Missing youths' parents paralyse Jaffna Kachcheri
[TamilNet, Monday, 24 December 2001, 15:25 GMT]
Protesting parents paralyse Jaffna District SecretariatThe Jaffna District Secretariat was stopped from functioning by more than a hundred parents of missing Tamil youth who sat across the entrance of the district secretariat from Monday early morning 6.30 to 4 p.m. in the afternoon, blocking government officials from entering the premises. The parents of the youth who went missing after they were arrested by the Sri Lanka army in 1997 in Jaffna sat in heavy monsoon shower, demanding that the Government Agent for Jaffna should get a reply from Colombo about the fate of their children in 20 days. The parents rejected an offer by the government to grant death certificates and compensation to 167 youth who went missing in 1997 after being arrested and detained by the Sri Lanka army. The death certificates claim that the youth were killed due to general violence.
The missing Persons’ Guardian Association (Jaffna)is bitterly opposed to the Sri Lankan government’s effort to claim that the missing youth were killed in general violence. They say that the youth were arrested by the SLA and hence it is the military that should be investigated.
They iterate that the attempts by the former Sri Lankan government and its Tamil ally, the EPDP, were aimed at luring away many parents from public protest by giving death certificates and compensation.
The Jaffna Mothers’ Front, the Jaffna University Students’ Union and the Tamil National Alliance were present at the sit in protest in support of the parents. Members of the Eelam People’s Democratic Party who came to Secretariat entrance to express the solidarity with the parents were strongly chided by the protestors. Several parents told the EPDP cadres that their children were arrested by and killed by the SLA because of the wide powers it enjoyed under the Emergency Regulations to which their group gave unconditional support in Parliament.
“The EPDP opposed our protests and attempted to sabotage our struggle for justice while it was a coalition partner of the PA. They are now trying to relate to us because they have got a drubbing at the polls in Jaffna”, said a spokesman for the MPGA.
A group of protestors also prevented the Jaffna Pradheshiya Sabha from functioning by blocking its entrance.