IDPs In Jaffna Still Facing Dire Issues

by Ifham Nizam

Rishad Bathiudeen

Muslim religious leaders point out that despite nearly 27 years have lapsed since the forcible eviction of the Northern Muslims by the Liberation Tigers  of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 1990, overnight from their homes and traditional habitats and they have been living scattered in many places in the South.

They said that there is much needed to be done in this regard…it’s high time Muslim political leaders take up the matter with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

“Most of the victims live in Puttalam, Kurunegala, some parts of Colombo Kalutara with a large majority of them not having their proper homes, regular professions to eke out a living or hopes of any future,” they said.

Earlier this week a government minister spoke about the dire issues faced by an already helpless Internally Displaced (IDP) Muslims in Jaffna is a humanitarian crisis and should not be enmeshed or tabled along with the calls of the Jaffna Tamil populace. Saying that IDPs too have dignity that should be respected, Minister of Industry and Commerce and Vanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen issued a direct plea for help to the reps of Tamil National Alliance (TNA), political parties and government officials in Jaffna at Jaffna AG’s office on July 1.

“Muslim IDPs in Jaffna are already facing a very pathetic, critical situation. Attempts to resolve their crisis together with and in light of issues faced by Jaffna Tamil populace will not help and only aggravate the plight of these IDPs further,” he said.

He added: “Jaffna Tamil population has a set of problems that needs to be solved. However, their issues are not similar to the crisis of Muslim IDPs in Jaffna whose situation is much worse and different. Our call is not for ethnic rights. Discussing and attempting solutions to the problems of these IDPs in light of (same) solutions given to Jaffna Tamil populace will not help -and will only make the conditions of Muslim IDPs much worse.  These Muslim IDPs have already faced a disaster in their lives and are struggling survive and stand up on their own feet. On the other hand, issues faced by Jaffna Tamil population are at much higher levels and are different.

Therefore I plead the representatives of Tamil National Alliance, other political representatives and government officials in Jaffna here today to understand Jaffna Muslim IDP issue as a humanitarian crisis rather than a legal or an official discussion topic.”

Minister urged to assist the Muslim IDPs in Jaffna District to resettle in their Jaffna lands first. The Resettlement Office gave permission to allocate 200 houses to these Muslim IDPs in Jaffna but that was blocked.

“Then when we offered to build the 200 houses but received permission to build only 29 houses. In general, if we assume if these 200 families are resettled, still another 500 Muslim IDP families in Jaffna are in crisis since there are 700 such displaced families in Jaffna trying to survive. These IDP’s human dignity should be respected,” he added. Northern Parliament MPs Mavai Senathiraja, MA Sumenthiran, Angajan Ramanathan, Northern Provincial Councilors Ayoob Asmin, Emmanuel Arnold, and Nothern Resettlement Commission’s M Yasin were at this session on Resettlement of Jaffna Muslims at Jaffna AG’s office on July 1.

Twenty seven years have lapsed since the forcible eviction of the Northern Muslims by the LTTE in 1990, overnight from their homes and traditional habitats and they have been living scattered in many places in the South. They mostly live in Puttalam, Kurunegala, and some parts of Colombo Kalutara with a large majority of them not having their proper homes, regular professions to eke out a living or hopes of any future, All Ceylon Makkal Congress official said.

He said that during the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime they were categorised as ‘previously displaced persons’ and no meaningful steps were taken to resettle them in their own places, adding that they received step-motherly treatment and were not given priority in resettlement although they deserved it.

Some of those who managed to resettle in their own places have not been extended any relief or rehabilitation assistance and they are suffering. The problems of these families must be taken into consideration for providing relief and rehabilitation assistance, he said. The displaced Northern Muslims have the same right like other communities and this should be considered he said.

A Presidential Committee must be set up to discuss the resettlement issues of the displaced Northern Muslims. Such a committee is also crucial to address the problems of the Sinhala people who lived in the Northern Province before the emergence of terrorism. Affected Sinhala people’s problem should also be addressed in line with that of the displaced Muslims. However, they allege nothing concrete had taken place.

Since the displacement we asked the Governments which came to power to set up a presidential committee to address this issue, our request still remain unfulfilled.

Some 12,500 persons have been resettled in Mannar, Mullaitivu, Vavuniya and Jaffna districts according to available data.

A large number people have been resettled in the Mannar district. When the Muslims displaced in 1990, the total number of families were 30,000 families and the number of persons were 99,988.

Agriculture, fisheries and cottage industry are the main sources of livelihood and they don’t have sufficient facilities to cater to these industries. Lack of water, fishing gear and equipment has also brought these industries to a halt, he said.

They have hardly any facilities and the electricity problem remains the worst in the resettled areas. They also don’t have sanitation facilities. There is no burial ground. There are no access roads and many of them live in the surrounding jungle.

Since the forcible eviction of Muslims from the Northern province Governments have changed. Muslim Ministers also had been in those Governments. But so far they have not raised a voice for the resettlement of forcibly evicted Northern Muslims, according to a Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) parliamentarian. Even though 25 years have lapsed no productive action was taken to resettle them, he said.

Only a few thousand Muslim IDPs have been resettled so far and a large number of them have to be resettled. Priority should be given to the resettlement of Muslim IDPs, he said.

The Muslim IDP’ resettlement problem was used to gain political mileage not for the sake of displaced Northern Muslims, he said.

The LLRC report acknowledged Muslims IDPs have been living in “dire conditions” for more than two decades and have had trouble integrating. Muslim IDPs interviewed by the Commission reported not being recognized as IDPs. In addition, they said they were “short-changed” in peace negotiations: their request to participate as an independent delegation was not honoured. The Commission concluded that Muslims IDPs remain one of the “key post-conflict challenges” with a “significant impact” on reconciliation prospects.

“The Commission is of the view that durable solutions should be found to address this long-standing IDP issue concerning the Muslims evicted from the North, which contains the seeds of disharmony and dissension if it remains unaddressed,” an official said.

5 Comments for “IDPs In Jaffna Still Facing Dire Issues”

  1. Dadaddaaggyaggydaaggyddddsd

    Where is the Diaspora who sponsored the war who is responsible for this mess?
    They need to pray to God velu as it was S.J.Emmanuel who sdaid Velu was like Jesus Christ and rayappu who ran away to the Wanni with the statue of of the Mother of Jesus.

    Do not whine… pray…. pray… for mercy.

  2. Jai_Bolo

    Islam is a crusade faith that the American transported to Asia to meet the never ending craving for western industrialisation.
    The Goni Billas that ruin the wallawe politicos and buddhist priest of Lanka – from 68 Lanka has been holding the Arabic flag and ended up with many Jihadis trained at Syria. Modi was smart to separate from palestine- The Indians have always had more contracts in the Middle East than the islamist nations and these contracts are held by mainly Brahmins.
    moroccan Bad U Din fu**ed the nation with his education and imports of chillies onions so we saw the first 3 bank heist come from St Marys Imperial London.
    Its time the majority see the Goni Billa in the eye.
    When this rascal namesake went by chopper and attacked a magistrate the the sinhala public were coool as cats Now when a Venerable says something in his impeccable style he is chastised as the terrorist by the very terrorist of the world.
    Please give us a break from I_slam humanity mutts who nick almost everything in the island for the wallawes and poson poya lighting.

  3. Jai_Bolo

    Most of the so called IDP’s never owned land in the north they were tenants So to award them a place for free is sinhala chauvinism sleeping with the jihadis of pakistan and may be Athul Keshap the partition boy who had no say until corner shop Desai gave him a chance- The Donald will not be pleased with his action without state department approval.
    “”“The Commission is of the view that durable solutions should be found to address this long-standing IDP issue concerning the Muslims evicted from the North, which contains the seeds of disharmony and dissension if it remains unaddressed,” an official said.”2
    for the commission sees heaven from the very depth of his well seated on toadstools. Start pulling dung carts than training for war and becoming cannibals like the islamist of the world.

  4. Sangaralingham

    Whatever the case may be creators and perpetrators of these unfortunate happening must reflect the quality of governments we have. More important to see the IDP are all settled in places of their choice with some cash to start life in pleasant manner is very important whoever they may. Good government good citizens must play a role in cases of IDPs

  5. Sangaralingham

    Why so much delay.it does reflect the tardiness of the government to fix the problem. Certain respect consideration must given here to allIDPs. Sooner all the IDP s settled in a peaceful surroundings happier all of us will be.
    My second comment

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