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Expelled Muslims happy to be back in Jaffna

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Osmaniya College

Osmaniya College

Osmaniya College

The 100-Jaffna  Muslim families of the original 15,000, who had returned to live in Jaffna after being forced to leave the peninsula by the LTTE in 1990, are happy to be back in their old homes amidst the Tamils. They look at the LTTE era as an aberration.

“None of us wants to go back to south Sri Lanka,” declared S.M.Faiz, a bearded religious leader involved in the running of five mosques in the town. “The Tigers are a bunch of uneducated fellows,” Faiz said, dismissing the LTTE as an atypical set among the generally cultured and educated Jaffna Tamil community.

“This is our soil and we have the right to return,” said Meherunnissa, a 34 year old mother who is living in a makeshift private camp for returnees in the Khadijah school for girls. She had been living here for the past seven years in abject poverty, but never regretted her decision to come back to Jaffna.

Meherunnissa’s family had a house in Jaffna, as they were shop keepers. But this house is now in ruins, torn down by local Tamils wanting material to build their own houses. Almost all Muslim houses have been stripped to the foundation.  However, the Muslim returnees are not angry with the Tamils.

“The Tamils dutifully gave back our houses if they had occupied them during our 19 year absence. They are by nature a law abiding people,” Faiz said.

Sitting in his mosque near Osmania college ,Faiz and Moulavi Mohammad Bashir said that the Muslims had never had problems with the Tamils till the LTTE appeared on the scene.  “We are inseparable.When the Ilankai Tamilar Arasu Katchi (ITAK) headed by S.J.V.Chelvanayakam was contesting in Jaffna, the Muslims helped it win seats in the town for the first time. From then, till now, we have had no problems with the Tamil leaders other than the LTTE,” Bashir said.

LTTE eyed Muslim wealth  According to him, the Tigers ordered the Muslims to vacate Jaffna peninsula in 2 hours, because they wanted the Muslims’ gold and property. Jaffna Muslims were basically well heeled shop keepers and dominated the transport and hardware sector.

“When the rich Tamils left the island after the 1983 riots, the LTTE had no community in Jaffna to extort money from, other than the Muslims. That is why we were targeted,” Bashir explained.

Only a fraction return to settle  Muslims started to return to Jaffna from the refugee camp in Puttalam (north of Colombo) and other places about nine to 10 years ago. But only about 100 families of the originaly 15,000 families have chosen to move lock, stock and barrel so far. The fear of the LTTE had been rampant till May last year.

Even now, several months after the elimination of the LTTE, only 10 percent are in Jaffna, full time. The majority are merchants running dual homes.

infomation from an idian web source


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February 22, 2010 at 8:42 am

Posted in Muslim news

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