SL Minister cancels conference in Jaffna to evade protests

[TamilNet, Monday, 11 August 2003, 01:42 GMT]
Mr.John Amaratunge, Interior and Christian Affairs Minister of Sri Lanka, who was visiting Jaffna Sunday, cancelled his conference scheduled to be held in the afternoon at the Jaffna district secretariat at the last minute, on a report by the Police that about one hundred representatives of the Jaffna Missing Persons Guardians' Association and the Valigamam North Displaced Persons Association had gathered at the district secretariat premises to stage a protest against his visit, Police sources said

Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians Mr.N.Raviraj and Mavai Senathirajah arrived at the Jaffna district secretariat to attend the conference. They left the place immediately after they were told of the cancellation of the conference. However, Mr.Raviraj is reported to have engaged in an argument with the civil groups' representatives assembled in district secretariat premises, sources said.

Thereafter, the visiting Minister concluded his Jaffna tour and left to Colombo by special aircraft, Police said.

Mr. Amaratunge, who arrived in Jaffna Sunday morning, attended Sunday Mass at the Gurunagar St James Church in Jaffna town.

The Bishop of Jaffna, Rt. Rev.Thomas Soundaranayagam, who met the Minister,informed him that about three hundred churches in the peninsula had been destroyed or damaged due to the war. He appealed to the minister to take steps to provide assistance to repair and rebuild those churches, sources said.

The Bishop further informed the minister about the sufferings of the displaced families living in refugee camps and welfare centers as they are unable to resettle in their own lands and houses which have been occupied by security forces in the name of high security zones, sources said.

After inspecting the conditions of the Jaffna Police station and the Jaffna Prison, Mr. Amaratunge inaugurated a new training course in the computer centre located at the St.Patrick's College in Jaffna and visited the Nallur Kandasamy Temple, the sources said.

 

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