New camps will damage peace process - JDCHA

[TamilNet, Friday, 28 March 2003, 02:38 GMT]
The Jaffna District Consortium of Human Agencies (JDCHA) Thursday sought intervention of Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe to stop moves by the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) to establish new army camps in Jaffna Municipal grounds, said sources in Jaffna.

The full text of memorandum sent to the Prime Minister by JDCHA follows:

"We appreciate your efforts to promote the 'Peace talks' with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to restore normalcy and build up the economy of the country. However some actions of the government are causing concern to the residents of Jaffna.

"It is disheartening to note the initiative taken by the Ministry of defence to take over the Jaffna Municipal Council office and Town hall land and the Jaffna municipal rest house along with some private residential properties for the construction of army camps. This land is being appropriated in addition to the Jaffna Fort and surrounding areas and the lands belonging to the Police department.

"To comply with ceasefire agreement between the GOSL and the LTTE, and in an effort to return the private and public building for their intended use, the Defence Ministry is trying to further expand and consolidate their own security.

"Instead of reviewing the security measures and the set up of check points in densely populated areas, to reduce harassment of the civilian population, the SLA is attempting to establish new army camps. We are worried that this will seriously damage the prospects for peace and will raise suspicions in peoples mind on the commitment of SLA to peace.

"Two leading super grade schools, Methodist Church, Muniappar Temple, Children's' Park, Jaffna Public Library, Thuraiappah Stadium, Open Air Theatre and the new court complex that is to be constructed are in close proximity to the proposed new army camp.

"Establishment of the new army camp will impede free movement of civilians in a busy part of town.

"Your intervention is requested to suspend any further action on this matter and an opportunity be given to discuss this matter with the civilian society."

The memorandum has been signed by the President and Joint Secretary of the JDCHA Messrs S.Paramanathan and A.K.Sivasubramaniam.

Copies of the letter has aslo been sent to the Minister of Defence, Norwegian Ambassador in Colombo, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, Human Rights commission of Sri Lanka, North East provincial Governor, Jaffna Municipal Commissioner, Jaffna Government Agent, Palaly Security Forces Commander and the LTTE leader, sources said.


 Photo by T.Mahan

 

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