Linganagar Tamils complain of SLA harassment

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 January 2004, 18:41 GMT]
The People Welfare Society (PWF) of Linganagar Friday made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRC) and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Trincomalee that soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers manning a check point in the area are harassing the residents of Linganagar, a crowded suburb of Trincomalee town, civil rights sources said.

Some SLA soldiers had entered the land of a resident Mr.S. Anandarajah on January 19 and destroyed the latrine in the premises.

Another group of soldiers Thursday had assaulted a resident Mr.K.Somasundaram when he was taking some cadjan leaves and poles to repair his house.

In another incident, SLA soldiers had entered the house of a resident Mr.P.Veerasingham one night and ordered the visitors staying in his house to leave the house immediately, PWS said in its complaint.

It has been further alleged that soldiers enter houses where young women are residing in nights and harassing them in the name of checking, sources said.

The Sri Lanka Army has not changed its routine checking and has not relaxed the ban on taking materials such as bricks, cement, tin sheets, poles and cadjan for repairing their houses even months after the permanent ceasefire came into effect, sources said.

"The SLA personnel manning the checkpoint are not allowing close relatives to visit residents living in Linganagar where more than one hundred families live. After eight in the night no one is allowed to enter the Linganagar through the army checkpoint. If those residing in the area wanted to leave for emergency purposes they must show their national identity cards to the army check point and obtain permission. If an inmate is suddenly fallen sick, no permission is granted to bring a vehicle into the area controlled by the army. The patient has to be carried out of the camp area and transport him or her to the hospital in a vehicle," said a resident of Linganagar.

The SLA has been demanding that the residents should leave the area enabling them to establish a camp and firing range in Linganagar, sources said.

Responding to representations made by Linganagar residents in 1991 the then Governor of the northeast province Lt.General Nalin Seneviratne in writing on 21st September 1991 directed the then Army Co-coordinating Officer, Trincomalee to refrain from establishing a camp or firing range in Linganagar area as it is situated in the expanding city limits and to look elsewhere for a place in the jungle.

Despite the governor's directive and representations made by the residents to the President and other government authorities through their elected representatives, the Sri Lanka Army has been harassing the Tamil civilians in the area for the last several years forcing many residents to leave the area, civil right sources said.


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