Muslim refugees plan hunger strike
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 05 May 1999, 08:27 GMT]
Over 200 Muslim refugees living in Love Lane Camp in the eastern district of Trincomalee have unanimously decided to go on hunger strike from May 10, in front of the office of the Divisional Secretary (DS), demanding that the Government authorities provide them with dry rations and other relief.
The refugees say that they have been deprived of government assistance since June last year.
"We have lost all our confidence in you. You have not kept your promise that dry ration facility would be provided to us from January 1999. Therefore, we have now decided to launch a hunger strike from May 10 until our demand is met." the Iqbal Nagar Welfare Society said in an express letter sent yesterday to the Trincomalee Government Agent (GA).
The refugees were displaced from Iqbal Nagar in Nilaveli, north of Trincomalee, during 1995. They have since had to rely on welfare assistance provided by the central government through the Divisional Secretary.
Copies of the letter have been sent to: the President, the Minister for Rehabilitation and Reconstruction, the Commissioner of Essential Services, Mr.N.A.Majeed, Member of Parliament, Trincomalee district, Divisional Secretary, Senior Superintendent of Police, Commanding Officer, Sri Lanka Army in Nilaveli, Trincomalee Military Co-ordinating Authority, UNHCR and ICRC.
Meanwhile 50 Sinhala boys and girls from the southern districts of Galle and Matara are scheduled to visit two predominant Tamil villages, Killiveddy and Thanganagar, in the Muttur area on a one-week goodwill visit.
The visit is part of a North-South youth exchange programme organised by the National Youth Services Council and the Ministry of Integration and Ethnic Affairs.
The group would arrive on May 8 in Trincomalee, and would be accorded a reception at the Killiveddy Maha Vidyalayam that evening by the people of Killiveddy.
The youths will be accommodated by the Tamil and Muslim residents of Killiveddy until they leave on May 14, National Youth Services Council sources said.
During their one-week stay the youths will participate in welfare
programmes, sports activities, educational seminars and cultural programmes with Tamil and Muslim youths.