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Happy to return home after 19 years

Disaster Relief and Resettlement Minister Rishard Bathiudeen addressing the IDPs said that it was the efforts and sacrifices of the Armed Forces and the leadership of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa that lead to the victory over the terrorists to enable these people to come back to their villages after 19 years though the Opposition was trying to show a sudden love for the IDPs after all these years though the Opposition did not even build a toilet for them during the past but was now trying to take political mileage from the IDPs



Beatrice with her two daughters returning to begin life again as a family in her husbandís village.

They came in fifteen buses from Puttalam to Musali primary school grounds. There were the old people who remembered many things and the children who had never come here before. Languishing in temporary shelters for 19 years after being chased out of their villages, they had faced uncertainty living on welfare facing many a predicament. On this day finally they had returned to their own villages to settle down in peace, resettlement program started by the Special Presidential Task Force.

It was midday on Friday. The day of the new moon to be sighted for the beginning of the Holy month of Ramazan. Smilingly the young and old arrived with hope in their eyes to start their new life.

Among them was a 67-year-old, Y. Kapoor with his youngest son Mohomed Nasrin only 19-years-old. He was born in Puttalam and had never seen his village Musali before though he had heard many stories about it. Both seemed to be very happy and Kapoor said he was pleased to be back and now wanted to cultivate his 13 acre paddy land that was abandoned over several years.

I want to thank President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Armed Forces for liberating the country from the ruthless LTTE and giving the displaced people the opportunity to come back to our own villages, Kapoor said.

There was Beatrice, a 42 year old Sinhala woman from Ja Ela who married a Tamil fisherman and had come to live in the North with her husband, had to face numerous difficulties when the war escalated in 2006.


The father Y. Kapoor with his son Nazir among those who had come back to their villages after 19 years.

She was with her two daughters and ready to settle down again at her husbandís native place. She said she and her husband did some odd jobs to earn a living at the IDP centres but it was better to be back at her husbandís village and to be free from the hassle of the camp life.

Beatrice said the life was not easy when travelling from one place to another. Once she had seen a serpent and had cried for help and the serpent had jumped up and bitten her tongue and now she cannot speak properly.

When the war escalated in 2006 we had to move from place to place as ordered by the LTTE and suffered a lot. All that is gone now and we are ready to start a new life, she noted.

We were happy to be back at our own places rather than living in the IDP camps. We were given food, shelter and other facilities at the IDP camps but it was better to be at our own places, Shanthan, Nidharshan, Dushyanthan and Ronnie children who were still schooling, she said.

Those youngsters were studying for their Advanced Level examination. They said they received all the textbooks and it would be better if a regular transport service from Musali was provided as it would be convenient for their studies.

The dayís proceedings at the Musali school grounds was started with a religious ceremony, blessing all the re-settlers by Catholic, Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim clergy under a huge Banyan tree. After the religious rites all these people with their children just sat on the ground even without anyone asking them to do so and I wondered for a moment that they knew the welcome of the warmth offered by the mother earth when they sat in their best of clothes.


Northern Province Governor Maj. Gen. (Rtd) G. A. Chandrasiri hands over packages of relief goods containing essential things like dry rations, kitchenware and other things to start a new home to one of the people coming back to their hometowns under the resettlement program. Pictures by Bandula Seneviratne, Irshad and Lakshmi de Silva

It was mid day and the scorching sunís rays touched the Musali grounds while the Banyan tree provided a cool shade to the IDPs and the officials while the natural breeze from the Indian Ocean was blowing from a far came as a blessing at that time soothing the atmosphere.

It was Northern Province Governor G.A. Chandrasiri with his experience in the region who had changed the venue from the pavilion to the Banyan tree to make the IDPs comfortable. Addressing the gathering the Governor said resettlement was a primary task of the President and Presidential Task Force and he was happy that the people had come back to their original places after 19 years.

The Governmentís de-mining process was going on and the resettlement program would continue until the completion of the resettlement program. Government with the assistance from INGOs, NGOs and the Armed Forces was clearing the areas and would allow the re-settlers to start their livelihood without any hindrance, he noted.

Disaster Relief and Resettlement Minister Rishard Bathiudeen addressing the IDPs said that it was the efforts and sacrifices of the Armed Forces and the leadership of the President Mahinda Rajapaksa that lead to the victory over the terrorists to enable these people to come back to their villages after 19 years though the Opposition was trying to show a sudden love for the IDPs after all these years though the Opposition did not even build a toilet for them during the past but was now trying to take political mileage from the IDPs.

Nation Building Minister S.M. Chandrasena addressing the IDPs at the Musali grounds said new roads, new irrigation schemes and other infrastructure development that was taking place in the Northern and Eastern Provinces would bring a complete socio-economic development for the people of the North. The ruthless LTTE had been crushed and the next step was development.

In this batch 447 families were settled in Bappamkulam, Padaraveli, Periyapollachi, Paranthernakeni, Uduveli, Kullappamkulam, Metthanveli areas and Veppamkulam and the young and the old were seen anxious to come to their own homes with their baggages while the Navy personnel took their turn in registering the new arrivals before parting for their new destinations. The Grama Niladharis in their clean new suits and polished badges pinned to their white shirts were seen talking to the Divisional Secretaries and District Secretary for instructions.

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