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Jaffna voices grief at Indian PM's cosmetic visit

[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 March 2015, 13:19 GMT]
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to North ended up as a ceremonial tour on Saturday. The uprooted people, who were promised resettlement, just one day ahead of his visit to Jaffna, complained that the occupying Sri Lankan military was robbing even the remaining roofs of their houses till the last minute. The families of the victims of enforced disappearances, who marched from Jaffna Bus Stand to the office of the Consulate General of India at Nalloor, were disappointed to learn that Mr Modi was visiting the North-East after advising the TNA Parliamentary Group in Colombo to ‘re-strategize’ its approach and maintain ‘patience’ with regards to what it expects from the new regime in Colombo. They urged the Indian PM to exert pressure on Colombo to act without further delay.

Indian PM giving green signal to railway service from Thalai-mannaar on Saturday
Indian PM giving green signal to railway service from Thalai-mannaar on Saturday
Mr Narendra Modi
Mr Narendra Modi handing over houses to war-affected victims. 38,000 of 50,000 of houses promised four years ago are yet to be completed.
Mr Narendra Modi and Mr C.V. Wigneswaran at the  foundation stone laying ceremony for Jaffna Cultura
Mr Narendra Modi and Mr C.V. Wigneswaran at the foundation stone laying ceremony for Jaffna Cultural Centre at the Jaffna Public Library
Mr Narendra Modi visits NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran
Mr Narendra Modi visits NPC Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran
The protesting people and the organisers of the demonstration in Jaffna said they welcomed the Indian PM, but urged him to exert pressure on the Sri Lankan government to deliver immediate resettlement, to resolve the cases of enforced disappearances without any further delay and to deliver political justice through proper negotiations at international level. The protesting mothers said they had no trust in domestic exercises of Colombo. “The regime in Colombo is almost the same. Only the faces have changed,” a protesting mother said.

The organisers of the demonstration said that the new regime has failed to demonstrate its will to deliver any tangible result and that the victims have already lost their ‘patience’.

“The Indian PM should take a victim-centric approach. That is why we are gathered in front of the Indian mission at Nalloor,” one of the organisers told TamilNet.

The SL State should be told by the visiting Indian PM in clear terms that Colombo should release those detained in the secret detention camps without delay and to clarify the status of those who were handed over at the end of the war in Vanni, they said. The status of those surrendered, those who were filtered away from the people in the barbed-wire camps and those abducted by the white-van squads run by the SL military in the past are still believed to be held in secret detention camps, they said.

Likewise, the Indian PM should also take immediate steps to resolve the dispute caused by Indian poaching in the territorial waters in the North.

On Friday, around 270 people belonging to 78 families were allowed access to their houses in Vazhalaay in Koappaay division of Valikaamam East.

But, the people were all disappointed to see their village as a jungle subjected complete destruction.

The SL military soldiers have been dismantling the roofs and other materials from the remaining houses and structures till the last minute before allowing the people to access their village, those who visited the village said.

In the meantime, there was not a single word of regret from the Indian PM on the atrocities committed by the Indian forces on the soil of Eezham Tamils, between 1987 and 1990.

Memorial for people slain by IPKF
The memorial site of Tamil victims massacred by the IPKF at Kokkuvil in Jaffna was destroyed by the occupying Sri Lankan military in 2007. The people of Kokkuvil complain that the SL military doesn't allow them to reconstruct the memorial.

While Mr Narendra Modi was keen to pay tribute to the fallen 2,000 Indian soldiers in the war between the IPKF and the LTTE, the people of Kokkuvil in Jaffna complained that they have not been allowed to remember the innocent Tamil victims, who were deliberately crushed and killed by the IPKF tanks at Kokkuvil in 1987.

Suresh Premachandran, the TNA spokesman and the leader of the EPRLF (Suresh-wing), said the Indian PM was urging patience till the next elections at the Colombo meeting. The Indian PM, who was advocating patience on the Tamil side also questioned the TNA Parliamentary Group whether the Tamil people were trusting India or not. The TNA responded by stating that Tamils were having faith in New Delhi.

The TNA delegation has pointed out the importance of the merged North-East as the traditional homeland of the Tamil speaking people, Mr Premachandran told media.

On Saturday, the visiting Indian PM met the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister Justice C.V. Wigneswaran. The NPC CM accompanied the visiting Indian PM Mr Narendra Modi at the opening ceremony of the cultural hall at the Public Library in Jaffna.

In the meantime, Mr Sahadevan, waging a fasting campaign outside the Jaffna Public Library claiming that he was representing the demands of the war-affected people, was forcefully removed from the locality before the opening ceremony, news sources in Jaffna said.

Sri Lankan and Indian military officers were collaborating on the tight security arrangements in Jaffna.

Local journalists were largely ignored. Only a limited number of them belonging to newspapers were allowed to cover the events while a large number of journalists from Colombo and India were given unhindered access for their orchestrated coverage of Modi's visit to Jaffna.



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