(September 30, Colombo - Lanka Polity) Wording in some of the statements of the state officials reveal the true nature of the status of the refugee camps in Northern Province of Sri Lanka where around 300,000 internally displaced, mostly Tamil civilians are held.
Sri Lanka's Sinhala nationalist English daily 'The Island' today published this report:
At least 20,000 of the nearly 300,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Vavuniya camps had escaped, SSP for Kandy Ranjith Kasturiratna said at the Kandy District coordinating committee meeting, chaired by Central Province Chief Minister Sarath Ekanayake, on Monday.
SSP Kasturiratne said special police teams from Kandy had been dispatched to the IDP camps in the North to conduct investigations.
Police investigations had revealed that about 20,000 had escaped from the camps. They were believed to be LTTE cadres.
Marxist nationalist People's Liberation Front (JVP) MP Vijitha Herath pointed out today at a press conference held in Colombo that these places are not detention camps for people to 'escape'.
However, it is well known fact that the mobility of the inmates of these camps are thoroughly restricted. Government under pressure from the international community to release these refugees, only recently decided to allow selected refugees to stay with the relatives that live outside. However, media reported that there were many flaws in application process. Human trafficking is also taking place in large scale. Many youths that were suspected of associating the Tamil rebels were abducted and they had simply disappeared.
"Government told a blatant lie to the world stating that it had resettled 6000 refugees of the Menikfarm in their villages although they had been re located at Kaithady and Mirisuvil in Jaffna, said JVP parliamentarian Vijitha Herath. About 40,000 of the Jaffna residents are still in the refugee camps, he said adding that around 2000 have been settled on the borders of Ampara, Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts.