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Last updated: 29 July, 2007 - Published 18:19 GMT
 
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IDPs 'fear' returning home
 
Only one well for over 300 refugees
The well is shared by over 300 refugees. Both men and women take bath in open space

Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) in eastern Sri Lanka say authorities are creating impediments to their return home.

IDPs in a camp in Navatkuda, Batticaloa, told BBC Sandeshaya they would like to go back home but worried about their safety.

The IDPs who were displaced more than a year ago from Muthur due to escalating violence said the security forces are creating fear psychosis among those who are willing to resettle.

Photos taken

The Special Task Force (STF) has begun a process of taking photographs of every IDP returning home, a man from Muttichchenai said.

 A photo is taken for the second time of the suspected males, and they are not allowed to leave from the villages after resettlement. People ask why the photos are taken of their husbands and brothers, who are innocent and have nothing to do with the LTTE
 
A refugee

"A photo is taken for the second time of the suspected males, and they are not allowed to leave from the villages after resettlement. People ask why the photos are taken of their husbands and brothers, who are innocent and have nothing to do with the LTTE. "

Out of 374 people of 97 families initially housed in Navatkuda, 75 families (302 people) are still living with mere basic facilities.

Three toilets shared

Three toilets are shared by all 302 people while the only one well is shared by all males and females. There is neither a fence nor wall around the well.

A woman from Eachchilampattu says men are prevented from earning their living due to new security regulations.

Child in the Navatkuda refugee camp
Refugees say children get diarrhoea after eating 'sticky' rice given as dry rations

"The males either have to go to the sea or river for fishing in the villages, once they are resettled," she told bbcsinhala.com.

Another IDP, a woman from Poomaraththadichchenai said there was no guarantee of returning home even if they go back to the village.

No home to go back

"Our houses had been destroyed. There is no house. They told us that there is a camp, and people who will come under fifty meters will be relocated in a different place. There are about 30 families which will be relocated in huts. Even if we go we will not be able to live in our houses," she said.

 Our houses had been destroyed. There is no house. They told us that there is a camp, and people who will come under fifty meters will be relocated in a different place. There are about 30 families which will be relocated in huts. Even if we go we will not be able to live in our houses
 
A woman refugee

Refugees at the Culture Hall 2 camp also complained of food supplied by the authorities.

"Rice is very sticky, cannot eat. Children get diarrhoea after eating it. We were told that, we will get the same rice for three months," a woman refugee said.

Many IDPs told BBC Sandeshaya that they prefer to go back than staying in a refugee camp. However, at least basic facilities should be provided for them to return home, they said.

 
 
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