Support in Batticalo and Amparai for Trincomalee hartal

[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 June 2002, 00:43 GMT]
(News Feature) The hartal in the Trincomalee district organised Tuesday by Tamil civil society organisations drew impromptu support from Tamils in Batticaloa and Amparai districts, press reports said. The hartals were in protest against the attacks on the political activists of the Liberation Tigers at Velanai in Jaffna district and the Muttur LTTE political office in Trincomalee district.

Batticaloa saw a complete shutdown despite no campaign in the district calling for a hartal there, regional press reports said. Most businesses and schools also opened as normal but shut down after hearing the news of the shutdown in other provinces. Roadblocks and burning tyres across Kalmunai road in Kurukkalamadam, Kaluthawalai, Kaluwanchikudy, Kallaru and Neelavanai brought transport to a halt to the south of the city.

Buses departing from the town were turned back by groups of protestors in Chenkalady and Vantharumoolai early morning. The Eastern Bus Company closed for the day. Some private buses began running in the morning but soon wound up their services.

Meanwhile shops, businesses and schools shut down for the day in Amparai, especially the coastal areas of Neelavanai, Pandiruppu, Karativu, Akkaraipattu , Thambiluvil, Thirukovil and Kalmunai.

Temporary roadblocks in the shape of burning tyres, large pipes and logs appeared in the streets overnight. Traffic on Kalmunai-Akkaraipattu, Kalumunai-Amparai and Kalmunai-Batticaloa main roads came to a complete halt.

A near-complete shutdown was also observed in Thirukovil. Most shops and businesses shut remained shut for the day. Some schools functioned with skeleton staff and a small number of students. Only forty of the 150 students teachers who were to have reported for their first day in Addalaichenai Teacher Training College came as planned.

Muttur was put under a day and night curfew Tuesday by the Police when violence erupted in Mutur. south to a village. The march by the Tamils from the village of Pachchanoor in Muttur south to protest against the attack on the Liberation Tigers political activists at Velanai in Jaffna district by the navy personnel and the attack on LTTE's political office in Muttur was attacked by Muslim extremists, press reports said.

Tamil press reports Wednesday quoted witnesses as saying the protest march had begun from Kiliveddy and Mallikaitivu Junction at around 10 am towards Pachchanoor. They were met by members of the ‘Osama Group’ who attacked and seriously injured one of the protesters with a sword. The victim was named as Sarweswara, aged 31.

The angry protesters changed course and began marching towards the 64th mile post. Another protester was injured, this time hit by a Sri Lanka army vehicle. He was named as Navaratnam, aged 30, other press reports said.

Meanwhile Tamil community groups in Trincomalee submitted a petition to ceasefire monitors asking for the unarmed Tamil Tigers involved in political work to be allowed to carry arms in order to defend themselves, Tamil media reports said Wednesday.

Submitted to the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) on Tuesday, the petition blamed 'dissatisfied' elements for trying to create communal strife in order to disrupt the peace process.

The petition said that prior to the assault of two senior political cadres of the LTTE in Velanai in Jaffna and the attack on the Mutur LTTYE office, there had been other incidents of harrasment.

The head of the LTTE’s student organisation in the Trincomalee district, Kaaronja and one of her colleagues, had been arrested without cause by Sri Lanka policemen at their checkpoint in Trincomalee town's Central street. The unprovoked behaviour of the policemen was designed to embarrass the cadres, the petition said. A member of the LTTE’s medical corp had also been arrested for alleged traffic offences in Thirukkovil and the assaulted by the Sri Lanka police, press reports quoted the petition as saying.


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