Nervous human rights rally in Batticaloa
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 December 1997, 23:59 GMT]
A rally to mark World Human Rights day was held in Vanthaarumoolai in Batticaloa today. More than a thousand people took part.
It was organised jointly by two local NGOs called Thadakam and Community Development Foundation.
The organisers said that the Sri Lankan army brigade in the area had refused permission for procession which was originally planned to proceed upto the Chenkalady junction which is two miles from Vanthaarumoolai.
However, the procession began at the local Marunkaiyadi Pillaiyar temple and proceeded for about 500 yards to the venue of the rally.
"Stop the anonymous arrests"
"Allow us to freely move about"
"Give us the right to go to school"
"Stop shell Attacks"
were some of the slogans on placards which were carried in the rally.
Most speakers were apparently scared to speak their mind out due to the presence of the army and its informants in the vicinity.
But Mr.T Baheerathan, a local social worker, boldly charged that human rights in Sri Lanka are found today only on paper.
None of the Tamil parties and ex-militant groups in Batticaloa were present at the meeting.