Colombo launches stopgap measure in north

[TamilNet, Friday, 16 May 2003, 12:34 GMT]
A military officer appointed by Colombo to assess the number of houses and properties occupied by the Sri Lanka army (SLA) in Jaffna began work Friday, according to SLA sources. The officer, Lt. Col. M. G. Ratnayake, who was appointed to the position Wednesday by Colombo, will receive applications from civilians in Jaffna whose homes and lands are still occupied by the military, the sources said. The stopgap measure to get the stalled peace talks back on track by Colombo got lukewarm reception in the northern town.

“This is a ruse to buy time and to impress upon the Tamils and the Tigers that something is being done”, said an editor of a Tamil daily in Jaffna, reacting to Lt. Col. Ratnayake’s appointment Friday.

Residents of villages and town occupied by the Sri Lankan armed forces in Jaffna can meet the officer from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends and communicate with him during weekdays by mail, SLA sources in Jaffna told Tamilnet.

Two hundred and thirty six houses are occupied by the SLA in the Jaffna Division, officials said.

 

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