Chief Minister of the Northern Province, C.V. Wigneswaran, has said that out of the 67,000 acres of private lands of the Tamils seized by the Sri Lankan armed forces during the war, only 3,500 acres have been returned so far, the New Indian Express reported.
Since the war ended in May 2009, only 5.2 % of the lands seized has been given back to their rightful owners, he said. The Chief Minister said that if the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is sincere about walking the talk on reconciliation, it should do the following things: return all private lands to their original owners; stop erecting Buddha statues and Buddhist temples illegally and in places where there are no Buddhists (barring army camps); stop arbitrary arrests under the Prevention of Terrorism Act; repeal the PTA; start an inquiry into war crimes with international participation; release Tamil prisoners who have been in detention for long without being charged; release militants and others arrested during the conflict; release fishing harbors now under the navy’s control; build houses which were destroyed during the war ; and consider stopping people from South Sri Lanka taking away the resources of the Tamil areas.
Wigneswaran noted that while many Sinhalese politicians are making statements which go against reconciliation, the utterances and actions of President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe are encouraging. “But they have to keep walking the talk in the face of opposition from even their own ministers.” (New Indian Express)