Thousands march against Jaffna paramilitary
[TamilNet, Thursday, 27 June 2002, 11:31 GMT]
More than eight thousand people took part in a protest march and public rally in Kayts in Jaffna Thursday against the activities of a paramilitary group working with the Sri Lanka Navy in the islands off the northern peninsula. The protestors shouted slogans denouncing the paramilitary group, a close ally of Sri Lanka's President Chandrika Kumaratunga, and condemning the attack on LTTE political activists in Kayts on 20 June. The organisers of the march and rally said that cadres of the paramilitary had threatened the public in Kayts Wednesday night to prevent them from participating in the protest.
The replica of an army boot was burnt at the rally to symbolise, according to the organisers, "the beginning of the end of 10 years military oppression of the people in the islands of Jaffna".
Addressing the rally, Mr. Nadaraja Raviraj, the Tamil National Alliance MP for Jaffna, said the time has come for Mr. Douglas Devananda, the leader of the paramilitary group, and his men, occupying the Srithar Cinema Theatre in Jaffna town, to leave the islands and let the people live in peace.
Exhorting Mr. Douglas Devananda to 'mend his ways', the parliamentarian said: "The people of Jaffna have risen against you today and have called your bluff. You should understand that the Tamil people have united under one leadership."
Protestors who gathered near the Duaraiappa Stadium in Jaffna town around 10 a.m. Thursday morning travelled in more than 200 vehicles to Palakaattu junction in Kayts where they were received by more than seven thousand people from all the islands, including the far flung Neduntheevu (Delft) which until last month was completely dominated by the paramilitary group led by the Kumaratunga ally.
The protestors then marched five kilometres to the Kayts Multi-Purpose Co-op's (MPCS) grounds. The President of the MPCS, presided at the public rally. TNA MP Mr. M. K Sivajilingam, the President of the Jaffna University Students' Union and LTTE officials also addressed the public meeting.