Tamil MPs object to new Jaffna garrison

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 01 April 2003, 10:31 GMT]
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) raised strong objections to the construction of a new Sri Lanka Army (SLA) garrison on Jaffna Municipal Council grounds when it met Prime Minister Ranil Wicremesinghe at his office in Parliament Tuesday morning. The 12 TNA MPs who met the Prime Minister told him that the military has begun work on permanent structures for the garrison.

Jaffna Map (click on the map for a larger version)
Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe assured the TNA delegation when it met him that the SLA was only making a temporary arrangement to house the troops that are going to be moved out of the High Security Zone in the heart of the Jaffna town.

But the TNA delegation drew his attention to the fact that the army has unloaded cement, bricks and other material for construction and that building work has already begun at the site which belongs to the Jaffna Municipal Council.

The PM then asked members of the TNA delegation to suggest an alternative site for relocating the troops which his government wants to pull out from the midst of Jaffna town’s busy and densely populated hub.

The TNA delegation, however, declined to do so.

“How can we suggest a new place for the army to set up a garrison? It is against our basic political principles and the mandate we got from the people," said Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, TNA MP for the Vanni.

The PM therefore told the TNA delegation that he would arrange a meeting for them with the Minister of Defence, Mr. Tilak Marapane Wednesday morning around 10 a.m. to discuss the matter.

Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, TNA MP for Jaffna, speaking to Tamilnet about the meeting, said: “We will ask the Minister of Defence to come to Jaffna and decide on the matter after consultations with the public and civil society groups there. In principle, we are opposed to the construction of any new military garrisons in Jaffna."

jaffna_muniThe TNA delegation that met the Sri Lankan PM this morning comprised Members of Parliament Mr. V. Anandasangary, Mr. A. Vinayagamoorthy, Mr. Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam, Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, Mr. R. Sampanthan, Mr. Gnanamuttu Krishnapillai, Mr. Nadarajah Raviraj, Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, Mr. Raja Kuhaneswaran, Mr. M. Thangavadivel and Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham.


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