TNA leader demands reduced army presence in population centers

[TamilNet, Monday, 28 April 2003, 01:14 GMT]
"It is the birthright of the Internally Displaced People (IDP) to resettle in their own lands. There is no need for the internally displaced Tamil families in Jaffna district to seek permission from the government or the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to return to their own lands," said Tamil National Alliance (TNA)parliamentary group leader Mr.R.Sampanthan addressing a gathering at the Jaffna office of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Sunday on the current political situation, sources said.

"Now the war is over. There should not be any hurdles for the return of the internally displaced people to resettle in their own lands," said Mr.Sampanthan.

Mr.Sampanthan reiterated, "we are not asking the government to withdraw the army completely from the Jaffna peninsula. Our position is that the army should reduce its presence amid populated areas enabling the return of normalcy in the lives of Tamil people."

Mr.Sampanthan said that since the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) the government has not provided any assistance to the resettled families except dry ration. The LTTE has suspended participating in peace talks because of the government's inability to provide agreed assistance to the affected families.

The TULF in the past negotiated with the then governments to regain the lost rights of Tamils but could not succeed due to opposition from hardline elements. Now the government has come forward to talk to the LTTE because security forces do not have the ability to break the military stalemate, said Mr.Sampanthan, sources said.

Mr.Sampanthan further said in any future talks too LTTE would represent the Tamil people. This is the decision not only of the TULF but also of the entire Tamil people in the northeast.

He said funds provided by the international donor agencies should primarily be used to the reconstruction of the war torn northeast province. Any attempt to divert funds allocated for the Northeast to other parts of the country will not be tolerated by the Tamil people any longer, added the MP.

Former Jaffna district parliamentarian Mr.S. Sivamaharasa presided.

TNA parliamentarians N.Raviraj and Mavai Senathirajah also participated at the meeting, sources said.

 

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