Ministers cancel visit to Pesalai

[TamilNet, Saturday, 24 June 2006, 18:11 GMT]
Sri Lanka Ministers Mr.Jeyaraj Fernandopulle, Mr.Rischard Badiudeen and Mr.Felix Perera Saturday evening called off their scheduled visit to Pesalai and Vankalai after being notified about a firefight between the SLN soldiers and unidentified persons in Vankalaipadu coastal area, civil sources said. The Ministers had planned to visit the these areas after a conference held in the Sunny Village Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) camp in Mannar Saturday 3:00 p.m. to look into the difficulties faced by Mannar fishermen after SLN's fishing ban.

Ministers were to visit villages affected allegedly by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) violence on the direction of Sri Lanka's President Rajapakse

At the conclusion of the discussion three ministers were scheduled to visit and inspect the church at Pesalai and talk to the affected families. Before they were taken to these places by helicopter the Ministers received information that a firefight between SLN soldiers and unidentified persons had ensued for about five minutes close to the area.

The Ministers immediately called of their visit and left for Colombo, sources said.

On hearing the reports of firefight, families rushed to the Pesalai church seeking refuge, civil sources said.

The conference where the lifting of fishing ban in Mannar was announced, was attended by Mr.S.Visuvalingam, Mannar Government Agent, Ms Stanely de Mel, Mannar Divisional Secretary,Mr.Cecil Rajapakse, Special Advisor to President Mahinda Rajapakse, SLN Commander in Punawa camp Dhamikka Samarawickrema, Major General Munasinghe of Thallady SLA camp and representatives of fisheries societies in Mannar, Panankatikotu, Kattaspathiri and Karisal.


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