Feature Article

"Which norms of liberal democracy preclude IC attending to exodus, genocide?" asks IDP activist

[TamilNet, Friday, 16 January 2009, 03:52 GMT]
The LTTE doesn't obstruct or instruct the civilians of Vanni of what direction they have to take in fleeing the current phase of war. But, a large section of the civilians have considered that their security, even now, lies in the LTTE held areas in the eye of war, and are spontaneously moving towards that direction. "Allowing the war to continue, leaving Tamil civilians in the hands of the preying Sinhala army, which we dread, demonstrates only the cruelty of the few minds that determine the course of the war from outside of the island and how international norms evolved through civilisation have become a joke," said P. Kanakalingam, the president of Vanni People's Welfare Organisation (VPWO), on Thursday.

Mass exodus

Six civilians were killed and 13, including two children of age 4 and 7, wounded on Kallaa'ru Road Thursday at a location between Kallaa'ru and Chu'ndikku'lam Junction on Paranthan - Mullaiththeevu Road. On Wednesday, artillery attack by the SLA killed a 60-year-old civilian and caused injuries to two ambulance drivers.

P. Kanagalingam
President of Vanni Peoples Welfare Organisation, P. Kanagalingam
Describing the civilian movement which has been taking place for the past 60 hours from Vadamaraadchi East, Chu'ndikku'lam and Vaddakkachchi, and from Tharmapuram where the civil administration was centred after the displacement from the Ki'linochchi town, as the second exodus of Eezham struggle, Mr. Kanakalingam said around 100,000 civilians were on the move.

A driver, who was returning in his vehicle to Tharmapuram from Kaiveali, said it took 10 hours to pass one kilometre.

Mass exodus
IDPs in Vanni displacing with huts
Mass exodus
Displacing civilians in Vanni
Displacing civilians in Vanni
Displacing civilians in Vanni
"The Establishment of the International Community by assenting to Colombo's conspiracy of sending away the U.N. Agencies and the International Non Governmental Organisations from Vanni and by remaining silent when it has to act, has become a party to be indicted in the genocide of Eezham Tamils," said Mr. Kanakalingam.

"Which norms of liberal democracy preached by the International Community accord with not attending to expulsions of civilians, exodus and genocide?" he asks.

People were struggling to take cover from the artillery shells that were exploding continuously. Very few volunteered to help the wounded. It was difficult to receive an overview of the casualties.

Shells exploded in IDP settlements in Puththadi, Thoddiyadi and Vinaayakar koayiladi near the hospital. The makeshift hospital at Visuvamadu Maha Viththiyaalayam (school) has been struggling to function as shells were exploding in one kilometer distance in both the directions.

The shelling also cut off the Kallaa'ru hospital, on both the days, as the road was being targeted by artillery shelling of the SLA, which was aiming to block and trap the civilians displacing from Vadamaraadchi East to Vanni mainland.

Vehicles were piled up throughout the road from Tharmapuram to Kaiveali, a suburb of Puthukkudiyiruppu.

It takes two days and two nights to pass through the whole stretch of around 16 km road distance.

On Wednesday heavy rainfall added to the woes of the people on the move with their belongings in tractors and other vehicles.

On Thursday, the road was dusty as hundreds of vehicles were moving on both the directions. Rugged road caused vehicle breakdowns.

There were no government officials from the district or divisional secretariats to help the civilians. Most of them had gone to Vavuniyaa. It was not known whether they were instructed by the government to come to Vavuniyaa.

Only TRO and civil personnel of Tamileelam Administrative Service were engaged in helping the civilians at some locations, where the volunteers were seen providing cooked food.

Civilians were seen in all the jungles areas from Thearaavil towards Kaiveali and on both sides of the road. Many complained that they had no cloths to change after the rain and that they had no meal for more than 60 hours. They were living under the trees with their belongings.

"These are IDPs in Vanni. They wish to remain in Vanni in an area without Sri Lankan military and its bombardment," says the president of the Vanni Welfare Organisation who argues that it is unfair of the International Community to refer to them as IDPs of Sri Lanka. Such a reference, in his argument, technically implies that they could be displaced further to any part of the island.

"We should be treated as IDPs of Tamil territories resisting capture from the Colombo government."

Only a few thousands of civilians, mostly trapped in the peninsular part captured from the LTTE, were taken by the SLA. To discourage civilians of the peninsula moving towards the LTTE held areas in Vanni, the Sri Lankan forces attacked them while crossing the land bridge by artillery and aerial bombardment. At least 40 civilians were wounded in these attacks. The whereabouts and the fate of nearly 200 civilians reportedly captured by the Sri Lanka Navy in the seas off Vadmaraadchi East, are still not known.

"Look at the plight of the civilians who live in Sri Lanka Army occupied Jaffna, where more than 800 have been reportedly killed within the last 3 years, another 800 disappeared and more than 250 languishing in prisons after seeking humanitarian protection with the Human Rights Commission."

"We are also reminded of hundreds of those who were killed and buried in Chemmani in Jaffna after the Sri Lankan occupation of Jaffna in 1995," he says.

Mass exodus

Mass exodus
IDP huts
Mass exodus
Civillians displacing
Mass exodus
Mass exodus
Tractors being used to transport belongings

Related Articles:
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09.09.08   UN pulls staff from Vanni, aid workers fear 'bloodbath'
08.07.08   Protection seekers in Jaffna face uncertain future
16.06.99   Chemmani witness speaks of killings, names officers



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