Northern Provincial Councillor Thurairajah Ravikaran alleged that Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen was aiding the illegal clearance of forest in the Mullaitivu area, with his supporters using the cleared land to build settlements, .
Ravikaran said the occupation of land in the area has been ongoing for years, with the complicity of state officials and warned that locals would be compelled to carry out protests if this is not stopped. He said he and TNA MPs Sivasakti Ananthan were threatened by the illegal Muslim settlers at Kothambia kumbam, Mullaitivu who are destroying the valuable teak plantations.
The councillor said that 60 acres of forest had already been cleared and the land given to Minister Bathiudeen’s supporters.
Ravikaran stressed that the identity of the settlers, who are from the Muslim community was not the issue, but that all settlements from outside the district would be opposed, as locals continue to be deprived of land by settling outsiders.