Sri Lanka’s former Speaker, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s elder brother and Minister Chamal Rajapaksa said that it was true that the Civil Defense Force was operating several agricultural farms in the Kilinochchi, Mullaithivu, Vavuniya and Mannar districts of the Northern Province.
He said this during the parliamentary session held on Wednesday and said that the main objective of this is to produce the food required for the country and provide it to the people.
TNA MP Sritharan had questioned the number of agricultural farms operating under the security forces in the Northern Province.
Responding to this, the Minister said that the Sri Lankan Army was running agricultural farms on 100 acres of land in the Wellankulam area in the Mannar District. The Minister Chamal Rajapaksa stated that the purpose of this is to provide employment opportunities to the rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadres.
However, Tamil parliamentarians allege that the military, which has confiscated large numbers of civilian agricultural lands even after the end of the war in 2009, has been carrying out various livelihood activities, including farming, shops, fishing in the Northern Province, Jaffna, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya, Mullaitivu and parts of the Eastern Province, thereby severely affecting the livelihoods of civilians.
This has been confirmed by various independent studies. This was mentioned in a recent report published by the California based think tank Oakland Institute.
“The widespread presence of military personnel across the North and East – including their overt penetration into all aspects of civilian life and local economies – hinders the livelihoods of the local people. During the field research, Army personnel from the Mullaithivu Army Headquarters were seen engaging in cattle breeding and production of milk and yogurt. Military officials occupying lands in Kepapulavu harvested coconuts from local trees to sell them. Navy personnel in Vadduvagal cultivated spinach in their camp and sold it at local markets”.
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