Mannar situation calamitous- Thamilchelvan tells SLMM
[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 November 2004, 13:02 GMT]
Head of Liberation Tigers Political Wing, S.P Thamilchelvan, in an urgent message to Head of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) Maj. Gen (retd) Trond Furuhovde described the situation in Mannar as "calamitous" that will lead to public unrest which is "totally undesirable" during the period of ceasefire and martyrs' day celebrations.
Full text of the message follows:Top Priority
Maj. General Trond Furuhovde,
Head of SLMM
Sub: SLA and SL Police rioting in Mannar
Appended below, please find a summarized report based on information received from Mannar and Vavuniya relating to a serious situation.
Please treat this with the urgency of curbing a calamitous situation which, we are afraid, would lead to serious public unrest and rioting, creating a situation totally undesirable, firstly under a ceasefire period, secondly and most importantly a period of veneration commemorated by the Tamil people remembering their Martyrs with piety and serenity.
Today 25 November when Tamil youths were engaged in the preparation of the commemoration hall, SLA and SL Police entered into the scene, shattered the structures and the photographs of the Martyrs and brutally assaulted all those present including LTTE members with bayonets, poles and pipes injuring several of them. They fired warning shots in the air to disperse the people. Eight civilians have been already admitted to hospital.
The memorial hall structure has been completely destroyed and banners and flags burnt. Transport is banned. Vehicles have been subject to attack and the military is not permitting civilians to remove their bicycles and motor cycles halted near the bus-stand. Movement of people is seriously hampered by the unruly attacks of the military. A situation has arisen wherein shops have been closed and people’s movement completely negated.
The Tamil people of Mannar are at a loss to comprehend as to why Mannar is singled out for this type of brutal treatment whereas the Martyrs’ Day commemoration is taking place unfettered in other districts. It is opined that the SLA is working on an agenda to disrupt the peaceful commemoration of this annual event and provocate the civilians. It is reported from Mannar that the SLMM has not yet intervened in this matter.
The latest information that we get from Pesalai is that the SL Navy has started attacking civilians. Around 1400 hours the SLA positioned near the station junction has destroyed the shed in front of the LTTE office wherein the photographs of Martyrs were arranged to pay homage by parents and relatives.
A similar situation, it is reported, is in the making in Vavuniya too where the SLA and the Police are set to remove all the decorations and structures made by the people and a tense situation may explode at any moment.
We have already communicated this matter to H.E. the Norwegian Ambassador, expressing our fear that this situation, if not arrested immediately, may tend to create a totally undesirable confrontational position which all of us should endeavor to arrest.
Please be assured that we have put in place adequate instructions to our members in Mannar to ensure that SLMM is allowed to function unhindered and unharmed by any elements. Civilians too have been properly counseled to ensure the safety and security of the SLMM personnel and this is a clear assurance by us to allay the fears SLMM monitors may have in a situation of pandemonium.
Awaiting an immediate response,
Head of the Political Wing.