Sri Lankan soldiers blocked Tamil locals from fishing in Kurunthoor kulam (lagoon) located in Kurunthoormalai, Mullaitivu, as militarisation of the North-East intensifies.
On Monday, February 22, Sri Lanka's security forces thwarted local Tamils from the Arumugathankulam village from fishing in the Kurunthoor kulam. Tamil villagers argued that Sri Lankan soldiers stationed in the area fish in the lagoon for leisure but deny permission to local Tamils who fish as part of their livelihood.
“When they can use nets and eat the fish caught in the very same lagoon, why can’t we, who live in the same village, do the same?” one fisherman asked.
The villagers also said that unidentified persons were involved in fishing in the pond using prohibited fishing nets but the army did not intervene to stop the illegal activity.
In addition to turning away locals, the army stopped journalists from entering the vicinity of the Kurunthoor kulam and told them that they needed to obtain special permission to be allowed in. However, the army and are being permitted to enter the area without any sort of hindrance.
Mullaitivu has been subject to several attempts at landgrabs and Sinhalisation, aided by the military and state agencies such as the archaeology department and forest department.