SLA says no to IDP resettlement in Vavuniya north

[TamilNet, Thursday, 19 September 2002, 02:42 GMT]
A team comprising government officials, officers of the Sri Lanka Army, officials of Liberation Tigers and civilians Tuesday visited Iranai Illupaikulam and Kalmadu in the Vavuniya district to make an assessment for resettling of internally displaced persons and to recommence paddy cultivation in fields in the region abandoned due to military operations.

Army officers in charge of camps and defence positions in the area told the team it is impossible to resettle the IDPs there especially in Velankulam village as it comes under an SLA high security zone and such resettlement could be possible after a solution is found at the Thailand peace talks.

The team visited these areas following a decision taken at a conference held Saturday at Vavuniya district secretariat presided by the Defence Ministry Secretary Mr. Austin Fernando. At this conference it was decided to allow the IDPs to cultivate their lands one hundred meters away from the defence line of the SLA. However the army officials who are responsible to these areas have told the team that the decision cannot be implemented, as it will be detrimental to the security situation, sources said.

Army officers said they could allow sixty eight displaced families from the Kalmadu village to resettle in their lands and start cultivation and that they can open Kalmadu Unit 1 government Tamil school. However army officers said that they will not leave the library building they now occupy at Kalmadu and only two hundred acres of the four hundred acres of paddy fields in the village can be allowed for cultivation.

They said that IDPs will not be allowed to go to their paddy fields crossing the defence lines of the SLA.

Army officials further said that IDPs could cultivate sixty acres at Chalampankulam and 25 acres at Sinnakulam. Cultivators will not be allowed to take their bicycles beyond a certain point and they should produce their national identity cards before they go to paddy fields in the Kalmadu area. Army officers said they are not in a position to effect any changes under the present circumstance.

The team is to visit Omanthai area Thursday to assess the ground situation there for resettling the IDPs and recommencing paddy cultivation.

The team that visited Iranai Illupaikulam and Kalmadu comprised Vavuniya Divisional Secretary Mr.S. Sathiaseelan, Madhu Divisional Secretary Mr. S. Moraes, Vavuniya district LTTE political head Mr.S. Elilan, Vavuniya LTTE administrative head Mr. Kaanakan, Mannar district LTTE administrative head Mr. Iynkaran, Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation Vavuniya head Mr. Moorthy, All Ceylon Tamil Congress Vavuniya district head Mr.A.K.Senthilnathan and army officers from the Pampaimadu and Iranai Illupaikulam SLA camps .

 

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