Security forces: No more releasing of lands from Palaly cantonment


by Sirimewan Kasturiarachchi, recently in Jaffna

The army would not return even an inch of the 4,419 acre land belonging to the Jaffna camp and Palaly Military cantonment, Jaffna Security Forces Commander Maj Gen Mahesh Senanayake said.

He said that the Palaly High Security Zone had encompassed around 11,269 acres until 2010 and 7,210 acres had been given back to their original owners on government instructions and now the army was not in a position to return any more lands owing to security requirements in the former war-zone area.

Land belonging to the Palaly airport and the military cantonment could not be further reduced without putting security requirements in jeopardy, he said noting that 62 percent of the land held by the security forces had been given back to civilians. He said the government should provide lands at alternative locations to those who are unable to reclaim land rights as the army was not able to release even an inch of land hereafter from the location.

The army occupied 27,259 acres in Jaffna Peninsula and out of which 21,134 acres had been returned to those who claimed to original owners under 11 phases since 2010.

"We have removed several detachments and checkpoints spread throughout the peninsula but not reduced the cadre strength. There are three brigades, 51st, 52nd and 55th , under the Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters in Palaly. These brigades maintain camps at various locations within the Jaffna Peninsula. I speak with responsibility that there would be no further reduction or dismantling of army camps in Jaffna," Maj Gen Senanayake told The Island.



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