SLA says students cannot attend Pongu Thamil in Vavuniya

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 27 August 2003, 14:21 GMT]
The Sri Lanka Army has ordered that the students in Vavuniya schools should not be allowed to attend the Pongu Thamil (‘Tamil Upsurge’) event to be held on September 15 in the district as the SLA sees the event as a political event organized by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, sources in Vavuniya said.

The SLA’s order was sent to the Vavuniya South Zonal education director by the commanding officer of the SLA at the Vavuniya SLA headquarters, Maj. Gen. Susil Chandrapala.

Already, the SLA commander has written letters seeking explanations from some government servants, including school principals and village officers, about their attendance at a meeting on a Sunday held in preparation for the Pongu Thamil event.

Responding to criticism that the SLA was infringing on the fundamental human rights of government servants, the SLA has said that the event is a political one, that government servants should not engage in politics and that, since the event “causes security concern in the district,” the SLA has the authority to seek explanations from government servants.

The organizers of the event have said, however, that the event is not a political one but rather a cultural event that is also intended to strengthen the current peace process.

In a letter to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission last week, the organizers complained that the SLA was violating basic human rights of the government servants by calling for an explanation from them for participating at the preparatory meeting on a Sunday.

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