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Local government officials in Vavuniya blocking land release, claims EPDP MP

Vavuniya District Development Committee Chairman and Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) parliamentarian Kulasingam Thileeban claimed that local government officials were preventing occupied land from being released to Tamils in the district.

Speaking to reporters, the MP claimed that Sri Lanka’s President Ranil Wickremesinghe assured officials that occupied lands would be released back to their rightful owners, after a visit to Vavuniya last week.

“We put pressure on the President and Minister Douglas Devananda asking for these lands to be released,” he said, referring to the leader of the EPDP paramilitary group.

 “Despite their assurances and directives, it is disappointing to see village officers and officials from the Forest Department wilfully preventing the release of these lands” he claimed.

He emphasised that there were nearly 4500 acres of land that are yet to be released in the Vavuniya district alone.

“I request the Tamils to show your opposition to the wrongdoings of the village officers and ensure that your lands are returned to you.”

Whilst Thileeban was speaking of the released of land to Tamil owners, it was recently reportedly that Thileeban allocated nearly Rs 1 million in aid of development activities that will allow Sinhalese settlers to relocate to the army-sponsored Nandimithragaama in Vanni. 

 The EPDP political party is headed by Douglas Devananda who is Sri Lanka's fisheries minister and government-aligned paramilitary leader. The EPDP functioned as a paramilitary group aligned with the Sri Lankan state and stands accused of a host of human rights abuses, including murder, extortion, kidnapping, international child trafficking and running child prostitution rings for Sri Lankan soldiers.

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