GENERAL SARATH FONSEKA SAYS IDP’S CANNOT BE RESETTLED HAPHAZARDLY AND IT SHOULD BE DONE IN A METHODICAL MANNER
Posted on August 17th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

General Sarath Fonseka said in Kandy the Internally Displaced persons in welfare centres run by the government cannot be easily resettled in their villages haphazardly but in a very methodical manner due to very many factors important for the benefit of them as well as for the country.

“Some people think it is an overtly simple task, and the contention is wrong”, said the Chief of Defense Staff when he paid a courtesy call on the Mahanayaka of Malwatte and Asgiriya theros after worshipping at the Temple of the Tooth.

First of all, in those areas land mines have been buried very densely and those have to be removed meticulously the General said.

They have to be removed to the extent the villagers could be able to graze their cattle freely as before and they would be able to go to their rice fields and nearby jungles safely. All footpaths used by them previously should be examined for land mines carefully.

Fonseka said most of the adult population among the IDP’s for 20 years have lived in the LTTE occupied areas ignorant of the country’s laws and administration. While living in the IDP camps the ordinary citizens are also put through a collective rehabilitation process about these matters.

Fonseka said , unlike during the war the army manpower should be increased as a land mass five times more have to be protected when they are finally resettled. The extra army personnel are being trained currently for this purpose he said.

The General said although LTTE terrorists are being rehabilitated separately a large number of terrorists are also found to be hiding among the ordinary IDP’s. He said about 20 to 30 terrorists are apprehended every week. For this carefully scrutiny of all people is necessary. The identification of such people is very imperative to national security. He said an organized campaign had been launched to free terrorists hiding among the ordinary IDP’s before any systematic screening process closes in on them.

In an interview to a Sunday newspaper Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said a large number of hardcore terrorists have taken refuge among ordinary IDP’s and some of them have tried to escape.

Commissioner General of Rehabilitation, Major General Daya Ratnayake, said that though close to 10,000 LTTE cadres, both men and women, had been detained at 12 detention camps exclusively set up for ex-combatants, up to 10,000 more, including hardcore cadres could still be hiding among the civilians accommodated separately.

He said that once the screening process come to an end, the total of terrorists in government custody could go up to 15,000 or perhaps as high as 20,000.

 General Fonseka separately visited the most venerable Thibbotuwawe Sri Sumangala the Mahanayaka of Malwatte and the most venerable Udagama Sri Buddharakkhitha , the Mahanayaka of Asgiriya.

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