‘Sri Lanka army does not want war’ says Jaffna commander

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 21 January 2004, 12:52 GMT]
‘War is not the solution to the problem. The army does not want war. But we wont let the country be divided by war’, said Maj. Gen. Susil Chandrapala, the Sri Lankan armed forces commander for Jaffna speaking at a meeting on problems faced by refugees and civilians in the peninsula’s Valigamam North Division Wednesday. Former Sri Lanka army spokesman, Brig. Sanath Karunaratna, general officer commanding of SLA’s 51 Division in Jaffna was associated with Maj. Gen. Chandrapala at the meeting.

The Divisional Secretary for Valigamam North, Mr. K. Kunarajah, local government officials, representatives of refugee groups in the area and community leaders took part in the discussion Wednesday at the DS office in Tellipalai.

Responding to requests and concerns raised by the civilians and local officials of Valigamam North, Maj. Gen. Chandrapala said that the military is willing to permit displaced families to visit their damaged or destroyed homes in the no go zone extending six hundred meters from the outer defense perimeter of the military’s sprawling base complex in Valigamam North. However, he emphasized that no one would be allowed to resettle in this zone. He said that families who want to visit their homes should have certification from their respective village officials.

Civilian officials say the military’s defense perimeter through densely populated towns and villages in Valigamam North is 13 kilometres long.

Earlier the no-go zone between civilian settlements and the military’s forward defense line (FDL) was one kilometer wide. Since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in February, the SLA said it might consider letting people settle in homes that lie beyond 600 meters of the FDL. But civilians do not want to settle in the 400-meter wide area because of the dangers they will have to face here.

Maj. Gen. Chandrapala said that the Tellipalai Multi Purpose Co-operative Society building which lies inside the military’s garrison can be repaired and that the Tellipalai Cancer Hospital would be permitted to open a canteen for patients and visitors.

He also said sanitation facilities will be provided for pilgrims who visit the Keerimalai Temple inside the military’s base in Valigamam North.


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