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* Sri Lankan government denies allegations that Muslims displaced by naval deployment
Sat, Apr 19, 2014, 10:18 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Apr 19, Colombo: The Sri Lankan government today refuted reports that the Muslim families settled in Wilpattu National Park were displaced due to the deployment of Navy in the area during the war.

Strongly rejecting the allegation jointly, the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development and the Sri Lanka Navy said only one Muslim family was displaced due to the naval deployment in Mullikkulam and Marichchikaddu areas and that family is not among the families encroached the national park.

"The Sri Lanka Navy along with civil authorities had made arrangements to provide alternate land to this family in Marichchikaddu area. No other Muslim family has ever approached the Sri Lanka Navy claiming displacement due to deployments in the area," the Ministry of Defense said in a statement.

The Ministry said the allegation reported in news media that "the Muslim families who put up temporary shelters within the sanctuary but outside the border of the Wilpattu National Park had gone there on their own after being evicted from their lands by the Navy, which has since occupied the area, is false and totally baseless."

Western Provincial Council Minister of Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) party, Udaya Gammanpila recently called on the government to initiate legal action against Minister Rishad Bathiyutheen over the alleged resettlement of Muslim people in the Wilpattu National Park.

Gammanpila called for the authorities to take legal action against persons who have resettled people in the national park irrespective of their positions, party or religious differences.

The government reiterated that the displaced Muslim families resettled in the park were not displaced by any naval deployment in the area.

The Defense Ministry expressed hope that civil authorities would resolve the matter without dragging security forces into the issue.

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