Economic embargo imposed in Batticaloa, Vaharai residents protest

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 31 May 2005, 17:14 GMT]
Large number of residents of Vaharai division in the Batticaloa district Tuesday morning staged a peaceful protest march demanding the withdrawal of economic embargo imposed recently by the Sri Lankan military, sources said. Last several days soldiers manning checkpoints in Batticaloa have been blocking civilians from transporting cement, building materials, fuel and other essential materials to the villages of Panichchankerni, Paalchenai, Kathiraveli, Kandalady, Uriyankattu and Mankerni which are located in LTTE controlled Vaharai division.

Protest in Vaharai
Protest in Vaharai
More than three thousand civilians including men, women and children participated in the march along 1.5 kilometres from Panichankerni Thirumakal School towards Kajuwatte Sri Lankan Army (SLA) camp.

The protest march was organized by the Civil groups' consortium, sources said.

Protestors carried placards and shouted slogans condemning the SLA ban on essential items. One of the placards carried by the protesters said, "Separate state is the only solution if the Government insists on economic embargo to Tamil areas."

Mr. T. Nixon, representative from the Consortium of Civil Society Organisations, handed over to the Valaichenai Assistant Superindent of Police (ASP) Mr. K. Kumaranatunge, copy of a memorandum addressed to Sri Lanka's President Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge.

Ms. Rahula Nayahi, Assistant Divisional Secretary, received a copy of the petition on behalf of Batticaloa Government Agent (GA).

Copies of the petition were also handed over to Kalkudah 232 Brigade Acting Commander K. Santhana who told protestors that the military was simply carrying out the orders from Colombo and to Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) official Mr. Matti Vainionpaa.

The reimposition of economic blockade comes after the 3-year long Cease Fire Agreement (CFA) brought an end to the economic blockade in February 2002.


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