jubilant scenes for some, there was also widespread anger as only sections of the lands were returned, with some protestors, including permit holders, being told they couldn't access their lands.
The remaining lands were released later in the evening.
The homecomings were bittersweet, as villagers found that homes, buildings and wells had been entirely destroyed, so the released lands will not be immediately habitable.
Further, locals of the neighbouring Keppapulavu have engaged in protests to have their village, around 525 acres, returned from military occupation.