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Jaffna Public Library out of bounds to tourists

[TamilNet, Sunday, 31 October 2010 11:29 No Comment]

Sri Lanka Army (SLA) officials Friday informed the Chief Librarian of Jaffna Public Library that tourists will not be permitted to visit the library and that SLA soldiers will be posted outside it to maintain order, sources in Jaffna said. The officials who said that they had been instructed by high level government authorities did not, however, disclose who the authorities were. This instruction comes in the wake of a gang of Sinhala tourists storming into the library and vandalizing the premises of the Thanthai Chelva memorial monument located next to the library last Saturday. SLA authorities have posted four soldiers at the entrance of the library Friday.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka minister Douglas Devananda had convened a meeting in Jaffna Public Library Saturday morning with the intention of dealing with the issue without hurting the feelings of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA).

He had invited the Mayor of Jaffna, the Commissioner of Jaffna Municipal Council and representatives of civil societies to the meeting.

Douglas Devananda had suggested a system of allowing tourists to visit the library in groups of ten persons at a time so as to please the Sinhala tourists from the South, the sources added.

The instruction by SLA officials has come as a surprise to Douglas Devananda who is a minister in the ruling UPFA government, the sources added.

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