MOD clearance stipulated for Vanni travel
[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 July 2001, 15:54 GMT]
The Sri Lankan government introduced new regulations this week stipulating that civilians should obtain permission from the Ministry of Defence to travel to the Vanni. The regulation, which came into effect from 5 July, was criticized by Parliamentarians for the Vanni Saturday.
Earlier, civilians wishing to travel to areas held by the Liberation Tigers could apply to the Vanni Sri Lankan Security Forces Headquarters in Vavuniya. "The new procedure could make things very difficult for ordinary people who wish to cross the lines," said Selvam Adaikalanathan MP.
Vavuniya Kachcheri sources said that the new procedure was introduced after the Emergency lapsed Wednesday.
"The ordinary civilians already face a lot of problems in obtaining permission and traveling to the Vanni due to severe Sri Lanka army restrictions. Civilians will have to go from pillar to post if they want to travel to the Vanni under the new regulation. It will certainly lead to a proliferation of unscrupulous middlemen who will fleece the people on the pretext of helping them obtain permission from the MOD," Mr. Adaikalanathan said.