Tamil Civil Group calls off hartal in Trincomalee
[TamilNet, Monday, 16 January 2006, 02:44 GMT]
Trincomalee District Tamil Resurgence Forum (TRF) Sunday evening called off the general shut down, and the closure of government departments, and state, private sector banks in the district with effect from Monday, civil society sources said. The decision to call off hartal was taken after Mr.Mahinda Balasuriya, Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police for the North-East and Anuradhapura district, gave assurances during a meeting between a group of leading citizens and the members of armed forces that he would implement decisions taken to normalize the situation in the east port town from Monday. sources said.
The meeting was held Sunday morning in the office of the Deputy Inspector General (DIG).
Mr.V.Vigneswaran, President of the TRF disclosed the decisions taken at the conference at a press conference held later in the evening.
- All government troops located near schools, temples, sea beach and Government Technical College should be removed.
- Police personnel should be deployed in addition to members of armed forces at sentries in the town and its suburbs. Police should be allowed to check civilians passing through sentry points.
- Home guards should not be allowed alone on duty. Home guards should accompany Police. Home guards should not be allowed alone to enter Tamil areas.
- Police and government troops should provide in writing on the spot to relatives of a person arrested by them the reason and where the arrested is being taken for inquiry.
- Soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Navy should not cover their faces with black clothes when they conduct search operation and when they are on patrol.
Mr. Vigneswaran further said the DIG had asked them not to launch hartal without informing him if there is a delay in implementing these decisions.
Mr.Vigneswaran said the Forum had asked the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Trincomalee to monitor the implementation of the decisions.
TRF launched a general shut down and the closure of government offices and banks since the murder of five Tamil students in Trincomalee beach allegedly by armed forces on January 2nd night.
The hartal continued with break of one day for the funeral of slain students and two days for the Hajji and Thaipongal festivals. In the meantime two Sinhala nationalist organizations launched a three-day general shut down from Thursday till Saturday that fell on Thai Pongal festival in protest to the killings of Sinhala civilians and navy sailors in Dvora gunboat explosion. The Sinhala organizations called off their hartal Saturday evening with effect from Sunday (January 15) morning after a conference with the DIG Mr.Mahinda Balasuriya.
Bus services were resumed Sunday as normal and shops were opened ignoring mercantile holiday to cater the urgent needs of residents, sources said. Government offices did not open because Sunday was a public holiday.
The normal life and business activities in Trincomalee town and its suburbs are expected to return from Monday (January 16) after an interval of two weeks as TRF has also announced its decision to call off its hartal, civil sources said.