Mutur town under curfew after clashes
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 25 June 2002, 14:27 GMT]
(News Feature) Mutur town in the Trincomalee district has been put under night curfew from 12 noon Tuesday till Wednesday morning following clashes between Muslims and Tamils which ended in several injured on both sides, police sources said. Five people have been admitted to the Trincomalee hospital and two are said to be in critical condition, medical sources said.
In response to a call by several Tamil organisations to protest against the attack on the Liberation Tigers' office in Mutur LTTE, all business establishments and schools belonged to Tamil and Muslim communities were closed. The government offices and banks were also closed for the day, TamilNet sources in Trincomalee said.
As tension prevailed in the town some Tamil families have sought refuge in two Christian churches. Police protection has been provided to these churches following threats from anonymous persons, the sources said.
A large number of Tamils marched towards Pachchanoor from three corners-Killiveddy, 58th milepost and Mallikaitheivu shouting slogans and holding placards demanding the government to take immediate steps to arrest members 'Osama' group who were behind the attack on LTTE Mutur office.
|Deserted Trincomalee town, Tuesday.|
A memorandum was submitted at the end of the march at Pachchanoor to one of the members of SLMM in Trincomalee.
The text of the memorandum sent through the SLMM in Trincomalee to the Prime Minister is given below:
"1. As a result of the Cease-fire Agreement and pending further action in the peace process, the LTTE has laid down arms and are engaged in political activities.
"2. As every one knows the dates for the commencement of the peace talks between the State and the LTTE have not yet been fixed.
"3. Taking advantage of the present situation, elements that are bent on disruption of the peace process of and those who want to sow the seeds of communal disunity in the North-East have started kindling the fire that was extinguished on D day.
"4. The first of such incident involved the serious attack on the LTTE political leaders in the Islands of Jaffna (at Velanai) by the EPDP and allegedly assisted by members of the Naval team last week.
"5. The second incident happened in Pachchanoor (64th mile) in Mutur on 20.06.2002 where thirteen of the cement built crosses belonging to the Roman Catholic faith were vandalized and desecrated by a group of designing individuals.
"6. The members of the Catholic faith who staged a sit in strike preventing traffic on the road on the 64th mile was peacefully dispersed by intervention of the police on 21.06.2002.
"7. The 3rd incident, which is totally unwarranted and very provocative, was headed by one Hakim, the Jihad leader of Mutur who now calls his gang OSAMA GROUP. This gang had at about 7.45 p.m. on 21.06.2002 went to Ayliady in Mutur where the LTTE political office is situated. He had got the electricity connection severed prior to the attack on the LTTE office. They have broken open the doors and caused damage to the office table and about ten chairs, the fan and other items in the said office.
"8. It is our submission that these are not isolated incidents but are the well planned and executed actions on the part of those who are against the Tamils who are awaiting a fair and just solution to their problems.
"Therefore, we urge that the SLMM to intervene in these issues and prevail upon the relevant authorities concerned to take steps to punish the offenders and also to ensure that similar acts are not repeated as such breaches may endanger the whole process of finding peace."
Sri Lanka's largest Muslim party, the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), said on the weekend that "sinister elements" were seeking to foment communal strife and urged calm.
The leader of the SLMC, Mr. Rauf Hakeem, who is also Sri Lanka's Ports Minister, "held extensive talks with defence authorities to discuss the issue on tension that has built up in the Trincomalee district following the demolition of the LTTE office in Mutur," state media reported Sunday.
"Minister Hakeem condemned the sinister elements which attempt to disturb the prevailing cordial atmosphere between the Muslims and Tamils in the East which came about consequent to the discussions between the LTTE and the SLMC leadership," the Sunday Observer reported, quoting the Defence Ministry.
"The SLMC requests all peace loving Muslims to exercise restraint and not to fall prey to these extremist groups whose agendas go against the principles of peaceful cohabitation," the state paper said.