Rangarajan was part of the Parliamentary delegation that visited the island nation between April 16 and 21.
Addressing reporters here, the MP said that though faced with “innumerable issues” after the end of the civil war, the Tamils in the North and East of SL were now moving towards “normalcy.” “When we met the people and also representatives of the Tamil parties, they only proposed a solution within the framework of Sri Lanka and did not speak about Eelam,” he said.
Describing the delegation’s interaction with the people in detail, Rangarajan said the presence of military in the Jaffna and other regions was an issue that was highlighted repeatedly by the Tamils.
“Army men were stationed even in temples that hindered peaceful worship by people. Their demand was that administration must be returned to civil officers and military must be taken back from these areas,” he said. When this was brought to the notice of the Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha, he assured removal of army men from places of worship.
At Mattakalappu in the East, he said the delegation witnessed heart wrenching scenes of over 45,000 widows of the war living in a small area and going about with their lives. Among them, over 13,000 were below the age of 23. The MP said Indian government had provided vocational training to 800 of them by sending them to Gujarat.
Rangarajan said only 6,000 people were now living in the IDP camps and most of them were women and children. “The men have gone out of work and visit the families once or twice a month,” he pointed out.
He recalled the incident of an old woman in Chettikulam who complained to the delegation about her children who went missing after they surrendered to the military. He said military officials were urged to provide information about all those who had gone missing or were kidnapped after the war ended.
When the delegation met the plantation Tamils, they wanted the Indian government to help them in providing higher education. The Muslims on the other hand urged the delegation to provide them with all the relief that other Tamils were given.
He claimed that the Tamils expressed their concern over skirmishes with fishermen from Tamil Nadu. They had began fishing for the first time in 30 years and wanted to sort out the issue through dialogue.
The delegation, he said, urged Sri Lanka president Rajapaksha to immediately put an end to the military presence in Tamil regions and implement the recommendations of the LLRC. The President had assured the delegation that elections to the North of SL would be held as soon as the Census operations, now underway, were completed.
The members of the delegation are set to meet the PM over the visit in the coming week, he said.