Mallakam residents picket against new SLA camps

[TamilNet, Sunday, 18 May 2003, 12:18 GMT]
Hundreds of residents of Mallakam area, north of Jaffna district Sunday held a two hour picketing campaign from 9 to 11in the morning protesting against the establishment of two new camps of the Sri Lanka Army (SLA), one in the Mallakam court complex and the other in the abandoned railway station building. However, the construction work on the new camps is continuing, sources said.

The vehicular movement on the Mallakam-Chunnakam main road came to a standstill Sunday for two hours because of the picketing campaign, civil sources said.

Members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Jaffna visited the scene and talked to the residents and army personnel. Representatives of the civil groups told the SLMM that putting up new camps in residential areas would disrupt the return of normalcy in the lives of the people. The existence of army camps in densely populated areas would affect the day-to-day life of the people, sources said.

The civil groups further pointed out that construction of new SLA camps is a blatant act of provocation especially at a time when the SLA camps in populated areas is a matter that has been raised by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a sensitive issue to be resolved if the peace talks are to continue.

SLA officials, now engaged in constructing new camps at Mallakam informed the SLMM officials that they would stop constructing news camps in the area if their superiors ordered, sources said.

 

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