Jaffna District Chamber of Commerce and Tamil National Cultural Association on Thursday staged a half-day protest against invading illegal salesmen from South, who outcompete the native traders with the backing of the occupying Sinhala military. The protest drew the support of civil activists, Tamil politicians and the public as the provincial council and the civic bodies run by the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Municipal Council administration run by the EPDP have been powerless in controlling the illegal activity which has also worsened the anti-social crimes in the peninsula. The street vendors from South market their goods at the doorsteps of the shops owned by Tamil traders in the city at cheaper rates, but without any warranties, the organisers told TamilNet.
The occupying Sri Lankan military and the State system provide all necessary backing to the invading street vendors. Many of these salesmen stay in the Sri Lankan military cantonments in Jaffna and Vanni.
The Sri Lankan Police does not entertain the complaints made by the Tamil business owners.
The street vendors from South have also been behind many of the anti-social activities in Jaffna and Vanni.
Tamil traders say they have been affected by the downfall of the Colombo-centric economy, harassments by the SL military and more than 30% of their day-to-day business activity has been severely affected by the street vendors from the South.
Many politicians, including the NPC councillors Ananthi Sasitharan and Gajeetheepan were present at the protest.
The organisers had extended invitation to the Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran to conclude their fast on the protest day. But, the NPC CM avoided his presence and sent his employees to conclude the fast. Angered by the act, the organisers ended their fast in front of the elected representatives, who were present at the site, news sources in the city said.
The protest was taking place in front of the Veerasingham Hall in Jaffna.
In the meantime, the EPDP, which controls the municipal administration, has leased out the Veerasingham Hall to a prominent businessman in the South to open a mega sale during the traditional New Year season this month.