3RD LEAD (Update)
Villagers foil SLA rape attempt, Puthur tense, protesters beaten
[TamilNet, Friday, 28 October 2005, 04:56 GMT]
Villagers from Puthur East, 13 km north-east of Jaffna, protested in front of a camp of the SLA's 511 Division Friday morning after foiling an alleged rape attempt by a Sri Lanka Army soldier who entered a house at 3:00 a.m. Three soldiers in civilian dress were chased by the neighbours who rushed to the house upon hearing the women shout, sources said. The soldiers ran into the SLA camp, according to the protesting villagers. At least six protestors were wounded. Riot police and additional troops were deployed at the site. SLA soldiers opened fire when protesting youth burnt a checkpost at the camp. Many villagers have fled the area, sources said.
A section of protestors in front of the SLA camp
At least one soldier had entered the house of Ms. Packyam and her three daughters. The house is located near Annamar Temple in Puthur East.
Following the rape attempt, more than a hundred protesting women encircled the SLA camp in the early morning.
The youth in the area armed with batons started pelting the SLA camp demanding the soldiers who attempted to rape the women be identified and brought to justice.
The youth have put up road blocks and burnt tires.
Additional troops were rushed to the site.
At least six men, including a 60 years old man, were severely beaten by the soldiers.
Mr. K. Nalliah, 60, with a broken leg, Mr. S. Parthipan, 30, Mr. T. Reegan, 25, Mr. K. Kovinthan, 40, Mr. S. Thanes, 25, and Mr. P. Ananthan, 40, were rushed to hospital, sources added.
A few weeks ago, on September 07, a 57-years-old man, Mr. N. Kirubaratnam, was allegedly beaten by the soldiers and thrown in front of the camp. He later succumbed to his internal wounds, villagers said. The man who got drunk had argued with the soldiers at the camp, according to the villagers.
Mediamen covering the incident, trapped between the protesting youth and the soldiers, were safely relocated by a group of advancing soldiers.