(UDHAYAM, COLOMBO) – The Minister of Health, Nutrition and Indigenous Medicine Dr. Rajitha Senaratne emphasized that no construction was carried out in the Wilpattu sanctuary even though certain groups have alleged that the Wilpattu sanctuary is currently being rapidly cleared for the construction of houses by Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
Co-Cabinet Spokesperson, Minister Senaratne made this remarks addressing the press briefing on cabinet decisions on Wednesday (04), as he rejected the allegations of forest destruction.
He stressed that Forest Department (FD) and, Department of Wildlife Conservation (DWC) officials who inquired into the alleged forest clearing and constructions in Wilpattu sanctuary have confirmed to President Maithripala Sirisena that no construction was carried out in the Wilpattu sanctuary.
When accusations were levelled against Minister Bathiudeen, he rejected the allegations and submitted the deeds issued in 1915 to the said lands with evidence and reasoning,” Minister Senaratne said. In 1990, with the ethnic cleansing of Northern Muslims by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) taking place, Muslim families were driven out from their original settlements, and they ended up empty-handed in camps for the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Puttalam. Consequent to the LTTE’s eviction of Muslims, the people of Musali Division in Mannar also were displaced in 1990.