JVP sets up illegal Sinhala settlements, Trincomalee tense
[TamilNet, Thursday, 03 March 2005, 11:48 GMT]
Tension is mounting in the eastern port city of Trincomalee Thursday as members of radical Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a major constituent of the United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government, attempt to construct small houses to settle Sinhalese people in State land in a portion of the esplanade of the urban council in the heart of Trincomalee town, civil sources said. Tension escalated Thursday afternoon as groups of Tamil youth blocked traffic by placing blockades on roads protesting the encroachment.
Shops, government institutions, banks and cinema halls closed Thursday afternoon in protest against the illegal settlement, sources said.
JVP cadres started clearing the open land, lying between Kaali kovil and the McKeyzer Stadium overnight and unloaded timber, sand and other building materials with police protection to build small houses to settle Sinhalese people, sources said.
The land selected for the encroachment was levelled Wednesday night in preparation to build the settlement, sources added.
Meanwhile, groups of Tamil youths Thursday afternoon blocked all main roads in the town protesting the encroachment. Police riot squad was rushed to vulnerable sites to prevent outbreak of violence, police said.
Tamil youths put blockade on the Dockyard road in front of the Trinco UC esplanade in protest to the encroachment
On receipt of information Mr.R.Sampanthan, Trincomalee district parliamentarian brought the illegal act to the notice of the Deputy Inspector General of Police and requested him to take prompt action against those involved. However the group of Sinhalese continued to work on the settlelment till Thursday morning, sources said.
In the meantime, officials of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Trincomalee was informed of the volatile situation by Mr.Elilan, LTTE Trincomalee District Political Head, sources said.
Efforts by JVP engaging in building illegal settlements raises the spectre of renewed ethnic bloodshed, diplomatic sources said.