Police ordered to halt temple withdrawals

[TamilNet, Saturday, 08 June 2002, 18:36 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Police in Batticaloa said Saturday that it has stopped work on vacating four of its camps in the district situated in places of religious worship on orders from the Inspector General of Police (IGP). "We just got the orders and stopped dismantling the defences. We do not know the reason," said the Officer in Charge of the Maamangam Pillaiyar Temple Police camp Saturday.

The Police began vacating camps in Kaluwanchikudy, 24 kilometres south of Batticaloa, and in Maamangam, Thimalathivu and Sathurukkondaan, on the outskirts of the eastern town on Thursday in accordance with the terms of the ceasefire agreement between Colombo and the Liberation Tigers.

There are fifty-two special counter insurgency Police camps in the Batticaloa District, whose personnel are specifically deployed in this role.

They are nominally under seven main Police stations in the region, but they do not engage in normal Police duties and function as extensions of the Sri Lanka army and the Special Task Force commandos.

mamangam_1_080602.jpg
The entrance to the Maamangam Police camp with dimantled concertina from its defence perimeter. (Photo:TamilNet)


These military trained Police units were empowered under the Emergency Regulations and later under the Prevention of Terrorism Act to search, arrest, detain, patrol neighbourhoods and roads, register households and newly arrived persons in an area coming under the supervision of a camp.

The counter insurgency Police have often been accused of human and civil rights violations in the northeast.

The Police camps are situated in densely populated neighbourhoods, close to schools, community centres, temples and churches. Several camps were located in places of religious worship, schools, libraries etc.,

The B - 2 Police camp in Kaluwanchikudy includes a school, library and temple within its defence perimeter. The Saththurukkondaan camp is in two orphanages that were run by the Catholic Church and a house of prayer for nuns.

Human rights activists say that the more than 183 women, children and old men who were massacred by the Sri Lanka army in the Saththurukkondaan village in September 1990 were buried in this camp.

The Police camp in Thimilathivu, a densely populated outer suburb of Batticaloa town, is in the Krishnan temple, which in the past drew thousands for its annual festival.

mamangam_2_080602.jpg
Sheds inside the camp which were dismantled Friday for vacating the temple precincts. (Photo: TamilNet)

 

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