Will 109 acres of land in Valikamam north be returned to the original residents of the land ?
President's Media Division announced that the land in the Valikamm North area, which is occupied by government forces, will be released and returned to the original residents. To find out the truth about this news, the People's Alliance for Right to Land recently went on a field visit to the released land in the Valikammam area in Jaffna. During the field visit, it was revealed that 109 acres were reserved land under the government.
The local residents told us that people do not come to the reserved land because the distributed land is a government reserve area, and the land parts need to be properly demarcated to the people.
While we were nearing the northern part of Valikamam, we could see how the people around were engaged in farming. Farmers cultivated tobacco, beetroot, carrots, and onions in fertile soil after the red-brown soil. The old, destroyed houses are still visible in the military camp area. This shows that the land occupied by the government forces was where people had established permanent settlements before the war started.
You can witness this by watching the first few seconds of the video, which is posted below. The last few seconds of the video show the barren land the government releases, which is unsuitable for cultivation. However, most of the suitable lands for settlements are under the control of government forces. However, thousands of people have fled their original village land because of the war and are living in IDP camps and temporary houses in the hope that they will get their land again. Presently, the land belonging to the Tal Sewana hotel and the Army Commander's official residence, which the Government Army runs, belongs to the people living in the IDP camps. Looking at the development activities being carried out there, it seems that the land will never belong to the original settlers again.
When we asked about the land distribution by, President Ranil Wickremesinghe, an officer responsible for state land, told us that the government does this kind of land release and distribution to satisfy the international community and to appease the local people's struggle to 'return the original land. He further told us that the people's struggles and protests should be strengthened until a political decision is taken to release the traditional land used by the people.