Road writing provokes STF wrath
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 26 April 2000, 10:45 GMT]
Seventeen civilians who were severely assaulted by the Special Task Force (STF) commandos were admitted to the Batticaloa hospital today. They had been beaten up during a search operation in Kirankulam where writings hailing the Tigers for overrunning the Elephant Pass base had appeared on the Batticaloa - Kalmunai highway yesterday.
Two persons from Kirankulam were admitted to the hospital at Aaraipattai and one to the Batticaloa hospital yesterday. They were also among the villagers who were severely assaulted by the STF during the search operation. Kirankulam is 16 kilometers south of Batticaloa on the highway to Kalmunai.
Unidentified persons had written on the road in red paint during the night praising the Tigers for winning the battle for Elephant Pass. The STF from the nearby camps at Kurukkalmadam had seen the writings yesterday during their routine morning road clearing operation.
The commandos had come later in the day and had searched the village and had ordered a large number of males to kneel on the ground. And then everyone of them was assaulted indiscriminately, said one of the injured persons at the Batticaloa hospital.
The STF, however, charged that the writings on the road were the work of some miscreants in the village.
Meanwhile, sources in Chenkalady, about 18 kilometers north of Batticaloa, said that Sri Lanka army soldiers at the Karuththapalam bridge checkpoint had slapped and hit civilians passing through the point to and from the hinterland since the fall of the Elephant Pass base.
The Karuththappalam bridge is the main entry point at the Chenkalady junction where the highway to the island's hill country branches off west from the Batticaloa Polannaruwa.