PM urged to stop SLA camp in Jaffna municipal land

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 March 2003, 19:37 GMT]
An urgent appeal has been made to the Sri Lankan Prime Minister, Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, Tuesday on behalf of the people of Jaffna that the Sri Lanka Army should not be allowed to relocate its Jaffna brigade headquarters in the municipal council land close to the Jaffna fort, sources said.

The Jaffna brigade headquarters of the SLA is currently located at the Gnanams Hotel, the Subash Hotel and about twenty civilian houses in the heart of Jaffna town, sources said

Representatives of several public welfare organizations in Jaffna Tuesday met at the office of the Multi Purpose Co-operative Society under the chairmanship of Mr.C.V.K.Sivagnanam and discussed the move by the SLA to relocate its brigade headquarters to the new location.

The representatives decided at the meeting that the SLA should not be allowed to relocate its present brigade headquarters to another site in the Jaffna town and to request the Prime Minister to stop this move. They also decided to request all Tamil parliamentarians to act fast in this regard, sources said.

A seven member action committee was appointed at the meeting to take further steps if the SLA refuses to accede to the demand that no army camp should be established in the Jaffna town once its moves the brigade headquarters from the present site, sources said.

Representatives of the Muslim people now resettled in Jaffna town also participated in the meeting, sources said.

The Sri Lanka Army is now engaged in clearing the land where the office of the Municipal Council, the Town Hall and the Rest House were once located. The SLA Commander, Lt. Gen. Lionel Balagalle, had promised to a group of civilian representatives a few weeks ago that he would shift the Jaffna headquarters from the present site before the end of March, sources said

However, the choice by the SLA of the new location in Jaffna has caused panic among the people of Jaffna, who fear that the new site, which is close to two leading schools, the Vembadi Girls’ High School and the Jaffna Central College, the Duraiappah stadium and places of Hindu and Christian worship, will also be declared as a high security zone.

The proposed move by the Jaffna SLA brigade headquarters would cause difficulties for students, teachers and Hindu and Christian devotees, civilian representatives complained at the meeting at the MPCS office, sources said.

Mr. Sivagnanam heads the seven-member action committee. Other members of the committee are: President of the Jaffna NGOs Consortium, Mr. S.Paramanathan, President of the Jaffna District Fishermen Co-operatives Federation, Mr. S.Thavaratnam, Jaffna district secretary of the Ceylon Tamil Teachers Union, Mr.T.Panchalingam, President of the International Thamileelam Students Federation, Mr.S.Gajendran, President of the Association of Resettled Muslim People, Mr. K.Mubin and a representative of the clergy Rev. Fr.J.Bernard

Copies of the appeal to the Prime Minister have been sent to the Defence Minister, Defence Secretary, head of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and to all Tamil parliamentarians, sources said.

 

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