A sword-wielding group of Sinhalese led by a Buddhist monk detained Tamils who had gone to Mailatta Madu in Batticaloa

to look into issues of milch farmers from their community, charged MP Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam.

Tamil milch farmers, two Catholic and one Hindu priests, a Maulavi and two journalists were investigating on 22 August allegations that Sinhalese  from the adjoining Polonnaruwa district were occupying 100 acres of grassland allotted for Tamil milch farmers.

The secretary to the president was informed of the incident, but the IGP did not answer telephone calls, said the MP.

The president’s secretary gave an assurance that the Army commander and the public security minister have been asked to investigate.

In a series of tweets, Ponnambalam said around 150 persons surrounded the Tamils near an Army camp, accused them of receiving money from the diaspora, attacked one priest, and kept them captive for more than three hours.

Keys of two vehicles which they had been travelling in had been seized, and were returned only after three priests were forced to sign a document.

Although The OIC of Karadiyanaru police spoke to the grouip of Sinhalese, they did not relent, said Ponnambalam.

All footage taken by the two journalists were deleted, said Fr. Jegadas, who was a member of the visiting team.

Around 2,000 milch farmers depend on the grassland for their livelihood.

TNA MPs shanakkiyan Rasamanickam and Govindan Karunakaran have filed a writ petition against squatting by the Sinhalese in these lands, and the additional solicitor general has informed the court that they are being evicted.


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