(Original in Tamil)
Kandasamy Sivakumaran lived in Kilinochchi and was displaced to the Vavuniya IDP camp during the final battle in May 2009. He was only able to return to his own village recently.
He relates that his land has been taken away from him and that he is struggling to get it back. Even today he has to go to Government offices and army camps daily and has filed a case regarding this matter in the court.
“Lumbini Vihara” is the Buddhist temple that is situated near the Karadipoku junction in Kilinochchi. There is a small Buddhist shrine under the banyan tree and to its left there is a hostel in the shape of a temple for the pilgrims. A Stupa is being built to its right.
“This land belongs to the three of us. Earlier we used to have a spare parts shop here. And now we do not have a place to live or a land to pursue our livelihood. The land where the Temple is being built is now an empty land because the shops have been demolished. This land is ours. They have built this Buddha statue and the temple in the year 2009. Because this land was like this when I returned I could not settle back into my land” he stated while showing the deed to the land where the Buddhist temple has now been built.
It is stated in the deed that according to the land development ordinance, in the year 1955, Governor General Oliver Bernard Gunatilake awarded the land to Kumarappar Murugesan of Kilinochchi, under the State Land ordinance (1947), section 23.
In 2004, Sivakumaran and his two friends had bought this land, as the third person, from Kumarappar Murugesan. In 2008, when Sivakmaran was displaced during the final battle to the Vavuniya IDPcamp, the shops on his land next to the Karadipokku junction had been demolished and in its place a Buddhist temple had been built. Almost half of the half acre land that belonged to Sivakumaran has been taken in this process. There is only 55% of the land left. And even that land has been taken to be used as a parking lot for the temple administrators and they have also constructed toilets there.
Sivakuamran explains that, “even if a portion of the land is provided to us we will be able to conduct our business. They still haven’t come to a decision about giving back the land that is now being used as a parking lot. Because of this situation we are suffering. The Government officers in charge of this must take this into account and help us get our land back.”
“If they give us what is left of our land or provide us with a suitable alternative location to conduct our business then we will have no problems” he further related.
Government offices do not function efficiently in the areas that have been affected by the war for nearly 30 years. Even if they had functioned previously there are no legal records or documentation in the Government offices to show that they have functioned regularly.
According to the LLRC Commission’s Recommendations a Land Commission has to be appointed immediately to handle these land issues. There must be a National Land Commission instated in order to formulate a national consensus on land use according to the 13th amendment.