Kommathurai SLA still occupies private homes, school

[TamilNet, Friday, 06 June 2003, 19:17 GMT]
Sri Lankan Army (SLA) personnel at the SLA camp in Kommathurai, located 17 km to the North of Batticaloa town continue to occupy several private residences and the Vinayagar Vidyalayam depriving the students at the school a conducive environment for obtaining proper education, school sources said.

Students from Grade 1 to 9 are studying at the school, which fell inside the camp when the SLA took over a large area for this camp in 1990. The SLA camp took over 20 homes, the Pillaiyar temple and the Kannaki Amman temple, and remains one of the main strategic camps of the SLA in the Batticaloa district.

When the school premises were occupied by the SLA, the school had to be moved to a private building. As a result of persistent requests by the residents that the school should function in its original location, a few years back the SLA handed over the school building to the school administration, with the condition that the staff and students of the school would be allowed inside only during school hours and would be subjected to security checks. An environment of fear prevailed among students and teachers.

Following the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers, the SLA was required to vacate the private homes, public buildings and places of religious worship. Though the SLA agreed to allow the public to enter the temples in the Kommathurai camp, they refused to vacate the private homes occupied.

Though the SLA relaxed some of the restrictions on entering the Vinayagar school, SLA personnel continue to use the playgrounds in front of the school for physical and military exercises, distracting the students and causing fear in their minds, the sources said.


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