Remove SLA camps, HSZ, checkpoints from NE - Sampanthan

[TamilNet, Friday, 11 September 2009, 05:19 GMT]
R. Sampanthan, parliamentary group leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), told parliament Thursday that the government could not cite any reason for the delay in resettling hundreds of thousands of internally displaced Tamils in their own places in Vanni region. "High Security Zones (HSZs) should be removed from the north and east. Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camps and check points should be dismantled immediately to restore normalcy in the provinces," Mr.Sampanthan said while speaking in parliament Thursday opposing the motion moved by the Government of Sri Lanka to extend the State of Emergency for another month.

Sampanthan asked the government not to open new army camps and deploy more troops in the NE as this would make Tamil people in the region under virtual servitude.

He demanded that all paramilitary Tamil groups working in the north and east should be dismantled immediately to ensure elected representatives of recognized political parties to discharge their normal function without any interference and threats at gun point.

The government was finding it hard to cope with the 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) because they had estimated that there were only 70,000 civilians in the Vanni when fighting broke out between the military and LTTE .The government stuck to their position that only 70,000 persons were in the Vanni, but more than 300,000 came out, proving the government figure to be inaccurate.

Furthermore, the government sent food and essentials only for 70,000, and was totally unprepared for the 300,000 that came out, said Sampanthan during the debate on the Emergency in the House.

He added that the government did not appear to have the resources to resettle the IDPs expeditiously as only 8.5 percent of them had been resettled after three months.

"The government gave a commitment to India, the UN and the International Community that the resettlement of IDPs would be 80 percent complete within 180 days,” Sampanthan said.


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