Batticaloa farmers protest against discrimination
[TamilNet, Sunday, 23 May 1999, 16:25 GMT]
Farmers in the eastern district of Batticaloa will stage a demonstration on Thursday, May 27, protesting at discrimination in the implementation of development projects under the DERBA scheme (Development and Rehabilitation of Batticaloa).
The farmers claim that the Sri Lanka Army has been denying permission for the implementation of agricultural development projects in areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers that comprise almost 80 present of the farming land of the district.
Five hundred million rupees have been allocated for development over the next five years under the DERBA scheme financed by the Norwegian Government through the NORAD.
One hundred and ten million rupees have been allocated for the scheme this year, of which 70 million rupees are to be spent in areas controlled by the Sri Lankan security forces, while 40 million rupees in areas controlled by the Liberation Tigers.
However, at the recently held District Co-ordinating Committee (DDC), permission was given to carry development projects only in areas controlled by the Government Forces.
Sources in Batticaloa said that several hundred farmers from various parts of the district are expected to take part in the demonstration on Thursday.
A memorandum will also be sent to the Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunge, the sources added.
Meanwhile the house of Mr. K.Kanthasamy, an employee at the Multi Purpose Co-operative Society (MPCS), in Puthukkudiyiruppu, near Valaichenai, was damaged when the Sri Lanka Army threw a grenade into it at around 8.00 p.m. last night,
No one was injured as the family had gone to visit neighbours when the incident took place.
Sources said that the SLA suspects Kanthasamy of having contacts with the Liberation Tigers.
This is the second grenade attack at his house by the SLA during the past 3 months.
The sources added Kanthasmy was taken for questioning by the Liberation Tigers for allegedly stealing 27,0000 rupees from the MPCS. However, he had managed to escape.