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Tamils halt land grab attempt in Vavuniya by Sri Lanka's Forest Department

Tamil residents of Poovarasankulam in Vavuniya stopped a land grab attempt by Sri Lanka’s Forest Department, as they arrived at the area to demarcate and measure a section of privately-owned land.

Residents objected to the move and turned the officials away adding that they had no authority to demarcate private property.

The officials from the department told the Tamil residents that they had resettled in lands after 2011 which they claimed belonged to the Forest Department. They further added that the Forest Department is empowered by Sri Lankan law to reclaim that land. 

The residents stood firm in their objection and demanded the Forest Department bring the Grama Sevaka (village officer) to the region for discussions before any measures are taken.

The Sri Lankan officials proceeded to leave the area.

This is not the first time that Sri Lanka’s Forest Department have attempted to grab lands belonging to Tamils. Over the last few months, there has been an increasing trend of various government agencies attempting to survey and cordon off lands they allege belong to the state – namely under the guise of archaeology or from the Forest Department.

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