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Tamil groups criticise sudden announcement of National Dengue Eradication Week to clash with Mullivaikkaal remembrance

Tamil civil society groups and local politicians have criticised the Sri Lankan health ministry’s declaration of May 18 and 19 as National Dengue Eradication Week, claiming the move is an attempt to disrupt Mullivaikkaal remembrance activities.

The sudden announcement which was passed via the directors of the Northern and Eastern Provincial Health Services included instructions for health officials to search homes in the North-East for dengue mosquito breeding habitats.

Residents reported that during previous similar searches, military forces were involved, sparking fears that future searches would be used as tools for intimidation.

The instructions also include schemes for schoolchildren to be engaged in dengue eradication activities on the selected days.

The Northern Province’s health minister, P. Sathiyalingam, however has said that the Northern Province would postpone these activities to the May 22 and 23, in order to prioritise Mullivaikkaal remembrance activities.

Tamil groups have also criticised as inappropriate the planned visit of President Sirisena on May 18th to commence a poverty eradication scheme in Mullaitivu.