Allaippiddi IDPs reluctant to return despite concessions

[TamilNet, Monday, 10 March 2008, 16:11 GMT]
Sri Lanka government (GoSL) and Jaffna Government Agent (GA) are making efforts to resettle Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) from Allaippiddi, displaced due to Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) offensives in August 2006, offering benefits and concessions with the help of International and local Non-government organizations, Jaffna Secretariat sources said. But 90% of the IDP fishing families are reluctant to return because fishing, their main means of living, is banned by SLN and the danger from land mines near civilian settlements have not been fully eliminated, IDP related welfare organization sources said.

GA Jaffna convened a meeting Monday in Jaffna Secretariat to consider the issues related to the resettlement of Allaippiddi IDPs.

The fishing families in Allaippiddi fled their homes in May 2006 seeking safety in Jaffna, after 13 including 8 in a family, were allegedly massacred by SLN and its paramilitaries.

Great efforts were taken to resettle them in Allaipiddi but when hundreds of Allaippiidi residents were killed in Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Multi Barrel fire in August 2006 they again had fled to Jaffna.

These IDPs are located in camps in areas close to ONR Church and Naavaanththu’rai church but nearly 70% of them are staying with their relatives.

The SLN ban on fishing in Allaipiddi seas has not been lifted and the village is yet to be demined as SLN has not permitted Danish Demining Organization to remove the mines planted in the area.

Only one or two families among those staying in the IDP camps are willing to return while the others remain skeptical of the concessions offered by GoSL, officers running the IDP camps said.

The IDPs will consider resettlement if the authorities guarantee facilities to resume fishing in their seas but they seem not to consider their request at all, the sources said.

An alternative means of livelihood in place of fishing has not been taken into account by the authorities who are trying hard to get the IDPs resettled, they added.

The IDPs will not think of returning to Allaipiddi in the absence of assurances on matters of security and resumption of fishing from the government, they further said.

The Jaffna GA is under pressure from higher government authorities and EPDP paramilitary leader and Sri Lankan Minister, Douglas Devananda, to convince IDPs to return, sources close to Jaffna Secretariat said.


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