Robinson, a 19-year-old youth of the Sabapathipillai camp of internally-displaced people (IDP) in Chunnakam near Jaffna, is more keen on playing cricket with his friends than talking about larger issues that affect the Tamil community. Still, he says he will go to polling booth on August 17, and cast his vote. “That is my right,” he says.
What would the elections mean for him? This is a question that can be addressed by those who are knowledgeable, he replies. He, however, adds that this is the first time that he’s going to cast his vote. “That’s why it is important to me.” Robinson adds that what is concerning him and many others is unemployment.
He recalls that British Prime Minister David Cameron interacted with the people of the camp in November 2013. Malar, a mother of five children, is bitter about the elections and political parties. Pointing out that she is living in the camp for the last 20 years, Malar says “These parties come here during elections but do nothing for us. We have been living in these shelters with tin-sheet roofs all these years. The government stopped giving us subsistence allowance since 2009 [the year in which the Eelam War came to an end]. Life has been quite hard for us.”