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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2346

Mavai Senathirajah urges government to honour Ceasefire Agreement on A-9 Road

Colombo, 01 October, (Asiantribune.com): Mavai Senathirajah urges government to honour Ceasefire Agreement on A-9 Road "It was clearly agreed according the Ceasefire Agreement signed in February 2002 that A-9 Road would be kept opened for non-military traffic of goods and passengers. Accordingly LTTE kept the road opened by adopting certain procedures in the road stretch under their control." said Mavai Senathirajah.Mavai .S.Senathirajah said for unknown reasons they keep entry /exit position of the Muhamalai FDL closed depriving movement of people and traffic in and out of Jaffna peninsula. Mavai .S.Senathirajah said for unknown reasons they keep entry /exit position of the Muhamalai FDL closed depriving movement of people and traffic in and out of Jaffna peninsula.

He said that after agreeing to the procedures from day one the road was opened and now it was unfortunate and illogical on the part of the GOSL to come up with lame excuses to keep the road closed.

He pointed out that Sri Lanka Government even now continues to allow the movement of traffic and people in out of Vanni by marinating entry / exit position of the Omanathai FDL position kept opened.

However, he added, for unknown reasons they keep entry /exit position of the Muhamalai FDL closed depriving movement of people and traffic in and out of Jaffna peninsula. This would compel the Tamil people in Jaffna to face starvation and death in their hundreds of thousands which is tantamount to genocide. He added this also amounts to depriving the Tamils of Jaffna the access to free movement and imposing collective punishment on them.

When Asian Tribune asked whether he approves LTTE imposing duties on goods and tolls on passengers, TNA MP said that this was a procedure adopted by the LTTE ever since the A-9 Road was opened up according to the Ceasefire Agreement. After Sri Lanka Government acquiesced to the LTTE procedures earlier it is now unacceptable to keep the road closed. In case the Government has some valid objectionable points, they have to open up the road and take up the matter with the LTTE and come to some working arrangements.

According to the Ceasefire Agreement: 2.10: "The Parties shall open the Kandy-Jaffna road (A9) to non-military traffic of goods and passengers. Specific modalities shall be worked out by the Parties with the assistance of the Royal Norwegian Government by D-day + 30 at the latest."

However it was not clear whether Sri Lanka Government and LTTE worked out any modalities with the assistance of the Royal Norwegian Government. If the modalities were not worked out so far, GOSL and LTTE should get together and work out the modalities to open up the road without worsening the humanitarian crisis.

Mavai Senathirajah said that earlier, after the closure of the A-9 Road, they contacted President Rajapakse to open up A-9 Road, but he had refused to do so.

He said: "As MPs representing the people of the Jaffna Peninsula we can’t remain as idle spectators to the looming humanitarian crisis. We started staging satygraha in the parliament to urge the Government to open up the Road as the LTTE has already indicated its willingness to do so."

Mavai Senathirajah said: "On 27 September I made a statement on the floor of the Parliament urging the Government to re-open the land routes and lift the economic embargo in the NorthEast to relieve the humanitarian crisis. Despite our sit in Satyagraha, Government has failed to take note our campaign inside the Parliament and also take positive steps to open up the A-9 road.

"If this situation continues it would amount to Government precipitating a human crisis which cannot be tolerable by anyone with love and compassion for fellow human beings. He added if the situation continues we may be compelled to continue with our protest to block the proceedings and bring all activities of the parliament to a grinding halt. "

Mavai Senathirajah said that the TNA has enough strength to embark on a protest to block the parliamentary proceedings. He also said that there are many other political parties that are ready to render their support in helping us to block the proceedings of the Parliament.

The full text of the statement made by the TNA before on 27 September in Parliament before starting the sit in protest is as follows:

"Hon. Speaker,

Under the provisions of the Standing Orders I wish to bring the following matters of urgent public importance to the notice of the House.

Currently, there is a severe shortage of food in the North-East.
There is a severe shortage of other essential items including medicine, fuel and infant food.

The situation has become so acute that people are forced to stand in cues all day to obtain whatever provisions that is available in very short supply. This includes school going children who amount to over 150,000, as a result of which their education has been totally disrupted.

Due to the fuel embargo none of the local bodies are able to function. As a result there are severe hygiene problems that have arisen. This has been compounded by the fact of thousands of civilians living as refugees in camps. This situation has created dangers of epidemics breaking out.

Transportation has been crippled.

Prices of goods have increased over five fold.

There are severe shortages of funds in banks and as a result people are not able withdraw sufficient money to meet the exorbitant prices. Even where people have sufficient funds people are unable to purchase goods due to severe shortage.

The Tamil people of the North-East and the Tamil people of the Jaffna District in particular are facing a humanitarian catastrophe due to the economic embargo imposed by the government.

Further, the refusal of the Government to open the A9 highway and other roads that link LTTE controlled areas with Government controlled areas has also effectively crippled businesses in the North-East. This problem is worst felt by the business community in the Jaffna District where the A9 highway is the only link the masses could have with the rest of the island.

Due to this situation, NGOs and INGOs which have been carrying out humanitarian assistance have also been effectively forced to stop all their work. As a result, thousands of civilians who have been made refugees due to the Government’s military actions have not been provided even with temporary shelter and have been forced to live under trees. This is worst in the Vaharai and Kathiraveli areas in the Batticaloa District.

Amongst all this misery that has been systematically unleashed on the Tamil people by the Government, its Armed Forces are exploiting the situation to the maximum to make profit for themselves. What is worse is that the Sri Lankan Government Armed Forces after systematically and forcibly displacing Tamil civilians from the homes are looting these vacated homes of all valuables.

These actions of the Government are also direct violations of the Ceasefire Agreement.

If the Government persists with this deliberate policy there can be no doubt that the Tamil people will face starvation and death in their hundreds of thousands tantamount to genocide. Therefore the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) calls upon the Government to immediately take measures to salvage the situation by

Lifting the economic embargo on the North-East, and Opening the A9 highway and all other roads that link LTTE controlled areas with Government controlled areas. As a mark of expressing the desperate plight of the Tamil people, the TNA has decided to carry out a Sathiyagraha campaign in this House.

Mavai S. Senathirajah M.P.

- Asian Tribune -

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