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Lanka Muslims make counter colonisation claim in northeast

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

A Sri Lankan Muslim organisation today accused the Sinhalese majority of attempting to colonise the country's northeastern Mannar region following allegations by Buddhist nationalist groups that a government minister was responsible for illegal settlement of Muslims in the area.

Minister of Commerce Rishath Bathiyutheen was accused of carrying out illegal settlements of conflict-displaced Muslims in Wilpattu area.

But the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka claimed there had been no infringement by Muslims on the land reservations in Wilpattu.

In a counter accusation, the council alleged that while some groups are claiming that Muslims have been resettled illegally in Wilpattu, several Sinhalese families from Hambantota in the south have been moved to the area.

It claimed that some 2,860 Sinhalese families have been provided three acres of land each in their new settlements.

The Muslim Council said that displaced Muslims had been expelled from the north by the LTTE in 1990.

Government officials said there were no illegal or unauthorised settlements and that due process had been followed in allocating land for their resettlement.

First Published: Fri, May 15 2015. 18:28 IST