Displaced Jaffna farmers boycott SLA meeting

[TamilNet, Monday, 02 February 2004, 08:16 GMT]
Farmers’ associations of garrisoned villages in Jaffna’s Thenmaradchi division Monday boycotted a meeting called by the Sri Lanka army to discuss the possibility of permitting some families to resettle in their homes inside its vast high security zone in the region. The military arranged the meeting to diffuse a crisis brewing over a farmer who wants to fast to death from Wednesday unless the army allows him and other displaced families resettle in their garrisoned villages.

Farmers’ associations said that they cannot agree to the military’s stopgap measures, which according to them, are aimed solely at preventing the fast to death on Sri Lanka’s Independence Day.

Six hundred and fifty families, mostly farmers, were displaced from the southern parts of the Thenmaradchi region three years ago.

The SLA is garrisoned in their villages and in more than six thousand acres of rice fields and three thousand acres of coconut plantations which belongs to these families. The IDPs want their fields and homes back. The SLA says no.

The Sri Lanka army put up a special shed Monday for the meeting at the entrance to the sprawling Thenmaradchi south garrison near the Koilakandy Mahalatchumi School. Military officers and troops waited for IDP families to turn up for the meeting from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

About a dozen persons who came for the meeting from distant places, unaware of the boycott, turned back after speaking to some representatives of the Federation of the Farmers’ Associations of Thanangkilappu, Maravanpulavu, Kaithady and Navatkuly.


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