SLA restrictions cause hardship to Jaffna travellers

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 February 2007, 10:49 GMT]
Sri Lanka Army (SLA) announced Tuesday that persons wishing to travel out of Jaffna peninsula cannot stay overnight to queue for ship tickets in areas near the Jaffna Sinhala Maha Vidyalayam where the tickets are issued, sources in Jaffna said. Meanwhile, Jaffna Government Agent (GA) Mr. K. Ganesh informed Tuesday that registering the names of those wishing to travel in the ship from Kankesanthurai to Trincomalee at the District Secretariat has been temporarily suspended.

The GA said there is a large backlog of travellers who have already registered their names, and it was meaningless to register more names while ship service is no longer operative.

Desperate people, chased away by the SLA, returning home.


More than 4,000 had registered their names as the Government announced its decision to conduct a ship service between the ports of Kankesanthurai and Trincomalee soon, but no arrangements for travel has been made yet, civil society sources in Jaffna said.

Authorities made arrangements Tuesday for 350 persons consisting of a group of government officials, candidates for written examinations and interviews to travel by ship from Kankesanthurai to Trincomalee.

Sri Lanken armed Forces in Jaffna informed that these 350 persons will be taken by ship on Thursday.

Only three ship services were conducted since January.

Many aspirant travellers, had earlier demonstrated in front of the Human Rights Commission (HRC) office in Jaffna accusing the SLA for the inconveniences caused.

After the said demonstration the SLA imposed the new restrictions on people staying overnight along the Jaffna Railway Station Road, at the Jaffna railway station and in places close to the Jaffna Sinhala Maha Vidyalyam where the SLA issue the ship tickets, making matters still more difficult for the would be travellers.

A frustrated civilian who had been waiting for days to obtain a ship ticket.


SLA also has directed the residents near Jaffna Sinhala Maha Vidyalayam not to provide accommodation to outstation persons in their houses as this poses a security risk to the SLA.

More than 3,000 people who have been trying to get ship tickets for months have to spend the nights along roads and lanes, under difficult circumstances, waiting for a place in the line for tickets.

Only one of the two private planes now fly between Palaly and Ratmalana, twice daily, taking hundred passengers.

Plane tickets cost nearly Rs. 9,000 per person while it costs Rs.1,000 to travel by ship. Many cannot afford air-flight and the demand for ship tickets are always in great demand.

Nearly 4,000 people travelled daily across the Muhamalai checkpoint before the SLA closure of the A9 land route.


Chronology:

 

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