2nd lead

MP highlights woes of garrisoned island

[TamilNet, Friday, 02 July 2004, 10:32 GMT]
Three hundred families living in Mandaitheevu are still suffering without basic ameneties and ready access to drinking water despite two years of peace and promises by Sri Lankan military authorities to ease their burden, an MP who visited the area told TamilNet Friday. Mandaitheevu is an island south of Jaffna town heavily garrisoned by the Sri Lanka Navy since 1990.

Outsiders are not allowed access to the island unless they can prove very close blood relationship with a permanent resident there.

Mr. Selvarajah Gajendran, Tamil National Alliance MP for Jaffna, who visited the island Thursday said residents have to walk more than two kilometres to obtain drinking water.

"Families there do not have toilet facilities because their homes are occupied by the Navy. As they are compelled to live in temporary shelters sans toilets, they use shrub jungles in the vicinity. Women are greatly harassed by SLN soldiers who roam in the shrub with voyeuristic intentions", Mr. Gajendran said.

Residents of the island are permitted a little cultivation and very limited fishing. All the families live around the Mandaitheevu Mahaviththiyalayam (school) in the island's centre as the coast and most of the hinterland is occupied by the SLN. Fishing is allowed only in one small area of the island's coastline.

 

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