TNA, SLMC want delimitation put off for ten years

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) want the Government to refrain from carrying out the delimitation of electoral boundaries in the Northern Province for the next 10 years, until displaced people are resettled.

The proposal was put forward by a TNA delegation led by R. Sampanthan and SLMC leader Rauf Hakeem when they met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Friday at the Parliament Complex. The proposal was made on the

grounds that the displaced people need to be given time to return to their original lands. They include people who had fled the country due to the conflict.

slmc and tnaTNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran who was in the delegation said that, if the delimitation process was carried out in the North now, the representation of Tamil members in Parliament would be reduced. The TNA urged the Government to expedite the release of lands demarcated as ‘High Security Zones’ enabling the speedy return of the displaced people.

An SLMC spokesman said resettlement of the displaced Muslims in the north and east should be completed before any delimitation work was carried out.

Resettlement and Rehabilitation Minister D.M. Swaminathan said the TNA had made the request as the resettlement process was still continuing. He said the Government was expediting the release of the lands in the north, without compromising national security. The minister said that on Friday about 500 more acres of lands were released to the original owners in the Walikamam North area. Earlier another 500 acres of lands from the previous high security zones were released to the owners.

The minister said the Government would release to the original land owners more than 750 acres in Sampur soon after the New Year.