Will not permit student demo- Jaffna commander

[TamilNet, Thursday, 11 January 2001, 20:56 GMT]
The Sri Lanka army's objective is not recapturing Elephant Pass but ensuring the protection of Jaffna and its people said Major. General Anton Wijendra, the Security Forces Commander for the northern peninsula, addressing a press conference for foreign and local journalists flown in Wednesday by the military at his headquarters in Palali. He charged that students of the Jaffna University are engaging in political agitation with the backing of the Liberation Tigers and vowed to stop demonstration the undergraduates are planning to hold on 17 January.

The Sri Lanka army has been systematically taking concerted action to suppress mass agitations by the public and students urging the government to start negotiations with the Liberation Tigers and end hostilities in areas under its control.

Maj.Gen. Susil Chandrapala was also present at the press briefing Wednesday at Palali. The Jaffna SF commander said that the resettling of civilians displaced from the recaptured Thenmaradchi region will have to wait as there are mine fields to be cleared in the region.

The SLA commanders claimed that the Liberation Tigers are suing for peace because the army is gaining the upper hand in the war. They felt that a cease-fire would be advantageous to the LTTE for regrouping and that negotiations are possible while the war was on.

The SLA took the journalists Thursday morning on a tour of the areas it recaptured from the Liberation Tigers recently, to the east and southeast of Jaffna town. The media persons were taken through Kopay to Chavakachcheri, Kaithadi, Navatkuli and Thanangkilappu.

In the Jaffna town they were shown the district secretariat, the central bus station and the bazaar. Journalists spoke to civilians whom they met here.

Jaffna University students' union leaders also spoke to the media persons and explained the demonstration they are planning to hold on 17 January.

jaffna_11012001.jpg
Residents ride their bicycles in front of damaged buildings northern Jaffna Peninsula, Thursday, Jan. 11, 2001. Photo:AP

 

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