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Vavuniya villagers protest against Sri Lanka forest department for land grab and arrest threats

The people from the village of Kanchuraimoddai in Vavuniya North, staged a protest on Monday calling for the “atrocious” land grab by the Sri Lanka forest department to be addressed.

The people who were displaced during the 1980’s and 90’s due to the war and ended up in places like India, have now returned to being denied access to their land. They cleaned and set up temporary bins on the land their parents used to live on.

The Sri Lanka forest department has long maintained and claimed that the land belongs to them and have blocked any efforts for settlement and construction of houses on the land. The villagers have been threatened to be arrested by the forest department if they continue to clean the land and undertake any construction work. This situation has caused a lot of hostility between the people of the area and the forest department.

There have been meetings held between the Vavuniya North Divisional and District Coordination Committee, yet no sufficient solution has been found, despite various resolutions being taken. After been threatened by the forest department and let down by other local government representatives, they have taken it upon themselves to stage a protest.

The villagers have insisted that they will keep protesting until they get a solution for their land issue.