Translated by: Iniyavan
Interview with the Chairman of the Valikamam North Resettlement Committee and the Vice chairman of Valikamam North local council Shanmugalingam Sajeevan
1. What is the plight of the uprooted people from Valikam North?
They have been facing many hardships from the time when they had displaced. They are forced to relocate their residence time to time as their house owners and land owners do not allow them to live for a longer period of time. Particularly, they had relocated to more than 20 homes during the past 25 years. As the lands where refugee camps are located are the privately owned, the land owners often confront with the people to evacuate them from there. As a result, clashes occurred in some places, which were then taken to police station also. Apathy among the Divisional Secretariats also prevails in this regard.
2. Are the displaced people (people in the refugee camps) provided the benefits in a satisfactory manner?
Currently, no benefits are provided to the people in the refugee camps. Many years passed after cessation of the already provided reliefs. They have been living in the temporary huts set up 25 years ago. The roofs of these huts got ruined. But, neither the roofs nor the alternative forms of assistance were provided so far.
3. Could the Northern Provincial Council meet the requirements of these people?
No. Northern Provincial Council has attained the age of one year. The Chief Minister of NPC has given the reliefs to the few among the displaced people. But it is just like the frying sesame to elephant’s hungry. All those in refugee camps should be provided the reliefs as they are living below the poverty line.
4. Is the land appropriation being persisted?
Yes. 6500 acres of land in Valikamam North, which was declared as the High Security Zone, had already been appropriated. Attempts are being made to seize the lands in Keerimalai, Seththaankulam (the land belonding to church), Mathakal, Thiruvadinilai, Karainagar, Kayts, Uduthurai and Thalaiyadi for the occupation of the Sri Lankan navy.
5. Can you say about the changes in the territories occupied by the Military?
The land owners have the deeds and other documents for the 6500 acres of land appropriated by the occupying Military in Valikamam North. More than 75 Hindu temples, 12 Christian churches, TB hospital and Valikamam Predhesiya Sabha office were located in that area. All these were leveled to the ground and the demolished ruins had been spilled into the sea. Signs that people lived in these areas were eradicated.
6. What is the prevailing situation in the Valikamam North High Security Zone?
“Thalsevana” luxury hotel that, was constructed in the appropriated lands in the guise of High Security Zone, is run by the Military. “Golf ground” has also been set in these areas. “Yoghurt” factory has been opened there. Military personnel engaged in cultivation in these areas. Cantonments for the families of the Military personnel were also set up in these areas. Any outsiders can visit to “Thalsevana” luxury hotel and stay there. Thus, the land and marine resources had been deprived from the Tamil people in these areas just because of the luxurious utilization of the occupying Military.
7. What is the reality regarding the statistical data about the displaced people from the Valikamam North is said to be being distorted?
The displaced people from Valikamam North have been living in 34 refugee camps which were registered under the Thellippalai, Chandilippai, Uduvil, Kopay, Karawetti, and Point Pedro DS divisions. 9948 families have registered at Thellipalai DS office showing their land deeds to be resettled (Those who is in exile in India are not included in this number). Government Agent keeps on saying to the foreign representatives and envoys that the numbers of refugee families are 5200 as shown to reduce. This activity of GA leads to the Military occupation of our lands.