Nagarkovil IDPs oppose relocation, demand resettlement

[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 September 2003, 00:05 GMT]
Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Nagarkovil in Vadamaradchi east in the Jaffna district, who were displaced during the 1999 military operation by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and are now living in a refugee camp close to the St.Lourdes Church in Point Pedro, are opposing the move by the Sri Lankan government to relocate them at a place called Punitha Nagar instead of resettling them in their own village, civil groups said Wednesday.

The land where the 48 IDPs of Nagarkovil have sought shelter close to the Point Pedro Church belongs to a civilian and he now wants the IDPs to vacate the land, sources said.

The government agent has now taken steps to relocate the 48 IDPs at Punitha Nagar area, which is close to the Vallipuram area in the Vadamaradchi division. As the selected site for relocation is not suitable for human habitation, the IDPs are agitating that they should be resettled in their own village, Nagarkovil, instead of relocating them in Punitha Nagar where mines are buried, sources said.

Furthermore, the IDPs said as their main profession is fishing they would lose their livelihood if they were relocated at the new site, which has no basic facilities such as drinking water, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the IDPs complain that government officials are exerting pressure on them to agree for the relocation or they will lose their dry rations now being provided, sources said.

The Nagarkovil IDPs Wednesday handed over a memorandum to the Jaffna regional office of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, seeking the HRC's intervention in this regard.


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