TNA awaits action despite assurances

[TamilNet, Friday, 24 May 2002, 14:30 GMT]
(News Feature) An alliance of four Tamil parties said Friday that Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremasinghe, had “responded positively” to the three key issues they had raised: the deproscription of the Liberation Tigers, setting up of an interim administration in the northeast province and the full implementation of the cease-fire agreement before the commencement of the direct peace talks. Despite the Premier’s assurances the Tamil delegation said they remained concerned about his government’s ability to meet the promises.

A delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) comprising Mr. R. Sampanthan, Mr. Jospeh Pararajasingham, Mr. Mavai Senathirajah, Mr.Selvam Adaikalanathan, Mr.A. Vinayagamoorthy, Mr.N.Raviraj, Mr.V.Krishnapillai, Mr. A.Chandra Nehru, Mr. N.Kumaraguruparan, and Mr.Suresh Premachandran met the Prime Minister Friday morning.

“The Premier was keen to assure us all our concerns would be taken care of. However we have received such assurances before,” one of the delegates speaking to TamilNet on condition of anonymity said Friday night. “[For example] we have been raising the issue of people being held by the PTA since the start of the year.”

“The armed forces are not cooperating in implementing the letter or the spirit of theceasefire and the talks [in Thailand] have now been delayed,” he said.

The TNA delegation had handed over a memorandum listing six issues to the Prime Minister at the outset of the discussion, which lasted more than an hour. At one stage Mr.Bradman Weerakone, Advisor to the Prime Minister participated in the discussion.

Referring to the demand that the ban on the LTTE should be removed immediately, the Prime Minister said " the government has given serious consideration to this demand. However we will take a positive decision in this regard".

"We will take a favourable decision regarding the establishment of interim administration in the Northeast province once the official talks between the government and the LTTE commenced," said Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe when the TNA delegation stressed the urgency for the establishment of the body which they said is needed to rebuild the war ravaged province, restore ruined economy and rehabilitate displaced people.

The TNA delegation told the Prime Minister that all development and rehabilitation activities in the war ravaged Northeast province should be undertaken by the proposed interim administration rather than piecemeal by various ministries.

TNA sources said the Prime Minister accepted this in principle when the Tamil delegation pointed out "the people in the northeast province are confused [as to government intent] due to the frequent visits by several ministers to their areas with lot of promises."

The Prime Minister promised that he would take immediate action to prevent expansion of army camps in the high security zones when the TNA delegation brought to the notice several instances where such expansions of security forces camps had taken place after the ceasefire came into force.

Mr. Wickremesinghe said the armed forces have been ordered to leave places of worships which they occupied before the ceasefire came into force and further promised that he would order the authorities concerned to allow the maintenance of temples and priests to conduct daily rites within the high security zones in the northeast.

The TNA delegation brought to the notice of the Prime Minister the harassment the Tamil fishermen are undergoing at the hands of navy personnel in the sea between Mullaitivu and Trincomalee.

When the TNA delegation took up the matter for not allowing LTTE political activists in Kayts and other islands in the north, the Prime Minister said that the security officials are having talks with the LTTE regarding this issue.

Referring to the demand by the TNA that the rehabilitation assistance package to the displaced under the resettlement scheme should be increased, the Prime Minister said "We hope to increase the relief package. But at present the government has no money".

At present a mere thirty nine thousand rupees being given to a displaced family for resettlement, TNA delegation had said.

In reply to the TNA demand that the PTA should be repealed and all PTA detainees be released immediately, the Premier said "The Attorney General is taking some action regarding cases pending under the Prevention of terrorism Act. A meeting with the AG is scheduled to be held on June 15 in this regard. We hope some positive steps will be taken in regard to persons under detention now."


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