SLA restricts access to temples, churches in Jaffna HSZ
The occupying Sri Lanka Army in Valikaamam North has recently started to block the people from accessing temples and churches within the High Security Zone. The SLA, which had in recent years allowed the uprooted people of Vasaavi’laan to visit their temple inside the occupied ‘HSZ’ with prior permission, has now blocked them from accessing the St. Joseph Church in the village, they said. People from other villagers also complain that access to temples and churches within the HSZ has now been restricted. The SLA is also busy setting up new bunds and barbed-wire fences in recent days.
70% of the uprooted people from Valikkaamam are denied access to their lands, which are being grabbed permanently by the SL military, even after clearing the mines from foreign aid in the name of resettlement.
Denied access to their houses and lands, more than 53,000 people are forced to live elsewhere.
People who went from Achchuveali, Thellippazhai, Point Pedro and Jaffna went in buses to their church in Vasaavi’lan with their parish priest from Achchuveali, who had secured permission from the military in advance to conduct the annual feast on Wednesday last week.
Despite the permission, the priest and the people were blocked at the “Forward Defence Line” by the occupying SLA. After arguing with the SL military officers for 4 hours, they had to return unable to enter the church.
TNA MP Appathurai Vinayakamoorthy, after witnessing the new fences being put up by the SLA said that the SL military was trying to create military zones following the Israeli model of the occupation of Gaza Strip.