Locals’ claim to school playground breeds disharmony, Authorities silent

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A secondary high school in Kurunegala is on the verge of losing its only playground, following a dispute with the locals who claim it is a public playground.

Mummana Muslim Maha Vidyalaya in Dampedeniya, was gifted 1 acre and 7 perches of land by a well-wisher, 40 years ago, for the school’s use. Since then, the school has been using this land to hold sports meets, school functions and other extracurricular activities by the students.

The Lands Department published a special land acquisition notice in 1978, stating this particular land has been acquired for Educational purposes, followed by a similar gazette notification in 1982.

The School authorities allege that a youth group is spreading false claims among the residents of the area, because the School administration rejected their request to hold a musical event in the night, during the Sinhala-Tamil New Year celebrations.

At least 250 students studying from Grade 1 to Ordinary Level, find it difficult to pursue their extracurricular activities while the quarrel for ownership continues. Though the police and relevant departments were notified of the issue, there has been no lasting solution reached to resolve it.

An old boy of the school, Mohamed Nafeer, presently working as a software engineer, alarmed that certain individuals in the area were trying to portray this as a communal conflict for their own benefit, urged the authorities to take a early action.

“We went to the police, relevant departments and even the political parties to find a solution for this issue. I believe they too understand the issue, but are not willing to see hard truth behind this hatred against a community,” Mr Nafeer told the Timesonline.

He said that, if this issue is not resolved as soon as possible, it would lead to more divisions within the society, as some elements want it to happen, to disrupt the ethnic and religious harmony prevailing in the area.

http://www.sundaytimes.lk/article/1006917/locals-claim-to-schools-playground-breeds-disharmony-authorities-silent

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