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Tamils in North East struggle with curfew hardships due to state negligence

Tamils across the North East, are finding it increasingly difficult to cope with the hardships incurred from the curfews, that have been imposed across the country to contain the coronavirus (COVID-19). 

A lack of support from the Sri Lankan government during the curfews has particularly affected Tamils from small villages, the elderly and those from low-income families, prompting the Tamil diaspora and local volunteers to help out instead. 

Despite the government announcing they will be implementing schemes to provide support to help those in need, there still has not been any action taken.

Regarding the issue, Senior Law Lecturer at Jaffna University, Kumaravadivel Guruparan, tweeted:

Even though the curfew has not been affecting the more financially stable Tamils in the area for now, it has plunged the lives of many Tamils into immediate danger, who continue to struggle to make ends meet.

One of the villages struggling at the moment due to the curfew is Panikkankulam, Mullaitivu. The villagers of Panikkankulam have not received any money or necessities and are now pleading with the government to provide them with aid to sustain their families.

The curfew has caused a lot of difficulties among Tamils across the North East, with some families struggling to even gain access to necessities such as baby milk, leaving their health in great jeopardy.   

Earlier this week, Mannar Pradeshiya Sabha Chairman S.H.M. Mujahir, sent an urgent letter to the Sri Lanka President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, urging him to suspend the charges for electricity and drinking for the next six months to reduce the financial burden the curfew has inflicted on Tamils.

With many villages in the North East struggling, local volunteers and the Tamil diaspora have took it among themselves to provide aid.

Volunteers from the Oddusuddan Thanthondreeswarar temple in Mullaitivu, provided relief packages to 100 families, on Wednesday (29th March).

However, some local volunteers have been blocked from providing aid, despite having permits. A Chavakachcheri council member and three other volunteers had been arrested and had their vehicle seized, when they were delivering food to underprivileged persons in the Varani area on Saturday (25th March).

Community organisers have also been working relentlessly with local groups in the North East and volunteers to provide donations from Tamil donors worldwide to the Tamils. One such initiative working in conjunction with Trincomalee-based organisation, Kapilar Social Advancement Council, received donation aids of up to $11,535.50 CAD in just 3 days of fundraising.