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Tamil landowners sue EPDP’s Douglas Devananda for illegal occupation of Jaffna town property

The owners of the ‘Sridhar Cinema’ building in Jaffna town have filed a case against Douglas Devananda, leader of the EPDP, in a bid to recover their property, which is currently illegally occupied by the EPDP, and to recover damages accrued over the 22 year illegal occupation.

The Sridhar Cinema was built by the family which owns the land, on Stanley Road, in 1974 but was closed down around 1990 due to the war, when the landowners also fled Jaffna.

The family wanted to reopen the cinema in 1997, when civil administration returned to Jaffna, but became aware that around December 1996, Douglas Devananda and his EPDP party “had, without their knowledge, leave, or consent, unlawfully and forcibly taken possession” of the premises.

The party had been in “illegal and unlawful occupation” of the premises ever since, the landowners lawyer said.

The family which owns the property has directly and through legal representatives made several demands over the last two decades to Devananda and the EPDP to withdraw from the premises.

The family have now taken the case to the Jaffna District court, demanding the EPDP be made to leave and a sum of damages be paid for each month of illegal occupation since December 1996.