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.
“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!!
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.
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”
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.