SLA red tape frustrates Jaffna citizens
[TamilNet, Monday, 17 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The Citizens Committee of Vadamaradchi East had a meeting with the Vadamaradchi commander Brigadier. Lal Wijeratne last week to discuss the numerous hardships they face due to severe army restrictions.
The committee had pleaded with the commander to alleviate the suffering of the people living in areas between the Vallipuram temple south of Pt. Pedro and Aliayavalai, north of Vettilaikerni, by lifting some of the restrictions which the army has placed on the area.
The Brigadier had, however, informed the Citizens Committee that he could not do anything about the matter as Vadamaradchi east comes under the jurisdiction of the Elephant Pass base.
A Committee member who did not want to be named said that they are in a quandary because Tamil civilians are not allowed to get anywhere near the base.
But contrary to the commander's claim, it is the Vadamaradchi brigade that imposes the draconian restrictions. He was, according to sources, trying to shirk responsibility by passing the buck on the E.P base which Tamil civilians cannot approach.
The brigadier does not want to spoil his hearts and minds program while continuing to keep the restrictions intact they said.
The most heinous of these is the ban on men between the ages of 15 and 35. No men in this age group can enter or leave Vadamaradchi east said the citizens Committee source.
There are eighteen Grama Sevaka divisions in Vadamaradchi east. Of these seven are occupied by the army alone. The people who lived in these divisions - Vettilaikerni, Vannankulam, Chundikkulam, Kattaikkadu etc., - have been displaced since 1991 as refugees. The Elephant Pass base encompasses all the seven GS divisions.
Civilians live alongside the army in the GS division of Maruthankerni.