Poththuvil Muslims on hunger strike demanding release of 30 Muslim men
[TamilNet, Monday, 02 February 2009, 13:38 GMT]
Children and wives of 30 Muslims detained by Poththuvil police in Ampaa’rai district went on a hunger strike Monday around 8:00 a.m in front of Poththuvil Pratheasa Chapai demanding immediate release of the 30 Muslim men from Poththuvil arrested by Special Task Force commandos six months ago when they went to collect firewood in the jungles of Poththuvil, sources in Poththuvil said.
Altogether 32 Muslim men were arrested by STF six months ago and one of them had died under mysterious conditions in Monaragalle prison while another had been beaten to death by STF commandos, the protestors said.
35 students from grade one to grade twelve, the children of the detained Muslim men, participated in the hunger strike along with their mothers and relatives.
‘Sleeping politicians, are we just vote banks?’, ‘Release our fathers so that we could attend school in peace!’, ‘Is it a crime to collect firewood?’, ‘Is it a crime to speak Tamil?’, ‘What sin have the detainees committed?’, were some of the slogans voiced by the participants during the hunger strike.
The demonstrators held placards showing the above slogans.
The detainees are being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) without any legal action taken against them.
No one had come to see the protestors or shown interest in finding about the grievances of the protestors, the sources said.