Wilpattu real story
Posted on August 13th, 2015

Mahinda Gunasekera Toronto, Canada

August 13, 2015

His Excellency, Maithripala Sirisena
President of Sri Lanka
Colombo 1

Your Excellency,

I am submitting herewith pictures covering the ceremonial inauguration of houses built on state
land classified as ‘conservation areas’ abutting the Wilpattu National Park, where I believe Minister
Rishad Bathiutheen is seen in the company of Arab visitors representing  Sheikh Jassim Bin Jabor
Al-Thani Charitable Foundation based in Doha, Qatar, who funded the illegal housing project.  This
matter was brought to your attention by my letter dated April 27, 2015 which is annexed hereto.

It is indeed distressing to note that Sri Lankan citizens are able to partner with foreign financiers
and encroach into state lands deemed conservation property and construct houses for members of
a particular community, and even name the encroached region by the name of the donor organization
which in this particular case is referred to as “Jassim City”.  To my knowledge, even backward countries
derogatorily called “banana republics” do not allow their citizens or foreigners to illegally acquire land
and set up housing schemes for members of a particular ethnic group.  Even if they are persons who
had been previously evicted by the terrorist LTTE, then it becomes the responsibility of the state to
ensure that they are re-settled in their original places of residence just like the Tamil IDPs were settled
after de-mining the land, putting in essential infrastructure and making the area safe and habitable.
Just as much as the Tamil IDPs were resettled, similar action has to be taken to resettle the 27,000
Sinhalese who were evicted from the north between 1971 and 1981, and the roughly 75,000 Moslems
who were also driven out of the north by the LTTE around 1990.

Sri Lanka has enough and more laws to cover every subject, but it is most disappointing that the laws
are either unevenly applied or not enforced by the officials due to political interference.  All law abiding
citizens of Sri Lanka expect you to take appropriate action against those responsible for the illegal
encroachment and construction work carried out in Wilpattu and elsewhere in the island.

I trust the rule of law will be upheld by the administration headed by your excellency.

Yours sincerely,

Mahinda Gunasekera
Toronto, Canada

Encl.

On 4/27/2015 3:31 PM, M. Gunasekera wrote:

By E-mail                                                                                                                 84 Tambrook Drive
Agincourt, Ontario
M1W 3L9  Canada

April 27, 2015

His Excellency, Maithripala Sirisena
President of Sri Lanka
and Minister of Mahaweli Dev & Environment
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo 1
Copy to: Hon. Ranil Wickremasinghe
Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Your Excellency,

Continued Rape of the Wilpattu National Park and
Establishment of Unauthorised Settlements  

I am writing to bring to your notice the continuing rape of the Wilpattu National Park that is
taking place at this very moment, whilst the authorities responsible for the conservation of
forests and protection of the environment are hibernating in their comfortable offices in the
capital city.  When this matter was brought up earlier by another group of concerned citizens
with photo evidence, they pointed a finger at a minister of the state whom I believe was
Mr. Rishad Badthiutheen, as being the person responsible for the encroachment and
construction of houses for settling members of his community.  I note that Mr. Badthiutheen
is once again holding a cabinet rank in your administration as well.

I am giving below a link to a 5 minute 51 second video which shows the construction of roads
and permanent houses within the Wilpattu National Park. This is a clear violation of the
existing laws relating to conservation of the limited forest cover in the island needed for climatic
reasons as well as provision of areas for our wild life to freely roam in safety as envisioned by our
wise rulers from ancient times.   Please click on the link to view the video:
https://www.facebook.com/438356542898780/videos/636685536399212/?fref=nf

You will observe paved roads and permanent houses already in place, with road extension and
house construction underway.  A board has been erected denoting this illegal housing project on
encroached crown land in a conservation area as ‘JASSIM CITY’ comprising a total of 179 houses.
The funding has been provided according to the signboard by Sheikh Jassim Bin Jabor Al-Thani
Charitable Foundation based in Doha, Qatar.  Does the law allow foreign organizations to establish
cities for members of a particular community on Sri Lanka’s sovereign territory involving the
deforestation of national parks which are deemed conservation zones? Such funds should instead be
direted to the government to resettle Muslims and others who were internally displaced in their
former places of residence.

The usual reason given for such illegal action is that there has been a delay on the part of the
government to re-settle members of the Muslim community who had been forcibly evicted by the
LTTE from their abode in the northern province.  There were also over 27,000 Sinhala people who
had also been evicted from the north by the separatist Tamil terror groups between 1971 and 1981,
none of whom have been resettled by the state, except for a handful of about 25 families who have
staked out their temporary homesteads in Navattakuly without any assistance from the state. The
right of return of those who had been forcibly evicted by the Tamil terror groups who carried out
ethnic cleansing of non-Tamils in both the north and east must be honoured by the government.

While there are an abundance of laws established in Sri Lanka, the failure to prevent wrongdoing
is mainly due to the non-enforcement of the laws by the authorities concerned.  Could this be as
a result of political interference which prevents officials from carrying out their entrusted duties?
I have also been made aware of similar encroachments in the Eastern Province by members of the
Muslim community into strictly conservation areas such as the forests surrounding the estuaries of
waterways flowing to the sea, and even producing bogus deeds prepared by members of their own
community working in the kachcheri or district office administering the area.  We are also aware of
the ‘Ashraf Nagar’ where 500 houses were built on land close to the Deegavapi Temple complex in
the Ampara district supposedly to house 89 Moslem families who had been displaced by the 2004
tsunami, nearly 30 miles inland from their original place of residence with funding from the Middle
East.

I trust that you would initiate an investigation immediately and take appropriate action against who
so ever has had a hand in this unlawful venture to build unauthorized houses by encroaching into
conservation properties belonging to the state.  These houses have to give way to the preservation
of the National Park, and steps taken to restore the forest cover without delay.  Notwithstanding
ethnicity, the government must uphold the law in order to win the trust and confidence of the people.

Yours sincerely,

Mahinda Gunasekera

Copies to: Senior officials of the Forest Dept. and Ministry of the Environment
”      ”    Sri Lankan Media

One Response to “Wilpattu real story”

  1. Susantha Wijesinghe Says:

    MAHINDA !! THIS PAMBAYA DOES NOT KNOW WHETHER HE IS STANDING OR SITTING, OR WHETHER HE IS GOING OR COMING. PLEASE WAIT FOR THE CHANGE ON AUGUST 17TH. LET MAHINDA DO THE NEEDFUL.

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