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Kilinochchi residents take back land from government occupation

Residents of a Kilinochchi village entered their occupied lands on Tuesday with the intention of reclaiming their properties from a government department and resettling permanently.

Around 90 acres of land in Karanthai in the Palai division was occupied by the Sri Lankan government’s Coconut Development Authority since the people of the area were displaced at the end of the war.

Despite years of campaigning for their land to be released for resettlement, Karanthai residents had been ignored by the government.

On Tuesday several residents entered their lands and set up temporary huts, saying they would clear their properties and rebuild their homes.

The residents were accompanied by members of the public and local politicians, as well as Kilinochchi MP S Sritharan.

Locals said that apart from the vast areas of land occupied by the Sri Lankan military forces in Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu, several government agencies were involved in seizing and occupying Tamil land, with the Mahaweli Authority, forest department and wildlife department mentioned as major perpetrators.