Jaffna IDPs reject alternate land proposal by Supreme Court

[TamilNet, Friday, 25 March 2005, 19:09 GMT]
The Consortium of Welfare Centres for Internally Displaced Persons in Jaffna District Friday said that it would not accept alternate lands for their own lands now occupied by the government forces and declared as high security zones in the district. The Consortium said this in response to a report that the Supreme Court has queried the Jaffna Government Agent whether he could find alternate lands for the IDPs as their lands and houses are located within the HSZ and occupied by the State armed forces in the district, sources said.

IDP families displaced from HSZ in Valigamam North division
The SC made the decision to query the Government Agent about alternate lands to IDPs when the fundamental rights applications of Mr.Mavai Senathirajah, Jaffna District Parliamentarian and another farmer of the Tellipalai division were taken up for inquiry last week, legal sources said.

The petitioners stated in their FR cases that the government has violated their fundamental rights as they are prevented from entering their own lands and houses, which are located within the HSZ. The State Counsel told court that the security forces need the lands within the HSZ to ensure their security and military installations, legal sources said.

Consortium sources said that the security forces have occupied agricultural lands in the Valigamam North Division. These lands provided their livelihood before being occupied by government troops. Hundreds of acres of paddy lands are occupied by the government troops in the name of HSZ. Under these circumstances the proposal of the Supreme Court to find alternate lands to IDP families would not be accepted as a practicable one.

"We need lands that we have cultivated for several decades. We are not prepared to talk about the alternate land proposal with anyone. We are living in welfare centres for several years not to get alternate lands but to go back to our own lands," said a Consortium official.

Lands found outside the Jaffna peninsula are not suitable for agricultural purpose. We need land to earn for our livelihood and survival. This should be borne in the minds of those who have suggested alternate land proposal, Consortium sources said.

IDP families of Nagarkovil who are resettled in alternate lands close to Point Pedro-Punitha Nagar area are undergoing severe hardships without basic facilities in their settlements, sources said.

The Consortium would oppose the alternate land proposal to IDP families displaced from their own agricultural lands and houses now located within the HSZ, consortium sources said.


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