Candidates can't carry weapons - SLA commander
[TamilNet, Friday, 16 January 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Security Forces Commander for Jaffna, Major General Lionel Balagalle informed representatives of political parties fighting the forthcoming local government elections in the Jaffna Peninsula today, that no one would be allowed to carry weapons in the Peninsula till the elections are concluded, said sources in Jaffna.
He told the representatives who were gathered at the Gnanam Hotel in Jaffna town, that the security of party leaders, MPs and chief candidates, will be handled by the army.
In view of this, a police station and a military guard point are to be set up in Delft (Neduntheevu) island, northwest of the peninsula by January 17 he said.
The Democratic Peoplesí Liberation Front's (DPLF) mayoral candidate for the Jaffna Municipality asked Major General Balagalle that the elections to the Delft Pradeshiya Sabah (local government body) be postponed by a month.
He said that the DPLF had not been able to campaign in the area because of the intimidation and threats. All the other representatives present, except from the EPDP, concurred with the idea (The EPDP is being accused by the other Tamil groups of preventing them from working in the islands off Jaffna).
Major General Balagalle promised to take this matter up with the higher authorities.
The question of campaigning in Nainathheevu, another island in the seas off Jaffna, was also taken up. The representatives expressed their displeasure that the Sri Lankan Navy does not permit any political activists campaigning for the elections, to stay on the island overnight.
The representatives requested that five persons from each party be allowed to stay on the island to carry on with the campaign.
There was also a complaint from the two breakaway MPs of the EPDP, who are contesting as independents, to the Jaffna security forces commander, that no action was taken by the police regarding the threats from the EPDP they faced.
Douglas Devananda and S Thavrajah (EPDP), Suresh Premachandran and Robert (EPRLF), M K Sivajilingam (TELO) and Manikkam Daasan and N. S Krishanan (DPLF) were present at the meeting.