North-bound travel not totally free

By Franklin R. Satyapalan


Travelling to the North via the key Colombo-Jaffna highway still remains taboo for all foreign passport holders, including tourists and journalists, a senior defence official said.

All foreigners are permitted to travel to Jaffna peninsula only by air, Military Liaison Officer to the Ministry of Defence, Maj. Gen. Palitha Fernando said.

"They are not allowed to use the land route without prior clearance from the Defence Ministry", he said. "Only civilian traffic is permitted on the A9".

He said that Sri Lankans with dual citizenship domiciled overseas also need prior clearance.

"Defence Ministry sanction also applies to local journalists who want to visit the North", Maj. Gen. Fernando said. "They should apply to the Media Centre for National Security for clearance".

Asked why the travel restrictions are still enforced, he snapped, "You should know" and dropped the phone.

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