IDPs skeptical of resettlement in SLA HSZ in Valikaamam

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 29 July 2008, 17:24 GMT]
The decision taken by authorities, to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the High Security Zones (HSZs) of Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Valikaamam north, in the high level meeting held Monday at Palaali SLA head quarters is unlikely to succeed, IDP Welfare society persons said. The committee, appointed by Colombo Supreme Court to explore resettling IDPs in the HSZs of Jaffna peninsula, which met Monday at Palaali SLA head quarters, decided to take steps to resettle at least some of the IDPs in places which are not at present occupied by SLA.

Only 300 families of the 19,000 families displaced from Valikaamam north 18 year ago can be resettled in places where SLA has agreed to resettlement in its HSZ.

Less than 6,000 IDP families had applied for permission to resettle but only 3,000 families of them were able to submit the deeds and other documents proving the ownership called for by Jaffna Secretariat.

The SLA in Jaffna is very particular in fortifying its Front Defence Line (FDL) positions to prevent Deep Penetration Unit (DPU) attacks and is not favourable for resettlement in its HSZ areas enclosing Kaangkeasanththu’rai (KKS) Naval Base and Palaali Military Air Base.

Hence, SLA has consented to resettlement of IDPs only in places like Kollankaladdi, Pannaalai and certain areas in Thellippa’lai on the western flank of Jaffna-KKS road in Valikaamam north which can accommodate only around 250 to 300 families, IDP Welfare Societies said.

Even if these IDP families are resettled they will be subjected to rigorous checking and restriction each time they enter and leave the HSZ areas in Valikaamam north which would discourage the families to consent to be resettled, they added.

More than 19,000 families internally displaced 18 years ago due to SLA offensives on Jaffna peninsula continue to live in temporary refugee camps and with relatives.

Jaffna peninsula residents, already experiencing SLA restrictions in many spheres of their lives with the specter of a war looming over them, are skeptical of the measures taken by authorities to resettle IDPs in SLA HSZs, the sources further said.


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