Reluctant official threatened by SLA
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 13 January 1998, 23:59 GMT]
A top local government administrator of the Jaffna Municipal Council was threatened with arrest yesterday for refusing to cooperate with the Sri Lankan Army in connection with a major state function to be held tomorrow in the Jaffna town, said sources in the peninsula.
SLA soldiers in uniform visited this officer, who did not wish to be named, about 6.00 p.m. last evening and told him that he would be arrested as a member of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) for not extending his support to the military and the Sri Lanka Government.
This Tamil official told the military authorities that the Jaffna Library, scheduled to be opened tomorrow morning by Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera, a close confidante of the Sri Lankan President would give the wrong signals in an atmosphere charged with political rivalry as parties campaign for the forthcoming local government elections in Jaffna.
The flag hoisting ceremony by the minister at the official opening of the Jaffna Library is scheduled for 9.00 a.m. tomorrow.
The Peoples' Alliance (PA) Government is using the reconstruction of the Jaffna Library as a symbol of the restoration of peace to the war torn north and a gesture to win the hearts and minds of the Jaffna people.
However critics say that at a time when large parts of the Peninsula lie devastated, symbolic acts such as this are meaningless.
Mangala Samaraweera, has been associated with the library rebuilding project through the Sudu Nelum movement (White Lotus). The Sudu Nelum movement is a propaganda arm of the SLFP. A handful of members of the Sudu Nelum Movement in the peninsula are contesting the local polls under the banner of the Eelam Peoples' Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) for the Jaffna Municipal council.
Meanwhile free text books were distributed to school children at Vembadi Girls School in Jaffna town by Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera. this morning, said sources in Jaffna.
With him were Sri Lanka Army's Jaffna town commander Susantha Mendis and Director of Education, Jaffna District, R. Ratnarajah.
This gesture by the Sri Lanka Government on the eve of the municipal council elections is seen as a move muster support for the Sudu Nelum activists who are contesting the Jaffna municipal elections