A part of a contested forest in Mullaitivu was damaged by fire, with distressed locals suspecting arson in retaliation to protests against deforestation for state-sponsored Muslim resettlements.
NPC Councillor Ravikaran inspects the damage
Over ten acres of the Koozhamurippu forest was devastated by the suspected arson attack which took place on Wednesday night, just three days after hundreds of Tamils marched against the planned destruction of over 100 acres to make way for Muslim resettlement schemes.
Protest organisers and participants said they objected to the Sri Lankan state-sponsored reengineering of the ethno-demography of the district, with some protestors saying the designation of LTTE-cultivated forests for destruction would deliberately provoke tensions between communities.
The Northern Provincial Councillor for the district, Mr T. Ravikaran, said he strongly believed the forest was burned as a direct response to the protest.