SLA blocks resettlement in Valikaamam HSZ

[TamilNet, Sunday, 03 August 2008, 01:45 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) in Jaffna has refused to allow resettlement in areas inside the High Security Zone (HSZ), but has given permission to Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to settle in the no-man's area adjoining the Front Defence Line (FDL) area in Valikaamam north, sources in Jaffna said.

No mans land extends to nearly 600 meters from the SLA FDLs.

Initially SLA had not permitted IDPs to resettle in areas declared no-mans-land which included villages of Pannaalai, Illavaalai, Thurkkaapuram, Kadduvan, and Vasaavi’laan in Valikaamam north.

Authorities have now decided to resettle IDPs in the partial area Pannalai that falls outside the HSZ into the no-mans-land, during the first stage of resettlement of IDPs in Valikaamam north.

SLA officials and Valikaamam north Divisional Secretariat authorities are working out procedures to practically carryout the resettlement, according to civil society sources.

Only the applicants who possess land in the said no-man’s-land are to be resettled, as per decisions made by the authorities.

SLA officers and local officials have been called for a meeting Monday at Valikaamam north Divisional Secretariat in Thellippa’lai to explore into this matter.

Some areas of Koapaay and Uduvil Divisional Secretariats too fall within no-man’s-land, and the IDPs in these areas have sought assistance of the respective Village Officers.

A report is to be submitted to the high profile committee appointed by Colombo Supreme Court on persons identified as eligible among the IDPs who had applied to resettle in Valikaamam north, on 23 August.

The committee, headed by Jaffna High Court Judge R. T. Vicknarajah and consisting of Government Agent (GA), K. Ganesh, Jaffna SLA Commander, Major Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri, Rear Admiral T. Samarasinghe, Commander Northern naval area and Jaffna Deputy Inspector General of Police, W. S. U. Fernando, will study this report.

This committee met last Monday at Palaali SLA head quarters and decided to take steps to resettle the IDPs in places which are not at present occupied by SLA.

Following the Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) in 2002 between the SLA and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), a meeting was held between the two parties in Mukamaalai no-man’s-land in Thenmaraadchi and the LTTE had requested the SLA to allow IDPs to resettle in Mukamaalai no-man’s-land initially, on mutual goodwill.

Present SLA commander, Maj. Gen. Sarath Fonseka, who was the Commander of Jaffna then, had rejected the request.

IDPs attempting to resettle in their homes in the no-man’s-land in Mukamaalai were intimidated and chased away by SLA soldiers.

With war breaking again between the SLA and LTTE in August 2006 all residents moved out of the above area.



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