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