Lankan Prez hands back land seized from Tamils in ex-war zone

    April20/ 2022
    Last Updated:

    Colombo: Sri Lanka today took the first step towards handing back military-occupied land in the country's war-ravaged north with President Maithripala Sirisena returning 425 acres to its original Tamil owners. "Every measure will be taken to resolve issues faced by people irrespective of their race or religion under my rule," Sirisena said, days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi favoured a life of equality, justice and dignity for Tamils in Sri Lanka's "new journey" of peace and reconciliation. The government is committed to building peace and reconciliation among the Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim communities while eradicating the mistrust, fear and suspicion among communities, Sirisena said in Jaffna while participating in a ceremony to distribute title deeds of lands in the former high security zones being returned to the original owners. As the first step, 425 acres of land was handed over to the rightful owners at today's function. Sirisena said that as a new government many steps have already been taken to resolve problems faced by people. "The government has given high priority to resolve land issues of the people in the North and East," the President said. Noting that issues on land have caused public uprisings and revolutions as well as critical political issues in the world, Sirisena said politicians should give topmost priority to solve the problems on land among people. The government is not only giving the land back to the people in North, but also providing all facilities to create a better environment for the people and their children to live in contentment, Sirisena said. The President said the government is now implementing a programme to rebuild the religious places in the Eastern and Northern Provinces, devastated by war. Sirisena emphasised he would give the opportunity to the people in those areas to live in a good environment, ending their period of difficulties. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, senior ministers and Chief Minister of the Northern Province C V Vigneswaran also attended the function. According to UN estimates, up to 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed by security forces during former president Mahinda Rajapaksa's regime that brought an end to the nearly three decades-long war in the country with the defeat of the LTTE in 2009. PTI

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