| by Colombo Gazette
( February 14, 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) WigneswaranNorthern Province Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran says genuine efforts must be taken to ensure both fundamental freedoms as well as national security in the North.
He says the policy failure of the Government is translating into problems on the ground which he says has also put paid to any hopes of development, leave alone accelerated development.
“Much criticism has been levelled against me for repeatedly requesting demilitarisation in the Northern Province on the premise that demilitarisation would compromise national security. Recently, in Tellipalai, His Execellency the President publicly stated that there were only 12,000 military personnel in the North. Almost immediately thereafter the Secretary to the President was reported as having given a presentation indicating that troop levels were at 70,000 in the North. Apart from the obvious discrepancy, the significance of this is that the Commander-in-chief believes that 12,000 military personnel are adequate. If so, should not one ask the question as to why 70,000 personnel are being retained? Also given the mix-up in numbers is it not possible that our estimations of 150,000 or more personnel being retained, more plausible? My underlying point is that we wouldn’t be having these controversies if we take a genuine effort to ensure both fundamental freedoms as well as national security,” he said.
Wigneswaran also notes that the Rule of Law has been severely eroded and that there is a marked absence of human security- defined as the absence of fear.
He also notes that a large number of IDPs are yet to be resettled in their places of traditional habitation, including the thousands of Muslims who were forcibly evicted from the Northern Province in 1990.
“Refugees languishing in camps in South India since 1983 have almost lost hope of repatriation. Similarly, a significant number of detainees under the PTA remain incarcerated not knowing their future. All of these have deleterious effects not only on the persons concerned, but their families and the Northern society itself,” Wigneswaran said. (Colombo Gazette)