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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2559

Settle the contentious land issue Muslims facing in the Batticaloa district – Minister Ameer Ali

Colombo, 06 March, (Asiantribune.com): The issue of land and its distribution to the Tamils, Muslims and the Sinhalese has to be settled amicably to create a peaceful and harmonious environment in the Batticaloa district located in the East of Sri Lanka. This would create a conducive climate for the Tamils, Muslims and the Sinhalese in the Batticaloa district to live with peace and harmony. Minister Ameer Ali Sihabdeen:  "As Muslims we are ready and prepared to work with those who come forward to help us in solving this land problem." Minister Ameer Ali Sihabdeen: "As Muslims we are ready and prepared to work with those who come forward to help us in solving this land problem."

The land issue has developed into a contentious one in the midst of the Tamils, Muslims and Sinhalese communities in the Batticaloa district said Minister Ameer Ali Sihabdeen.

Speaking to Asian Tribune, Ameer Ali Sihabdeen, Minister of Disaster Relief Services said, "All three communities, Tamils, Muslims and the Sinhalese in the district should have to live with peace and harmony. The issue that is driving the wedge in the midst of these communities is ‘Land’ and this has to be solved in a way acceptable to all of us."

He added, "As Muslims we are ready and prepared to work with those who come forward to help us in solving this land problem."

When speaking to Asian Tribune Ameer Ali said, "I entered politics to develop the East in general and in particular the district of Batticaloa. I have noticed that all the other areas in the country are fast developing, while the development of the East remains static. I think after the liberation of the East, it is the best time to develop the East."

He further said, "This is a golden opportunity and last week we laid the foundation for a 100 KM road from Akkaraipattu to Valaichenai and also for the Kalladi bridge and both these important projects are estimated to cost SLR4,600 million."

He pointed out that while they were involved in the development works, there have to be a solution to the land issue confronting the Muslims in the District.

He said that earlier the Muslim Community requested the Tamil militants who were at that time controlling the East to solve their land issue to the satisfaction of all the three communities. Unfortunately they haven’t done anything he said. He added this issue disturbs the peaceful coexistence of the three communities in the district.

As Muslims, we are ready and prepared to work with those who come forward to help us in solving this land problem, Minister Ameer Ali said.

If those in power do not come forward to solve this serious land problem, then the ethnic cleansing in the Batticaloa district would continue unabatedly.

He said that the whole Batticaloa district is about 2,400 Square kilometers and Muslims who are 1/3 of the population in the districts lives only in an area which is just 24 Square kilometers.

Minister Ameer Ali said, I am not demanding land on a population ratio basis, but I am requesting for a small portion of the land be given to the Muslims in the Batticaloa district to sort out this problem.

He pointed out that the disputed areas regarding this question of land are Kattankudy, Eravur and Valaichchenai.

He said that though many Muslims in the Kattankudy area hold clean title deeds for their lands but these lands are being held by the Tamils.

He urged that this issue of land has to be decided by an impartial investigating committee. He further said, as Muslims, we are ready willing to abide by the decisions of an impartial investigation by Committee.

In case this issue is not settled in the near future the he cautioned that the ethnic cleansing of the communities would continue unabatedly.

- Asian Tribune -

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