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Refugees make tearful appeal to MPs

[Express Buzz, Monday, 12 October 2009 10:15 No Comment]

The residents of Jaffna generally ignored the MPs from Tamil Nadu who visited them on Sunday, sources in the town told Express over the phone.

There were no spontaneous crowds to greet the MPs, though among the visitors was Kanimozhi, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s daughter and a star in her own right. “If there was a crowd in some places, they were all followers of Social Welfare Minister and EPDP leader Douglas Devananda,” a resident claimed.

“What we saw today (on Sunday) was in sharp contrast to the scene which I witnessed in 1987 after the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord when the First Secretary in the Indian High Commission Hardip Singh Puri and the Defense Attache Capt Gupta visited Jaffna. There was not an inch of space between Tellipalai Junction and Jaffna town. The officials were stopped at many houses and served biscuits and cool drinks, which left them speechless!” recalled an old timer. Many residents felt that the visit of the MPs was both unnecessary and useless. The Tamil Nadu MPs should have come at the height of the war and stopped the slaughter, they opined.

Though the populated areas of Jaffna district were not part of the theatre of operations in Eelam War IV, many residents had relatives living in the Wanni, who were migrating from place to place, getting trapped in the Mullivaikkal area in the far east, and finally, becoming refugees forced to live indefinetly in camps ringed by barbed wire.

In Jaffna, there is a great deal feeling for the plight of the 250,000 refugees in camps in Vav uniya and other transit camps. It is believed that India and TN have done little to ease the condition of the refugees as the camps do not meet some of the basic needs.

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