Lankan Muslims demand quota in Indian housing project

Colombo: A group of Muslim MPs in Sri Lanka have demanded quota for their community in the allocation of houses built by India in the war-ravaged north for internally displaced persons (IDPs). Writing to the Indian High Commission here, the group of Muslim parliamentarians have urged the Indian government to allocate the houses built by India in the north to IDPs from among Muslims.

They claimed that only the northern Tamil IDPs have been selected to be the recipients of the 50,000 houses project launched by India mainly in the Mullaithivu district. The recipients are those displaced during the final phase of the military conflict. The Muslim parliamentarians also claimed that the LTTE as part of their ethnic cleansing had forced out a large number of Muslims from the north since 1990, and it was said that some 90,000 Muslims had been evicted from Jaffna alone.

The displaced Muslims were located in camps mainly in the north western district of Puttalam, while a sizeable number went on to live in other districts. Indian government made a commitment to construct 50,000 houses in Sri Lanka for rehabilitation of the IDPs during the state visit of Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa to India in June 2010. The housing assistance is in addition to the many infrastructure development projects undertaken by India in post conflict Sri Lanka.