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High court imposes injunction against Sri Lanka Archaeology Department land occupation in Trincomalee

The Trincomalee High Court issued a temporary injunction today against the occupation of the agricultural lands belonging to the Tamil people in the Thennamaravadi and Trincomalee areas, occupied by the Sri Lankan Archaeology Department in Trincomalee.

The Archaeology Department occupied the historical Tamil lands in Thennamaravadi and Thiriyai, which Tamils have used for agriculture for many centuries, and marked the lands by placing boundary stones.

The Department confiscated over 300 acres of land around these villages in Trincomalee district in late September after they were identified as ‘archaeological sites’.

The Sri Lankan police, Archaeological Department and the Land Commissioner Department have recently undertaken efforts to prevent Tamils from engaging in agricultural activities on their land. 

A case opposing this land occupation was filed by Attorney Kirushanthini Uthayakumar and was heard at the Trincomalee High Court by Justice  M. Ilanchezhiyan today. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP and lawyer, M.A. Sumanthiran and former Northern Provincial Council Member and lawyer, Kesavan Sayanthan were present at the hearing.

Following the hearing of the case filed in the High Court, Justice M. Ilanchezhiyan ordered that a temporary injunction will be imposed and that there should be no obstruction to the agricultural activities of the Tamil farmers. He stated that the case would be taken up again on 23rd November 2020.

The Sri Lankan Archaeology Department has been notoriously known for ramping up efforts to colonise the Tamil homeland with military assistance from the Sri Lankan state this year. They have been accused of attempting to ‘Sinhalise’ Tamil historical and cultural artefacts by Tamil politicians, locals, landowners and organisations under the guise of identifying Tamil-owned land as ‘archaeological sites’.

Last week, the Archaeology Department, along with Buddhist monks, surveyed the Vedi Arasan fortress in Neduntheevu, Jaffna and filmed the historical area and its surrounding areas. The Buddhist monks claimed the Vedi Arasan fortress belonged historically to a Tamil Buddhist King and then went on to assess the archaeological details of the area with the Sri Lankan archaeology department.

Locals across the North-East have slammed the attempts by the Department of Archaeology to Sinhalise the North-East. The latest court ruling offers a small temporary reprieve against the rising Sinhala-Buddhist chauvinism through land occupation across the Tamil homeland. 

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