PLOTE to oppose Palaly base expansion

[TamilNet, Monday, 15 March 1999, 14:17 GMT]
The PLOTE protested to the Sri Lankan President today that they would oppose the take over of more than twelve thousand acres of land in Valigamam north in Jaffna belonging to Tamil civilians and the temples of Maviddapuram and Naguleswaram "with all means available".

Meanwhile TULF Politburo member Mr. Mavai Senathirajah also took up the matter with Minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs Prof.G.L Pieris who had told Mr. Senathirajah that he would look into the matter.

The PLOTE, in a letter to the Sri Lankan President said:

"We reliably understand that land belonging to civilians in thirty five GS divisions in Valigamam north, an area roughly conterminous with the former Kankesanthurai electorate which was represented by our late leader Mr.S.J.V Chelvanayagam and comprising more than 2 percent of the peninsula's land mass is to be taken over by the security forces for the expansion of the Palaly base and has already been earmarked for the purpose.

We wish to point out that this goes against the very grain of the Your Excellency's policy of restoring normalcy and civilian rule in Jaffna since it was brought under the government's control in 1996.

The take over of the said lands by the security forces will mean that none of the thousands of civilians who were displaced from Valigamam north by the war would be able resettle in thier homes. And, as you would agree with us, the first step towards restoring normalcy in Jaffna is to resettle the people who have been driven out from their homes and lands by the ethnic conflict.

We would also like to draw your attention to the fact that the ancient Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Temple and the Keerimalai Nagulaswarar Temple come within area that has been earmarked for the said take over by the security forces.

The taking over of these temples for military purposes would irremediably wound the feelings and irreparably damage the religious cultural heritage of the Tamil Saivites in Jaffna and the world over as it may hurt Sinhala Bhuddhists in this country if the security forces were take over the Sri Maha Bodhi in Anuradhapura or the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy for military purposes.

More than eighty percent of the Tamil people in the north and east voted for you at the Presidential elections in 1994 November because they firmly beleived that you were committed to peace and bringing this war to an end. Today the trust they placed in you is shattered as this take over clearly indicates that you intend to continue the war for many more decades by augmenting the army's presence in Valigamam north.

We consider this a very serious breach of trust the Tamil people placed in you. We strongly object to this action by the government. We will oppose this with all means available to us."

The letter was signed by PLOTE leader Dharmalingam Sitharthan MP.

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