Peace for the World

Peace for the World
First democratic leader of Justice the Godfather of the Sri Lankan Tamil Struggle: Honourable Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam

Monday, September 30, 2013

The war in Sri Lanka is not over

Published: September 29, 2013

The writer is a journalist in Delhi whose work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor and The New York Times. He tweets @DilliDurAst
The Express TribuneIt would not be an exaggeration to say that the recent Northern Provincial Council polls in Sri Lanka would not have been held had it not been for the immense pressure that Colombo faced from New Delhi. But for international pressure, Colombo was not going to hold these elections. Despite numerous incidents of voter intimidation, the polls must have been free and fair if 60 per cent voters cast their votes, making the opposition, Tamil National Alliance, win 30 out of 38 seats.

First Steps In Sri Lanka

By The Economic and Political Weekly -September 30, 2013
Colombo TelegraphA small door has opened with the victory of the Tamil National Alliance.
The Northern Provincial Council election in Sri Lanka, which the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) won resoundingly with over 80% of the votes polled, attracted an unusual level of national and international interest, being the first Provincial Council election to be held in the North since the Indian Army pulled out in 1990. Unresolved questions about the war contributed to this interest in a major way. The election, it was anticipated, would be an occasion where the people would deliver their verdict, and they did so with a voter turnout of 70%. After years of apathy, the public suddenly seemed to believe that an expression of their protest would change things for the better.
The powers of the council, never spelt out clearly, have in practice been whittled down over the years, yet even the token powers it retains over land, and law and order are seen by Sinhala nationalists as a bridge to separatism. The post-war reality, on the contrary, is that the government has taken over large tracts of land, depriving Tamil residents of their land and livelihoods. It has offered Sinhalese families incentives to settle in the North on one-and-a-half-acre plots, while a landless Tamil family is at best entitled to a quarter acre. Behind the massive government expenditure on infrastructure and Sinhalisation lies the neglect of war-affected Tamil civilians, maimed, traumatised and broken families buried under the government’s claim that it fought a war with zero civilian casualties, intimidation and surveillance by the military, and militarisation of all aspects of life.
Read More


TNA fills NPC bonus seats
September 30, 2013 
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has selected candidates Ayub Asmin and Mary Kamala to fill the two bonus seats awarded to them following the victory at the Northern Provincial Council elections.

Asmin contested the provincial council elections from the Mannar District while Kamala had contested from the Mullaitivu District.

It has been reported that TNA leader R. Sampanthan was not present during the discussion held today to appoint the two candidates. 

It was proposed that Asmin will continue in eh seat until the Provincial Council is dissolved while Kamala has been appointed for a period of one year.

After one year is completed Kamala will be replaced by another TNA candidate and so forth.

Altered Images: Faked posters 'confuse voters'

27 September 2013
A policeman removes an election poster in Jaffna
BBCDoctored posters were on display during campaigning for Sri Lanka's recent regional elections, it's been claimed.
The country's main Tamil party won a sweeping victory to take control of the semi-autonomous Northern Provincial Council but not - according to reports in the region's media - without overcoming some dirty tricks along the way. One of the Tamil National Alliance's (TNA) complaints concerned posters of its chief ministerial candidate, CV Wigneswaran, which appeared in the regional capital Jaffna, the Colombo Telegraph reports. Apparently, they featured the wrong candidate number and would have encouraged people to cross box seven, instead of casting their vote for Wigneswaran by marking box 10.
The TNA secured 78% of the vote to win 30 seats of the 38 seats. But reports suggest international election monitors were unimpressed by the actions of the armed forces, which were accused of attacking the home of a TNA candidate. Commonwealth observers described the military as presenting "a significant obstacle to a credible electoral process", according to the Times of India, while the Colombo Gazettereported that South Asian monitors accused the military of distributing campaign propaganda and putting up election posters.
The original, left, and fake front pages of UthayanSpot the difference: The original, left, and fake Uthayan front pages
On the morning of the vote, an entire print run of a fake version of the main northern newspaper, Uthayan, was circulated. It said the TNA was boycotting the election and that a prominent candidate had defected to the government's party, when neither were true. The paper's managing editor - a TNA MP - claimed supporters of a rival party had colluded with military intelligence to print the fake, the Nation newspaper reported.

Lok Sabha Elections And Sri Lanka

By S.Sivathasan -October 1, 2013 
Colombo TelegraphThe current Lok Sabha is the 15th and the constitutional term of office expires on May 31, 2014. Before this date it will be dissolved and elections held  for543 seats. In the complex tangle that has come about since 2009, the next election is of much significance to India and even more to Sri Lanka. India’s normal international relations apart, are the involvements of Sri Lanka which cause concern for India. What are the constituents of this complexity and how are three principal players –Delhi, Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka – likely to view evolving developments from now on? It appears that a new dimension is now added with the entry of the Northern Provincial Council in the state of play. The next five years seem to need sensitive approaches. In this context comes the Indian election.
Comfort Zone (37 years – 8 elections)
A broad survey of election results of the past will give some clues to the immediate future. In the duration of 62 years from the first to the present, there are two distinctive time zones. The first, comfort zone and the second uncertain zone. In the first 8 elections from 1952 to 1984, Congress swept the polls, winning 7 out of 8 and obtaining a clear majority for forming a government on its own strength. At 6 of the 7 elections, the majority ranged from 2/3 to 4/5.There was no party to challenge the supremacy of Congress. In 1977 Congress lost the elections, getting 34% of votes and 28% of seats. The Indian voter registered lack of appetite for Indira Gandhi’s ‘iron rule’, the only menu that could have nourished India best.
Uncertain Zone (25 years-7 elections)
In the second zone, out of 7 elections from 1989 to 2009, neither Congress nor a non-Congress party ever got a clear majority. In this period, the highest number of seats that Congress obtained was 244 out of 545 in 1991 and the lowest was 114 in 1999. If this performance was dismal, even more disappointing was voter endorsement. At five consecutive elections from 1996 to 2009, Congress was unable to break the barrier of 29% of the popular vote. It even came down to 25.8% in 1998 from the highest of 49% in1984. For the giant Congress it has been a matter of continuing disquiet.
Vote seat correspondence has now disappeared. The election of 1996 presents an incredible picture. The Janata Dal alliance secured 192 seats. With only 0.2% total votes more than the Congress, it got 52 more seats. The BJP alliance got 29 million votes less than Congress but 47 seats more. Such were the disparities at one election and they were not an exception.                           Read More                         
Polls Chief powerless
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan-
Monday, 30 Sep 2013
Former Chief Elections Commissioner of India, N. Gopalaswami, who headed the Mission of International Election Observers in the recently held provincial elections said, Sri Lanka's Election Commissioner is 'powerless'.

The report issued by the international monitors stated the negative perception about the election could have been largely controlled or eliminated, had the Commissioner of Election been vested with overarching powers on every aspect of the election.

Gopalaswamy said in his report, unlike the Elections Commissioner of India, who has the power to take decisions on all poll related activities, Sri Lanka's Department of Elections functions just as a Department conducting elections, while all the power is vested with the government, which prevents the Commissioner from taking sufficient actions against election law violators. The monitors were also of the view the powers of the Commissioner of Elections should be appropriately enhanced towards the objective of holding an election, which is not only free and fair, but is also perceived to be so.

The group was impressed by the substantial turnout of the voters and the Election Commissioner's spontaneous and instant decision to provide transport at the Commission's expense to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), when the monitors brought the matter to his notice during their visit to Jaffna, about the long distances the IDPs were required to travel at a considerable expense, to cast their votes.

Gopalaswamy also said the conduct of a certain television channel was one of the glaring incidents of misuse of freedom of the press and media for partisan purposes. The Group he said was is not aware of any action taken for stopping the telecast of misleading information by the TV channel on the day of the poll.
The more blatant was the reported use of the trainee nurses, pupil teachers, teachers, newly recruited graduates, Samurdhi workers, civil defence services workers in campaigning, during and outside office hours.

Gopalaswamy also noted the ballot paper was also somewhat complicated, which could have led to a somewhat large percentage of rejected votes. He said they also noted that the voting compartments at many places were not placed in the best possible way so as to give maximum confidence about the secrecy of their votes to the voters.
The group also said the presence of armed police inside polling stations and near voting compartments should have been avoided.

The police were either not responsive or showed slow response in general to instances of violations of election law in the field, before and during the poll day.

The group also suggested for the future of stronger IT based poll monitoring measures and a SMS based poll monitoring system.

Beyond Sri Lankan provincial elections

Monday 30 September 2013
Arab News — Saudi Arabia News, Middle East News, Opinion, Economy and more.
As a large majority of the sizable 715,000 eligible voters from Sri Lanka’s troubled north went into makeshift polling booths to cast their preferences for electing a 38 member provincial council on September 21, India’s influence was written all over. 
From a five member election observer team led by former election commission chief N. 

Sri Lanka And The Article 99 Of The UN Charter

By S. V. Kirubaharan -September 30, 2013 
S. V. Kirubaharan
Colombo TelegraphPaper presented by S. V. Kirubaharan, General Secretary, Tamil Centre for Human Rights, France, in the conference on Genocide organised by the TGTE in London, UK. 28-29 September 2013
Mr Moderator, co-panellists, friends, ladies and gentlemen.
First of all, I would like to thank the organisers of this conference, the members of TGTE, for inviting me to speak.
At the same time I would like to express my personal gratitude and appreciation to Rudra Annai (Mr V. Rudrakumar, PM of TGTE).
Ladies and gentlemen,
Soon after the Second World War, fifty-one nations gathered in San Francisco in June 1945 to establish, the United Nations – UN, an inter-government body, replacing the League of Nations. All member states agreed that there should be special provision in the UN Charter for the United Nations Secretary General – UNSG who is accountable to no nation, but to the UN. He was given authority to give early warnings regarding matters that were not on the agenda of the UN Security Council – UNSG. The UNSG can exercise his right through political judgement to consider any situation which may be a threat to international peace and security.Read More

Muslim village seized for Sinhalicisation in Ki’n’niyaa, Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 September 2013, 06:23 GMT]
TamilNetAfter keeping the Muslim residents of K'andal-kaadu village in Ki'n'niyaa division of Trincomalee district as uprooted people since 1990 and sabotaging their resettlement efforts after the war, the occupying SL military and Police are now blocking the villagers even from entering their village. The entire village and its paddy fields overgrown with bushes, is now being appropriated to construct a Sinhala settlement, complain the Muslim villagers who possess legal documents provided to them under the British rule. The Eastern Province Chief Minister, who is a Muslim from Ki'n'niyaa, has also failed to secure their village back to them, they say. 

The entire Muslim population of around two thousand people were uprooted from their century old village in 1990 and fled to safety elsewhere leaving their lands and other properties.

The uprooted people were not allowed to resettle permanently in their lands thereafter. 

But, huts were erected by a non-governmental organization. 

In 2010, the Sri Lankan Police burned down these huts. The resettled people had left the village once again. 

Now the occupying Sri Lanka Army and Police are not allowing uprooted people to resettle in the village. 

The Sri Lankan military has also destroyed the mosque in the village.

TNA in need
By Dilrukshi Handunnetti-
Monday, 30 Sep 2013
A senior parliamentarian of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has urged the Centre to urgently facilitate the setting up of the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) by disbursing adequate funds to secure the necessary infrastructure.
TNA Parliamentarian, Suresh Premachandran, had made a request to the government in this regard.

The senior parliamentarian said, the NPC being new, it lacked the basic infrastructure including a building and furniture for it to become functional, claiming that the Centre should duly acknowledge the political aspirations expressed through the recent election results.

“It is the Centre’s responsibility to ensure that the first NPC is officially set up at its earliest, and elected representatives are facilitated to become functional,” Premachandran said, emphasizing that a previous example of sharing power with the North had proved a ‘political disaster,’ which only made the Centre suspicious in the eyes of the Tamil

people. “Before the Chief Minister-elect and his administration is installed in office, the basic infrastructure needs to be in place. There should be quick plans, funds and personnel,” he said, emphasizing that the people of the North had waited well over half a century to see the area where they form the majority, to be governed by elected Tamil politicians.

Premachandran added that any constraints, financial or otherwise, should not be allowed to delay the process of setting up this vital provincial administration, established by the Tamil people of the North with an overwhelming majority. The TNA secured 30 out of 38 seats at the 21 September polls, garnering 78.55 of the popular vote.

It is likely that the NPC’s inaugural session will be held at temporary premises, either at a Pradeshiya Sabha building or a hotel.

The North-Eastern Provincial Council set up in 1988, collapsed two years later owing largely to the lack of financial, political and logistical support from the Centre. It functioned from Trincomalee, the capital of the merged North-East Province.

On the eve of the provincial elections, Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, hailed the conducting of the Northern Provincial polls as an important step in the process of reconciliation. The establishment of the NPC and devolving power to the former warzone through the institution has been a key recommendation of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

Political Interpretation Of PC Elections

By Shyamon Jayasinghe -September 30, 2013 |
Shyamon Jayasinghe
Colombo TelegraphElection Results.’ Analysts’-if they can seriously be called so -argue from a particular vantage point of their personal bias.
Sri Lanka’s famed ‘political analyst,’ Dr Dayan Jayatilleka, has given the following  assessment:
“The biggest losers are the UNP and its leader, Ranil Wickremesinghe, as well as the JVP. In both cases, the issue is the leadership. Neither party has a personality as a national leader, who is capable of retaining, let alone attracting, votes.
The matter is more serious with the UNP because it is the main democratic alternative. The UNP used to be the largest single party in the country. Even when it lost power in 1994 after 17 years in power, and its candidate was the newly widowed Mrs Srima Dissanayake, who faced a formidable opponent in Mrs Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, the UNP succeeded in scoring 43% of the voter base. Today, after 19 years of UPFA rule, the UNP can score only in the mid 20% range. What used to be the base vote of the UNP, namely 40%, is now the size of the gap between the UNP and the government!
There are around one and a half times as many ex-UNPers in the government as those remaining with the UNP in the opposition.
If the UNP were to face a Presidential Election with its present leadership, it will score even less than the 26% average it scored in the two provinces in this election.”
Dayan ends up proposing Karu and Sajith to replace RW.                Read More

Lack of representation at UNHRC, Ministry officials accompany MR

cabinet slSenior members of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government are currently discussing the failure of the External Affairs Ministry to make proper representations at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) sessions in Geneva.
Government ministers say that Sri Lanka did not have a strong delegation at the UNHRC to counter the various allegations levelled against the country.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay also submitted an oral representation to the Council on Sri Lanka.
Interestingly, the entire External Affairs Ministry high command the Minister to the officials handling UN affairs was in New York last week with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
As a result, no senior official had been assigned to Geneva where the UNHRC was in session.
According to senior Ministry officials, UN affairs in Geneva must be managed from New York and calling for strong representation at the New York mission.
They have said that New York is key to safeguarding Sri Lanka’s interests.

TNA’s clever move


The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has reportedly made another clever political move. It is said to have invited President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Jaffna to swear in Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran and other members of the newly elected Northern Provincial Council (NPC). It apparently wants to silence its critics by pledging its allegiance to the State through that symbolic gesture while indicating, at the same time, its desire to maintain its distance from Colombo, considered a metaphor for centralised power and unitary status.

The TNA has, in fact, made a virtue of necessity. It will be a comedown for Chief Minister Wigneswaran to be sworn in before Northern Governor Maj. Gen. (retd.) G. A. Chandrasiri the TNA has gone all out to get rid of. Hence its effort to bypass him! The President is expected to make known his response shortly. It will be interesting to see whether the President accepts the invitation and goes all the way to Jaffna to swear in the new Chief Minister and others on the TNA’s terms.

Politically speaking, if he does so, it will be just swings and roundabouts for him. Will he turn down the TNA’s invitation so that it will have to bite the bullet and have Wigneswaran sworn in before its bete noire, Governor Chandrasiri or will he invite the TNA councillors to Colombo to impress on them that he is the boss?

The TNA threw in its lot with former Army Commander Gen. (retd.) Sarath Fonseka when he ran for President. It went at full pelt in an abortive bid to enable him to defeat President Rajapaksa, a civilian. It was part of the Opposition coalition which argued that the US had elected Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general turned politician, President and, therefore, Gen. Fonseka’s military background was no disqualification for him to lead the country. They also produced a list of several ex-service personnel serving as public officials at that time including Secretary of Defence Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in support of their argument.

Had the TNA as well as its allies succeeded in their endeavour in 2010 and Gen. Fonseka won, its chief minister would have had to be sworn in before a former army chief turned President! How could it justify its campaign to remove the Northern  Governor on the grounds that he is a former Jaffna security forces commander?

The government has been equally hypocritical; its anti-SF campaign was premised on the much-publicised claim that ex-military personnel were not fit for political office, but it has no qualms about appointing them Governors!

Politicians and sportsmen

Transport Minister Kumara Welgama is reported to have lamented that defeated politicians never so much as look at winners after electoral contests unlike sportsmen who concede defeat graciously and shake hands with their competitors. Yes, if politicians come forward to contest elections to serve the public as they claim, there is no reason why they couldn’t respect popular verdicts and bow out.

But, by no stretch of the imagination could anyone expect politicians to exude sportsmanship—fairness, respect for one’s opponent and graciousness in winning or losing—because politics, as Churchill has said, is an earnest business and not a game. It was Will Rogers, famous for his not-so-lambent wit, who once remarked that politics had become so expensive that it cost a lot of money even to be defeated.

When a greedy politician loses an election and his investment goes down the gurgler with his dream of recovering it with compound interest, as it were, being dashed, it is only natural that he becomes too resentful to be gracious in defeat. Bu

CJ-43 objects to Bribery Commission notice

Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranaike in a motion filed in the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court day objected to the notice served on her by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption stating it was erroneous.

Counsel Nalin Ladduwahetty PC appearing on behalf of Dr. Bandaranayake said the prosecution could not serve the notice on a suspect before serving him or her with charges.

He said as no charges signed by Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya was served on her she was not an accused or  named as an accused and as such notice could not be served on her.

Counsel said it was a mistake on the part of the prosecution to have failed to annex to the notice the copy or copies of the documents intended to be used by the prosecution in the trial.

He requested Court to direct the prosecution to provide copies of any reports or other documents, computers and computer data which the prosecution intends to use as evidence against his client.

The counsel said it was wrong to serve notice before reading out the charges and it was immature and had no force in law.

He said notice should have been served only after the charges were read out within a period of 45 days and thereafter the defence should raise any objections 15 days prior to the trial.

Senior State Counsel Dilan Ratnayake said the Bribery Commission would provide the copies of the documents to the defence and was prepared to read out the charges to rectify the mistake.

Counsel Ladduwahetty said this was not the usual practice in courts. He said the motion was filed by him to enlighten court on the mistake made by the prosecution. However if the prosecution was trying to rectify it by that manner what would the world think about this case. He said it was like punishing a suspect for highlighting a mistake.

Magistrate Pilapitiya fixed further inquiry for November 14 and asked the defence to file their objections if any on that date and the court would consider what other steps need to be taken. (T. Farook Thajudeen) (Pix by Pradeep Dilrukshana)

No Mercy For Shanty Dwellers Challenging UDA From De Facto CJ

Colombo TelegraphOctober 1, 2013 |
Making policy statements from the Bench in open court in support of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa led Urban Development Authority, Sri Lanka’s de facto Chief Justice yesterday said no one should obstruct ongoing development programmes in Colombo, and denounced shanties and low income neighbourhoods as breeding grounds for vice.
Pieris and Gotabaya
Chief Justice Mohan Pieris said it was the responsibility of all stakeholders is to extend their support for the Governments programme to create a better living standard for low income earners in the city of Colombo, state media broadcaster Rupavahini said yesterday.
Pieris made these comments in open court when a petition filed against UDA with regard to the removal of several shanties in the slave island area was taken up for hearing at Supreme Court yesterday, according to the Rupavahini report.
“State Counsel told court measures would be taken to provide new houses to families who were evacuated from the area,” the State broadcaster said.
It said that Mohan Pieris had praised the initiative and said that low income earners in the city of Colombo resort to various vices because they have no proper housing facilities. Illegal acts such as narcotic rackets are evident in this environment, he said. Pieris pointed out that such activities could be prevented by providing facilities to these people to lead a better lifestyle, Rupavahini said in its nightly news broadcast.
Pieris added that everyone should refrain from obstructing the relevant programme.
Mohan Pieris was formerly an advisor to the Ministry of Defence and also served on two Defence Ministry owned and operated companies, Lanka Logistics and Rakna Lanka. The Chief Justice who was appointed following the flawed impeachment of Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake is believed to have been the choice of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
Since assuming office in January Pieris has made several highly political and partisan statements from the bench in open court, making it plain that victims of state excesses with regard to land acquisition, eviction and even death in state custody would not be eligible for redress under Pieris’ reign.

New Education Policies And Proposals – A Review

By Sujata Gamage -October 1, 2013
Dr. Sujata Gamage
Colombo Telegraphdocument outlining New Education Policies and Proposals (NEPP) was presented recently to the speaker and the members of the parliament by the Ministry for Education. This document is a result of deliberations on a new education act that began with a public notice published in November 2007 by the Committee to Draft a New education Act seeking input, and culminated with a series of sittings by a Select Committee of Parliament held during 2012.
The NEPP document would not have seen the light of day if not for the efforts by a group of volunteers who worked with Dr. Dr. G.B. Gunawardena, the Chairman of the Committee to Draft a New Act, to complete the document. The Gunawardena committee ran out of money midway and the work of the committee ground to a halt.  Volunteers led by Upali Chandrasiri, a civil society activist, worked day and night with Dr. Gunawardena, even spending money out of pocket, to complete the document.
The first and last comprehensive piece of legislation on education in Sri Lanka was enacted as far back as 1939. Since then several acts were passed for specific purposes such the take-over of schools (1960 and 61), Public Examinations (1968), Pirivena Education (1979), National Institute of Education (1981), Colleges of Education (1986), National Education Commission (1991) and School Development Boards (1993). To date, the education system has essentially been governed by these Acts and a system of circulars. It is opportune that the government has taken the initiative to update provisions of those acts and consolidate miscellaneous circulars.

The Al Jazeera interview with Mahinda Rajapaksa: Calling the bluff

"ScreenThe President’s recent and wide-ranging interview on Al Jazeera is interesting on a number of counts (download the episode in HD here).

GroundviewsFor starters, our President is clearly grossly uninformed or deliberately seeks to misinform. Take for example his assertion, around 8:50 into the interview, that European Union election monitors said the recently held Provincial Council elections in the North were free and fair. However, as far back as July this year, the EU categorically said they would not be sending any election monitors to Sri Lanka. In fact, as the Sunday Times first reported and subsequently re-affirmed, Sri Lanka’s Elections Commissioner himself had taken the position “not to entertain monitors from countries that had voted against Sri Lanka at the March UN Human Rights Council sessions in Geneva”.

SL military sends back officials inspecting illegal encroachment of pasturelands

TamilNet[TamilNet, Sunday, 29 September 2013, 23:29 GMT]
A team of civil officials and affected Tamil farmers, who went to witness illegal encroachment of pasturelands were blocked and sent back by the occupying Sri Lankan military in Koara’laip-pattu South and Ma’nmunai West divisions last week, news reports in Batticaloa said. The SL police was accompanying the visiting officials when the team was blocked by the SL military. 

On 23 September, a meeting was organized following complaints of systematic harassment by occupying SL military and its paramilitary known as ‘Home Guards’ seizing the pasturelands of Tamil farmers. 

The affected Tamil farmers met the SL Government Agent of Batticaloa District, Eastern Provincial Council members, divisional secretaries, SL police and military officials and explained how their pasturlands were being occupied. The arliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) from Batticaloa were present at the meeting which was held at the Koara’laip-pattu South Divisional Secretariat. 

A decision was made at the meeting to send a team of civil officials with police protection to inspect the occupation of the lands. 

However, on 25 September, the Sri Lankan soldiers at Periya Maathavan blocked the officials who were visiting the area for inspection. 

The Sri Lankan military has been occupying a number of pasturelands in five DS divisions, Poaratheevup-pattu, Paddip-pazhai, Vavu’na-theevu, Ea’raavoor-pattu and Koa’ralaip-pattu South. 

30,000 acres of lands had been allocated as pasture lands for the benefit of 250,000 livestock in Batticaloa district. In practice, the Tamil farmers were using 50,000 for several years. But, in recent years, the Sri Lankan government has restricted the area to 30,00 acres. In addition to this official ‘reduction’, the SL military has seized several acres of the lands within the allocated 30,000 acres, distributing these lands to the families of Sinhala ‘home guards’.