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Navy to remain on Iranaitivu, families promised resettlement

Families from Iranaitivu who led a daring protest to reclaimed their lands were promised resettlement last week by officials but told that the Sri Lankan navy would continue its presence. 

Stating that the navy was needed to ensure the security of the residents and prevent drugs smuggling, a committee comprising the Secretary of the Ministry of Resettlement, B Suresh, the Additional Secretary from the Ministry of Defence R Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka's Navy Commander, Admiral SS Ranasinge and other local government officials, said the navy would retain 9 acres of land. 

Meeting with the families on May 15, the committee pledged to resettle 190 families. However, no time line was given for the resettlement. 

On April 23 villagers from Iranaitivu staged a daring attempt to return to their homes, sailing to the island which continues to be occupied by the Sri Lankan military and marching to their homes, refusing to leave until they are guaranteed their land will be returned to them.