Tamil MPs object to new Jaffna garrison
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 April 2003, 10:31 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) raised strong objections
to the construction of a new Sri Lanka Army (SLA) garrison
on Jaffna Municipal Council grounds when it met Prime
Minister Ranil Wicremesinghe at his office in
Parliament Tuesday morning. The 12 TNA MPs who met the
Prime Minister told him that the military has begun
work on permanent structures for the garrison.
Jaffna Map (click on the map for a larger version)
Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe assured the TNA delegation
when it met him that the SLA was only making a
temporary arrangement to house the troops that are
going to be moved out of the High Security Zone in the
heart of the Jaffna town.
But the TNA delegation drew his attention to the fact
that the army has unloaded cement, bricks and other
material for construction and that building work has
already begun at the site which belongs to the Jaffna
The PM then asked members of the TNA delegation to
suggest an alternative site for relocating the troops
which his government wants to pull out from the midst
of Jaffna town’s busy and densely populated hub.
The TNA delegation, however, declined to do so.
“How can we suggest a new place for the army to set up
a garrison? It is against our basic political
principles and the mandate we got from the people,"
said Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, TNA MP for the Vanni.
The PM therefore told the TNA delegation that he would
arrange a meeting for them with the Minister of
Defence, Mr. Tilak Marapane Wednesday morning around
10 a.m. to discuss the matter.
Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, TNA MP for Jaffna,
speaking to Tamilnet about the meeting, said: “We will
ask the Minister of Defence to come to Jaffna and
decide on the matter after consultations with the
public and civil society groups there. In principle,
we are opposed to the construction of any new military
garrisons in Jaffna."
The TNA delegation that met the Sri Lankan PM this
morning comprised Members of Parliament Mr. V.
Anandasangary, Mr. A. Vinayagamoorthy, Mr.
Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, Mr.
R. Sampanthan, Mr. Gnanamuttu Krishnapillai, Mr.
Nadarajah Raviraj, Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, Mr. Raja
Kuhaneswaran, Mr. M. Thangavadivel and
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