Villagers forced to work on STF defences

[TamilNet, Monday, 24 November 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The special Task Force forced all adults between 18 and 50 years in the villages of Kirankulam south of Batticaloa town this morning around 7 a.m. to engage in hard labour in and around their camp.

Sources said that a large number of people were herded to the STF camp in the nearby village of Kurukkalmadam to clear the undergrowth in the areas surrounding the camp.

These Tamil civilians were also ordered to reconstruct and repair the camps defences and other temporary structures inside. The STF's Kurukkalmadam camp is located by the roadside. Its eastern defence line includes the local school where more than thousand children from the area study.

map_sri_lanka.gifThe STF regularly compels villagers in these areas to engage in hard manual labour at their camps. Those who have not reported to work without showing sufficient cause have been severely assaulted in recent times.

In some villages like Thalankudah and Mandoor, also south of Batticaloa town people were expected to turn up for work on Sunday. On some occasions they have been taken to distant Amparai to chop firewood in jungles there for the camp.

Batticaloa MP Joseph Pararajasingham faxed the Sri Lankan President this afternoon protesting against the STF's action in Kirankulam and Kurukkalmadam.

"The forceful engagement of people at the point of guns is not only inhuman but also interferes with the freedom and fundamental rights" he points out in his letter of protest to the President.


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