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Illegal sale of crown land in Batticaloa

by Prince Casinader

(August 31, Batticaloa, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Batticaloa vigilance committee met the SSP Batticaloa and made representations about the activities of a gang of racketeers involved in the illegal sale of crown land in the ancient village of Thiruperunthurai, a few miles off Batticaloa Town.

This village is of historical and religious significance since British times. It was from here that Colonel Johnson led his troops for the planned attack on Kandy.

It is alleged that this gang led by a teacher and some others residing here, parcel up crown land and sell them to unsuspecting clients after preparing bogus deeds witnessed by this government teacher and other members of the gang.

When the Batticaloa Airport Extension Programme was launched by the government, several who owned private lands in the vicinity of the Batticaloa Airport were evicted, and in lieu they were given crown land in Thiruperunthurai.

One of them was an elderly widow, whose land in the vicinity of the Batticaloa Airport was taken over and she was granted alternative land at this ancient village. One of the persons to whom this gang had sold land here had gone to this elderly widow's land and smashed up the buildings she had put up there. She has made a complaint regarding this to the Batticaloa Police and to the Divisional Secretary.

When the grama niladhari had examined the land and confirmed that this land was legally hers, she put up some buildings on the land again and it was alleged that this gang led by a CTB employee - alleged to be the son of the man to whom this gang had illegally sold the land - had once again entered the land with crow bars and other implements and attacked the old lady, punctured the aluminium roofing sheets and threatened the old lady that if she continued to be on that land she would be killed.

The crimes unit of the Batticaloa Police led by an Inspector is conducting inquiries with a view to bring to book the culprits and prevent the government being defrauded by this gang.

Another old lady living here for several years has registered a complaint with the police that this government teacher, his mother and his sisters had attacked and destroyed her hut, caused bodily harm, uprooted four coconut plants she had planted, and filled up the ditches she had got dug for the supply of water. She had also complained that her possessions had been robbed by the gang.

How is it that this gang is able to operate with impunity?
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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