In relation to the 6 families who were staying at Our Lady of Velankanni church, original article available here.
Due to insistence of the families, the Army had agreed to vacate the lands they (Army) had occupied and allow all six families to go back to their own lands. However, around two acres of lands remains occupied by the Army. About one acre belongs to one family, while the rest comprises of about half acre each belonging to two other families. The Army is refusing to hand over these lands. The Assistant Government Agent for Puthukidiyiruppu had promised to provide alternative land, but no places or dates had been given. However, the people insist they want their own land back. All the families mentioned that they have Permits for these lands.
The Army had not paid any rent or compensation for the land occupied, with the occupation estimated to be for more than three years. The families estimate that the value of one acre of land would be around Rs. 500,000 as it’s on the main A35 road and bordering the war monument and war museum, visited by thousands of Sri Lankans on almost a daily basis.
There had been several buildings that the Army had built, but they were dismantling them and taking stones, iron etc. although the people had appealed to leave these buildings for their use. While me and my friends were there, the Army was dismantling the building and transporting stones by a tractor. There had been four commodes in the toilets the Army had built, but even these had been removed. One of the men whose land was occupied had lost both legs and had pleaded with the Army to leave one commode, but this was not heeded to.