The Sri Lankan navy’s attempt to occupy land owned by Tamil locals in Jaffna have been temporarily thwarted by protests led by Tamil politicians and locals.
The Sri Lankan land department were set to survey the public lands in the Mandaitivu area of the Velanai Divisional Secretariat Jaffna – where a Sri Lankan naval camp has been set up – but were not allowed to do so due to the protests held in front of the land survey site, earlier today.
Tamil politicians, such as Tamil National People's Front (TNPF) general secretary and parliamentarian Selvarajah Kajendran, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members including the former Northern Provincial Council member Vinthan Kanagaratnam, and other locals in the area all came together to stage a sit-in protest in front of where the land surveying was proposed.
Since the governance of Gotabaya Rajapaksa last year there has been an upsurge in land-related concerns and militarisation with a similar protest held against Sri Lankan navy occupation efforts of Tamil-owned land in Mathagal, Jaffna. Earlier this month, an Eastern Provincial Council member urged the Sri Lankan government to stop ‘premeditated Sinhala occupations’ in Batticaloa in response to the illegal occupation efforts across the district. Last month, a TNA MP who warned against Sinhala land grabs in Batticaloa was fired for his comments.