Jaffna undergrads study Potpathi villagers' problems

[TamilNet, Friday, 22 August 2003, 16:55 GMT]
A group of Jaffna university students and members of the International Student's Association of Tamil Eelam held a discussion Friday with the residents of Potpathi village in the Vadamarachchi east division in Jaffna district under the auspices of Jaffna University Students' Union (JUSU) regarding an attempt by the Sri Lanka Army to construct several camps and checkpoints surrounding the village, sources said.

About 200 fisheries families live in Potpathi, a fishing hamlet. The Sri Lanka Army has suspended its attempts at establishing camps and checkpoint surrounding the village on representations by the Potpathi Fisheries Co-operative Society to the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission, sources said.

However, the people of the village are now being pressurized and intimidated by the soldiers of the SLA located in the village to withdraw their written representations to the HRC and SLMM and to give consent letter to the relevant authorities stating that the people have no objection for setting up new SLA camps and checkpoints in the village, sources said.

Hence the JUSU organized a visit to the village Friday to obtain the views of the residents. Journalists and representatives of Jaffna regional committee of the HRC also attended the discussion. The SLA's action to extend its existing camp in the village would cause immense harm to fishing in the area and the people’s normal life, several residents told the visiting undergrads and representatives of the HRC, sources said

Members of the fisheries society said that already some civilian houses in the village are occupied by the SLA but now the SLA has taken steps to extend its camp close to their temporary sheds in the village. If the SLA is is allowed to establish new camps villagers will find difficult even to answer their call of nature, fisheries society members said.

The villagers expressed dissatisfaction over the stand of the monitors of the SLMM, saying the monitors are not taking into consideration the difficulties faced by them. The SLMM monitors had justified the action of the SLA in extending their camps. Under the Memorandum of Understanding, the SLMM is not empowered to consider the question of removing new camps or how to construct a new camp, the monitors had told the villagers, sources said

The villagers told the JUSU that under any circumstances they would not allow the SLA to establish new camps and checkpoints surrounding their village, sources said.


Related Articles:
06.08.03   SLA pressures villagers to withdraw camp complaint
31.07.03   HRC inquires into new army camp construction in Jaffna
25.07.03   SLA constructs new camp at Potpathi in Vadamarachchi East
22.06.03   SLA constructs barbed wire fence along northern coast

 

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