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Minister ignorant of land-grabbing in North

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian, M.A. Sumanthiran, yesterday claimed the army is taking decisions with regard to the lands belonging to the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the North and East, while Minister of Land Development, Janaka Bandara Thennakoon, remains ignorant on the subject.”Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Jagath Jayasuriya announced two days ago, the lands belonging to the IDPs will be acquired by the army to put up a military cantonment,” Sumanthiran said.However, Minister Thennakoon has reportedly said yesterday, the TNA had blocked the government’s effort to settle the IDPs in their land by 2014. He claimed the government had plans to enact a land circular in keeping with the implementation of the LLRC recommendations, but Sumanthiran had blocked the move.However, Sumanthiran maintains that there is a stay order on it. “The minister does not understand the legalities,” he said.Two cases were filed in the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court by Sumanthiran, simultaneously on behalf of the people of the North and East, who ask for the return of their lands.The Court of Appeal, which had taken up the case initially, had announced the land circular was ‘illegal’. “The Court ordered the Attorney General, who was representing the Ministry of Lands, the land circular was illegal and to withdraw the circular immediately,” Sumanthiran said.The government drew up an Action Plan last year to implement the LLRC recommendations and under this scheme, plans were in progress to give back the lands to the IDPs. “The minister does not understand there are two cases pending in the Supreme Court and that it is illegal to distribute the land,” Sumanthiran said.Recently, the TNA filed a case at the SC following the attack on the fasting IDPs at Welikanda. It is learnt there are around 27,000 IDPs claiming their lands. They have been displaced for the last 23 years.

Author: TELO Admin