Forced labour on Eastern road

[TamilNet, Sunday, 07 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
The people of Kirankulam were again taken by the Special Task Force today for making a by road for its camp at Kurukkalmadam, about fourteen kilometers from Batticaloa town.

Mr. Joseph Pararajasingham MP for Batticaloa sent a strong note of protest to the Sri Lankan President when the STF on November 24 forced all adults in the same village to clear shrub jungle and build defences in and around its camp at Kurukkalmadam.

The STF has been forcing people in several villages south of Batticaloa to engage in hard labour for them since they moved into the area about 1993.

People in the villages of Thalankudah, Mandoor, Puthukkudiyiruppu, Kirankulam etc., were given attendance cards by the STF to see that no one kept away from work on weekends when it was compulsory for all above the age of 15 to engage in labour as directed by the local camps.

About sixty kilometers south on the eastern coastal road, Tamils in the village of Komari are sometimes ordered by the STF to clear jungle on either side of the road for a distance of about sixteen kilometers and to stand by until its convoys reach the Pottuvil town which is further south of Komari.

Despite this, no one, including some human rights organisation in Colombo which visit the east regularly, has dared to protest against the forced labour to which the STF subjects people in these parts until last month.

"Mr. Pararajasingham's objection which was faxed to the President when we were forced to work last time seems to have had little effect" said a teacher who was shovelling gravel on the Kurukkalmadam STF camp by road today.


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