Trinco: Security relaxed but tension remains
By A T.M. Gunananda
Troops strength in the Trincomalee town has been scaled down, but the tension continues with the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) demanding the removal by June 15 of all additional troops brought in after the Buddhist statue issue flared up.

Troops withdrawn from the main town areas have been placed in camps. Top security officials said security in the suburban areas too was thinned down resulting in a calm atmosphere, but added that in the event of any emergency security would be tightened.

However security in the area where the statue is located remains unchanged. The tight security around the statue area with barricades remains unchanged with a temporary Army post established as there is speculation of an attack. The TNA has warned that if the statue is not removed by June 15 the hartal will take place as planned.

However people were skeptical that a hartal can cause a breakdown in the daily life of the people, specially as the A/L exam is currently being held. "If this campaign is not successful and if the statue does not go by then, it has been decided to re-stage the hartal once the exam is over", a spokesman for the group campaigning for the removal of the statue said.

The Trinco women's and children's protection society has appealed to the respective parties and the government to ensure the issue is resolved amicably.

The society organised a march by Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim women after which petitions were handed over to the Ceasefire Committee, the LTTE political office and the Government Agent.

Meanwhile the case against the erection of the statue on Crown land sans any authority, filed in the district court of Trincomalee, is due to be taken up on Monday. It is now learnt that the parties concerned were willing to discuss the issue with the mediation of a non-religious party.

A decisive meeting in this connection is to be held today at St. Mary's cathedral arranged by the Inter-religious Peace Foundation. Foundation treasurer Rev. Fr. Anura Perera said the issue was due to a misunderstanding between two parties and there was nothing serious in it.

"Though the parties had several rounds of discussions separately there were no talks held together. But now we are able to make them meet each other which is a good catalyst for a settlement as a decision that is not detrimental to one party but agreeable to all can be arrived at then", he said.

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