News in Brief:
[TamilNet, Saturday, 17 April 1999, 21:30 GMT]
Liberation Tigers and Sri Lankan Army clash in Jaffna; Four arrested in Batticaloa; PLOTE calls For census postponement and Tamil prisoners in Kalutara to be seperated.
Clashes in Jaffna
Four Sri Lanka Army (SLA) soldiers were wounded in a clash with the Liberation Tigers at 1.30 p.m. this afternoon in Moolai, about 20 km. north of Jaffna, said sources.
SLA sources said that three Tigers were killed in the clash.
The Chunnakam police later handed over the bodies of three youths to the Jaffna hospital.
Meanwhile a SLA Sergeant was killed in a clash this morning in Jeyanthipura, in the Polonnaruwa district.
Elsewhere in Mallavi the Liberation Tigers handed over the bodies of an inspector and two police constables to the Internation Committee of the Red Cross.
They were identified as Police Inspector G.C.Nihaal Mahinda, Constable N.A.K.G.Prasanna Navaratna and Reserve Police Constable (RCP) Jaffarar.
The policemen were killed in a clash at Uylankulam in Mannar yesterday.
The ICRC handed over their bodies to the Vavuniya Head Quarters Inspector (HQI) in Poovarasankulam, 16 km. west of Vavuniya, at around 4.30 p.m.
The Army announced today that all transport through the Uylankulam check post between the SLA controlled areas and the LTTE controlled areas has been banned until further notice.
Four arrested in Batticaloa
The Sri Lanka Army arrested four people in Batticaloa this morning in connection with the detection of a claymore mine at New Road on Thursday, April 15.
Sources in the eastern town said that Yoganathan Murugupillai, 35, his wife Yoganathan Jeyanthi, 35, and two others living in their house, Rajan Manoranjitham, 43, and Gnanapirakasam Thangarajah, were arrested by SLA intelligence officers from Kallady.
According to the sources they have been severely beaten up by the SLA.
They were produced before the Judicial Medical Officer (JMO) and are expected to be transported to Colombo for further investigations.
PLOTE calls for census postponement
The Jaffna organiser of the PLOTE, Mr. S.Kirubairajah, issued a statement today criticising the planned census in Jaffna.
He said that the census of Jaffna should be stopped until a permanent peace has been achieved and all displaced people have returned to their homes.
Mr Kirubairajah further said that many people from Jaffna have been displaced and are living in the Vanni.
Village officers (Gramaka Sevakas - GS) in the peninsula were told at the Jaffna kacheri on April 12 that the proceedings for the census had been initiated.
The census is being taken for administrative purposes a government official said today, adding that the military is also keen to expedite matter.
The SLA says that correct statistics of the Jaffna population is necessary to manage the security of the peninsula with greater efficiency.
The last official census of Sri Lanka, including Jaffna, was taken in 1981.
Tamil prisoners to be separated
Tamil prisoners detained at the Kalutara prison, south of Colombo, have sent an appeal to Tamil parliamentarians, and Tamil news papers about the prison authorities plan to detain them in small groups and isolate them.
The appeal was signed by 250 Tamil prisoners.
They had previously been held at the B and D wards of the prison.
The Tamil political prisoners have in the past held several hunger strikes demanding that the authorities either charge them or release them.
Last year alone three hunger strikes were held.
A human rights lawyer said that the authorities want to isolate the prisoners in order to prevent them from planning further agitation.
The lawyer pointed out that the political prisoners were attacked on December 12 1998 and on February 17 1997 when 3 prisoners were killed and 17 wounded. The prisoners would be even more vulnerable if they were isolated, the lawyer added.