Opposition Leader Rajavarothiam Sampanthan has observed that most of the Tamil people who fled the country due to threats to their lives would like to come back if an environment free of violence is created in the country.
He was addressing the House during the debate on the Draft Bill on the Registration of IDPs as Voters. He pleaded that he could not agree with the definition of an IDP given in the Draft Bill, as it only includes displacement caused by recent conflicts. The Tamil militant groups started their struggle only in the latter part of the 1970s. But displacements had started as far back as in 1956, 1958, 1961, 1977 , 1981 and 1983. The one in 1983 caused much destruction.
He said: "After that the Tamils have been continuously subjected to displacement. The reasons for these displacements were the physical attacks on the Tamil people. Many of the Tamil people who had migrated abroad are stranded without permanent citizenship or voting rights. They long to return to the motherland.
The State services are in a deplorable state because a large number of skilled Tamil State employees were forced to get out. Opportunities should be created for those who want to return. This possibility will come only when matters like Democracy, Human Rights, Rule of Law, Equality, Justice, Indiscrimination, Equal Status are stipulated and guaranteed Constitutionally. The chance for fulfilling this has now come.
There are people who can think and act correctly inside and outside this Parliament. So think about doing these things constitutionally. Although we welcome this Draft Bill, we wish to point out that persons who were compelled to flee the country have not been accommodated in the Bill. They are without a country of their own. A peaceful and violence-free society should be created here for them to return."