Valigamam residents picket against new SLA camp

[TamilNet, Thursday, 29 May 2003, 15:23 GMT]
Hundreds of residents Thursday held a four hour picketing campaign blocking the main road from Puttur to Chunnakam at Nilavarai junction opposing the construction of a new Sri Lanka Army (SLA) camp in Nilavarai- Navakiri area. Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Jaffna district parliamentarian Mr.M.K.Sivajilingam participated in the picketing campaign, sources said.

Valigamam protests
The army personnel were seen engaged in clearing the area despite picketing by residents. Residents continued their picketing despite repeated warning by the police and army in the area that they would be forced to take action against the picketers if they continued blocking the road, sources said.

TNA parliamentarian Mr.Sivajilingam and Kopay Divisional Secretary Mr. T.Srinivasan briefed the police and army officials who were present at the scene the grievances of the residents according to some of the picketers.

However the army officials refused to stop the construction of the new camp saying that the site is a state land, sources said

valigamam protest

The army officials later said that they would not obstruct the picketing if it is held in a non-violent manner, sources said.

At the conclusion of the picketing the Valigamam East Division Confederation of Public Organization handed over a memorandum to the Kopay Divisional Secretary to be sent to the Prime Minister.

valigamam protest

The memorandum signed by the Chairman and Secretary of the confederation states, "we, the Confederation of Valigamam East Division Public Organizations representing the people of Valigamam east wish to bring to your attention the following facts:

"Sri Lanka Army is constructing a new camp in Nilavarai-Navakiri area, from last week. New army posts are being put up by the SLA instead of removing camps according to the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the government and the LTTE.

"Establishing new camps is not only a violation of the MoU, but is also a violation of human rights.

"The site selected for the new camp in Nilavarai-Navakiri area is a densely populated place where fertilizer stores, agricultural institutions and religious places are located. Residents of the area are deeply perturbed over the action of the SLA in establishing a camp amidst residential houses.

"Hence we appeal to you to take immediate steps to stop constructing new camps and also to remove existing camps from residential areas in accordance with the MoU."

valigamam protest


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