Cases filed against land acquisition

Around 1474 persons owning land in Jaffna filed a writ application today in the Court of Appeal challenging the attempts to illegally and unlawfully acquire their private land, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) media office said. A further 2000 petitioners are to file on the same issue in the near future.

The petition challenges the Section 2 notices issued under the Land Acquisition Act which specifies that 6381 acres and 38.97 perches are to be acquired for the ‘Defence Battalion Headquarters [Jaffna]- Regularising handover of area on which High Security Zone [Palaly and Kankesanthurai] is established.’

The massive area that is identified constitutes approximately 25.8 square kilometers and is more than two-thirds the entire land area on which Colombo City (which spans an area of 37.21 square kilometers) is located.

All of the petitioners own substantial tracts of land that fall within the above area and were displaced from their land due to war. Although the war ended in 2009, the petitioners have been prevented from returning to their land due to the military occupation of the area and barbed wire fences and barricades manned by the military, the TNA said.

“Although certain areas were demarcated as High Security Zones (HSZ) using the emergency regulations during the war, the area in question was never demarcated a HSZ and there was no legal basis for the use of HSZ with the lapse of the state of emergency in 2011,” the TNA media statement said.

The petition contends that there is no ‘public purpose’ served as specified in the Act by the acquisition of their land as the area was never a HSZ nor does it exist as one.

The Petition has cited as Respondents the Land Acquiring Officer for Jaffna, the Minister for Lands and Land Development and the Land Survey Officer, Jaffna District.

K. Kanag-Isvaran (P.C), and Attorneys-at-Law M.A Sumanthiran, Viran Corea, Lakshmanan Jeyakumar, Bhavani Fonseka & Niran Anketell settled papers, with Moahan Balendran as instructing Attorney.