Gen. Nambiar visits Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Friday, 07 February 2003, 17:54 GMT]
Lt. Gen. (Retd.) Satish Nambiar, the Indian defense expert invited by the government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) to report on high security zones (HSZs) in the North-East, visited Batticaloa on Friday morning and held discussions with Sri Lankan military and police officials and Tamil paramilitary groups, sources said.
Gen. Nambiar, who went to the armed forces’ base of the 23-3 brigade occupying the municipal council building upon his arrival in Batticaloa at 10:30 am, held meetings there until 4:00 pm, but did not meet with parliamentarians from Batticaloa.
Military officers of the 23rd division, brigade commanders of the Minneri, Valaichenai and Batticaloa divisions, Police officers and Special Task Force officers participated at the meetings with Gen. Nambiar.
On behalf of the Tamil paramilitary groups, Mr. R. Thurairatnam, the national organizer of the EPRLF (Varathar faction), Mr. Pradeepan Paraneetharan, the Batticaloa district organizer of the EPDP, and Mr. Raj Mama of the PLOTE met with Gen. Nambiar.
Gen. Nambiar also met with representatives of the SLMM, UNICEF, Peace Committee, ICRC and UNHCR.
When asked about the visit by TamilNet, Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham, the Member of Parliament (MP) from Batticaloa, said that it was regrettable that Gen. Nambiar did not meet with MPs or representatives of people’s organizations. “Though Gen. Nambiar visited Batticaloa, he heard only one side of the issue. He should have met with the people’s representatives to understand the issue completely,” he said.
Mr. Pararajasingham said that he contacted Col. Silva, the Sri Lankan Army officer in charge of Batticaloa district, to schedule a meeting with Gen. Nambiar, but such a meeting was not arranged.
“It is not correct to say that HSZs are an issue only in Jaffna. The armed forces and the police occupy the Batticaloa Municipal building, the rest house, and many private homes in the Puranagar area. If Gen. Nambiar had met with us, we would have brought these matters to his attention,” said Mr. Pararajasingham.
He said that Gen. Nambiar’s meeting with the Tamil paramilitary groups and his failure to meet with the elected real representatives of the people had caused dissatisfaction and raised suspicions about his visit.