10/09/2013, 00.00
SRI LANKA
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Sri Lankan Catholic leaders call for stability and development for northern Tamils

by Melani Manel Perera
This is what local Church leaders want the Northern Province's new chief minister, CV Wigneswaran, to deliver. Elected in the first free vote in the province after the civil war, he is a member of the country's main Tamil party.

Colombo (AsiaNews) - Catholic leaders in the Northern Province have called on Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran, who was elected at the end of September, to bring "stability, peace and development" to the people of the north of Sri Lanka. His was a major victory in the first provincial elections in the north after nearly 30 years of civil war. The new provincial chief is a member of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the country's largest Tamil party.

On 7 October, after taking his oath of office before the President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the chief minister said he wanted to bring "justice and freedom" to the Tamils ​​of Sri Lanka, stressing the need to "focus on development to help these people rebuild their lives ".

He also asked his "Sinhalese brothers and sisters" to walk with Tamils so that "internal self-determination does not divide the country but facilitate a journey on the path of unity." The Sinhalese are the country's ethnic majority.

According to Sr Emmanuel Nichola, a nun from Mullativu, the new chief minister must "respect the aspirations of the people first and foremost. The end of the war gas not put an end to their suffering. Nothing is known about the fate of more than 100,000 people who just vanished in thin air. At least, 90,000 war widows in the northeast live with anxiety and fear, not knowing what will happen to them. "

"Security forces continue to arrest people who have nothing to do with the Tamil Tigers," she told AsiaNews. "Hundreds of people are in jail without trial. This is what the people of the North went through and still go through today."

"I do not agree with all the ideas of the Tamil National Alliance," Fr Jeyabalan Croose, a priest from the Diocese of Mannar, told AsiaNews, "but the people of the North have clearly shown what they want. The chief minister's task will not be easy; he will have to listen to the needs of ordinary people and understand their suffering."

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