SLA arrests two civilians in Point Pedro

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 September 2002, 18:08 GMT]
Soldiers of the Sri Lanka army Tuesday arrested the president of a fisheries co-operative society in Pt. Pedro and a local fisherman for allegedly causing damage to properties belonging to the military during a protest last week by students and parents in the northern town . “The arrests are in clear violation of the ceasefire agreement between the Liberation Tigers and the Sri Lankan government and hence a very alarming development”, a lawyer in Pt. Pedro said.

“The Emergency Regulations under which all members of the Sri Lankan armed forces were given wide arbitrary powers to arrest, question and detain any person are no longer in force. The Prevention Terrorism Act (PTA) permits only Police officers of certain rank to make arrests without warrant. But even the PTA has been suspended for the duration of the ceasefire agreement between the LTTE and the government of Sri Lanka. Therefore serious action needs to be taken by the authorities to immediately stop the army from taking the law into its hands in dire violation of the ceasefire”, the lawyer said.

Several Pt. Pedro residents said Tuesday that SLA soldiers had visited their neighbourhood and had warned them that they are on their list of persons who took part in the students’ agitation last Monday.

The soldiers had asked several residents to come over to the SLA camp for questioning, sources said.

Soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army took Mr. Arumugam Viknarajah, 47, President of the Pt. Pedro, Kottady Fisheries society, Mr. Rajadurai Uthayaseelan, 27, a fishermen of the area into custody Tuesday and later handed them over to the Police who produced them before the Pt. Pedro magistrate.

The two men were charged for causing damage to the properties of the SLA valued at 243,000 rupees during the agitation by students of the Hartley College and the Methodist Girls’ High School in Pt. Pedro last Monday. The Point Pedro Magistrate Mr. A. Premshankar ordered remand for the two until September 23.

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