This post deals with a visit to Jaffna District for a Divisional meeting in Chavakachcheri, though I was also helping Mrs Navaratnam, widow of the TULF MP of the eighties who had been my father’s good friend, to reclaim her house.

Into Jaffna for Reconciliation

The day after the meetings in March 2012 in Vavuniya, I went to Kilinochchi for the Karachi Divisional meeting, also in town, checked on the hospital as to which some shortcomings had been mentioned, and then spoke to the GA, Mrs Ketheswaran. I had first met her when she was Acting GA in Batticaloa for much of the war, and was delighted that she had been appointed here as GA for she was the first person from the Kilinochchi District to get a Government Agent post. I would still use this term for what were now District Secretaries, still proud of the fact that my grandfather had been the first Sri Lankan GA, way back in the twenties.

In the afternoon I had a meeting at the Palai Divisional Secretariat in the northwest of the District and then crossed the lagoon into the Jaffna peninsula. I had a job to do there for Mrs Navaratnam the widow of the MP who had been a good friend of my father. Her ancestral home had been taken over by the LTTE during the war, and now it was occupied by someone with connections to the EPDP, who claimed to be running an orphanage there.

I found a very strange situation, about half a dozen little boys, about at many young ladies, and an older man who obviously had no credentials to look after children. And his young ladies had no training either. I promptly went to the Police Station and made an entry on the subject. Fortunately I found that the Divisional Secretary for Chavakachcheri, where I had my meeting the following afternoon, held the same view, and before long Mrs Navaratnam got vacant possession of the place.

The Divisional Secretary was not sure of the attitude of the District Secretary. But this was Imelda Sukumar, who had been District Secretary in Mullaitivu during the war and had, like Mr Vedanayagam, got out just before the final offensive. At the District Reconciliation meeting which had happened that morning I had raised the matter and though I could see she was a bit worried about the EPDP connection I assured her that this was not matter the party would get involved with since there was certainly something untoward going on.

I had stayed the previous night in the army camp at Palaly, another White House, though I did not meet with army personnel on this occasion. And the day I left for Colombo, the 27th, I had had lunch with Mrs Navaratnam who was staying with a friend, before the meeting in Chavakachcheri. She had come down from Canada determined to get her house back, and I told her I thought that could be achieved soon.