BY Mirudhula Thambiah
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesperson MP M.A. Sumanthiran PC yesterday (25) observed on social media that the demarcation of high-security zones (HSZ) two days ago in Colombo was not a new practice, charging that such illegal demarcation has been conducted over many thousands of acres of lands in the North and East since at least 1990.
Speaking to The Morning yesterday, Sumanthiran PC pointed out that though people are agitated about the HSZ declared two days ago in Colombo, there had historically been such zones from 1990 onwards in the North and East, which the TNA had challenged in courts in 2003, with the case still pending.
“We challenged it in court and the next date is set for 8 December 2022, and the case is almost 20 years old,” he added.
Meanwhile, his Twitter posts yesterday noted that Mavai Senathirajah vs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge (SC FR 646/2003) was the first case filed challenging the legality of the declaration of HSZs.
“In 2007, the court upheld our position and issued an interim order to permit the owners to resettle in the Palaly HSZ. That was how resettlement started and it was supervised by the courts,” he added in his Tweets.
A paragraph from the interim order of Mavai Senathirajah vs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge read: “The court then directed the state to obtain instructions from the Security Forces and District Secretary, Jaffna K. Ganesh on the proposal that was made. Subsequently, the court directed that a report be submitted by Ganesh as to the number of persons who have been displaced in the manner complained of by the petitioner. This action was taken since the petitioner had specifically pleaded that he filed the application not only on his personal behalf, but on behalf of others similarly circumstanced. Several adjournments were granted for the Divisional Secretary to submit his report.”
Sumanthiran, further quoting the above paragraph, noted: “This records our position that the HSZ is not legal. This interim order was delivered in 2006.”
He further pointed out that a few cases put forward by around 2,176 petitioners are pending at the Court of Appeal. These petitions were filed in 2013, challenging the acquisition notice issued to acquire 6.138 acres of private lands, which have been used as HSZ since 2003.