LTTE, SLA discuss Heroes’ Day in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 November 2003, 08:30 GMT]
“Sri Lanka army officers told us their troops won’t object to anything with the Tiger insignia being used in decorations put up by the people for the Great Heroes’ Day in Jaffna”, said Mr. S. Thangan, the deputy leader of the political division of the Liberation Tigers after a meeting with Maj. Gen. Ratnasabapathy, deputy Sri Lankan security forces commander for Jaffna and senior Sri Lankan Police officials in the northern town Thursday.

The meeting was arranged by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) following tensions between the SLA and civilians in Jaffna over special decorations are being put up in Jaffna to mark the LTTE’s Great Heroes Day on 27 November.

Mr. Thangan and Mr. Semmanan speaking to the press at the SLMM office

The problem was brought to the notice of the SLMM after troops demanded Wednesday night that residents of Nediyakaadu in Valvettithurai, Jaffna should dismantle a colour lights display structure.

SLA troops in the area charged it was a replica of the separate state of Thamil Eelam. "The lights structure is a replica of the Tamil homeland. There is nothing illegal about it", say Nediyakaadu residents.

In Meesaalai, near Chavakachcheri, troops pulled down festoons and other decorations residents were putting up for Great Heroes’ Day Wednesday night.

Fears about attending functions on 27 November spread among residents in the other parts of Jaffna too when SLA began to deploy additional troops close to the memorials for the LTTE’s war dead in the peninsula.

"We raised all these issues with the Sri Lanka army and Police and urged them to co-operate with the people of Jaffna to help them observe the Great Heroes’ Day peacefully. We told the army and Police officers that there is fear among our people that the Sri Lanka military might disrupt the functions. The Police promised us that there won’t be any untoward incidents after this. The SLA too agreed not to disturb the events to honour our war dead in Jaffna”, Mr. Thangan told journalists.

He said that the Liberation Tigers have requested the SLMM to negotiate with the SLA for allowing parents and relatives of the LTTE’s war dead in Jaffna to travel through the Muhamalai entry point until midnight on 27 November.

Policeman stands outside SLMM office in the rain during the talks

Many LTTE fighters from Jaffna who were killed in battles outside the peninsula are buried in war memorials in the Vanni.

Mr. Semmanan, deputy leader of the LTTE’s political division in Jaffna was associated with Mr. Thangan at the talks.

The Sri Lanka Police was represented by Jaffna District Superintendent, Mr. Hector Dharmasiri and Assistant Superintendent of Police Mr. A. Vithanage.

Head of SLMM in Jaffna, Ms. Carina Erickson facilitated the meeting.

SLA troopers refused to let local journalists who were gathered at the SLMM office in Nallur Jaffna to cover the discussions take photos.


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