By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
There are 136 families- 720 persons living in Koiyaavaady welfare camp in Puttlam district for more than 17 years. They were forced to leave their home town in the Northern Province in 1990 by the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). The Muslim community says that they do not know the reason for the LTTE to act in such a manner.
The people are worried of the duration of their stay in these welfare camps, as the situation is deteriorating in the North. They feel that they are voiceless and powerless:
“I got married earlier since I was not able to continue my education due to poverty. I got displaced when I was one year-old baby. Now I am a mother of two-month old baby” said Subaitha Abdul Wahab (18)
The Muslims complain that they do not have a collective voice for them
Muslims were allowed to take limited amount of money and belongings, when they were forced to leave.
“I have five children. I do not have enough income to provide them with nutritious food. My husband is a labourer. If we were not forced to leave our home town, we will be leading a better life there” said Thiribhaya Rajub (32)
Most of them say that they have lost their identity due to displacement
Mohamed Rukshan (8) wants to become doctor
The Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) complain that nobody supports them to uplift their living conditions
“I earn Rs.150/= per day for helping in the onion or chillie field. It’s not enough, but I have no other choice. I have lost my own house and belongings in Mullaithivu due to forcible eviction by the LTTE. I am very saddened” said Katheeja Umma Neeraipitty (56).
The facilities are minimal
The Internally Displaced People (IDPs) are looking forward to better future