SLA coerces Kalkudah civilians to build bulwark
[TamilNet, Sunday, 16 July 2000, 11:51 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army in Kalkudah, 32 kilometers north of Batticaloa, is engaging civilians of this coastal village in forced labour residents said Sunday. Males in the village have been forced to work by soldiers at the construction of a sand bulwark ahead of the northern and western defences of the Kalkudah SLA base. A mason in the village who had refused to work for the army on Friday was severely beaten up by soldiers from the camp.
The mason's chin was split as a result of the beating. The mason had told the soldiers who had forced him to work at the bulwark that he had to be at his construction site in Paasikudah (the adjacent village, formerly a thriving coastal resort) that morning.
Residents said that more than ten persons in Kalkudah who had failed to turn up for work on the sand bulwark had been beaten up by the SLA since last week.
Fishermen in the village who set out to sea around 4 a.m. in the early hours of the morning in their boats which are moored at the old Kalkudah jetty inside the camp's defence perimeter are engaged by the SLA in forced labour upon their return later in the day. The fishermen are unable to sell their catch on time as a consequence.
Many fishermen have stopped going to sea because of the hard labour to which they subjected by the Kalkudah SLA residents said.
Civilians in Kalkudah said that an SLA officer who introduces himself as Corporal Farook is mainly responsible for forcing them to work on the sand bulwark and clearing the undergrowth.
They said that they have taken up the matter with the members of Parliament for Batticaloa. The problem, however, continues according to them.