The former chief minister of the Northern Province C V Wigneswaran visited protesting Tamil families in Keppapulavu this week, stating the army had “no right” to continue its occupation of their land.
Visiting the families on their 709th day of protest on Saturday, Wigneswaran said the military had a “duty” to return the land back to the Tamil families, who had been living there for generations.
“They should hand over these lands to the Commissioner of Lands of Northern province and tell him to hand them back to whom they should be given back to,” he said in comments to reporters. “They have no right to keep occupying the lands by citing the deeds. The military made a comment that they can continue to inhabit the lands as they were taken during the war.”
Wigneswaran said he had spoken to the Governor of Northern Province who had requested a further 6 months to deal with the issue. “I said that they asked for time before,” he added.
“There is no point in giving time. We can give them time once they start leaving.”
“These are lands that were taken by force by the military during the war. They were grabbed from the people. It is their duty to give them back. They have no right to keep occupying the lands by citing it is a strategic location as there is no war situation anymore.”
“In truth, it appears that they are living lavishly when looking at all these trees and other resources in people’s lands."
The former chief justice added that the continuing military occupation may be linked to Sinhalisation taking place in Tamil regions, noting that “encroachment by the Mahaweli Authority of Sri Lanka and their power has reached Mullaitivu”.
“They will be needing the military’s help if they are to keep the South’s dominance in this place,” he added. “It appears that they are keeping the military here this because of that.”
“It is important that you are continuing your protests,” he concluded. “We will always be with you for sure.”