The Chief Minister of the Northern Province, CV Wigneswaran noting that the prevalence of drug circulation in the North-East had only increased after the end of the conflict between Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), called for Sri Lanka’s military forces to be retracted from the area.
“Our people feel that various sections from armed forces which have deliberately introducing various aspects of theses dangerous drugs, to stop youngsters form coming up having a good education and having their sense of freedom,” said Mr Wigneswaran.
Alleging that drug trafficking within the North-East was not an issue before May 2009, he said,
“When trafficking was not allowed within the Northern Province in the early days of the tigers. Who took over after 18 May 2009? How have we allowed things that were not taking place here (North-East) to find foothold in the area when it was only the army that was in charge.”
Speaking at a news conference at the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDCB) in Colombo, Mr Wigneswaran called for an impartial investigation to ascertain whether the continued deployment of the army after the end of the armed conflict in 2009 was a contributory factor in the introduction and distribution of narcotic drugs in the Northern Province.
Reiterating calls for the military to be withdrawn the chief minister added,
“We still have a lot of problems because of the long presence of the security forces. Our lands have been taken over by them, our cultivation, our fisheries, our businesses have been taken over by them and our women are not safe. The deployment of 100,000 army personnel is equivalent to one soldier to every four people. We will be extremely happy if the army is withdrawn.”