MP's Vanni visit obstructed

[TamilNet, Saturday, 26 September 1998, 17:13 GMT]
The controversial Sri Lankan opposition MP, Dr. Jayalath Jayawardana said that he will file a fundamental rights case against the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for impinging on his freedom of movement and obstructing his duties towards the people as a parliamentarian.

He said today that he had sought permission in writing on September 16 from the MoD to visit Madhu from October 5 - 9 for the purpose of monitoring the progress of repairs to a water reservoir in the area for which he had allocated funds from his De - Centralised Budget (DCB).

The MP said that he found during his last visit that there were thirty thousand refugees camped near Madhu who are facing numerous hardships, chiefly from the severe scarcity of drinking water in the area.

Following this he had allocated four hundred thousand rupees, from the DCB funds in his capacity as a national list MP, for the repair of a reservoir near Madhu that could supply water to the refugees.

The funds, according to Dr. Jayawardana, were duly channelled through the Vanni District Development Council of which Dharmalingam Sidharthan MP (leader of the PLOTE) is the co-chairman.

In this context, Mr. Sidharthan had written to the secretary of the MoD on September 23, appreciating the contribution made by the UNP MP towards the repair of the reservoir and hence urging him (the secretary) to expedite the security clearance for Dr. Jayawardana's mission to Madhu.

The UNP MP charged this afternoon that the MoD is deliberately dragging its feet in granting him permission to enter the Vanni.

He said that he had told the MoD in writing that it could send someone with him to monitor his activities in Madhu and that he would travel this time in his own vehicle (No. 65-565).

Dr. Jayawardana's last visit to Madhu has been surrounded in controversy.

The Sri Lankan President charged that the MP's journey was connected to a conspiracy hatched by the UNP and the Liberation Tigers in the jungles of the Vanni to overthrow her government.

Taking the cue from here, ultra nationalist Sinhala Buddhist groups have lashed out against the UNP for attempting to dialogue with the Tigers.


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