Human Security, IDPs and Refugees, Mannar, Peace and Conflict

Doesn’t she have the right to live with her daughter?

My mother in law, age 55 is from Kalliyaddy, Mannar, (an LTTE controlled area) came to live with her daughter, who is married to me in Sinnakarishal, Pesalai on 15.01.08. Kalliyady is in LTTE controlled area with around 500 families. Life there has been extremely difficult for her and during the latter stages even more difficult. It is mandatory that a member of a family join the LTTE in their struggle. However, my mother in law managed to get her daughter out of the LTTE controlled area and gave her in marriage to me. 

She was adamant that she will not give her other daughter to join the LTTE and thought it was best to flee Kalliyaddy with her 25 year old daughter. During the last six months in Kalliyaddy it had been at a risk that she was able to hide her daughter and to avoid enlistment. Since the LTTE too was forcing more people to join, she thought fit to escape to government controlled area. There was no direct land route to Kalliyaddi from Mannar, except Uiylenkullam entry point which has been closed since September last year. She, along with her daughter trekked through the jungle in the night to reach Viddalthivu at dawn amidst great risk and difficulties.  

At dawn they walked along the shallow seas until they were met by a fishing boat who agreed to take them to Mannar after listening to their plight. On arrival they registered themselves at the Grama Niladhari in Sinnakarishal. On registration they wished to come and live with me and her daughter who are residents for a very long period in Mannar. This was the sole reason for her to escape from Kalliyaddy. However, security officials (Navy) in  Puthukuddippu Mannar opposed to them staying with her daughter and made it mandatory to move into a IDP camp specially set up for people escaping from the LTTE controlled areas. I made so many representation to the officials of her old and feeble age where she needs medical care and peace of mind and the need to house them with her own daughter. My plea fell on deaf ears. An officer categorically stated that my mother in law and her daughter could be black tigers and they should be kept under watch in this IDP camp.

How on earth can they label my old mother in law a black tiger? Is it fair to look at all such people as having links with the LTTE? What is our plight? Even during her last stages in life if she cannot live with her daughter with the simple comfort we could provide, what is the use of us. What is the future for my sister-in-law? They came from a difficult area to get some solace but are now in a worse situation where she is worrying over her daughter and her health is deteriorating day by day in conditions which are not good for living – this is when she has a better place to live. The recent rains have caused havoc and living in the IDP camp is even terrible now.

Unless they get pass from the police they can not go out. My wife & I wanted to bring them to our home as my mother – in – law is a diabetic patient. We reported about this to all organizations and the Mannar GA. My wife goes to Kallimottai Murunkane very day from Karishal to look after her mother. Therefore I have to stay and look after my children with out going for work. Why do we have to face these calamities when we could lead a decent life?    

Name: Mr. Ponnambalam (name changed upon request)
Address: Sinnakarshial

  • Laken Puit

    most of these forums and web spaces are run by people biased towards Tamil’s view point..So I wonder if my comments are taken up

    ..This is only the version from the Family member..However, if we anallize that Government/Armed forces officials suspicions, are you going to say it is totally unfounded? ..Pregnant (or pregnant looking) woman used to attack Army commander ; Then Douglas Devananda had a narrow escape from a Polio (or Polio looking) woman ; Then there is no limit to the number of young females used as bait for LTTE work…

    ..since 1983, many Tamils clearly abused all the sympathy, not just from LOcals but also from the wide world…

    ..By the way..Do you know what hapenned to many Sinhala and Muslim people..It was Tamil extremists who massacared them..Some children were sliced up..Pregnant mums tortured and their babies were pulled out and slammed on trees..These clever things were done in the name of claiming a homeland..

    ..you just have to put up with this..

  • Hermann

    Mr. Ponnambalam should ask LTTE why the innocent civilans have been put to this plight. The ability for his wife to travel up and down to take care of her mother does not seem right with all the infringments carried out by the LTTE. Planting of Bombs at will in other parts of Sri Lanka is possible because Tamils and Sinhalese live in relative harmony in the rest of the country. LTTE controlled areas there are no Sinhalese or Muslims allowed to reside, so such attacks does not take place in Vanni. Mr. Ponnambalam’s article is one sided, and his ability to expose it in the internet shows that he is not telling the truth.

  • All the tigers came to kill political leaders, even who killed Mr.Rajeev Gandhi, had reason to come up to his neck. There is no doubt of the suspecious nature of the forces. this should be pardened by this Tamil Gentleman if he is genuing. But, till the problem is solved at least 95% , sicurity forces have to supect where there is a suspects.
    Right of her Mother should be ignored to save hundreds of life at least till they clear every thing suspecious. My peronal view, from the day they stppoed checking, houses at night in suspecious area, How many bombs blasted?? Who are responsible for those lives?? I am may be wrong. This is how I think. Few peoples human rights breack thousands peoples living rights???

    This problem should be solved with the support of all who like to solve it. Her mother also should sacrify for that like other do.But, Forces also should try to gather inf for clear her up. They can invetigate secreatly???

  • the above comments are clearly and harshly nationalistic, with the same amount of bias and fanaticism that supporters and sympathisers of the LTTE claim, when speaking about the atrocities of the Sri Lankan military and the GoSL. why is there no neutral ground?, why is there no reason?, why cannot we value human life and dignity? can we so easily dismiss the suffering of the innocent citizens? can we say that someone needs to sacrifice his/her basic rights and liberties for somebody else’s war? why has intimidation and persecution become the popular culture of our lives?

  • These things do happen and it’s tragic. Similarly I’ve also witnessed first-hand, the brutality of the LTTE with regard to its “own people”. I knew this young woman (20s) who had been a “mortar expert” and had left the LTTE. She lived in a refugee camp in Kalmunai, having escaped from them and that life. However, she was eventually tracked down and asked to rejoin or be killed. This was when the Karuna – LTTE split was at its peak and they needed more Eastern recruits. She was, believe it or not, after months of people knowing her, clearly a kind-hearted soul who had been forced into military slavery for a cause that was supposedly her own.

    I won’t delve into the details of the incident but we don’t know what became of her, if she’s still alive. I agree Sahasamvada, people choose sides when in reality there are all one. They all violate rights, they all kill, they are all corrupt. Choosing one over the other ought to be increasingly hard, but it seems that society is just being further polarized by the intensity of it all. Yes the Govt. represents the people but there is every indication that its plagued with nepotism, cronyism and justifications based on prejudice. Yes the Tamil people are marginalized and they need to struggle to realize their rights, but killing other people, their own people….violating the rights of their own people (no matter how evil the Govt is) cannot be justified by any means. What benefits has war ever brought to either side anyways? Other than a steady supply of rhetoric, distractions and money for politicians?

    What has the LTTE achieved for the tamil cause over all these years except for the further marginalization and degradation of their situation in Sri Lanka and perhaps overseas. I dont disagree that their initial motivations were just but this military struggle is inhumane and utterly pointless in my view. I don’t understand how anyone who believes in rights and humanity could condone a military struggle…because as I mentioned..its a savage hypocrisy.

    Likewise a military strategy by the GOSL is utterly useless. Even if they do take the North they will only succeed in enraging the remaining tamil populace and the diaspora overseas. It takes one disgruntled rebel to plant a bomb, just one. SL will have to be a continuous police state to secure any sort of harmony in this context ….and it will result in the violation of rights for more people…once again..more so for the tamil people…

    When does this vile circle end!!

  • I also agree with Wagesh to an extent. The suspicions of the soldiers cannot be faulted. Would the LTTE show much leniency towards Sinhalese and Muslim people entering “their” domain. One has to understand that the GOSL is in the unusual situation of having to combat a terrorist faction as well as accommodate a population of tamils (according to the LTTE they represent them all).

    This situation has created a deep state of fear psychosis, they cannot be a friend, brother in this context. Since the LTTE struggle is a Tamil struggle, on what basis can a soldier…an outpost or checkpoint distinguish between the two? Especially with the knowledge that not even women and children are exempt in this ugly war and it takes but one guerrilla to kill hundreds of people. It’s a tragic consequence of this whole situation…..look at it fro ma realistic point of view though. You can’t blame these soldiers for being hardened and albeit prejudiced…its a product of their environment and their experiences. It’s wrong to view all Tamils as being supportive or parto f a terrorist faction…but the reality is that its a suspicion that can’t be helped by the forces…how could they realistically make that distinction in this context?

  • james kumar

    has anyone heard that in this modren world

    that human beings drink their fellow human beings blood

    and gough fellow human beings eyes and eat it

    these are celebrated within their community.

    this was nowhere other than in srilanka by the sinhalese

    if nobody believe this i sugest you read a book called 83 riots

    by i d sampanthan.