Vavuniya residents picket GA

[TamilNet, Monday, 20 March 2000, 18:05 GMT]
About 50 people picketed the Vavuniya Government Agent's office this morning, urging officials to grant them permission to travel to their homes in Trincomalee, Batticaloa and Ampara. They have been held at the 'Goodshed Welfare Centre' in Vavuniya for nearly two months.

The protestors said they were returning to their homes in the eastern districts after visiting their relatives in the LTTE held region of the Vanni. But security officials refused to grant them permission to travel from Vavuniya.

"We have not committed any crimes other than visiting our relatives for various reasons, such as weddings and funerals. We are not entitled to be detained in welfare centres for months," the protestors told government officials.

Those who wanted to stay in Vavuniya or to travel to Mannar district have been allowed to leave welfare centres, officials said.

According to Additional Government Agent (AGA), Mr S.Ragunathapillai, there are 44 people (19 families) requesting transit to Trincomalee, 25 persons (15 families) to Batticaloa, and one person to go to Ampara. Four people belonging to two families are to go to Puttalam.

He told the protestors that the GA was is in touch with military officials to obtain travel permits. The demonstrators have also sent memoranda to Members of Parliament for the Vanni district.


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