The Sri Lankan navy has stepped up land grab operations in Pungudutivu, a coastal island off the Jaffna peninsula.
Earlier this year the navy attempted to expropriate 14 acres of publicly owned land, including land occupied by the Malayadi Nachimar Temple with the permission of the Velanai Divisional Secretary, for the Kottayam navy camp.
The soil in the area is known to be the most fertile region in Pungudutivu.
The navy abandoned the land surveying attempts in response to protests organized by Velanai Divisional Council member Karunakaran Navalan. Where Tamil politicians, such as Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) member Selvarajah Kajendran, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members including Vinthan Kanagaratnam, and other locals in the area all came together to stage a sit-in protest.
A land acquisition notice was sent by the Velanai Divisional Secretary for Naval defense. Residents are preparing to dispute any land grab attempts and appeal to the larger community for support.
Expropriation of civilian land in the North-East have escalated since the appointment of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s president last year, with an increase in incidents of Tamil residents facing intimidation and displacement.