Tamil dairy farmers in Batticaloa have been protesting for 300 days unsuccessfully to demand the eviction of 13 squatters in their grassland at Mailaththamadu.

This is despite a court order in Eravur to the Sinhala farmers to leave the grassland for cattle they occupy.

Head of the association of the protesting dairy farmers Seenithambi Nimalan said their only livelihood has come to a standstill due to the situation.

Before it happened, he said, they produced 6,000 litres of milk a day, which has now come down to 500 litres.

Their agitation is receiving the support of clergy, politicians and society activists.

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It began after the district secretary told the farmers in September 2023 that she cannot resolve their issue.

Sinhala farmers who were settled there by the then east governor Anuradha Yahampath cultivate maize and other crops on more than 2,500 acres of the 6,000 acre grassland, it is alleged.

The use of pesticides and setting fire to the grass have left more than 1,000 cattle dead with no compensation received, the protestors also said.

A total of 300 people from 160 Sinhala families are said to be settled there.

It was after president Ranil Wickremesinghe instructed authorities to take legal action that a case was filed in the Eravur circuit court against them.

Despite the order that came on 13 November last year, the squatters still remain in the grassland.

WhatsApp Image 2023 08 02 at 15.09.47

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