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SLMM seeks LTTE clearance for troops
By Chris Kamalendran
Scandinavians monitors are to seek LTTE permission for government security force members in civvies to use the A9 road through the LTTE-controlled areas.
The issue will figure during a discussion between SLMM chief Tryggve Teleffsen and LTTE political wing leader S.P.Thamilselvan at the LTTE peace Secretariat in Kilinochchi at 10.00 a.m. today.

Under the Ceasefire Agreement signed in February last year, soldiers cannot enter LTTE-controlled areas with weapons, but can enter in civvies and in a similar manner LTTE cadres in civvies can enter government-controlled areas. The LTTE was making use of the provision, but the military has so far not made use of it.

The Sunday Times learns that earlier when the issue about government soldiers travelling through LTTE-controlled areas came up the discussions ended inconclusively as the issue about checking the military vehicles could not be resolved. The monitors will also be taking up the issue about the LTTE cease-fire violations and failure to adhere to the rulings given by the SLMM.

The LTTE this week disregarded ruling by the monitors and invited school children for the Pongu Thamil celebrations in the government-controlled Vavuniya town and flew the LTTE flags. It did the same at Thleepan commemoration programmes in Jaffna on Friday.

The SLMM in Vavuniya had informed the organisers to refrain from using school children and flying of the LTTE flag in the government-controlled Vavuniya town after the military claimed that such acts were provocative acts.

The LTTE flag was flown at the Vavuniya Urban Council grounds where the Pongu Thamil celebrations were held while school children entered the grounds from four directions.

School children were virtually forced to attend the 'Pongu Thamil' celebrations after an Education Director allegedly deceived the teachers and students and lured them to attend the function.

Vavuniya's Zonal Education Director allegedly informed the principals that they should send all the teachers and that each teacher should bring along with them 30 students for what he had described as an 'assessment programme'.

On arrival at the Thamil Maha Vidyalaya in Vavuniya, the Education Director had explained that he had been 'directed' to inform the principals and teachers to get the children to attend the Pongu Thamil celebrations.

He has also directed that each teacher should pay Rs. 100 to organise the 'Pongu Thamil celebrations. More than 400 teachers attended the ceremony. More than 5,000 school children took part in Pongu Thamil celebrations making them the majority who took part in the event. This was in contrast to the previous Pong Thamil celebrations where civilians formed the majority.

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