Protesting Muslims cook on highway in Maruthamunai

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 March 2005, 14:26 GMT]
Thousands Muslims who lost their homes when the Tsunami hit Maruthamunai, 35 kilometres south of Batticaloa, blocked the main highway to Kalmunai Tuesday protesting against the Government of Sri Lanka for not helping them rebuild their houses. Entire coastal suburbs of this densely populated Muslim town were flattened by the surging sea. The protestors erected tents and cooked on the road. Only the JVP and three Islamic groups had put up some temporary shelters for them, the protestors said. Streets were deserted and the usually busy town was shut down.

Cooking on the Kalmunai-Batticaloa highway. Placard reads: "Ministers, give us houses, not metal plates for cookingprotestors in a tent on the Batticaloa-Kalmunai highway
Mr. IbrahimBatticaloa TNA MP Mr. Jeyanandamoorthy speaking to the protestors

United National Party MP for Amparai, Mr. Myown Mustapha and Tamil National Alliance MPs for Batticaloa, Mr. Senathirajah Jeyanandamoorthy and Mr. Pakkiyaselvam Ariyanethiran took part in the protest and addressed crowds.

"Has the government decided to leave us permanently homeless? Our ministers have lined their pockets and abandoned us", said Mr. M.L.A Naseer, a young organizer of the protest.

"This our fourth protest. But the Sri Lankan government is unmoved. The JVP came here in its private capacity and spent its own party funds to clean up the debris and build us temporary shelters. They did not come here as part of the government. But our ungrateful, self serving Muslim ministers are absconding. We are determined to fight on until we have a response from the government", Mr. M.S.M Ibrahim, a fish trader who lost his home to the sea, told TamilNet.

"There are nine in my family. We are living in a store now which was given by a friend who took pity on me. But very soon I will have to leave or pay a high rent which I cannot afford", Mr. Ibrahim lamented.

The store by the highway where Mr. Ibrahim's family is currently sheltered
A JVP banner in Maruthamunai Placard reads: "In Galle and Hambantota, luxury houses..Why in Amparai only tents?"


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