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Wednesday, 18 April 2012

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'Jaffna Muslims should be given Indian-built houses too'

"It is nothing but sheer recognition of human rights of the Muslims of the Jaffna peninsula, that they should be given houses out of the 50,000 units to be built through the generosity of the Indian government," Member of Parliament and Member of Parliament Council A H M Azwer, told the Indian Parliamentary goodwill delegation at an interact that took place yesterday, April 17 in the CPA Room of the Parliamentary complex.

A H M Azwer

Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha, Mrs Sushma Swaraj led the talks on the Indian side, while Leader of the House Nimal Siripala de Silva led the Sri Lankan group of MPs. Azwer recalled that with a mere 48-hour notice, over a lakh of Muslims had been driven away from Jaffna.

They are still languishing in rehabilitation camps in Sinhala areas. None of the Tamil leaders at that time voiced their protest against this ethnic cleansing. In this regard, Muslim Members of Parliament have signed an appeal and handed it over to the Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha recently.

He called upon the Indian Parliamentary delegation to use their good office to get these houses equally distributed among the Muslim population of Jaffna.

Azwer also pointed out that under the leadership of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the Tamil language and culture was flourishing in Sri Lanka as never before. There was a 'Kumban Vizha' which had been successfully held at the Wellawatte Ramakrishna Mission for four days, where even our Parliamentarian A Vinayagamoorthy had been honoured with the draping of a golden shawl together with other Sri Lankan and Indian literary giants. He also pointed out that Tamil books printed in Tamil Nadu, have being successively launched at the Wellawatte Tamil Sangam.

'Vel chariots and other Tamil festivities are taking place throughout the country at the moment. For example, Tamils living in Kochchikade, Kotahena, Wellawatte, Bambalapitiya and even Havelock Road in Colombo, have been enjoying the best of life.

"If you could take time to visit these places and other areas, you would be able to carry the message of truth to Delhi," Azwer said. He said that when the TNA was claiming to represent the Tamil community, 'I asked them as to which community? Is it Jaffna, Batticaloa, the Hill country or the Colombo Tamils? As mentioned by Nimal Siripala de Silva, a Tamil was now Chief Minister of the Eastern province, having Tamil and Muslim ministers in his Cabinet.

Vinayagamoorthi Muralidaran, who had been in the movement earlier, is the deputy minister in-charge of rehabilitation. Douglas Devananda is fully engaged with the development schemes launched by the government in the Northern Province.

'When one talks of sole TNA Tamil representation, then what about the CWC in the upcountry and the EPDP in the Northern province? These factors do not emerge in talks held in India and even in other countries.

'Even Seeman, Vaiko, Malavan and others from Tamil Nadu withdrew from your delegation at the last moment because they were aware of the peaceful atmosphere prevailing among all communities in Sri Lanka and the macro economic development taking place so speedily even in the Northern and Eastern provinces. If they came, they would not be able to repeat their unfounded and falsified remarks any more in Tamil Nadu,' Azwer said.

Deputy Speaker Chandima Weerakkody, Indian High Commissioner Ashok Kantha, Government Chief Whip Dinesh Gunawardena, Opposition Chief Whip John Amaratunga, Deputy Leader of the UNP Sajith Premadasa, Environment Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Deputy Minister R M Adbul Cader, Deputy Minister Muthu Sivalingam, Rajaratnam MP, Suresh Premachandran MP, and several others joined the discussion with the 12 Indian MPs.

Ms Sushma Swaraj acknowledged that the discussion was fruitful, open and frank and appreciated the democratic system underlining the whole procedure.

 

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