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The Problems Of Jaffna That Need Urgent Attention

by V. Anandasangaree

(January 01, Colombo, Sri Lanka Guardian) Since I met you last about six weeks back, I had paid two visits to Jaffna. During my first visit in November, I had a public meeting attended by over thousand people, as estimated by a local daily published in Jaffna. The people have innumerable problems and hardly anyone had attended to them. I strongly urge you to listen to the problems of the civilians from various people without depending on one or two persons. I have nothing against any individual. But to what extent you can depend on one or two for matters relating to the North and whether you should also consult people like Mr. D. Sithardthan, Mr. T. Sritharan, me and such others is a matter for you to decide.

Army Check Points:-

The people of Jaffna are deeply concerned of many matters, some of which I refer to here. Their main grievance is the presence of offices of a political party, adjoining very many check-points manned by the Army. This, they feel, curtail their freedom of movement and is also one of the reasons why and how certain culprits escape after committing offences. There is absolutely no need for any political party, especially with arms, to have too many offices here and there, giving opportunities for harassment of civilians.

Compulsory Sale of News Papers:-

One General complain by many is that a political party forces people to buy their weekly. Arriving home the father or mother sees three or more copies of the same paper compulsorily thrust on various members of the house hold. Each paper cost Rs. 30 per copy. Army personnel at these check points have no control over these matters and the people buy the paper out of fear of the army who are normally very cordial in their movements with the civilians.

Detention Orders:-

The detention orders served on suspects causes a lot of inconvenience and injustice to many. I can assure you that if any one is arrested on suspicion of aiding and abetting anybody, such person in most cases is innocent and in same cases acted out of fear for the LTTE and the real culprits slip out. There are some unfortunate instances in which very old people and innocent ladies had been detained under detention orders for long periods. Serving of detention order in such cases, if avoided, will improve the relationship of the Government with the civilians, to a great extent.

Missing Persons:-

During the past few years a lot of people, men and women, young and old, are either being killed or abducted by some unidentified persons. The whereabouts of the abducted persons are not known. Some people think that a few of them might have been detained some where by somebody illegally or legally by some Government Authority. Their expectations may not be true in all cases and may be true in respect of some. To put an end to their agony and anxiety, kindly instruct all concerned persons to kindly disclose the names and addresses of all those who are in the custody of Government Authorities. What the parents want to know is whether they are alive and in safe custody. Hence kindly prepare a list of such persons and have it released to the press.

Escapees from the LTTE’s Grip in Vanni:-

Another matter that will bring good name to the Government is to honour the promise given by the Government, that all those who escape from the LTTE’s grip and come into the areas under the control of the Government, will not be harassed or detained. I have very reliable information that the LTTE’s propaganda in Vanni is that the Government forces are detaining and harassing those who are escaping and coming into cleared areas. Who ever is suspected, as having had links with the LTTE, also will have to be treated as an LTTE deserter and conditionally released to the parents. If such escapees from the LTTE area are detained people will be reluctant, to come out. A clear announcement should be made by the Government to this effect.
Fishing in and around Jaffna.

Fishing by trawlers is banned in Jaffna. The various fishing co-operatives and fisheries co-operative union in the area have no objection for trawler fishing, because they have agreed with the small scale fisherman to do trawler fishing only on three days in a week and leave the other four days for the small scale fisherman. I understand that the Indian trawler operators too operate their trawlers on three day in a week leaving the other four days for the minor fisherman. I hope that allowing this arrangement in Jaffna will not interfere with the security of the Sri Lankan Navy, since Indian trawlers also fish there. The Navy’s advice may by sought in this matter.

I strongly urge that you should give serious consideration for these requests which if adhered to will be a great boon for the suffering civilians.

(The letter addressed to Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka(The Problems of Jaffna that need Urgent Attention), dated 26.12.2008 by Mr. V. Anandasangaree – President, TULF)
- Sri Lanka Guardian

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