SLA persists on restrictions in Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 January 2002, 19:49 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army in Batticaloa said Wednesday that government officials have to obtain due clearance from its brigade headquarters in the eastern town to transport relief supplies to refugees and the poor who receive assistance under the state's poverty alleviation program. The Government Agent for Batticaloa, Mr. Sinnathamby Shanmugam, said that the SLA is still stipulating that government departments in the eastern district should obtain due permission from the military for taking essential goods and food to areas that are not under its control.
Mr. Shanmugam said that the SLA has not been issued specific instructions so far about the relaxation of restrictions and ban on essential goods, medical supplies, teaching aids, fertilizers, building materials etc., to areas that are not under the military's control.
He said that there should be no restrictions or ban on essentials and food under the new regulations gazetted by the United National Front government
The SLA banned hundreds of thousands of civilians in the east from cultivation, access to farmlands and grazing grounds, fishing waters and from taking essential goods, medical supplies, teaching aids, fertilizers etc., for more than 12 years.
However, the SLA's civil affairs officer for Batticaloa, Lt. Col. S. Gunasekara, said Wednesday that civilians in the district would be allowed to travel about freely through the military's check points and entry points until 10 p.m.
He said that the restriction on fishing in the Batticaloa Lagoon would be eased by two hours. Fishermen in Batticaloa can now fish in the lagoon from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. according to him.