Islanders complain navy harassment
[TamilNet, Monday, 16 September 2002, 22:16 GMT]
The Island Peoples’ Welfare Society (IPWS) Monday complained to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and Human Right Commission in Jaffna district that people living in islets are once again subjected to severe checking and harassment at the hands naval personnel stationed at Allaipitty and Ponnalai SLN camps. The SLN camps at Allaipitty and Ponnalai have re-introduced stringent checking earlier withdrawn with the signing of a cease-fire agreement between the United National Front government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, society sources said.
People who travel to islets through Allaipitty SLN checkpoint complain that they are subjected to body checks. They have been asked to get down from buses and other vehicles and to go through checkpoints showing their national identity cards. The same treatment is meted out to travellers through Ponnalai SLN camp from Jaffna, society sources said.
An activist of the IPWS said that, “if the security establishment concerned fails to relax the current stringent checking now reintroduced before the end of this week , there is no other alternative other than to launch mass agitation demanding its withdrawal.”
A delegation comprising fisheries representatives and leading citizens of Vadamarachchi area in Jaffna district Sunday requested the Point Pedro Police to stop indiscriminate arrests of civilians falsely implicating them with the September 2 incidents that took place following students' agitation. Jaffna district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Mr.M.K.Sivajilingam, Mr.Ilamparuthi, political head of the Jaffna district LTTE, Mr.Thaya, political head of the Vadamarachchi LTTE and Mr.Barathi of Sea Tigers accompanied the delegation.
The Assistant Superintendent of Police who is in charge of the Point Pedro area told the delegation that arrests are being made according to a list submitted the Sri Lanka Army stationed there. "The list contains twenty five names. Of them three had been arrested and remanded by the magistrate. The rest will be arrested in due course," the ASP replied, according to delegation sources.
The delegation pointed out to the ASP that people in areas such as Thumpalai and other villages close by live in fear because police conduct searches even in night to arrest some of the persons named in the list by the SLA. This should be stopped forthwith if the present peaceful environment to prevail in the area, the ASP was told at the discussion.
However, the ASP had said that he would suspend police action for a week and review the situation later, according to the delegation sources.
Meanwhile TNA parliamentarian Mr.M.K.Sivajilingam Monday around noon met top SLA officials stationed in Point Pedro regarding the indiscriminate arrests of innocent civilians, sources said.
In the meantime "fisheries co-operative societies in Vadamarachchi find difficult to run their business due to arrest of their members. The societies are now not in a position to meet the needs of their members," lamented Mr.K.Suriyakumar, official of the Federation of Fishing Co-operatives.