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* Sri Lanka's major Tamil party rejects government census on human and material losses during the war
Thu, Dec 26, 2013, 10:08 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Dec 26, Colombo: Sri Lanka's major Tamil political party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has decided to reject the census conducted by the government on human and material losses due to the war.

TNA parliamentarian Mavai Senathirajah told a news conference that the party has decided to reject the census by the Census and Statistics Department since the TNA could not agree with the procedures adopted by the Census Department in gathering information.

He explained that the circumstances of incidences of disappearances and deaths were not accommodated in the census process, which the TNA does not agree with.

A member of the Northern Provincial Council Dharmalingam Sithadthan has told AFP that the Council will conduct its own census in the Province since the government's census will attempt to play down the number of casualties.

In accordance with one of the recommendations made by the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, the Department of Census and Statistics last month commenced a nationwide census to ascertain details of people injured, disabled, and missing since 1983 up to May 2009.

The island-wide census will collect detailed information on the deaths, missing persons, injured and/or disabled persons, and damages to the property.

The TNA's decision to reject the census was made at a meeting of the party held in Vavuniya earlier in the week.

TNA Leader R. Sampanthan chaired the meeting and Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran had also participated in the meeting.

The death toll of civilians during the 30-year conflict has not been accurately assessed. A UN panel that probed the last phase of the war has estimated that around 40,000 died while other independent reports estimated the number of civilians dead to exceed 100,000.

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