TNA protests military expansion in Jaffna
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 17 July 2002, 02:16 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Tuesday requested the Sri Lankan government to halt the establishment of new army camps and the expansion of existing camps in the Thenmaradchi area of the Jaffna peninsula, citing the impossibility of resettling displaced people to their homes under such circumstances.
A TNA delegation which met the Prime Minister at his official residence Temple Trees Tuesday had also requested him to take immediate steps to halt the cutting down palmyra and coconut trees by the armed forces for building fortifications.
The Prime Minister was assisted in Tuesday's talks by Defence Minister Tilak Marapone, Defense Secretary Austin Fernando, Interior Ministry Secretary M. M. Junaid, and the three Service and Police top officials.
The Prime Minister assured the TNA delegation that he would send the Defence Secretary to Thenamaradchchi to conduct an investigation and take necessary action in this regard. Accordingly Defence Secretary Fernando is to visit Thenmaradchi and Valikamam North on July 20 and 21 in this regard, sources said.
The TNA delegation comprised Messrs Sampanthan, V. Anandasangaree, N. Raviraj, Joseph Pararajasingham, G. G. Gajendrakumar, N. Raviraj, M. K. Sivajilingam, S. Thangavadivelu, Mavai Senathirajah and K. Thurairetnasingham.
The discussion which commenced around 10.45 am and concluded at 1.30 pm centered on the removal of army camps from schools, places of worship and public properties as stipulated in the ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers.
The attending service chiefs submitted their reports regarding this issue, sources said.
The TNA delegation pointed out to the Prime Minister that army camps removed from schools and places of worships have been relocated in immediate proximity to these institutions.
The TNA submitted that the camps removed should be relocated far away from schools and places of worships to restore normalcy in these areas.
"The sole purpose of the cease-fire agreement, signed between the United National Front government and the Liberation Tigers, is to bring back normalcy to the war torn Tamil dominated northeast province,” the All Ceylon Tamil Congress, a constituent of the TNA said Tuesday.
“It is a pity to note that the normalcy has returned to six provinces in the south but not to the northeast province," said Mr. Appathurai Vinayagamoorthy, Jaffna district parliamentarian and the President of the ACTC addressing a press conference Monday at the party office in Jaffna.
Mr. Vinayagamoorthy further stated, "the security forces in Thenamaradchchi in Jaffna district are not allowing displaced families to resettle in the Eluthumadduval, Karampagam and Nagarkovil areas.”
“The army has given the reason that these areas are in a high security zone. Under the pretext of security, the army soldiers stationed at Thenmaradchi are harassing the displaced people. This should be stopped forthwith,” he charged.