Tamil refugees returned from India languish for seven years along border village of Vavuniyaa

[TamilNet, Sunday, 13 January 2019, 19:13 GMT]
Thirty-seven Tamil families that have returned from the refugee camps in Tamil Nadu in India to their native village of Maruthoadai of Naavaladi in Vavuniyaa North after three-decades of exile are struggling without gaining access to their lands located along the border of Northern Province in Vavuniyaa North. The SL Forest Department is not allowing the people to set foot into their properties at Maruthoadai since 2010 when it gazetted their village as a forest conservation area. The intention is to block resettlement of Eezham Tamils and absorb the village into the expanding Sinhala colonisation programme, the uprooted families complain. They urge human right groups as well as the community organisations of Tamils to focus on their plight.

A systematic colonisation is being advanced from Padaviya in the Anuradhapura district, and the recently colonised Ma'nal-aa'ru (Sinhalicised into Weli-oya) with the backing of foreign 'development' channelled through the ministries of the occupying unitary state in Colombo.

The uprooted Tamils, most of whom displaced in 1983 following SL State-sponsored anti-Tamil pogrom, started to return in 2011.

However, the SL Forest Department had silently declared the area, which had outgrown trees due to three decades of abandonment, as a forest conservation area already in 2010.

When the people started to make claims to their properties, the SL Forest Department said it had declared the area according to the procedures, and no one had initially objected to the notices issued during the process.

In 2010, the people were still living as refugees in India. They were not there to file any objection. The occupying military was also not allowing the few internally displaced people to inspect the village at that time.

The people are now living in temporary huts put up along the road without any infrastructure or livelihood assistance, and they have to protect themselves from snakes to wild elephants.

In the meantime, the SL State is providing all infrastructure and protection to the encroaching Sinhala settlers in the border areas.


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