The Sri Lankan military has set up more checkpoints across Mullaitivu this week, as armed soldiers continue to be stationed and carry out searches across the Tamil homeland.
The increase in checkpoints has stepped up since the election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as Sri Lanka’s president last year, and even more so since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic on the island.
As military enforced curfews have been put into force by the state, the Sri Lankan military have set up new barriers with armed soldiers stationed at points across the district.
Travelling from Puthukkudiyiruppu, Tamil villagers are forced to cross seven checkpoints within a distance of about 18 kilometers. Soldiers have been newly station at Vattuvagal bridge, the site of where tens of thousands of Tamil civilians were massacred by the Sri Lankan military 11 years ago. In addition, another checkpoint has been set up at the “Gotabaya junction”, which the state renamed in honour of the current president, who led the massacres as defence secretary in 2009.
In one area of the Mullaitivu district alone, three checkpoints have been erected within two kilometers of the Mankulam area on the A9 main road. Similarly, nine checkpoints have been set up in by the Paranthan Road.
Vehicles and passers by have been subjected to searches by the military, with the visibly increased presence causing much concern to locals who have repeatedly demanded demilitarisation of the Tamil homeland.