'Rishad Bathiudeen Is Involved In Wilpattu Deforestation': JVP

JVP Western Province Council member K.D. Lalkantha said that there was a politically motivated program in Wilpattu deforestation and Minister Rishad Bathiudeen is involved in it.

Speaking at a media briefing on Tuesday, he called for a CID investigation on the deforestation at Wilpattu national park.

Lalkantha said that although government officers including the Mannar District Secretary repeatedly said that the lands were handed over legally, there were serious questions on the process. He added that Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and the officials are behind this. Furthermore, JVP called for a CID investigation on Mannar District Secretary.

Meanwhile, Lalkantha also called for an Environmental Crimes Investigation Division to probe incidents of environmental destruction.

The controversy broke out when media reports alleged that there was illegal forest clearing and settlement of people taking place within the Sanctuary. Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was alleged to be responsible for the illegal project.

On Sunday, President Maithripala Sirisena ordered the immediate halt of all deforestation activities in the Wilpattu national park.

Speaking to Asian Mirror recently, Environmentalist Sajeewa Chamikara said that the minister should take responsibility for what had taken place in Wilpattu.

However, the Minister recently called a press conference and refuted allegations against him. He offered to resign if he is proven to have resettled people in Wilpattu.

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