Proactive TNA role seen essential

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 15 May 2002, 19:20 GMT]
Nineteen civil society groups in Trincomalee Wednesday urged the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to play a proactive role in bringing to light continuing violations of the ceasefire by the Sri Lankan security forces and to take concerted steps to counter the efforts of Sinhala nationalists to discredit and scuttle the peace talks to end the conflict.

In the memorandum they presented to the eastern district's MP, Mr. R. Sampanthan, Wednesday evening, the civil society groups say that the Sri Lankan security forces in Trincomalee have not abided by or honoured the provisions of the ceasefire agreement for restoring normalcy.

Representatives of the 19 civil society groups who met the TNA MP at his residence in Trincomalee town drew his attention to the fact that Sri Lankan security forces continue to maintain checkpoints as usual at Railway Station Juntion, Sambaltheevu juntion, Linganagar, Orr's Hill, Customs Department Junction, Kaali kovil etc., in the eastern port town and at Mutur jetty, Kilivetty, Thanganagar, Dehiwatte, Kuchchaveli 8th mile post, Irakkakandi, Palathoppur junction, Wellington Junction in Thoppur.

koneswaram_temple.jpg
Thirukkoneswaram (Library photo)
"This is in violation of article 2.5 of the ceasefire agreement between the Sri Lankan government and the Tigers, which states: 'The parties shall review the security measures and the set-up of checkpoints, particularly in densely populated cities and towns, in order to introduce systems that will prevent harassment of the civilian population. Such systems shall be in place from D-day + 60', said a spokesman for the groups.

The memorandum lists violations by the Sri Lanka Navy, including shooting at civilians, harassment, intimidation etc., and by the army and Police in the district since the signing of the agreement. During the discussion with the MP, it was pointed out by several civil society activists that the TNA cannot remain leisurely silent on agreement related issues affecting the ordinary people in Trincomalee.

The representatives of the civil society groups reminded the TNA MP that article 2.4 of the ceasefire agreement states: "A schedule indicating the return of all other public buildings to their intended use shall be drawn up by the parties and published at the latest by D-day + 30" but that nothing has been done so far in this regard in Trincomalee.

"The same is true for the Sri Lanka security forces vacating schools, temples and churches which they currently occupy in the district. They carry on as though the ceasefire document in irrelevant to Trincomalee," a spokesperson for the civil society groups said.

"We told Mr. Sampnathan that the TNA should explain the truth to the Sinhala people and the world. "It cannot shirk that duty in the name of political expediency", he added.

The memorandum, among other things, lists the number of temples and schools occupied the Sri Lankan security forces in Trincomalee. Sri Lankan security forces are encamped in the precincts of the east coast's most important Hindu temple, Thirukkoneswaram.


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