SLA hands back part of Jaffna suburb
[TamilNet, Monday, 01 December 2003, 12:22 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army Monday handed back part of a densely populated coastal suburb of Jaffna it had been occupying since 1996. “We are vacating this area on the instructions of Maj. Gen. Sarath Fonseka”, Sri Lankan military sources in the northern town said. More than four hundred homes that were inside the garrisoned part of Navaanthurai are all damaged, according to residents.
Rafters, beams, doors, window, frames and other woodwork of the houses have also been removed by the military, residents complain.
The S. L military also vacated about 1.5 kilometer of Navaanthurai’s shoreline. Maj. K. Upali represented the SLA. Minister for Hindu Affairs and MP for Jaffna, Mr. T. Maheswaran was present at the handing back on behalf of the displaced residents of the suburb. Troops of the SLA’s 51 Division were camped in this sector of Jaffna town.
Navaanthurai was a densely populated, bustling suburb of Jaffna until the SLA drove out its residents and garrisoned the area along with its shoreline in 1996.
Many key sectors in the heart of Jaffna town and its congested coastal suburbs continue to be occupied by the SLA. Under the provisions of a cease fire agreement it signed with the Liberation Tigers in February last year, Colombo agreed to withdraw troops from towns and villages in the northeast it had garrisoned during the war.
Tamil politicians and civil society groups say that Colombo has not kept to its promise but has been dragging its feet on the issue too long.