|Tuesday, 14 October 2003|
|Security||Today's Top Story|
by Ranil Wijayapala
The Defence Ministry yesterday warned the Sihala Urumaya of serious consequences if it proceeds with its planned visit to the Wan Ela camp in Manirasakulam and urged the party to re-think its decision in the interest of national security. Defence Secretary Austin Fernando told the Daily News yesterday that the message has been faxed to Sihala Urumaya last afternoon requesting it not to go ahead with the planned visit to Wan Ela area. The Defence Ministry has explained that their visit may result in communal violence posing a great threat to national security and also for the ongoing peace process.
"We have explained to them the danger of their planned visit", he said.
Defence Minister Tilak Marapana has informed the Defence Secretary Austin Fernando to convey the message that they will not be allowed to proceed beyond the Surangal Army camp situated around six kilo meters before the controversial camp. However, Champika Ranawaka the National Organiser of Sihala Urumaya told the Daily News that they would go ahead with their mission as scheduled in the interest of national security.
"We are planning to reach Manirasakulam around noon on Tuesday and would tackle the situations as they come", he added.
He said they are taking a limited number of people and they will be from activists of the Sihala Urumaya. "Hundreds of people including the Maha Sangha will join us", he added The Sihala Urumaya activists are planning to have a protest near the Wan Ela camp after reaching Manirasakulam area.
"Our objective is to condemn the double standards followed by the Government on matters relating to national security by forwarding matters concerned with national security to be dealt with by the Norwegian facilitators", Ranawaka added.
He argued that the walking to an area under Government control is no way a violation of ceasefire agreement.The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission Deputy Chief Hagrup Haukland said they were in contact with the Sihala Urumaya and advise them not to proceed with their plan visit to Wan Ela area.
"This would lead to a worse situation since the controversy over the construction of Wan Ela camp has not been resolved or the Government has not taken any decision to remove the camp", Haukland added.
"Involvement of a third party in this matter will be a violation of the ceasefire agreement", he added.
The issue of Wan Ela camp remains unresolved as the LTTE refusing to abide by the SLMM ruling that the camp be removed immediately as it has been constructed in violation of ceasefire agreement.
Produced by Lake House