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Mahaweli Authority issues land permits to Sinhalese settlers in Mullaitivu, defying court order

The Mahaweli Authority has issued land permits to 8 Sinhalese settlers that have been squatting on Tamil-owned land in Mullaitivu, defying a court order to return the lands to their original owners.

Sinhalese settlers and fishermen occupied Tamil-owned lands in Kokkilai, Karunadukkeni and Kokuthoduvai after the residents were forced to displace in 1983. The settlers built permanent houses and continued to occupy the lands after the war, requesting the Sri Lankan state to issue deeds in their names.

Tamil landowners filed a case at the Mullaitivu Magistrate Court via the Karaithuraipatru (Maritimepattu) Divisional Secretariat in February 2007. In January 2018, the court ordered the settlers to vacate the lands and return them to their owners.

However the Mahaweli Authority has issued land permits for Tamil-owned land to 8 of the settlers, angering locals and the affected landowners who said the move made a mockery of the laws of the land.