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‘Indian teams helping in demining operations in Lanka’

Last Updated: Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 10:16

London: Two Indian teams are helping the Sri Lankan security forces in recovering "buried arms" and demining operations following the defeat of the LTTE, a senior official has said.
Rajiva Wijesinha, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Disaster Management and Human rights of Sri Lanka, said the security forces were currently focussing on recovering "buried arms" and demining.

Eight teams including two from India were doing most of the demining operation, he said.

Wijesinha appreciated India`s concern about Tamils` welfare. "India told us about their concern regarding the welfare of Tamils. We appreciate that and we are looking after their welfare and they are our citizens," he said.

He also said that a majority of the 2.8 lakh displaced Tamil civilians in refugee camps in Sri Lanka will be sent home by the end of next month.

"We will bring down the total number of people in the (refugee) camps from 2,80,000 to 1,00,000 by October end," Wijesinha said, while refuting the allegation that the displaced were staying in "torture camps”.

Wijesinha, who was on his way to Geneva to attend a Human Rights Conference, said that "there has been a lot of unfair criticism about the camps, particularly in the Channel IV report and British media.

"Everything in the camp may not be perfect but they are not torture camps," he asserted.

Wijesinha described as "nonsense" British media reports that the island country planned to keep the displaced Tamils permanently in the camp.

"We want to move them from the camps to their homes as soon as possible but we have also to take into consideration the security aspects," he said.

He said most of the elderly people, pregnant women and born disabled people have already been sent home.

Bureau Report

First Published: Sunday, September 13, 2009 - 10:16

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