Jaffna politicians organise paramilitary protection
[TamilNet, Thursday, 18 February 1999, 20:31 GMT]
The Sri Lankan Army (SLA) told Tamil groups in Jaffna that it will provide weapons, uniforms and salaries to body guards who are expected to protect members of the local government bodies in Jaffna. The Tamil groups have to provide the necessary manpower for the purpose the SLA said.
This was revealed at a meeting for all the Tamil political/paramilitary groups and parties in the peninsula convened by Major.Gen. Lohan R.C Gunawardana this morning around 11 a.m. at the Sri Lankan security forces headquarters at Palaly.
Maj. Gen. Lohan Gunawardana is the Sri Lankan Security Forces Commander for Jaffna.
Representatives from the EPDP, PLOTE, TELO, TULF and the EPRLF were present at this meeting which concluded at 1 a.m.
Under this program, the Tamil groups with the larger number of Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) members will be able to raise a significant paramilitary armed with government issued assault rifles (the same as those issued to the SLA).
The EPDP will be able to raise more than a 200 strong paramilitary force in the peninsula paid and armed by Ministry of Defence (MoD).
The income from the system will also be substantial given the fact that the salaries of the cadres would be collected by the groups from the (MOD)
The Jaffna Security Forces Headquarters issued a letter to the Tamil groups at the meeting today: the following are relevant excerpts.
"Security for Pradeshiya Sabha Chairmen and members.
Ministry of Defence has approved the following scheme in respect of security to be provided to the chairmen/members of Pradheshiya sabhas (PS)/Municipal Council Jaffna in the Jaffna peninsula.
a) selection of body guards to be made by the respective political parties and in respect of each chairmen/members of the PS/MC Jaffna as follows: three bodyguards per each chairman two bodyguards per each member.
b) all bodyguards will be armed and the wear the uniform of Police assistants.c) training in handling T-56 weapons will be given if required and on request.d) all body guards will be paid an allowance through Ministry of defence.
e) the provision of bodyguards both armed and unarmed will be confined to the Jaffna peninsula only.
f) armed bodyguards are permitted to move out from the premises of the party office or residence of chairmen/members only if they are accompanied by chairmen or members. Under no circumstance should they violate this instruction.
g) armed bodyguards will carry weapons only in uniform."
The letter says that the Tamil groups and parties should submit names of their bodyguards on or before February 22.
Uniforms and other accessories for the bodyguards would be provided by the Ministry of Defence.
16.02.99 Jaffna Tamil groups asked to help army