in High Security Zone: AG to consult Defence Ministry
Petitioners agree to conditions suggested by
The Attorney General’s Department is to
consult the Defence Ministry after the Supreme Court on Monday ordered
the Jaffna District Secretary to consider re-settling people displaced
from the High Security Zone in Jaffna.
The Supreme Court had ruled in respect of a fundamental
rights petition filed by TNA Parliamentarian Mavi Senathirajah that
he had been prevented from taking possession and living on his property
which he was forced to vacate due to military activity in 1992.
There were several petitions filed on the same
basis and the Court then directed the State to obtain instructions
from the security forces and the Jaffna District Secretary and submit
a report as to the number of persons who had been displaced.
According to the report 20,365 families had been
displaced, out of which 1,679 families consisting of 6,386 persons
were living in 50 welfare centres while some were living with friends
and some had left the island.
The report further said that for the past 15 years
those displaced had been deprived of their livelihoods and were
living on dry rations provided by the State.
Considering the report, the Court requested counsel
to ascertain from the petitioners whether they were agreeable to
be re-settled within the high security area on a written assurance
given by them that they would submit themselves for interview by
the District Secretary and representatives of the security forces
to establish their identities, claims to the particular portion
of land and other relevant particulars and that they would form
themselves into Citizens Committees and ensure that the security
forces were in no way imperilled in the area due to any armed or
terrorist activity and that they will engage in agriculture and
other activities as may be agreed upon between them and the relevant
authorities and that they would not claim the dry rations provided
by the State.
Counsel informed the Court that at present there
were 7,456 families which had agreed to be re-settled on the conditions
indicated by the Court and had given their agreement, in writing,
to the respective District Secretaries.
President’s Counsel K. Kanag-Iswaran appeard
for the petitioner.
The Bench comprised of Chief Justice Sarath N.
Silva and Justices Nihal Jayasinghe and N.E Dissanayake.
The case is to be called again on July 24.