Heard that the people living in the Barnes Place "watta" have been asked to move. They have been given until Wednesday to move, armed guards have reportedly been stationed around the premises.
These people are squatters, the rightful owners being a Muslim family. The property was distributed to the descendents of the original owners and, according to what I have heard, some 24 members have titles to the property.
The property was once a large house and occupied an acre of land, much like the other houses in the area. Only the gateposts of the original grand structure seem to remain.
The squatters are probably the descendents of servants who worked in the house.
The rulers have long been eyeing this property and various attempts have been made in the past to evict the squatters, but they were not pursued with much seriousness. This time it looks like they mean business.
The rightful owners, should be rejoicing but they are probably not, because the last I heard, they were not going to collect a penny.
Meanwhile, the eviction of another group of people, living opposite "Mount Mary" in Dematagoda is ongoing. The residents claim to be rightful owners, the descendents of railway employees who were given the land. They have been asked to move into flats and pay Rs.50,000 each for the priviledge, something that most cannot afford.
Update -10th October
Heard that the squatters were paid some Rs.4m per family to vacate, a fair price in my view. I don't know if the rightful owners got anything; most probably not. In total 25 families lived in the watte.