The realities facing the people of the north are way more complex. There is an acute need for jobs. With the rising cost of living, households — particularly those with women heading them — are struggling to make ends meet. Many public institutions, including those that lost land to the army’s high security zones in the Northern Province, are crying for attention and support. Fishermen of the north are badly hit. With the failure of successive monsoons, food security is emerging as a serious concern. The region is still heavily militarised.
The Sri Lankan government may not acknowledge these problems anytime soon, as the rhetoric, for both the government and those opposing it, seems to begin and end with war crimes — now an all-too-familiar game of allegations and denial. While allegations of war crimes and human rights violations keep surfacing from time to time — justifiably so after a brutal war that allegedly claimed several thousand civilian lives — it is important that we simultaneously shine the spotlight on some of these current challenges.