“We will not move from here until we get our land back” – from inside the Pilavu protest

By: Dharsha Jegatheeswaran and Mario Arulthas in Tamil Guardian (February 13, 2017)

“We will not move from here until we get our land back,” the paatti (grandmother) told us firmly watching her grandchildren play a few metres away, both her and them a part of multiple generations of Pilakudiyiruppu villagers protesting for the release of their land by the military. Sitting among a group of women gathered under a tree for shade under the hot midday sun, her resolve was shared throughout the protest as villagers made clear that this was a final stand for them to reclaim the land that was rightfully theirs.

Today marks the 14th day since families from Pilakudiyiruppu, Keppapilavu, began their protest demanding their land back from military occupation. On January 31st, 2017, villagers from Pilakudiyiruppu had gone to the site of their occupied lands after being told by the military that they would be receiving their lands back that day. Their high hopes and excitement quickly turned into severe disappointment and anger when the military told them that they still could not release their lands upon their arrival. Frustrated with the continuous lying and evasiveness of both military and government officials, villagers set up camp across from the Air Force Base, vowing not to move until their land was returned…

Read the full piece here.

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