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Tamils cut out of flagship Sri Lankan job scheme

The Sri Lankan home affairs ministry passed an order on Wednesday rescinding applicability to the Northern and Eastern provinces of a scheme that offers employment opportunities for 100,000 low-income people.

The ministry had earlier announced that one lakh people with low income will be offered employment by the state and had also conducted interviews for the same. However, the latest order has reversed the previous government position and has effectively made the Tamils in the North and East ineligible of availing the employment opportunities this scheme offers.

The order invalidating the eligibility of candidates in the North and East for the scheme reached all the eight district offices in the two provinces through fax and email.

However, whilst the Northern and Eastern provinces have been rendered ineligible, the scheme has been allowed to go ahead in the rest of the seven provinces in the island, exposing the blatantly racist and discriminatory nature of this policy.

This raises questions as to whether all the 100,000 jobs would be distributed across the seven provinces excluding the North and East.

Around 6,626 people in Jaffna, 2,261 in Kilinochchi, 8,830 in Mannar, 1,565 in Mullaitivu and 1,258 in Vavuniya were selected under this scheme for employment and their names published on the related government website. They had been informed by their respective district offices that they would receive their appointments starting August 31. The abrupt order has denied 20,540 people of gainful state employment.

The shock cancellation will prove testing for state-aligned Tamil candidates and paramilitaries who were lauded for purportedly winning votes in the general election based off promises of employment and development.

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