Villagers harassed into leaving
[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 August 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A barbed wire fence and a 'no entry' signboard put up by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) at Linganagar, 1 km from Trincomalee, has prompted five civic organisations to voice their concern in public.
The organisations hope that the matter will be taken up at a high level conference to
be summoned by the Sri Lanka President soon, said sources in Trincomalee.
The five organisations from the Tamil village; the Lingnagar Gramodaya Sabhai, the
Lingnagar Rural Development Society,the Linganagar Sports Club, the Young Men's Hindu
society (YMHA) and the Murugan Kovil Administration Society have stated in a note
sent to journalists, that on July 15, the SLA declared the area near the Murugan
Kovil as Army territory and forbade trespassing.
This follows almost two years of harassment which has left only 100 of the original
265 families still living at Linganagar, said sources.
The statement describing the problems of the families at Linganagar stated that when
they first came up for redress in 1992, President Ranasinghe Premadasa appointed a
two-man committee to report on the tensions between the SLA and the Tamil families.
When the report was completed the two Sinhala members of the Committee refused to
However, acting on its recommendations Nalin Seneviratne, Governor, Northeast
Provincial Council (NEPC) wrote to the SLA stating that this was a civilian area and
that the firing range the military was using, which was in close proximity to
Linganagar, should be shifted.
This was followed in October 1996 by 40 families being forcibly moved out of the area
and the SLA setting up a checkpoint nearby.
The families have filed cases in court which are pending. Over the years the another
150 families left the village and only 100 families remain. The letter also said that
of the approximately 100 houses only 10 had asbestos roofing the others were
covered by cadjan.
But since the SLA did not allow cadjan, wooden poles and cement to be transported to
the area, the houses were in a bad state of repair with crumbling walls and leaking
roofs. What was more, the houses of the 150 persons who left Linganagar, have been
demolished by the SLA. The letter concluded by imploring assistance for the residents
Meanwhile, a high level conference summoned by the Sri Lanka President Chandrika
Kumaratunga will include senior officials of the SLA and Members of Parliament of the
area, said sources.