The fences force residents to make a detour of about 50 kilometres to travel from one end of the village to the other — a distance of just four kilometres.
Inside the enclave Sri Lankan troops, most of them in camouflage T-shirts and trousers, can be seen tending to crops. After decisively crushing the Tamil Tigers in a no-holds-barred offensive that ended in May 2009 security forces held onto large swathes of land in Jaffna, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Colombo.
They set up lucrative hotels, restaurants and farming ventures — often selling crops to the very people whose land they were cultivating, who had been left destitute by the conflict.”We believe the military is running at least a dozen hotels and restaurants on land taken from
But President Sirisena is under international pressure to do more to restore normality and ensure reconciliation in an ethnically divided nation. “We’ll do all we can to support the (Colombo) government as it makes progress in such areas as returning land, limiting the role of the military in civilian life, and trying to provide the answers on disappeared people,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry during a May visit to Colombo.
“We have had discussions with the security forces and we expect, with time, more land will be made available,” Vedanayagam told AFP at his district secretariat office in Jaffna.
The former secretariat, a colonial-era building dating back to the 19th century, was destroyed during decades of fighting, and the debris serves as a constant reminder of the region’s violent past. Vedanayagam has asked UN agencies for tents to provide temporary shelter for people leaving refugee camps to take possession of lands released by the security forces.
Six months later, fighting broke out, forcing Rasamma and other residents to flee.
“I am sad I could not live in the new house,” she said. “I have four grandchildren. I hope at least they will now be able to live here peacefully.”(Economic Times)