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Mullaitivu court rules against Fisheries Department and declares contested coastal land belongs to Tamil fishermen

A section of coastal land in Mullaitivu rightfully belongs to Tamil fishermen, a Mullaitivu court has ruled, defeating a case brought against the Tamils by the Fisheries and Aquatics Department on behalf of Sinhalese fishermen who contested the land rights.

The land in Kokkulai was granted to local Tamil fishermen by the Karaithuraipattu divisional council for the construction of a jetty in 2016, provoking opposition from Sinhalese fishermen who stated that the land was theirs and that they had their nets in that section.

The Mullaitivu District Fisheries and Aquatics Department filed a case at Mullaitivu magistrates court against the Tamil fishermen, which has been ongoing for the past two years.

Judge S. Leninkumar ruled on Friday that the land did belong to the Tamil fishermen and that the Karaithuraipattu divisional council and Land Survey Department should make arrangements to survey and handover the land.

The Judge also said that the ruling could not be overturned by any ministries or gazette notifications.

The affected fishermen while expressing relief at the judgement highlighted that the Fisheries Department has long been an agent for Sinhalisation of the Mullaitivu district.