MPs head to SL to study Tamil relief camps
Ten MPs belonging to India's ruling alliance are headed to Sri Lanka on Saturday and they said their main aim is to see the conditions in the camps where thousands of Tamils displaced by the war are housed.world Updated: Oct 10, 2009 11:10 IST
Ten MPs belonging to India's ruling alliance are headed to Sri Lanka Saturday and they said their main aim is to see the conditions in the camps where thousands of Tamils displaced by the war are housed.
"Our primary focus is to see how the internally displaced people are being maintained in the special camps in Sri Lanka and how the aid is being distributed to them," E.M. Sudarsana Natchiappan, Congress MP and a member of the delegation, told IANS.
Nearly 300,000 men, women and children are housed in fortified camps set up in the island's north after the military crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in May.
"The delegation is one of (promoting) confidence building measures amongst the Sri Lankan Tamils, and the Indian and Sri Lankan governments," Natchiappan added.
Asked about the absence of MPs from opposition parties, he said: "The MPs' delegation is in response to the invitation extended by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi to visit his country and see the relief operations."
Said T.R. Baalu, DMK MP and the leader of the delegation: "The chief minister instead decided to depute a team of MPs of the ruling alliance on his behalf to have first hand information on the conditions prevailing there."
He said the delegation would study the relief operations and submit a report to Karunanidhi.
"On Oct 14 we will meet Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa. Our other programmes will be charted out by the Indian embassy there," Baalu said.
The Indian delegation will also stress on the importance of relocating the Tamils living in camps to their respective original places.
During their five-day visit, the Indian MPs will also interact with district authorities in Sri Lanka and Tamil leaders.
The other DMK members in the MPs' delegation are Kanimozhi, Karunanidhi's daughter, T.K.S. Elangovan, Helen Davidson and A.K.S. Vijayan.
Apart from Natchiappan, senior leader N.S.V. Chittan, J.M. Haroon and K.S. Azhagiri will represent the Congress while Thol Thirumavalavan of the smaller VCK party will be another member.