Peace activists slam SLA warning

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 January 2001, 16:44 GMT]
The Bishop of the Trincomalee -Batticaloa diocese of the Catholic Church, Rt.Rev.Kingsley Swampillai protested against the Sri Lanka Army's proclamation that it will punish people urging the Sri Lankan government to start peace talks with the Liberations Tigers when he met the military Co-ordinating Officer for the Batticaloa district, Brigadier V.R.Anthonis Thursday. "It is a dangerous development that people who say the war ought to be stopped and call for peace in Sri Lanka should be considered offenders by the army", the bishop said.

The Ven.Madambagama Ajithanayaka Thero, a Buddhist monk visiting Batticaloa with a national inter-religious peace organisation condemned the army's proclamation when the matter was brought to his at a seminar Thursday.

"Are we all who are working to bring about peace in this island offenders? How can holding rallies and meetings be considered offences?" he asked.

"If it is a crime to hold meetings and rallies for peace, we are not going to be scared by it", the monk said.

The Bishop and the Buddhist monk were reacting to a proclamation issued by the SLA in Batticaloa this week warning civilians in the region against organising peace marches and rallies urging the Sri Lankan government to consider a cease-fire and start talks with Liberation Tigers to bring the conflict to an end.

Meanwhile a delegation from the Royal Dutch Embassy in Colombo visited Batticaloa Thursday. It met Bishop.Kingsley Swampillai and non governmental organisations working in the district. The delegation was led by the Dutch Ambassador in Colombo Mrs.Anneke Schutter.

NGO representatives told the Dutch embassy officials that the Sri Lankan Government should reciprocate the LTTE's cease-fire declared on 24 December. They gave copies of the SLA hand bill issued bill to the delegation.

The Dutch delegation participated in a seminar organised by the Inter Religious Peace Organisation later in the day.

 

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