Wednesday, 20 August 2003  
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President writes to Minister Marapana

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga has written to Defence Minister Thilak Marapana directing him to take immediate action to provide personal security for members of the EPDP.

The President in her letter also states:

"As you are aware, the EPDP and several other Groups gave up arms and entered the mainstream of politics long ago, on the request of the government Subsequently, they were provided the arms necessary for self protection.

However, after the signing of the Ceasefire Agreement these arms were also withdrawn at the request of the LTTE, Since then these Groups that entered the main democratic stream (including their elected representatives) are left without adequatepersonal protection.

Once these groups had returned the firearms issued for personal protection, it was the duty of the security forces and the police to provide them adequate protection. Unfortunately this protection had not been provided.

As a result several leading persons identified with the EPDP and the EPRLF (Vartharaja Perumal Group) have been gunned down by the LTTE. They continue to do so with impunity and the last such victim was an EPDP member, shot dead in broad daylight by a suspected LTTE pistol group in the Batticaloa town, last weekend. This situation cannot be tolerated any further. In the circumstances, I direct that immediate action be taken by the armed forces and the police to provide them with adequate personal security.

I wish to have a report within a week of receipt of this letter on the course of action that you propose to take to remedy this situation.

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