Attorney General undertakes to maintain status-quo in the Mylathamadu Mathavanai pastoral land case


When the Provincial High Court of Batticaloa on 22nd January 2021 took up for hearing the Writ Application filed by the Livestock Farmers Society and by other farmers, all Respondents cited in the Writ Petition were represented in Court by the Attorney General. The Divisional Secretaries of Earavur and Chenkalady, Commissioner General of Forests, Mahaweli Authority and the Senior Superintendent of Police Batticaloa Division, Minister of Mahaweli Authority Chamal Rajapaksa were all represented by the Attorney General in Court. On behalf of the said Government authorities, the State Counsel appearing on behalf of them moved for time to file objections on behalf of the parties.

Counsel for the Petitioners brought to the attention of Court the recent incidents affecting the farmers resulting in the Farmers being abducted by outsiders and trespassers and being severely assaulted. Further the farmers were taken to the Maha Oya Police station who produced the farmers at the Magistrate Court of Dehiyatha Kandiya on charges that they had destroyed the cultivation on the said pastoral land. However, the Magistrate being explained the facts enlarged the farmers on bail and also ordered that the outsiders too be charged for the offence of abduction. It was brought to the notice of the Provincial High Court of Batticaloa that the 6 farmers were so badly beaten that they had to be hospitalized at the Mavadivembu Hospital, Batticaloa for treatment. Counsel submitted that, this kind of criminal offences are being committed by thugs and outlaws supported by politicians and government officials. Number of cattle had been killed willfully by the said thugs having shot the animals by firearms and by other means. Complaints were made not only to the police but other authorities as well. But no action was taken and the farmers received no relief whatsoever from the state. Counsel further submitted that the livelihood of livestock farmers was at stake because they are dependent on the cattle and the cattle products for their livelihood. Counsel also stated that, it was the duty of state authority specially the Divisional Secretary, Mahaweli Authority to punish the offenders and protect the farmers who are making use of pastoral land for generations. Counsel added that there is evidence and letters written to that effect have been annexed with the petition to show that the pastoral land was being used for the purpose of cattle grazing with the knowledge and approval of the Government Agent for a considerable period of time.

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