Civilians to picket against army presence

[TamilNet, Sunday, 01 September 2002, 21:19 GMT]
The Vadamaradchi People's Movement (VPM) Sunday announced that a mass picketing campaign blocking three supply routes to the Sri Lanka Army's 524 Brigade Headquarters in Point Pedro town would be launched Monday demanding the withdrawal of armed forces from areas encompassing court house, post office, schools, rest house, places of worship and several civilian homes.

The SLA still occupies places of churches and Hindu temples in the Point Pedro area. Thirty displaced families are unable to resettle in their homes as they are occupied by the SLA for the last several years, VPM sources said.

Students and teachers attend classes with fear going through the army checkpoints located around Hartley College and Vadamarachi Methodist Girls College, the sources said.

The presence of the army has become a stumbling block for the restoration of normalcy in Point Pedro area, residents have complained to the Vadamaradchi People's Movement. Hence the VPM has organised a picketing campaign to exert pressure on the army to withdraw from the area, a spokesman for the organisation said.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) personnel arrested two Grunagar Tamil fishermen Friday night around eight when they were fishing in Jaffna lagoon. SLN officials later handed them to the Jaffna Police stating that the fishermen were taken into custody when they strayed into the prohibited zone for fishing, sources said.

Police Sunday said that the two fishermen would be produced in Jaffna magistrate's court Monday.


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