Jaffna re-settlement: Dr. JJ urges JHU not to exploit ‘Sinhala IDPs’ issue

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The UNP alleges the JHU is seeking to exploit the issue of those Sinhalese (who were forced to leave the North, particularly the Jaffna peninsula, and who are now seeking their property back) to cause chaos in the post-war era. The UNP says the JHU is trying to involve Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, thereby the Catholic Church, by demanding that the Cardinal reveal his position on the displaced Sinhalese. Former JHU MP, Ven. Ellawela Medhananda, recently challenged Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith to comment on the plight of the Sinhalese.

Dozens of Sinhala families are now in Jaffna seeking their properties back. UNP spokesman, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardena, told The Island that the displaced families had assured authorities that they were prepared to accept alternative land in the Jaffna peninsula due to their own being occupied by Tamils.

Dr. Jayawardena said that the JHU was nothing but a bankrupt political party hell bent on seeking political mileage out of an issue, which could trigger fresh violence. Ven. Medhananda should ask President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa what they intended to do, the Gampaha District MP said.

JHU spokesman, Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, told The Island that the Sinhalese too, who were displaced due to the war, should be given an opportunity to return to their villages. Responding to a query, he said that those who insisted on the right of the displaced Tamil speaking people to re-settle in their villages, were conveniently silent on the plight of the Sinhalese. Warnasinghe said that the JHU would pressure the government to re-settle the Sinhalese in line with the State policy of re-settling both Tamils and Muslims.

The former Rehabilitation Minister of the previous UNF administration alleged that the government wasn’t keen to act on the JHU’s directives. President Rajapaksa wouldn’t take the JHU’s advice seriously, he said, asserting the government couldn’t afford to allow its partners to exploit a fragile situation.

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