Jaffna Commander tells British HC:
No plans to acquire civilian lands
The Army has no plans to acquire civilian lands to establish camps in
Jaffna, Commander Security Forces - Jaffna Maj. Gen. Mahinda
Hathurusinghe told the British High Commissioner John Rankin when he met
the latter at the Security Forces Headquarters Jaffna on Monday.
An officer from Security Forces Headquarters Jaffna told the Daily
News that Maj Gen Hathurusinghe had also told Rankin that the Army has
been continuously handing back houses and property acquired by the Army,
to their legitimate owners since the end of the war.
He added that the Commander said that as a matter of national
security, SF-J Headquarters will acquire a limited area to expand the
Palaly Airport and the Kankesanthurai Harbour. He also said that the
visiting diplomat who commended the Army's role that uplifts the lives
of ex-LTTE combatants and other civilians in post war Jaffna, inquired
about the alleged acquisition of land by the Army.
He added that the SF-J Commander flatly rejected these allegations
saying that all this was nothing but exaggerations by certain media
operating with a hidden agenda.
"The Commander said the presence of the military in Jaffna has been
reduced in great numbers since 2009 and the remaining troops are engaged
in humanitarian activities and development programmes in Jaffna," he
Major General Hathurusinghe also said that like in any other part of
Sri Lanka, the presence of the Army in Jaffna is essential for national
security and only the required strength of troops will remain in Jaffna.
The Jaffna Commander also said troops will be further reduced
considering the improving security situation.
SF-J Commander further clarified that the Army is not ready to take a
security risk like the one they faced in the early 1980s.
Maj. Gen. Mahinda Hathurusinghe thanked the British government for
the enormous contributions made by the Halo Trust in de-mining and also
apprised the visiting High Commissioner of the Army housing project for
the displaced civilians and livelihood programmes carried out for poor
families, especially for ex-combatants.