The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday demanded that government immediately investigate what it called land grabs by the security force members in the North and East and to redress the grievances of Tamil people.
Moving a motion for the debate at the time of adjournment, TNA leader R. Sampanthan, MP, said that the government, through the armed forces, continued to hold substantial extents of land owned and or possessed by Tamil civilians. Having been evicted from those lands, civilians were not allowed to return to them, the TNA leader said.
MP Sampanthan said: “The government through its armed forces has taken possession of substantial extents of land owned and or possessed by the Tamil civilians, from which extents of land, the said Tamils are not permitted to return for residence or livelihood by reason of the said lands being in the possession of the armed forces.
“The armed forces has taken the possession of lands for the purposes of construction of housing facilities for the armed forces or for the agricultural activities by the armed forces which lands in the future become the property of the members of the armed forces in violation of the legitimate claim to such lands by citizens resident in the said areas and their descendants for their residence, livelihood and other numerous civilian needs. Such a clandestine taking over of lands would be in violation of the law.
“The government arbitrarily taking over substantial extents of lands purportedly for development activities, such as tourism and other industries disregarding the legitimate residential and livelihood needs of persons historically inhabiting such areas, and making arbitrary allocations of such lands to chosen others in a manner that is discriminatory and lacking in due process and transparency.
“The government taking over lands wholly or partly owned or possessed by local residents and which include irrigation and other facilities benefitting local residents ostensibly for religious purposes, in which area, persons belonging to the said religious faith do not reside, clearly raising the question of whether the government is planning to settle on such lands persons of such religious faith without resort to due process in a discriminatory manner.
“The defilement and desecration of both religious and cultural places of the utmost importance to the Tamil Hindu people, and the attempt to obliterate by destruction, evidence of the existence of such religious and cultural places, efforts to forcibly take over the possession of such places form the local authority which has administered such places and the installation of new administration arrangements so as to interfere with and impede the use of such places by the Tamil Hindu people who have historically from time immemorial exercised such rights.
“The TNA demand that the faithful implementation of the recommendations of the LLRC report or the resolutions adopted by the UNHRC in March 2012 and March 2013.
“These actions pertaining to lands are clearly indicative of the government collaborating aggressively implementing a secret agenda, which would in the thinking of such persons render superfluous the need for political resolution leading to genuine reconciliation.
“The TNA as the democratically elected representatives of the Tamil people of the North and East calls upon the Government to immediately investigate these matters and take immediate action to redress and remedy those matters so as to assure the Tamil people of equality and justice as citizens of this country.”