Catholic leaders call for stability and development in north
Sister Emmanuel Nichola, a nun from Mullativu, said that the new chief minister must respect the aspirations of the people first and foremost. The end of the war has not put an end to their suffering.
Catholic leaders in the Northern Province have called on newly-elected Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran to bring "stability, peace and development" to the people of the region.
Wigneswaran’s was a major victory in the first provincial elections in the north after nearly 30 years of civil war. He is a member of the Tamil National Alliance, the country's largest Tamil party.
After taking his oath of office on October 7 before President Mahinda Rajapaksa, the chief minister said he wanted to bring "justice and freedom" to Tamils ??of Sri Lanka, stressing the need to "focus on development to help these people rebuild their lives".
He also asked the Sinhalese to walk with Tamils so that "internal self-determination does not divide the country but facilitate a journey on the path of unity." The Sinhalese are the country's ethnic majority.
Sister Emmanuel Nichola, a nun from Mullativu, said that the new chief minister must "respect the aspirations of the people first and foremost. The end of the war has not put an end to their suffering. Nothing is known about the fate of more than 100,000 people who just disappeared. At least, 90,000 war widows in the northeast live in anxiety and fear, not knowing what will happen to them."
"Security forces continue to arrest people who have nothing to do with the Tamil Tigers. Hundreds of people are in jail without trial," she said.
"I do not agree with all the ideas of the Tamil National Alliance," said Father Jeyabalan Croose, a priest from the Diocese of Mannar. "But the people of the North have clearly shown what they want. The chief minister's task will not be easy; he will have to listen to the needs of ordinary people and understand their suffering."