by Ifham Nizam
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.