Mannar (AsiaNews) - Conditions for
refugees in Mullikulam are "harsh and painful". After being expelled from their
village 20 years ago, they find themselves stuck in a jungle, John Rankin,
British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka said about
the 200 Tamil. Yesterday, Rankin met the refuges, all 148 families,
promising them that he would discuss their plight with other ambassadors and
the country's government. Fr Raajanayagam, two other priests, a nun and two
officials from the National Fisheries Solidarity (NAFSO) were present at the
The story of these families who
became internally displaced people because of 30 years of civil war is a tragic
one. Forced to leave the village of Mullikulam for the first time in 1990,
residents were never able to go back; instead, they were split among various
In 2012, three years after the end
of the civil war, they should have benefited from the government's resettlement
plan. Instead, they were sent to Marichchikattu jungle with noting to start a
new life: no homes, tools, tends, fishing equipment, etc.
"The problem is that all our
papers are in order," people told the high commissioner. "The authorities
however do not allow us go back in Mullikulam. There, we lived from fishing and
farming. Here we have nothing and depend on other people's charity."
"I do not know," Fr Raajanayagam told
AsiaNews, "how long these people can
continue living in such a situation. Among all of them, they have two
bathrooms. Drinking water is rationed by the Navy. They have to go to the
nearby lake to wash themselves"
For the refugees, the reasons they
cannot go home lies with the Navy, which is using their homes and properties.
"What did we do wrong?" asked some.
"Once we hand land and could earn a living for our families. Now, we live under
the trees like beggars."