Vanni MPs slam SLA for blocking resettlement
[TamilNet, Friday, 20 September 2002, 22:54 GMT]
"If Mannar and Vavuniya districts are to be developed the Sri Lanka
armed forces have to vacate our homes, and agricultural lands. We are
not asking for houses or buildings in Anuradhapura and Madawachchiya. We
are only asking permission to go back to our homes, to the
lands of our forefathers," said the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Vanni
district parliamentarian Mr.Sivasakthi Anandan addressing a conference held
Friday at the Mannar district secretariat on resettlement.
He charged that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) was not co-operating to restore
peace and normalcy in Mannar and Vavuniya.
"I visited Kothandanochchikulam village, south of Vavuniya
yesterday along with people displaced from the area. We were stopped on the
way by Colonel Manamaduwa of SLA, who is in charge of the area.
He told us that as long as he was in charge of that place no villagers can
resettle. "I wont give permission even if the Defence Secretary asks me to
You tell Mr. Austin Fernando that he will have to transfer me out of this
area if you want to resettle anyone here," the SLA colonel was quoted as
saying, according to the MP.
Mr.Sivasakthi Anandan further said during the discussions with the Defence
Ministry Secretary on September 14, it was agreed that people who were
from Kothandanochchikulam can resettle and start cultivation. "Mr. Austin
Fernando asked the Vanni MPs to visit the area and assess the resettlement
situation in that village and the surrounding areas," the MP said.
TNA Vanni district parliamentarian Mr.Raja Kuhaneswaran said, "the
instructions of the Defence Ministry Secretary on resettlement have not
been carried out. He has not delivered anything on the promises that he
made in Vavuniya on September 14. This conference is a sham."
A former United National Party (UNP) candidate and a community leader from
the village Nagathalvu, Mr.Sinnathamby Ponniah said, "the people of my
village and I owned hundreds of acres of rice fields twelve years ago.
Today I am struggling even for a kilo of rice."
"The Mannar district secretariat looks like a military fortress today.
Why should the armed forces continue to occupy the district secretariat
after so many months of peace and ceasefire? The district secretariat
is meant for the people," Mr. Ponniah said.
"There are electrical fences along police defences on the
Mannar-Madawachchiya road even now. Why do we need this now?" Mr. Ponniah
The conference was attended by the Mannar Government Agent
Mr.V.Visuvalingam, TNA parliamentarians Messrs Sivasakthi Ananthan, Deputy
head of political division of the Liberation Tigers for the Mannar district
Mr.M.Arunothiam, two officials of the LTTE administration Mr.S. Iynkaran
and Mr.A.Joseph, the Commander of the SLA's 21-2 and 21-5 Brigades in
Mannar, the Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr.J.K.N.Nanayakara, Mr.
Henry Gerangson, head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Mannar,
Divisional Secretaries for Mannar, Manthai West, Nanattan, Madhu and Musali
and the President of Federation of Fisheries Co-operative Societies and
other officials and community leaders.