Tamil dairy farmers in Batticaloa claim politics behind alleged land grabbing by the Sinhalese, as they continue two weeks of protests to demand their grasslands back.
They launched the agitation in front of Sittandy College on 15 September, after district secretary Kamalawathi Padmaraja said she could not resolve their issue.
Seenithambi Nimalan, who leads the protestors, said, “They are grabbing land. Their aim is to drive us away anyhow. They come from Ampara district and behave like this. They have everything they need there. They abandon all that, come here and behave like this. Their aim is to create racial clashes and disturbances. There is a political background to this too.”
Sinhala farmers are being accused of doing Chena cultivations in 2,500 acres of land at Madavanai which had previously been used as grazing grounds for cattle owned by the Tamils.
Nimalan said 992 dairy farmers have to provide for 3,000 dependent families by collecting an average 3,000 litres of fresh milk each day.
However, they have been unable to find food and water for their cattle due to the prevailing situation.
Nimalan questioned as to why the eastern province governor cannot intervene and solve the matter.