COLOMBO: The last battlefields of Eelam War IV, located in the coastal areas of Mullaitivu district in North Eastern Sri Lanka, are still not open for the resettlement of refugees, even though the war had ended two-and-a-half years ago with the total rout of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
The area stretching from Pazhayamattalan in the North to Wellamulliwaikkal in the South, was the last refuge of about 300,000 Tamil civilians and LTTE fighters, including its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran in April-May 2009. Prabhakaran had died fighting at Wellamulliwaikkal on the banks of the Nandikadal lagoon.
Speaking in Parliament on Thursday, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Suresh Premachandran said that the Lankan government was not allowing resettlement in Wellamulliwaikkal, Mulliwaikkal West, Panayadi, Ambalavanpokkanai, Idaikadu, Pudumattalan and Pazhayamattalan.
“It appears that the government is going to establish a naval base here. The original residents, who were fisherfolk, are to be re-located in Thimbili, near Kombavil, which is about 10 km away from the sea. There is a danger that these people will not be able to pursue their traditional occupation, fishing,” Premachandran said.
Other places in the Puthukudiyiruppu area which are out of bounds for resettlement are Anandapuram, Sivanagar, Mandhuvil, Puthukudiyiruppu East, West and North. “These areas have been taken over by the army, affecting 2000 families,” the TNA MP said.
He charged that 10,000 acres of land had been taken away by the army to build permanent camps for 100,000 Lankan troops stationed in the Northern Province.
A Mullaitivu district official confirmed on Friday that no resettlement had taken place in the areas where the last battles were fought, and that the former residents of these areas were still in the Manik Farm refugee camp in Vavuniya.
Latest UN report on resettlement say, there are about 7,000 refugees from Mullaitivu district still in the Manik Farm camp.