SLMM “has not requested LTTE to stop hartals”
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 02 July 2002, 23:56 GMT]
International monitors Tuesday denied press reports which claimed they had requested the Liberation Tigers to desist from organising protest strikes (‘hartals’). In a statement, the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) said it is “not opposed to Hartals, demonstrations, meetings and other activity that can be considered as political and peaceful means of people to express their opinions” but cautioned that those organising protests “must be responsible for keeping [these events] under control.”
“[The SLMM] has not requested the LTTE leadership to stop Hartals and demonstrations, as might be understood from two separate newsreports today 2nd of July. Major General Trond Furuhovde, head of SLMM, met with the political leadership of LTTE in Kilinochchi on Friday and raised the issue of Hartals and demonstrations in general and the risks related to them,” the statement said.
“General Furuhovde asked the LTTE to support the Government and the people on the East coast of Sri Lanka in calming down the recent unrest in the area. Mr. S.P. Tamilchelvan, head of LTTE's Political Section reacted very positively to this request and promised that the LTTE would use their influence to calm things down and keep the situation under control.”
“The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission is not opposed to Hartals, demonstrations, meetings and other activity that can be considered as political and peaceful means of people to express their opinions.”
“However the SLMM would like to stress that those who organize and participate in such activities must be responsible for keeping them under control and never let them lead to violent and tragic events where lives are lost and property damaged.”
“The Government, LTTE, Muslim leaders and many other parties have cooperated quickly and successfully with the public in the last few days when stopping the unrest in Valaichenai and Mutur from escalating, and now the situation there is again calm and quiet. All parties can agree that such violent events only lead to escalated tension and human tragedy, that eventually harms all the people of Sri Lanka.”
The SLMM monitors the implementation of the Ceasefire Agreement reached by the Sri Lankan government and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, February 22 this year.
It has six district offices and local monitoring committees in the Eastern and Northern part of Sri Lanka, two naval monitoring teams based in Jaffna and Trincomalee and Liaison officers to both the LTTE and the Sri Lankan Government.
“All people in Sri Lanka can make complaints to the SLMM if they believe they can point out a possible violation of the Ceasefire Agreement by the LTTE, the Sri Lankan Government or any other party,” the SLMM said.