Colombo, Feb 17 (PTI) A group of Sri Lankan civil society organisations today urged the government to release lands in the ethnic-Tamil dominated north which are still being held for military purposes.

The groups also protested at Keppapilavu in the former northern battle zone of Puthukudyiruppu, which had been held for nearly two weeks by the Sri Lanka Airforce, and demanded immediate release of the land.

“The situation in Keppapilavu is indicative of the Sri Lankan government’s misleading campaign and slow progress on releasing lands from military occupation,” the release said.

Keppapilavu became a model resettlement village in 2012, three years after the military victory over the separatist LTTE.

The civil society groups charged that the Sri Lankan Airforce had put up a notice in the area claiming the property belonged to to them and no trespassing would be allowed.

Although the current government has released some of the lands previously held for military purposes, the Tamils complain of slow progress on the releases.

“With the government’s moves towards reforms stalling, there is serous concerns that land returns and demilitarisation core demands of Tamil people – are not moving head sufficiently,” the statement added.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.