January 10, 2017 04:50 pm
Minister of Industry and Commerce Rishad Bathiudeen says that the allegations leveled against him regarding deforestation in the Wilpattu National Park are outright lies.
He said that when those areas were gazette as traditional lands of protected areas in 2012, these people were staying in IDP camps in the Puttalam area and that when they back after 22 years, the government had already taken over those lands.
Therefore the takeover of these lands was not legal and the traditional occupants have faced an injustice, the leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) said, in an interview with Derana 360°.
However, when inquired as to why nobody has proceeded with legal action with regard to this, the minister said that even he was not aware of this fact.
Bathiudeen stated that this problematic situation arose due to even the people in the area being unaware that their lands have been taken over by the government.
The minister also ejected as “baseless” the reports that one of his brothers has been arrested in connection with a gold racket.
Bathiudeen said that he has only two brothers and that while one of them is a businessman the other is a provincial council member. He emphasized that none of them have any charges against them.