COLUMBO:The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is miffed with the Maithripala Sirisena government for issuing a gazette notification deploying troops in all the districts of Sri Lanka and investing them with police powers.
“This is unwarranted. When there is no violence in the North or anywhere in the country, why should troops be deployed and invested with police powers?,” asked a livid Suresh Premachandran, spokesman of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and MP for Jaffna district.
“We could understand why the previous Rajapaksa regime deployed troops. It had done many wrong things and was always expecting trouble from the people. But the Sirisena government has a clean image and yet it is deploying troops! There seems to be no difference between the Rajapaksa government and the present one,” Premachandran said.
He pointed out that the Minister of Public Order John Amaratunga had said that there would be no scaling down of troops deployed in the Tamil speaking Northern Province when the TNA has been consistently asking for a scaling down because war had ended five years ago.
Recently, the military spokesman had said that the military check point at the entrance of the Northern Province in Omanthai will remain and all passengers and goods will be checked.
President Sirisena seems to have forgotten that he was elected because of the overwhelming support he got from the Tamils, Premachandran pointed out.
Defending the action of the government, cabinet spokesman Dr.Rajitha Senaratne said that the gazette notification was a routine one issued during the time of national functions and elections.
“It was issued because troops with police powers needed to be deployed in all districts on Independence Day (February 4). We cannot move troops without such a notification. We had to deploy troops to do law and order duties in all districts because all district headquarters had independence day functions attended by VIPs. We had to get 6000 additional troops into Colombo city alone,” Senaratne said.
However, unconvinced by this, Premachandran asked: “Why was the deployment not annulled after independence day?”