Internally displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka lack even basic amenities like water and toilets in camps housing them, an MPs delegation from Tamil Nadu has claimed after visiting the island nation.
“They (Lankan Tamils) complained of lack of food, with even children not having milk. While many said they didn’t have clothes to change, others said there was not enough water for bathing and toilet purposes,” the 10-member team said in its report submitted to Chief Minister M Karunanidhi.
The “overwhelming demand” from the Tamils was to send them back to their places, the report by the delegation, comprising MPs from the ruling DMK and its allies, the Congress and the Viduthalai Chiraithugal Katchi, said.
Noting that miseries of Tamils would be compounded if they were not vacated from camps before onset of monsoon, it said “even if proper infrastructure is provided, it is not advisable to hold lakhs of people in such camps for a long period.”
After receiving the delegation and its report at the airport itself on Wednesday, Mr. Karunanidhi had said that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had assured the team that 58,000 of the 2.53 lakh displaced Tamils would be sent home in the next fortnight and the rest in a phased manner.
The resettlement process would begin on Thursday, he had said.
The team was headed by senior DMK leader and MP T.R. Baalu and Karunanidhi’s daughter and MP Kanmozhi, besides VCK founder Thol. Tirumavalavan and some Congress MPs. They visited the camps to get a first hand account of the displaced Tamils.
The delegation undertook the trip amid concern in Tamil Nadu over the plight of Lankan Tamils displaced by the war between the Sri Lankan Army and LTTE.
The team’s visit had also come under fire from opposition parties. The AIADMK, CPI (M) and the BJP said an all-party team should have visited the camps.