Naalir Jamaldeen, in the Sunday Observer,, 25 July 2015
The Resettlement of Northern Muslim IDPs still remains unresolved. Many factors were attributed for the present status. Several challenges have hindered their resettlement. There was no substantial plan from the Government for their resettlement, a significant part of the land that belonged to Northern Muslims were taken away by the LTTE and given to Tamils during the conflict period and the housing assistance given to the displaced was inefficient, Northern Province Majlish Shoora President S.H.M. Mubarak Moulavi told the Sunday Observer.
The Northern Muslims have the right to come and live in the places from where they have been displaced. Increase in population may also be a cause which hindered their resettlement.
During the last 25 years, one family has become at least three. There may be lot of sibling disputes regarding ownership. Water and sewerage systems should be modernized before any resettlement and multi- storied apartments could be a solution, Mubarak Moulavi said.
Twenty five years have lapsed since the forcible eviction of the Northern Muslims by the LTTE in 1990, overnight from their homes and traditional habitats and they have been living scattered in many places in the South. They mostly live in Puttalam, Kurunegala, some parts of Colombo Kalutara with a large majority of them not having their proper homes, regular professions to eke out a living or hopes of any future, All Ceylon Makkal Congress Secretary General, Y.L.S Hameed said.
During the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime they were categorised as ‘previously displaced persons’ and no meaningful steps were taken to resettle them in their own places, Hameed said adding that they received step-motherly treatment and were not given priority in resettlement although they deserved it.
Some of those who managed to resettle in their own places have not been extended any relief or rehabilitation assistance and they are suffering. The problems of these families must be taken into consideration for providing relief and rehabilitation assistance, he said. The displaced Northern Muslims have the same right like other communities and this should be considered he said.
Besides, Mubarak Moulavi said that a Presidential Committee must be set up to discuss the resettlement issues of the displaced Northern Muslims. Such a committee is also crucial to address the problems of the Sinhala people who lived in the Northern province before the emergence of terrorism. Affected Sinhala people’s problem should also be addressed in line with that of the displaced Muslims.
Since the displacement we asked the Governments which came to power to set up a presidential committee to address this issue, our request still remains unfulfilled.
Mubarak Moulavi said that 12,500 persons have been resettled in Mannar, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Jaffna districts so far.
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