Basil Rajapakse visits Jaffna with Devananda

[TamilNet, Thursday, 21 December 2006, 13:43 GMT]
A heavily guarded Special Conference was held at the Jaffna Public Library Thursday from 10:30 a.m to 1:00 p.m, presided by Basil Rajapakse, the brother and advisor of President Mahinda Rajapakse, to discuss matters related to restore normalcy to Jaffna peninsula with the key Government officials of the peninsula, attended by minister and leader of EPDP, Douglas Devananda and a team of junior ministers of the relevant ministries from Colombo, Jaffna sources said. Diffusing the present critical situation in the matters of supply and distribution and resuming normalcy were the important subjects dealt with, in the conference, sources close to Jaffna Secretariat said.

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officers Thursday early morning confiscated the keys to the Jaffna Public Library from the Jaffna Municipality while the Library staff were not permitted entry to the library building. The Library buildings were thoroughly searched before the conference.

Civilians were forbidden to be present in the town area and all roads entering Jaffna town were blocked. The library surroundings and the town were deployed with armed troopers and heavy armoured cars and other vehicles, creating an appearance of a town under siege.

The presidential advisor and the ministers were flown into Jaffna town in helicopter from the Palaly military air base, accompanied by Northeast province Governor Rohan Wijeyawickrema, a former Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) high command.

The Jaffna Government Agent, Secretaries of the Jaffna peninsula Regional Secretariats and their staff participating in the conference were first subjected to an inspection before being transported in specially arranged vehicles to the library hall.

High officers of the SLA too participated in the conference.

The EPDP is a paramilitary group working with Sri Lanka Government and a political party aligned with the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

No one was permitted to be in the town area as the meeting progressed until 1:00 p.m after which people were gradually allowed into the town and the restriction imposed on free movement was relaxed.


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