SLA refuses permission to TNA MP to visit civil office

[TamilNet, Monday, 17 November 2003, 15:18 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army Monday refused permission to the Jaffna district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Mr. Mavai Senathirajah to pay an official visit to the office of the Medical Officer of Health (MOH) for Jaffna district which is housed in a portion of the Thellipalai Cancer Hospital which is located in the high security zone. The Thellipalai Cancer Hospital has been allowed to function since the signing of the ceasefire agreement by the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, civil authorities said.

Mr. Senathirajah in a letter faxed to Sri Lanka’s President, Ms.Chandrika Kumaratunge, who is currently also the Defense Minister, said that he had been denied permission to visit the MOH office. “ The action of the army infringes my right to freedom of the movement enshrined in the constitution,” he said in the letter.

Mr. Senathirajah’s letter goes on to say, “On November 17th at about 10 in the morning I went to Thellipalai and called at the security check point and introduced myself as a Member of Parliament [for Jaffna] and informed the soldiers that I have come to visit the MOH office. The Officer in Charge of the check point thereafter phoned up someone and informed me that I cannot be allowed access to proceed to the said MoH office.

“The purpose of my visit to the MOH office was to follow up on a request by the public to enhance the services now rendered by the institution, to identify the needs. It is a matter of urgency that an elected MP had been denied access to a state service institution, which infringes my right as MP of the area. I think you would agree with me as MP I have every right to visit any state institution that is being meant to serve the public,” said the TNA MP in his letter to President.

Mr. Senathirajah has appealed to the President to direct the army to ensure unfettered access for him to visit state institution to serve the public who had elected him, and has sent copies of his letter to the Prime Minister, Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, and the Defense Secretary, sources said.


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