SLA strips bare houses in Vaharai, Sampoor - MP

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 February 2007, 15:45 GMT]
Batticaloa District Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian S. Jeyanandamoorthy charged Saturday that Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers are dismantling civilians homes and stripping them of furniture and equipments in the recently captured Vaharai area. The internally displaced people (IDPs) who fled Vaharai before the SLA entered the area, have been prevented from entering the area by the soldiers guarding the entry points, the parliamentarian said. Meanwhile, the refugees from Sampoor had complained that the roofs of their houses have also been removed by the SLA.

The refugees from Vaharai fear that they will be forced to live as IDPs as the SLA was demanding the IDPs to register their details and acquire special identity cards for those who are above the age of 10, the MP said.

The IDPs from Vaharai who had settled in various IDP camps in Batticaloa district, preferred to resettle in Vaharai and Kathiraveli as early as possible, rather than being forced to live in temporary camps, Mr. S. Jeyanandamoorthy said.

The refugees have demanded the parliamentarians to inspect their houses and properties by undertaking a fact finding visit to Sampoor and Vaharai.

The Batticaloa district parliamentarian dismissed the SLA claim that there were landmines in Vaharai and Kathiraveli.

"40 000 civilians were staying in this area until a few days ago. The people are only asking to let them visit the houses they fled a few hours before the SLA entered Vaharai.

"If there are any landmines, these were to be found in border areas, not in civilian populated areas," the MP said.

While the Sri Lankan government in Colombo maintains that it will resettle Tamils back in Vaharai, there was no indication on the ground that this would take place, the IDPs have complained to TNA parliamentarians.

 

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