TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran on foot to visit families in newly released areas …… Dual Appeal – Release – funds and unreleased land
TNA MP M.A Sumanthiran visited families in the recently cleared areas in Velikamam North which is in the periphery of the high security zone. Families who fled this area 20 years ago return to find that they are in the middle of a jungle with no access and irregular water supply. Families are seen returning to places which were their homes to find roofs gone and walls unstable. As living is not a possibility in the present situation they are seen returning to their homes and cooking just to take procession of what is their own.
Although local government officials are striving to do everything within their means their efforts are like a drop in the ocean due to the lack of funds. In addition to the same villages in the areas which have been released areas have houses occupied by the military. He appeals to the government to urgently release funds so that families could return to their homes and live normal lives. He further went on to reiterate the need for the government to expedite the release of a large area of land which is still awaiting release……. Tamil National Alliance ………
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Editor’s NOTE: Since Sumanthiran referred to “twenty years ago” in his three-minute video presentation one can surmise that these areas are probably in the expanded HSZ around Palaly airport — some carved out after the SL Army broke out and captured the western two thirds of the Jaffna Peninsula in late 1995. It would have been as helpful as meaningful if the presentation indicated which parts of the country he has toured and if a map or set of maps was presented. One requires specificity in all these ethnographic tales.
NOTA BENE: Much earlier some elements in the Government of Sri Lanka failed to comprehend the difficulties of resettlement of the post War IDPs. Such a task amounted to a massive problem in localities (whether large or small in extent) that had been left mostly unoccupied by cultivators/residents for a period of time – what with the progress of the ‘jungle tide’ and in some instances the presence of mines and/or unexploded ordinance. I am in full agreement with Narendran Rajasingham for his criticism of GSL for proclaiming their intention fo re-settling the pool of 280,000 or so IDPs in the detention centres Manik Farm and elsewhere. When both President Rajapaksa and Minister Rishad Badiudeen asserted publicly that they would settle the detainees in their home areas within six months they were shooting their mouth off and in fact undermining the long-run credibility of the government. This has been the bane of Sri Lanka: politicians lawyers and middle class NGO/INGO personnel nourished in urban drawing room settings who have no experience of the pragmatics of welfare delivery and the organisation of people-in-devastated lands presenting evaluations that are from never-never land. Good intentions must be bracketed with pragmatic goals.
ALSO SEE Michael Roberts: “IDP Camps 2009-Humanitarian Work in the Midst of Propaganda,” http://www.scribd.com/doc/202053396/IDP-Camps-2009-Humanitarian-Work-in-Midst-of-Propaganda-War-by-Dr-Michael-Roberts