10/15/2009

Will 58,000 IDPs be sent back to their native places before Presidential?


(October 15, Colombo - Lanka Polity) The delegation of Tamil Nadu 10-member parliamentarian that visited the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Tamil dominated Northern Province has informed the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi that Sri Lankan government has assured them 58,000 internally displaced Tamils in camps will be sent back to their native places in 15 days.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi, who received the delegation at the Chennai airport on Wednesday evening, announced this, addressing a press conference later at his party headquarters, reported Hindu. The remaining Tamils would be returned gradually, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister said.

To a question whether the Sinhalese would be settled in areas where Tamils lived traditionally, the Chief Minister replied that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had denied it.

However, the opposition parties in Tamil Nadu accused that the tour of the Indian parliamentary delegation was an eyewash. 

There are around 300,000 IDPs in refugee camps in the Northern Province. Sri Lanka government expects to hold an early Presidential in months, according to unconfirmed reports, and the ruling regime will be happy to keep the IDPs in camps where the opposition cannot campaign. Vote of the minority communities that account 24% of the country's population is crucial for a Presidential candidate to win. In 2005, the boycott led by the Tamil rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam (LTTE) paved way to narrow victory of current President Mahinda Rajapakse who was supported by the forces that were vehemently against a democratic solution to the ethnic problem.

(Photo: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi addresses the media in Chennai on Wednesday. With him are the MPs from Tamil Nadu who just returned from a visit to Sri Lanka.)

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