14 July, 2009 - Published 13:46 GMT

Relatives 'not allowed' to visit IDPs

Relatives of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in eastern Sri Lanka say that they are not allowed to visit their loved ones in Pulmoddai camp.

An elderly person, himself an IDP from earlier fighting between the LTTE and security forces, said he was twice not allowed to visit his daughter and grandson in the Pulmoddai IDP camp.

The daughter, grandson and son-in-law were caught in the cross fire as they travelled to Puthukudiruppu and the son-in-law never returned, he said.

"I heard from other people that my grandson was injured in a shell attack and was brought to Pulmoddai hospital," he told BBC Sandeshaya.

"I twice went to Pulmoddai but was denied entry by the officials."

The man, who says he struggles for his own survival, said he needed nearly Rs. 10,000 for each trip.

Another woman from a Sampur IDP camp says she was not allowed to see her husband and her son who went to Vanni seeking employment about three years ago.

The son is reported to be in a camp in Pulmoddai, but she has no information about her husband.

Minister 'not aware'

"Even the relatives of LTTE members are allowed to visit them in Vavuniya camps, but I wasn't allowed to visit my son in Pulmoddai," she told BBC Sinhala service.

The ICRC has told the woman that they cannot assist her as it is out of their mandate.

The resettlement minister, Risath Bathiuddeen, told the BBC that he would try to make arrangements for the relatives to visit IDPs in Pulmudai.

The government has made arrangements in Vavuniya camps, he said, but he was not aware of the issue in Pulmoddai.