Ponnalai IDPs picket demanding resettlement

[TamilNet, Monday, 30 December 2002, 17:04 GMT]
Several hundred internally displaced people from Ponnalai in Jaffna district Monday launched a protest campaign picketing in front of the office of the Chankanai Divisional Secretariat (DS), demanding that they should be allowed to resettle in their lands, sources said.

Ponnalai is inside the high security zone (HSZ) of the Sri Lanka Navy, which has its headquarters in Karainagar. However, the village comes under the civil administration of the Chankanai division, sources said

Protestors were seen holding placards demanding that they should be allowed to resettle in their lands, requesting the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission to show sympathy towards IDPs and appealing to Tamil politicians not to postpone the issue of resettlement any further without a solution, the sources said.

The administration of the Chankanai DS came to a standstill Monday when the protestors blocked the main entrance preventing employees from entering the office. The main entrance of the office was seen locked, the sources said.

A spokesman of the protestors said they would continue their campaign till their demand is met. Presently about one hundred families live in the village. However, the security forces refuse to allow around three hundred families who were displaced in 1990 return and resettle in their areas, he said.

Meanwhile, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has allowed the re-opening of the Vasavilan Maha Vidyalayam in the high security zone (HSZ) adjacent to Palaly airbase where the SLA headquarters is located. This decision by the SLA at a time when the security establishment decided not to allow resettlement in the high security zone has created suspicion among the population in the area, sources said.

Several internally displaced families returned to their lands in Punnalaikadduvan village in Valigamam North division after the signing of the Cease-fire Agreement. However, the SLA ousted all the resettled IDPs from the village stating that the area comes under the HSZ.

 

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