Trinco traders demand compensation, accuse armed forces of abetting violence
[TamilNet, Saturday, 15 April 2006, 16:23 GMT]
"Sri Lanka Government should urgently take steps to ensure safety of our business in Trincomalee. Thugs target our businesses whenever there is any explosion in the bazaar, and Government troops and Police rarely take any action to contain resulting violence and looting. This has been the case from 1977. Many of our shops have now been destroyed while the Police and troops looked on, this Wednesday," said several members of the Chamber of Commerce and Industries of Trincomalee District (CCITD) in the presence of a Sri Lanka Minister and Security Forces commanders during a conference held Saturday evening, sources said.
Mr.Rohitha Bogollagama, Minister of Foreign Investment and Promotion, Rear Admiral Mohan Wijewickrema, North East Provincial Governor, Lt.General Sarath Fonseka, Commander of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), police and army officials participated in the conference.
The CCITD submitted a tentative list of 31 business establishments which were burnt and damaged in Wednesday's violence in Trincomalee bazaar following a bomb explosion, sources said.
The conference held at the North East Provincial Chief Secretary's Secretariat, commenced around 3.30 p.m. and concluded at about 5.30 p.m. Mr.S.Rangarajah, NorthEast Chief Secretary was also present, sources said.
CCITD members demanded that they should be paid comprehensive compensation for the destruction and loss of their businesses, and temporary housing should be provided to start their businesses till their destroyed establishments are renovated.
They further wanted an assurance from the responsible authorities there will not be any pre-planned attacks on their businesses under any circumstances, sources said.
Traders told the Minister and the SLA commander that the Police did not response to the alarm siren of the Trincomalee main branch of the Hatton National Bank (HNB) which was connected with the Trincomalee Police Headquarters for about two hours when the institution was under attack by a group of thugs in the presence of government troops.
Mr.Rohitha Bogollagama said in future the government should take steps to prevent such attack on business establishments in Trincomalee, sources said.