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Sri Lanka’s Forest Department attempts to grab land in Vavuniya

The forest department of Sri Lanka has demanded that recently resettled Tamil villagers in Vavuniya vacate their lands, as the government looks to occupy more regions in the North-East.

Approximately 35 families from Kanchiramoddai village in the Vanuniya North divisional secretariat recently resettled in the area, with some of the families having returned from India. However, the forest department has since demanded the villagers leave the area, claiming that the land belongs to the government.

The demand comes despite the forest department having previously agreed to a resolution brought about by the Vavuniya development committee which called for villagers to be allowed to resettle in their own lands unhindered.

The Sri Lankan government has been accused of using the forestry department, and other government bodies such as the archaeology department, to occupy land across the North-East.

Earlier this year residents in Mullaitivu claimed that over 20,000 acres of land have been acquired by the government as ‘state land’ by the forestry department alone.