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Last updated: 02 August, 2010 - Published 14:34 GMT
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Govt. 'trying to change' demography
Displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka (file photo)
TNA says the displaced are ordered to leave their ancestral lands after few days
The major Tamil political party in Sri Lanka has accused the government of trying to change the demography in the north taken over by the military following the defeat of Tamil Tiger rebels over a year ago.

"Displaced people are not allowed to resettle in their ancestral lands,' says the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).

The TNA also accused the government of breaching pledges made to India and the international community over resettling internally displaced people (IDP).

IDPs from Shanthipuram in Kilinochchi district and Murugandi and Hindupuram in Mullaitivu district were not allowed by the authorities to resettle in their ancestral lands, claimed the TNA.

Pledges to India

"Sometimes they are allowed visits to their lands but are ordered back to the camps in a day or two," MA Sumanthiran, MP, told journalists.

Suresh Premachandran, MP (l) with Mavai Senadhiraja, MP (file photo)
The MP says that Mullaitivu GA was ordered not to resettle IDPs

He said it is a violation of the pledges given by Mahinda Rajapaksa government to India and other international bodies.

Suresh Premachandran, MP, said nearly 75 percent of the affected IDPs are Tamils of Indian origin who were chased away from the upcountry in 1977 and 1983 racial riots.

The parliamentarian said that Government Agent in Mullaitivu has received written orders from the Ministry of Defence (MoD) not to resettle any IDP in the areas.

The TNA accused the government of carrying on a 'land grab policy' in order to establish military camps.

Government response

"In Mullikulam, Mannar, for example, 400 acres are taken by the navy," Mr. Premachandran said.

Minister Milroy Fernando
The minister denies that it is on a land grabbing exercise in the north

Another 4000 acres in Murukandy are taken over for an army camp, he said.

Mr. Sumanthiran who recalled a statement by the military chief of plans to establish special villages in the north for predominantly Sinhala military families, questioned whether the intention of the government is to change the demography in the north historically inhabited by Tamils.

The Sri Lankan government denies that it is on a land grabbing exercise in the north.

However, the Minister in charge of Resettlement told BBC Sandeshaya that the government needs to establish military camps in the area 'for national security'.

"Can the navy be stationed away from the sea?" queried minister Milroy Fernando when asked about the navy acquiring hundreds of acres in Mannar.

Those affected will be only a 'small number of people,' he added.

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