Displaced threaten hunger strike
[TamilNet, Monday, 26 September 2005, 10:54 GMT]
More than one hundred Tamil families evicted from their traditional village Gothandar Nochchikulam Vavuniya six years ago by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) have demanded immediate resettlement in their villages and have threatened to go on hunger strike if the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) does not facilitate resettlement in one week. The villagers who met the SLMM in Vavuniya Monday morning pointed out that all 109 families were forcibly evicted and made internally displaced refugees (IDP), by the SLA on 14 November 1999 during a military operation, civil groups said.
IDPs from Gothandar Nochchikulam meet SLMM officials in Vavuniya, 26 September 2005.
Displaced villagers handed over a memorandum to the UNHCR offices in Vavuniya.
After the eviction, the villagers were sheltered at Tharangani Welfare Centre, where even their basic needs were not being provided, they complained, pointing out to untold hardships they are currently undergoing.
The SLA has demarked entire village of Gothandar Nochchikulam, including residential and agricultural fields, located 16 km northwest of Vavuniya, as high security zone. The IDP victims have pleaded with the SLMM to help recover their village where most of their 610 acres of cultivable land lie in ruins and more than 5000 livestock entrapped in the SL army enclosure.
The villagers have pointed out that while they have been striken with poverty and lack basic necessities, the facilities they built developed for generations have now become the property of the Sri Lankan army. The villagers have vowed to start hunger-strike if a resolution is not found within a week.
The SLMM, Vavuniya, has promised to get in touch with the SLA and find an amicable solution at the earliest.
The villagers also handed over a memorandum to the UNHCR offices in Kurmumankadu Monday.