By Sandun A. Jayasekera
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said yesterday it had told the government that considering the present security situation in the North and the recent Supreme Court ruling there was no longer a necessity for High Security Zones (HSZ).
A TNA delegation comprising party leader R. Sampanthan, Mavai Senathirajah and Suresh Premchandran met a government delegation comprising House Leader and Minister Nimal Siripala De Silva and Sajin Vas Gunawardena.
Mr. Senadhirajah said the TNA drew attention to the fact that the HSZ issue had seriously hampered the re-settlement process with only a few of the displaced people being properly resettled so far.
“We gave the government delegation details about areas where the displaced people can safely be resettled and the number awaiting resettlement. For instance, only 9,000 out of 83,000 IDPs have been resettled in the Valley North. There are six Grama Sevaka Divisions with not a single internally displaced family resettled there up to now. Even though I am an MP, I have also not been permitted to visit my home because of this HSZ issue,” Mr. Senathirajah added.
He said the government delegation had assured that when it attended the next meeting on April 29, it would have a positive response on resettlement issues.
Mr. Senathirajah said power devolution would be discussed later and added that the TNA had prepared a working paper to be submitted to the government and stressed that Tamils did not have confidence in the 13th Amendment as a basis for resolving the ethnic issue and it did not meet the aspirations of the Tamil community.
“What we want is a political mechanism that will devolve power meaningfully and the 13th Amendment falls far short of what we expect,” he said and added that successive governments have failed to devolve power even under the 13th Amendment and a good example was land powers, which had not been vested in a single provincial council. Mr. Senadhirajah said he hoped the ongoing discussions between the government and the TNA would pave the way for a permanent solution to the national question and addressed the grievances of the Tamil people.
It said it was a good move on the part of the government to release particulars of Tamil youth under rehabilitation.
“We believe about 11,000 youth are at rehabilitation camps and we want the government to prosecute them or release if there was no tangible evidence against them,” he said and lamented that discussions held in January, February and March had not produced any worthwhile results. Meanwhile, Minister De Silva confirmed that a discussion was positive and that it focused on the detainees.