Priests meet fasting protestors

[TamilNet, Friday, 04 September 1998, 15:06 GMT]
The second day of the token fast undertaken by displaced persons in front of the Mullaitivu secretariat was well attended, said sources. Over 300 men, women and children participated in the fast, which started at 5.00 in the morning and went on till 5.00 in the evening.

The fast is of a severe nature, not even water was swallowed, said sources.

A group of catholic priests also arrived at the location at 2.30 in the afternoon, said sources.

The Bishop of Ratnapura Malcom Ranjith, the Bishop of Jaffna Thomas Savuntharanayagam , the Bishop of Mannar Joseph Rajappu , Father Thevarayan of the Sri Lanka human resources development council and Father Alexander were members of the delegation.

They held talks with the fasting people and listened to their grievances, said sources.

The displaced people said that the Sri Lankan government was using hunger and starvation in its war in the Tamil homelands.

They reportedly told the visitors that the Sri Lanka government "is obtaining financial assistance from abroad under false pretences and is using this to kill our people".

Aid workers and local residents say that food shortages have reached acute levels in the LTTE-held parts of the Vanni, as the Sri Lankan government has significantly reduced supplies into the areas.

The Sri Lankan opposition leader, Ranil Wickramasinghe has also accused the government of using food "as a weapon of war". The government denies the charge.

The Government Agents (senior civil administrators) of the Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya and Mannar districts have also protested that severe malnutrition and starvation are being manifest in their respective areas due to the strict government embargo on food.


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