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Sri Lankan army block Mullaitivu farmers from accessing their land

The Sri Lankan army blocked local farmers in Mullaitivu from assessing and clearing their land to cultivate it for maize and rice, earlier this month.

Members of the Tamil National People’s Front (TNPF) led an investigation into the issue and met with the farmers from the Othiyamalai, Erukalampilavu and Thanikallu areas in Mullaitivu. The TNPF leader and parliamentarian, Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam and TNPF parliamentarian, Selvarajah Kajendren, held discussions with the farmers about the actions of the military and probed into the situation.

They also visited Vavuniya North Kanchuraimoddai villagers who have been denied residence rights by the Sri Lankan Forest Department. They followed up by visiting the Vettukunaari Malai Adisivan Temple - which has been seized by the Sri Lankan army - to further investigate the situation of military land occupation in the North-East.

There has been a notable escalation in land-related concerns since the election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s president last year. Last month, locals in Mullaitivu and Vavuniya protested against land grab attempts by Sri Lanka’s Forest Department and military.

Earlier this week, locals in Mathagal, Jaffna protested against Sri Lankan land surveyors' attempts to acquire private residential land belonging to locals.  

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