Voters from LTTE controlled areas wont be checked - SLA

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 March 2004, 13:37 GMT]
The Sri Lankan security forces commander for Jaffna, Maj. Gen. Susil Chandrapala said Tuesday that the military would not check people who come to vote at the 2 April general elections from the LTTE controlled Kilinochchi district. He told a group of academics and civil society leaders whom he met at the Sri Lanka Human Rights Office that if clustered polling stations for voters from Kilinochchi were to be set up inside the Sri Lanka army's entry point zone in Muhamalai in southern Jaffna, the military is ready to pull back its positions 500 metres away from the voting area.

People coming to vote on 2 April have to show only their polling cards to the Police to enter the army-controlled area in Muhamalai, according to him.

Tamil parties voiced concern earlier when the Sri Lanka army insisted that it would subject all voters from LTTE held areas to its routine checking and registration procedure under which it takes at least a minute to frisk a persons body, check his/her belongings and to register his/her identification card or papers.

This means only 60 persons would be let through each queue in the checking area of the SLAís entry points at the line of control in the northeast. Even if extra check points were to be set up for the elections not more than 5000 voters can be let through on the day of polling, according to Tamil parties.

There are more than two hundred and fifty thousand voters in areas held by the Liberation Tigers in the northeast.

Major. Gen. Chandrapala lamented that the press in Jaffna is not cooperating with him to build better relations between the military and the people in the peninsula.

He said displaced families in Jaffna have not availed themselves of the armyís offer to let them settle up to five hundred metres from the forward defence lines of large garrisons. If people were to settle in this zone, then the army would permit them to move up 300 metres closer to its defence perimeters, according to him.

 

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