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TN MPs hold 'emotional interaction' with Lankan Tamils

October 11, 2009 20:56 IST
On a mission in Sri Lanka to ascertain the living conditions of displaced Tamils after the end of the war, a delegation of MPs from Tamil Nadu on Sunday visited them in camps, who expressed their keenness to return to their towns and villages during an 'emotional interaction.'

The MPs belonging to the ruling-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Congress and the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi, were given a 'free access' by the district administration to the camps in Vavuniya where they interacted with a cross-section of displaced Tamils in northern Lanka.

Over 3 lakh displaced Tamils are lodged in various camps in Sri Lanka. The parliamentarians, who were accompanied by Indian High Commissioner Alok Prasad and Deputy High Commissioner Vikram Misri, also witnessed the distribution of stationary consignments sponsored by the Indian government and relief materials by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

This is the first political delegation from India to visit the camps after curtains came down on the 30-year-old civil war in May. Reliable sources said the displaced civilians explained to the lawmakers about the congestion in the camps and also the day-today difficulties they are facing.

"The people were happy to see the MPs from Tamil Nadu. They told the MPs that their priority was to return to their towns and villages," the sources said.

They said some of the people turned emotional while interacting with the MPs, especially with DMK leaders T R Baalu and Kanimozhi, daughter of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.

Vavuniya District Secretary P S M Charles and other officials accompanied the Indian MPs during their visit to the camps. Ealier, the MPs left Colombo for Jaffna in a special plane accompanied by officials.

In the cultural capital of the island Tamils, they interacted with Tamils there and also got to know from them their living conditions. The delegation was welcomed by Federal Tamil Minister Douglas Devananda and hundreds of people who gathered in streets and greeted them.

Later, the MPs also addressed the public at the stadium named after late Jaffna Mayor Alfred Durraiappah, who was the first political leader to be killed by the now vanquished Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam.

Addressing the gathering, the MPs said the displaced people in camps in Vavuniya should be resettled early and a political solution to the Tamil issue be found soon.

"A political solution is necessary to resolve the conflict which had lasted for more than 25 years," Baalu, who is leading the delegation, said. He said Sri Lankan and Indian Tamils had a strong bond, a relationship which is also reflected in the ties between the two countries.

Kanimozhi said the displaced people should be reunited with their families and there should be no travel restriction on them. During the visit to Jaffna, the delegation also met Northern Province Governor Major General Chandrasiri. They also visited the Jaffna Library.

TV Sriram in Colombo
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