Five years since the end of the war, a significant military presence still remains in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka. This despite repeated assurances by the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) that the military presence is, and will be phased out in order to pave way for post-war reconciliation efforts. In a context of increased militarization, the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) highlights the numerous statements made by Government officials regarding the varying numbers pertaining to the apparent reduction of forces. The contradictions in the actual situation are highlighted by the statements made by President Rajapaksa, who in January 2014 claimed that there was a presence of 12,000 military personnel in the North with Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President claiming only two days later, the presence of 80,000 military personnel in the North.

Additionally, the GoSL is in the practice of acquiring swathes of private land in both the Northern and Eastern Provinces, claiming it is for military use. In November 2013, CPA published a policy brief flagging these disturbing trends in land acquisition which amount to land grabs. CPA has also highlighted the disturbing trend of acquiring private land under the guise of a “public purpose”. Increasing evidence suggests that private land acquired for military use, is in fact given out for commercial ventures.

For more information on CPA’s research on land in the Northern province see here.

Download PDF of this infographic or high resolution JPG.

  • n. ethirveerasingam

    Does the figures in the infographic includes, persons payed by the Defence Ministry but who are working in the various private enterprises that the various branches of armed forces operate in the North. What is the acreage the armed forces occupy/appropriated for the Armed forces in each of the Districts in Sri Lanka? What is the number of Armed forces stationed in each of the Districts is Sri Lanka? How many private enterprises that the Armed forces operate in each of the other Districts in SL? Such figures would give an indication of the extent of militarization of a District in the North, East and other provinces.

    One of the claim Tamils make is that through the armed forces, police and business enterprises they operate colonization is taking place to alter the outcome of future elections. The question arises as to how many of the armed forces are registered to vote in the North. Also how many of the armed forces’ families are living with them or plan to join them in the future?

    It will be good public relations for the Census Bureau to conduct such a census and for it to release it to the public.

    • Migara

      Good observation on the voting and the families. But I guess TNA will be dead silent on the above perspective of the problem.