Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran has requested from visiting US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to release military held lands in the north, to grant an amnesty for political prisoners and to stop increased militarization of the province, among other issues.
During a half an hour meeting with Power, Wigneswaran has said that the present government too has not kept its promises to the Tamil people, despite them voting in their numbers to elect the incumbent President Maithripala Sirisena at the last January’s election.
Following the meeting with Power, Wigneswaran told the media that he had also raised concern over the ever increasing government budgetary allocation to boost the military despite the war ending six years back.
While noting that that the budget will remain high next year too with more than Rs. 306 billion allocated for defence, Wigneswaran said that he feels a large portion of the monies could be diverted to develop the north and bring relief to the war battered people.
Wigneswaran had told Power that the people of the north remained highly concerned over continued militarization in Northern Province which is affecting the people’s day to day life.
On the land issue he had said that despite government promises to hand back military occupied land, the military presence has not decreased and a large portion of lands have not been released.
Wigneswaran had also voiced concern over activities by some Sinhala extremist groups in the South which he described as responsible for blocking positive developments in the north.
He had also complained that the development in the war battered north was going at a snail’s space and lack of industries was hurting the employment opportunities of the people.
The Chief Minister also had urged Power to take up the political prisoners matter with the government stressing that they need a just solution.
In response Power had told Wigneswaran that she will take up the militarization and political prisoners issue with the government.
However, she had failed to give any assurance on the matter related to land occupied by the military.
Wigneswarana later accompanied Power in her visits to several locations in the city.