Mankerni residents tell SLA to stop harassment

[TamilNet, Sunday, 15 September 2002, 17:15 GMT]
Residents of Mankerni, 47, kilometres north of Batticaloa, said Sunday that the Sri Lanka army should move out its camp from the centre of village and stop harassing them. The village school, the local Roman Catholic Church, nursery, the village library, three shops, ten homes and a privately owned coconut estate are inside the SLA camp in Mankerni.

The villagers decided to petition the Sri Lankan government on Friday after the military dumped loads of human excreta in the village.

Student attendance at the Mankerni Roman Catholic Tamil Mixed School is low because soldiers at the camp’s entrance check children and harass teenage girls, parents say.

Few female teachers are prepared to work in the Mankerni School fearing harassment.

“The biggest problem we face is sexual harassment by soldiers from the SLA camp who go to houses in the area at night after the men set out to sea. If there is no positive answer to our petition soon, we will start a protest, ”a spokesman for the local fishermen’s society said.

“We are only asking the army to relocate its camp outside the village. All these problems arise because the military is in the middle of Mankerni, he said.

Mankerni is the main entry point to the LTTE controlled Vaakarai region in northern Batticaloa. Bus passengers have walk through the SLA point where they are checked. Residents of Vakarai are sometimes questioned by the military intelligence unit in the camp.


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