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* IDPs stage hunger strike demanding lands occupied by Sri Lankan military
Sat, Feb 16, 2013, 09:41 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Feb 16, Colombo: Thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Sri Lanka have staged a hunger strike in Jaffna calling on the military to release their lands for settlement.

Over 2,000 IDPs staged a hunger strike outside the Durga Amman Temple premises at Tellipalai, Jaffna Friday.

Members of political parties including the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), main opposition United National Party (UNP), Nawa Sama Samaja Party (NSSP) and the Democratic People's Front (DPF) have also participated in the hunger strike.

Jaffna District TNA parliamentarian, E. Saravanapavan told the media that members of military intelligence units had tried to disrupt the hunger strike.

The hunger strike was organized by the Association for Resettling the Internally Displaced Persons from Valikamam North.

The Association has pointed out that nearly 30,000 people in the area were displaced in the past three decades since their lands have been occupied by the military.

The Lesson Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) has recommended the government to review the existing High Security Zones, as well as small extents of private land currently utilized for security purposes, with a view to release more land while keeping national security needs in perspective.

It also recommended provision of alternate lands and or payment of compensation within a specific time frame if the government occupied lands cannot be released to the owners.

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