The following fact file was compiled by a group of Tamil citizens in Tamil Nadu. (Contact given below)
If the facts and numbers are right, the story is very devastating. It also spells a very inhuman approach in wiping out Tamil aspirations under the guise of rehabilitation, with total consent and support from the Indian administration.
This fact file compiled, also reveals that all decisions are taken by a Committee controlled by military and police personnel.
Chennai based M.S.Swaminathan’s Research Foundation is seen as the brain behind the whole project. In fact Swaminathan was a respected a visitor in Sri Lanka who met with President Rajapaksa and his Advisors about a month ago and was reported to have discussed future developments in Sri Lanka.
Details in this fact file needs immediate and serious scrutiny by human rights and democratic organizations, both in SL and in South Asia.
Fact File on the proposed “rehabilitation” in Northern Sri Lanka.
- On 27th April 2009 a sum of Rs.100 crores was announced as relief by the Government of India..
- Again on 23rd May 2009 a sum of Rs.500 crores was announced by the Indian Government presumably also to cover the following cost:
– Expenses towards running of Indian Medical hospital at the camp of Vavuniya.
– De-mining project at Vanni, undertaken by Private companies viz “Horizon” of Pune and “Sarvathra” of Gurgaon (Haryana) and the expenses towards deploying of 500 Indian army personnel for de-mining.
– Fee for imparting rapid agricultural programme for the rehabilitated women under the aegis of Multinational corporations under the supervision of M.S. Swaminathan’s Research Foundation.
- The Secretariat/Committee for Rehabilitation:
– No. of Members : 18
– Chairperson: Basil Rajapakshe
– Member: Gotabhaya Rajapakshe
– Not even a single Tamil in the team.
– 8 of them are from the army and the police
– The rest from the Bureaucracy
– Major General Chandrasri, the Chairperson of all the camps, and now appointed Governor of the North, is one of the members, (Chandra Sri served as the totalitarian Head of the Army at Jafna between 2006 and 2008).
- 12 army divisions, aggregating 84,000 Sinhala personnel will be stationed at Vanni region to supervise the rehabilitation.
- In addition to this, 20,000 Police personnel and an equal number of Administrative personnel will be posted in the North.
- 30,000 Sinhala prisoners are to be released and to be inhabited in the North.
- Over one lakh members of the family of Sinhala Police and Administration are expected to move to the North.
- Thus, even before the Internally Displaced Tamils are rehabilitated in their homeland at Vanni region, approximately 2.5 lakh Sinhalese representing the administration personnel and their families are to be moved to the Vanni region.
- Hence, the traditionally Tamil dominated Vanni region will be predominantly inhabited by sponsored Sinhalese shortly. This is precisely the reason why Sri Lankan President declined to recognize the existence or rights of the traditional Tamil homeland.
- Meanwhile, according to the rehabilitation package, able bodied Vanni women would have been converted as contract labourers of private Agri and Fisheries corporates, thanks to the assistance rendered by Chennai based M.S.Swaminathan Research Foundation.
- The men in the camps will be detained under long term Preventive custody.
- In this backdrop, the Srilankan government may even declare the implementation of the 13th Constitutional amendment and conduct general elections in the Vanni region and proclaim itself as a great democratic nation!
Human Casualties and disappearances during the last 14 months of war (Apr 2008 to June 2009):
Total population of Vanni region in April 2008: 4,03,000 (extrapolated from 2004 population data)
– No. of Internally Displaced persons detained in the camps: approx. 2,80,000 [as on 18th June 2009, as per UN OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs) Report]
– Children among them: 60,000 approx
– Aged and pregnant women: 4,000 approx
– Fatally injured: 12,000
– Crippled: 4,000
– Thus, those who are dependent on others number 80,000 (Approximately one third of those detained in the camp).
– Hence, the number of able bodied persons: 2,00,000
– Therefore the number of persons disappeared: 1,20,000 (Approximately one third of the total population in the Vanni region).
– Number of youngsters detained separately suspected as supporters of LTTE : 13,000
– Rate of Death in the Camp: 10 per day (66 on May 23rd; 62 between May 26th June 9th ; These were reported at Menik Farm at Vavuniya Chettikulam. The dead were buried enmasse).
What can be done for rendering justice to the people of Vanni?
- India should prevail upon the GOSL to dismantle the Task Force Committee constituted for implementing the “Northern Spring”. (வடக்கின் வசந்தம்).
- Rajapakshe brothers who have been accused of committing War Crimes and Crimes against humanity are the key members of the Rehabilitation Committee. More over all of them are Sinhalese. This committee will have to be reconstituted for the genuine reconstruction of North with suitable members. The Committee should be reconstituted with the members representing the refugees in the Sri Lankan camps and the displaced living in India and elsewhere; and representatives from various Human Rights Organisations; and representatives from the UN. Sinhalese like Sri Lankan Justice Sarath Nanda Silva and the like to be included in the committee. Until the committee is reconstituted, disbursement of Rs.500 crores declared by the Indian government should be kept on hold.
- Indian government and the Government of Tamil Nadu should impress upon the GOSL categorically that the rehabilitation and reconstruction of Vanni region should be vested with the people of the region for whom it is their traditional home land, since time immemorial, and it cannot be left with the occupied Sinhala army/authorities.
- India should initiate action against GOSL in the UN Human Rights Council and the ICC and bring the authorities concerned for a trial for their War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity. The truth behind the disappearance of over 30% of the population in the North and the plight of the civilians in the detention camps need to be examined by independent agencies. India should prevail upon all concerned to ensure transparency of the probe and expose the crimes committed by the GOSL.
- M.S.Swaminathan’s Research Foundation and other Private Corporates which have been lined up to obliterate the Tamils, their very identity and existence as a community, in the name of the so called rehabilitation and reconstruction should withdraw from their role from Sri Lanka.
- No corporates or other institutions from India should engage themselves in any activity in Sri Lanka which will deprive the people of Vanni region their rights over their traditional homeland. If they indulge in such ventures for gain, they will also be deemed as participants in the genocidal war
Ramesh Radhakrishnan <firstname.lastname@example.org>