Crowd confronts SLA for delaying LTTE arrival

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 03 April 2002, 05:30 GMT]
The arrival of the Liberation Tigers in the Sri Lanka army controlled part of the Mannar district under the terms of the cease-fire agreement signed by Colombo and the LTTE in February was delayed Tuesday over the list of names sent to the army by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM). The large crowd comprising community leaders, traders, civil society activists etc., from Mannar who were waiting at the SLA's Uyilankulam entry point to welcome the LTTE from 8.30 in the morning got into a heated altercation with the military over the delay in letting the Tigers pass through. A section of the public then came to blows with soldiers who trying to video film the crowd and attempted to grab the SLA's camera.

The function and meeting to welcome the Tigers to Mannar was expected to begin Tuesday morning. The Tigers were scheduled to arrive at the entry point around 8.30 a.m.

Although the six Liberation Tigers came to the SLA's Uyilankulam entry point Tuesday morning as scheduled, accompanied by Mr. Pulithevan, a senior official of the LTTE's political wing, the army officers there said that they had only the names of five on the list sent for the purpose by the SLMM. But Mr. Pulithevan insisted that the LTTE had given the SLMM the names of the six Tigers who were going to enter Mannar Tuesday.

An impasse arose at the entry point over the list, with the army refusing to let the Tigers pass through until early afternoon when the crowd of civilians that was standing in the scorching sun to welcome them lost its patience and began arguing with the SLA.

With the crowd turning restive, the SLA eventually let the six Tigers pass around 1.15 p.m.

The Tigers were then taken in a procession to Mannar town where they addressed a public meeting. Later they began work at the LTTE political office on Main Street in Mannar town.

The LTTE's political wing group for Mannar is led by Mr. Amithaab. The other members of the group are Mr. Iyinkaran, Mr. Thirumagan, Mr. Kugan, Mr. Kathiravan and Mr. Thamilavan.

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