Hartal draws poor response
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 19 May 1998, 23:59 GMT]
Mr. K. Kirubarajah, Member of the Jaffna Municipal Council (JMC) in a speech this morning before the body of the slain Jaffna Mayor Sarojini Yogeswaran blamed her death on the Sri Lankan government's haste to claim normalcy in Jaffna.
He said that Mrs. Yogeswaran's death had resulted because the Tamil parties had fought the local government election in the Jaffna District at the bidding of Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunga to demonstrate that normalcy had returned to Jaffna, whereas the situation was not really so.
He further said that the election had been a waste of time and had only helped the President's propaganda.
Mr. Kirubarajah was admonished by V. Anandasangari, a senior member of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF), for dragging the name of the President into a matter that had no connection with her, said sources.
The body of the Ms. Yogeswaran left her residence near Kailasapillayar temple in Nallur, Jaffna, on its final journey around 8:15 a.m. today, with V. P. Balasingham, Municipal Commissioner and other officials of the JMC, among the pall bearers.
Students of Vembadi Girls School, where Ms. Yogeswaran was a student, performed religious ceremonies. Afterwards members of the JMC, JMC officials and members of political parties filed past the body to pay their last respects.
Among the persons who spoke at the ceremony were the JMC's Deputy Mayor Thirunavukarasu, V Sivabalan, Political Advisor to the TULF, V P Balasingham and V Anandasangari.
Meanwhile, the hartal called by the Traders' Association was only a partial success, said sources.
Only shops in the Jaffna Bazaar, the central part of downtown Jaffna, closed, while those in other areas mostly stayed open.
Even shops in Tirunelveli and the Kachcheri junction, despite being within the Municipal Council area, remained open, said sources.
Many members of the Executive Committee of the Traders' Association are TULF supporters, which might have led to the call for the hartal, said sources.
However the traders of Jaffna municipal council protested that if they closed for the assassination of a TULF member, then they would have to close when members of other parties, or those of the armed forces were killed too. This would be detrimental to business, said the traders.