Census officials escape claymore attack in Vadamaraadchi
[TamilNet, Sunday, 13 January 2008, 18:06 GMT]
A team of officials involved in census work in Jaffna peninsula escaped injuries in a claymore attack targetted on them Sunday noon in Sampanthan Kadai area in Karaveddy as the device failed to explode completely, sources said.
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) troopers rushed to the scene and recovered the partially exploded bomb.
The incident has caused panic among the census officials as well as the public, local residents said.
The census data gathering started in June 2007 was later abandoned due to the refusal of local officials to continue their work.
However, in September, the Army chief of the Northern division issued an order to begin Census related work immediately but the process became stalled soon after. Even though enumerators were trained for the purpose, the government officials in the peninsula were reluctant to co-operate.
With renewed orders from SLA high command, the census work described as "special census" was again begun recently by Grama Sevakas (village level administrators) and census workers with protection provided by combined force of SLA troopers and police personnel, amidst widespread opposition from the general public.
A previous attempt by the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) in 2002 to conduct a census in Jaffna peninsula was discontinued following death threats issued by a group which called itself “Ellalan Force.”
Meanwhile, a number of civil groups and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarians have voiced their opposition for census in Jaffna and said since hundreds of thousands have become displaced from the peninsula and a large number has left Sri Lanka, the results of the census will have adverse impact on the proposed development schemes. The number of parliamentarians representing the people in the peninsula too will not be accurate, the MPs said.
SLA has already registered all the motor vehicles and the bicycles in the district and also collected detailed information about all the families living in the SLA controlled peninsula.