Jaffna officials explore setting up of Vigilant Committees

[TamilNet, Monday, 24 September 2007, 10:50 GMT]
Jaffna Government Agent (GA), Jaffna Magistrates, Sri Lanka Army (SLA) Jaffna Commander, Major. Gen. G. A. Chandrasiri, Northern Region Police Commissioner, S. Siriwardne, Jaffna Police Superintendent and several key officials met Monday morning at Thellippa'lai police station in Jaffna and discussed setting up Vigilant Committees as a preventive measure to curb the death threats, intimidation and extortion rampant in Jaffna peninsula alleged to be carried out by Tamil paramilitaries backed by the SLA, sources in Jaffna said.

Magistrates and lawyers of the five divisional courts, Divisional Secretaries, Departmental heads and prominent members of the public participated in the meeting.

The meeting was triggered by the protest of peninsula lawyers who boycotted courts sessions due to death threats and demands of money.

Doctors, medical specialists, media persons and intellectuals in the peninsula too are being subjected to similar intimidation by the said armed men.

Although participants in a previous meeting led by the G.A at Jaffna Secretariat with Nalloor Divisional Secretariat officials and other related persons, decided to set up similar committees, the project failed as government officials and members of the public declined to take part in the Vigilant Committees, due to risk of being targetted, the sources said.

Village officers (Grama Sevakas) who were to play the central part in the Vigilant Committees were reluctant to serve in the committees as their fellow officers had been targeted by the killers, the sources informed.

On January 27, the Jaffna G.A, SLA Jaffna Commander, peninsula magistrates and key officials had met and decided to set up Vigilant Committees.

Due to the lack of co-operation from the SLA the project had been abandoned, civil society sources in Jaffna said.

Monday meeting ended without any definite decision made.

However, it was decided to hold another meeting to discuss the next steps to be taken to address the pressing issue in the peninsula, participants in the meeting said.


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