SLA rejects IDP's resettlement in Jaffna HSZ
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 September 2003, 04:20 GMT]
A conference held Sunday in Jaffna between the Sri Lanka Army, representatives of the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies in Jaffna (CHA-J) and some peoples' organizations ended without reaching a consensus on the question of resettlement of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in their lands that come under the high security zones (HSZ) in the peninsula, civil sources said.
The conference was held at the base of the Jaffna 512 Brigade of the Sri Lanka Army, which is located at the Gnanams Hotel in Jaffna. The regional commander of the SLA in Jaffna, Major General Sarath Fonseka, along with Jaffna's Deputy Inspector General of Police and other key security officials based in the peninsula attended.
The Bishop of Jaffna, Rt. Rev.Thomas Soundaranayagam, and several representatives of the CHA-J and organizations represented the civil society, sources said.
The discussion that commenced at about ten in the morning continued for about three hours, and focused on the question of resettling the IDPs in the lands that now fall within the high security zones and the outside border of
these zones. The problems confronting the IDPs in leading their normal lives even after the signing of the ceasefire agreement were a major focus, civil sources said.
However, the SLA authorities did not agree to any suggestion made by the civil society representatives to enable the resettlement of IDPs without any further delay, sources said
But the SLA agreed to look into some suggestions made at the conference by civil representatives. One was to remove daily body checks of students and other restrictions who attend classes at the Tellipalai Union College, which comes under the HSZ, civil sources said.
Major General Sarath Fonseka agreed to allow devotees to attend Sunday prayers at the church of the South Indian Church Diocese which is located close to the forward defense line of the Valigamam north HSZ, sources said.
Meanwhile, the SLA agreed to allow fishermen to use their boats without fixing outboard motors to fish in Kachchai Sea in the Thenmaradchi division.
Currently fishermen of the area cast their nets by walking into the sea for some distance because of the ban on using boats with or without outboard motors by the SLA, fisheries representatives said.
The SLA officials rejected outright some suggestions made by civil society representatives to resettle IDPS in selected sites in the HSZ zones, civil sources said.
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