SLA stops Valalai temple repair

[TamilNet, Monday, 06 October 2003, 03:26 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army Sunday stopped repairs to the Kaali Temple in Valalai, a village in the Valigamam division of Jaffna, residents said. Last week the SLA ordered several families in this resettled village to dismantle their homes that they had rebuilt as permanent structures. The Sri Lankan military, however, insists the village is part of its security environs, although it lies outside the bounds of its Palaly-Kakesanthurai base, which encompasses most of the Valigamam North Division.

“We have been repairing the temple for the last three months. No one told us that it was prohibited to do so. The temple is part of the village. How can we resettle here without a place to worship?” asked one of the temple trustees.

The temple for Kaali, a fierce warrior goddess in the Tamil pantheon, was scheduled for consecration in December, according to the trustees.

Hundreds of villages and several towns lie abandoned in large segments of Jaffna garrisoned by the Sri Lankan armed forces. Thousands of families driven out from these areas are demanding that they be allowed to return. The SLA refuses to let them reclaim the homes.

The friction between the displaced populations and the SLA have been further exacerbated by restrictions it has imposed on villages where people were allowed to resettle such as Valalai that lie close to its outer defence perimeter.


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