North – Isn’t it Sri Lanka?

1097808684Aerial view of the lagoon in Jaffna Photo Alamy

Aerial view of the lagoon in Jaffna Photo : Alamy

 As I’m following my Masters degree I decided to do my research on “Education for Social Cohesion”. So my supervisor advised me to visit Sri Lanka and do the research there.”

Lora, a grad student from University of Amsterdam, Netherlands explained me her reason of visiting Sri Lanka.

“My supervisor said that it is the most convenient country to do my research because Sri Lanka is a country trying to stand steadily on the ashes after the thirty years long ethnic conflict. I searched the internet, found out that it’s a secure place for a girl to travel and I took my decision to make Sri Lanka my destination.”

I met Lora with a group of school children from Kurunegala, on their way to Jaffna. They were planning to visit a school in Jaffna and to have a friendship camp of three days to develop the bonds with their Tamil brothers and sisters. The program was organized by the Ministry of Education.

Lora was busy checking her mails it seemed like she expecting & important doc to receive.

“Any Problem?”

“Mmm… I’m waiting for the approval letter from Ministry of Defense to travel in North!”

Whaaaat!!! In the same country why a foreigner needs a paper to travel in a particular area! From the Ministry of Defense! Talk about it!!

Capture1

The link Appears in Ministry of Defense Web Site (Bottom right corner)

It’s true. As the announcement SL Army did on 15th October 2014, the foreign passport who wish to visit the North will have to obtain prior clearance from the MoD. According to army spokesperson Brigadier Ruwan Wanigasooriya, the curb was applicable to all foreign passport holders, including journalists.

Reference –

http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=Foreign_Passport_holders_traveling_to_the_North_20141030_02

IN 2009 the SL forces defeated the LTTE terrorists and it became the turning point of the country. No doubts it is a great pleasure to breath in a country where there’s no gun fights and suicide bombers. As we all know some foreign agencies as well as with the support of some locals fed the terras. Getting the cover as iNGOs and NGOs they funded the terrorists to fight against the Sri Lankan government.

We have the bitter experience of the tsunami disaster in 2004. Many tsunami aids came from foreign agencies were pumped to feed the war! Even now LTTE diaspora is trying to arise conflicts in the Northern area. Some countries also trying to point their finger upon us complain of “War Crimes”.

But, as a country we are running in a post war era where we have to build a good image in the international. Tourism is a major industry of Sri Lanka that not only carries foreign currency into the country but also the tourists carry out the good name and the amazing hospitality they experienced during their stay here. That is the best way to make a good image in the international other than having nasty media shows.

So is it practical and effective to have such kind of dumb rules issuing a legal document for the foreigners as a “Visa within a Country”?

“I was but confused seeing that I have to get the approval from the Ministry of Defense. I mean in our countries it’s normally a closed authority! Even by getting this letter it feels somewhat insecure. I don’t think it is a good practice for a country like Sri Lanka promoting tourism.” Lora said.

“The security forces have imposed restrictions preventing all foreign passport holders (including British nationals) travelling to the Northern Province. All foreign passport holders planning to travel to the north must get prior approval from the Ministry of Defence. Military activities are ongoing. You should obey orders from the security forces and signs warning of the danger from land-mines. See Local travel – North

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/sri-lanka/safety-and-security

That’s how the UK government advising their citizens about traveling to Sri Lanka. Doesn’t this kind of mentions create a fury in tourists?

“I love this country. I was pretty amazed seeing the sandy beaches and I love the city Kandy! My parent also coming to visit Sri Lanka in December. I’m pretty sure they’ll not travel to Jaffna! 😀 “

Lora said with me showing some photos she took during her visit to Kandy.

My suggestion – Why this couldn’t done under the supervision of Tourism Ministry or such department? Just by putting a mask to the furious face MoD appears for the foreigners. It’ll be more effective and friendly than this doubtful process.

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9 thoughts on “North – Isn’t it Sri Lanka?

  1. All these problems arise because some evil western countries are not prepared to keep their hands off our Country. Since our government refused to collaborate with the one sided war crimes probe against our country the new plan is to use one sided witnesses out of Northern population. Ofcourse this is to be carried out by the merchants of peace (or is it death?), the NGOs. The travel ban is to make the NGOs think twice before trying to screw us. They may eventually screw us for getting rid of terrorism but we should atleast make them work hard for it.

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  2. Buddy Tsunami was in 2004.. not in 06.. please correct that..

    And, I was an ex military officer who resigned after war in 2009. you know in 2012 I traveled to Jaffna for a vacation with my family and I too felt the same way.. isn’t Jaffna a part of SL? that was being a local person- forget the ex military. Considering the Lora’s situation and of such other foreigners I feel sorry a situation. MAD decisions in important junctures to be summed up. Good article naadi 😀

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  3. One reason behind this is to block the foreign media entering to the area. This stupid decision makers never see the lighter side of anything. If they want to show the world about re-building of a devastated area ……this does not make any help. Guided media tours are very very old fashioned.

    Good luck Naadiya!!!!

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    • Guided media tours are like field trips we went at schools. Normally that’s not the type of journalism that reputed media follows. Then they refuse to take part in those media shows.

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  4. If there is no war and if we really taking care of the masses in the north, why do we hide them from others?

    The truth is we did not win the war until now, we are not talking to their problems and we don’t want others to find it out!

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