In an exercise aimed at reaching out to China, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which represents a majority of Sri Lankan Tamils in Parliament, met Chinese Embassy officials here and apprised them of issues facing the northern and eastern Tamils.
“We met Chinese Embassy officials on Monday and explained to them our concerns over Chinese help to the Sri Lankan Army in the north,” TNA leader Mavai Senathirajah told The Hindu. TNA leaders said they told the Chinese diplomats that construction of permanent structures was coming up in lands owned by the Tamils. The Chinese were helping to build massive structures that would house the Army and their families in the north. The TNA briefed them on their view point, and requested the Chinese to take into consideration the people’s needs too.
The Army occupying vast tracts of land in the north is a major issue for the people living in the area. Also, this has caused many desirous of coming back from refugee camps in India and elsewhere to have second thoughts.
Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda said the Army was releasing areas, earlier demarcated as high security zones, to the people. This could be done only in a phased manner, and he was acting as a catalyst to speed up the process, he added.
Many internally displaced refugees have lived in make-shift camps ever since the Army arbitrarily took possession of their properties before the last Eelam War and declared vast tracts of land as high security zones.