Indian Envoy's help sought in resettling displaced civilians
[TamilNet, Friday, 26 January 2007, 09:25 GMT]
A delegation of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarians met the Indian High Commissioner for Sri Lanka Alok Prasad and his deputy Manickam in Colombo at 10:00 am Thursday morning at the official residence of the envoy and appealed to him for help in resettling the recently displaced Tamil civilians in East, TNA sources in Colombo said,
The delegation participating in the 45 minutes long meeting was headed by R.Sampanthan, leader of the parliamentary group of TNA and member of parliament for Trincomalle District. The other members of the delegation included Jaffna district MPs Mavai Senathirajah, Suresh Premachandran and Tricomalle district parliamentarian M.P.Thurairatnasingham.
The TNA delegation told Mr Prasad that immediate action is necessary to resettle the more than 70,000 Tamils displaced in certain parts of the eastern province during the recent military activity and India’s assistance is required to get this implemented.
TNA delegation further told the Indian High Commissioner reliable sources indicate that the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) is taking steps to settle Sinhalese civilians in the areas such as Sampoor, Vaharai, Verugal, Kathiraveli and Mutur East deserted by Tamils. Hence, resettling the displaced civilians in their original areas of residence has become critical to the Tamil people in the East.
TNA delegation added: "GOSL is taking steps to drastically reduce the percentage of Tamils in the Eastern province by colonizing these vacated areas with Sinhala civilians. Simultaneously plans are afoot to settle the Tamils displaced from these areas and certain other parts of East in some other areas of the province. This is a dangerous move .The Tamils should be resettled in the same areas where they lived previous to the displacement and in this context we seek India’s assistance. India should exert pressure upon the GOSL to prevent the displaced Tamils being settled in places other than their original areas of residence. More than 70,000 civilians were displaced during the recent hostilities and this number may increase in the near future and India should pay attention regarding this situation.
"The belongings including furniture from the houses vacated by the fleeing Tamil civilians have been stolen. The windows, doors and roofing tiles have been removed from the abandoned residences and transported in Lorries and trucks. Such activities by SLA troops clearly indicate that the government has an agenda for recolonizing the captured areas. The civilians of these areas have become very concerned by such activities.
"Moreover, a great humanitarian crisis has developed in the welfare centers where the displaced civilians are accommodated. There are inadequate sanitation facilities. The students are unable to continue their studies. Already more than twenty schools have been closed down in Sampoor and Mutur East. Many youths from these welfare centers are being arrested by SLA and some of these youths have eventually disappeared without any trace.
"The war must stop. These areas have been captured while the ceasefire agreement (CFA) is still in place. The recent developments have seriously hampered the efforts to restart the talks. As such the government of India should exert pressure to create a healthy situation. In order to facilitate this, an immediate solution must be found for the humanitarian problems faced by the Tamils in North and East," Mr Sampanthan said.
The High Commissioner responding to the delegation said that India was closely watching the unfolding crisis and added that India has been exerting pressure on the GOSL and is also concerned about the resettlement of the civilians.