Resettlement of Tamils to begin today

Resettlement of Tamils to begin today

This assurance was given on Tuesday by Rajapaksa and his team of officials to a group of ten MPs led by DMK Parliamentary Party leader T  R Baalu, who were on a five-day visit to the island nation.

Disclosing this to reporters on Wednesday, after the team’s return here, Chief Minister M  Karunanidhi said among the 2.50 lakh war refugees staying in various camps, 58,000 civilian Tamils would be sent back to their respective villages in the next 15 days.

Karunanidhi, to a query said that Colombo had also sought India’s assistance in the demining operations to help expedite the resettlement.  The team appealed to the Sri Lankan President during their meeting on Tuesday to “take immediate steps” towards the resettlement of the refugees.

The members had an opportunity to see for themselves the apalling sanitary conditions in the camps, particularly the Manik farm in Vavuniya. The team members also interacted with the students of Jaffna University and also visited some settlements of Tamils of Indian
Origin working in tea plantations in the Kandy region.

On the whole, Karunanidhi termed the outcome of the visit as “very satisfying”.  In a separate statement,  Karunanidhi expressed hope that the flag of the Sri Lankan Tamils struggle for equal rights and status on par with the Sinhalese, hoisted decades back by  veteran Tamil leader Chelvanayagam, would once again “begin to flutter in the Gandhian way”.