The resettled people of Sampur and Kadarkaraichenai have filed a complaint over land issues to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, submitting over a thousand documents as evidence.
Representatives of the villages went to the Trincomalee regional office of HRCSL to hand over the files of evidence and letters and to register the official complaint.
S. Shanmuganathan, head of the Sampur East Village Development Association said the team had handed over information pertaining to four pressing land issues faced by the people of Sampur.
Firstly, the resettled villagers and owners of released land in the Sampur area have not been furnished with proper documentation in order to claim their lands.
“Our area was settled in three stages; first 365 families, and then gradually up to 950 families resettled. In that time 818 acres of land were released but the proper documents for those lands have not been given.”
Secondly, 18 families who gave up their land in Sayakkara Vaddavaan at the request of the Sri Lankan Navy who wanted the land to build a camp, have not been compensated, Mr Shanmuganathan said, pointing out that the Navy continues to occupy over 400 acres of Tamil livelihood land.
“Our Murugan temple is also in that land,” he said.
Third, the land of 49 families which was seized to create transport networks for the planned thermal power plant have not been returned.
“Since the thermal power plant has been abandoned, those lands should be returned,” Mr Shanmuganathan said.
Finally, a new obstacle to their peaceful resettlement has come up in Kilavely where the Ceylon Electricity Board is currently fencing off around 200 acres of private paddy land.
“We have gathered over a thousand documents related to the above issues and submitted them with explanatory letters to the HRC,” Mr Shanmuganathan said. “The HRC team from Colombo recently came and observed our situation directly as well. So all the mentioned issues must be addressed immediately, to pave a way back to normal life for our people.”
Highlighting that the Sampur land issues have been communicated repeatedly to many levels of politicians and government officials, from government agents and parliamentarians to the Sri Lankan President, Mr Shanmuganathan urged rapid action “without prolonging our people’s suffering.”