Opening of LTTE war memorial delayed

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 February 2003, 19:24 GMT]
At a conference held Thursday at the political office of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam in Nilaveli, sixteen km north of Trincomalee town, a decision was made to delay the opening of the reconstructed war memorial in Gopalapuram in remembrance of twenty-two LTTE cadres who died in a boat mishap in 1990, until the problem is sorted out by the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission and the Tamil parliamentarians of the Trincomalee district, sources said.

The head of the SLMM in Trincomalee, Mr. Jan Ledang, monitor Mr.Abdel Furkhan, LTTE district political head Mr.Tilak, LTTE Nilaveli political head Mr.Thooyavan, Trincomalee district parliamentarian Mr.R.Sampanthan, national list parliamentarian Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham and the Officer-in-Charge of the Kuchchaveli Police, Mr. Ludewke, attended the conference.

Hundreds of police personnel and armed forces drawn from the Uppuveli, Kuchchaveli and Trincomalee Harbour police divisions were deployed Thursday under the respective officers-in-charge, Messrs Ratwatte, Ludewke and Indika Perera, to prevent the opening of the LTTE war memorial, the sources said

Mr.Tilak and Mr.Sampanthan briefed journalists on the outcome of the talks. Mr.Tilak said a decision was made to delay the opening of the war memorial until such time when the SLMM and Tamil parliamentarians of the district found a solution to the problem. However, “if the decision goes against the opening of the war memorial, we will withdraw from the present stand and will be forced to take some other decisions," said Mr.Tilak.

He added that the war memorial will be opened one day and when it will be opened is to be decided later.

Mr.Tilak said that the establishment of a new camp by the Sri Lanka Navy goes against the spirit of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE. " We cannot accept the establishment of a new camp in a residential area," he said.

LTTE war memorial.
LTTE war memorial at Gopalapuram junction,
Mr.Sampanthan said, " We have told the SLMM that the establishment of a new camp at the present site cannot be allowed. The SLN has established the new camp without any reasons. The MoU has been signed by the parties concerned to restore normalcy in the war-torn province. Under the MoU, the State armed forces should consult relevant authorities stipulated in the agreement before establishing new camps. In this particular case, the Sri Lanka navy has not consulted anyone before establishing new camps. This goes contrary to the spirit of the MoU."

Referring to the ban on opening the war memorial of LTTE cadres, Mr.Sampanthan said the war memorial was first constructed in 1990 and it was destroyed later. “Now people of the village have repaired it. The right of the people in this issue cannot be denied. No one can object when people of the area decide to open it,” he said.

"Today in the Trincomalee district, several illegal constructions are being put up with the assistance of government troops in the name of Buddhism. How can this be allowed under the MoU? " Mr.Sampanthan asked.

The LTTE war memorial has been erected not to hurt the feelings of any section of the people, but to pay homage to the dead cadres, added Mr. Sampanthan.

”Government troops cannot behave in the same way they behaved when the war was on. Now we live in a peaceful environment since the signing of the MoU by the GOSL and LTTE. The State armed forces should bear this in mind and recognize that everyone should work toward a peaceful political solution to the conflict that has ruined the country,” said Mr.Sampanthan.

Villagers who gathered in front of the LTTE's Nilaveli political office complained to Mr. Ledang that they could not live peacefully while the SLN established a new camp in the midst of their dwellings. Villagers said they would leave the area if the newly established SLN camp were not removed. Mr. Ledang responded that the SLMM would “work out a solution to all the problems."

Thereafter the SLMM monitors, Tamil parliamentarians and LTTE leaders visited the site of the war memorial, the sources said.

War memoria opening delayed.
( L-R ) SLMM monitor Mr.Abdel Furkhan, parliamentarian R.Sampanthan,SLMM head Mr.Jan Ledang LTTE Trincomalee district political head Tilak, parliamentarian Mr.K.Thurairetnasingham.


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