The Sri Lankan army has designated swathes of grazing land in Batticaloa as “Army Firing Range”, denying entry to local Tamils including native herdsmen.
The “Firing Range” was established last week and later the herdsmen were ordered to vacate the land which falls under the jurisdiction of the Eravur Divisional Secretary.
The herdsmen have raised concerns over the military occupation of their land with parliamentarians, the governor, human rights organisations and civil society leaders. The land is their means of subsistence and the army order intends to clear the area of herdsmen in order to use it for military activities.
The Tamil homeland has been subject to constant militarisation and land grabs. The Oakland Institute has reported that across the North-East, there one soldier for every six civilians.