Muslim leaders call to abandon 'hartal', curfew re-imposed
[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 October 2002, 21:38 GMT]
The Federation of Mosques in Akkaraipattu Thursday evening issued an appeal
to Muslims of the area to abandon their 'hartal' (general shut down) from
today. Meanwhile the Police re-imposed a fifteen-hour curfew in
Akkaraipattu, a Muslim dominated town in the eastern province Thursday afternoon from three p.m. to diffuse tension between the Tamil and Muslim communities following the abduction of a Muslim youth.
Amparai Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian, Mr. Chandra Nehru
blamed the Eelam People Democratic Party (EPDP) and unnamed politicians to be
behind the abduction of the Muslim youth.
Mr. Chandra Nehru was addressing a conference attended by Mosque leaders,
monitors of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) and LTTE Ampara district
political head Mr.Bawa and Amparai district parliamentarian and Minister
P.Dayaratne. The conference was held at the Akkaraipattu police station
Thursday evening around 4.30 p.m.
Mr.P.Dayaratne, Minister of Health, addressing the conference said
that only Mr. Chandra Nehru, TNA parliamentarian of the
district, has been visiting the troubled area to diffuse tension.
He added that sustained direct engagement of other parliamentarians of the district would have helped the authorities to bring the situation under control quickly.
Mr.Bawa, Political head of the Amparai district said his organisation is
not in any way involved in the alleged abduction. "Some political groups
opposed to peace had carried out the abduction to create tension between the two communities," he added.
In the meantime, two Tamil youths working with non-governmental
organizations were abducted Thursday morning when they were leaving the village of
Kallaru. Later they were released by the timely intervention of concerned Muslim
religious leaders, sources said.
Following is the statement by the Akkaraipattu Mosques' Federation dated 17
"A conference was held at the Akkaraipattu police station on Wednesday
under the chairmanship of Assistant Superintendent of Police. The
conference was attended by representatives of mosques federation, peace
committees comprising Muslims and Tamils, LTTE, SLMM and Human Rights
Commission. It was decided at the conference to make a joint effort to
trace the youth who had been abducted by unidentified persons on Tuesday.
"The hartal (general shut down) which is now being held in support of the
abduction of the said youth to the notice of the international community,
has created serious conflict between the two communities.
"The police and the Federation of Mosques have taken serious and positive
steps in regard to the abduction incident. Hence, we appeal to the Muslims
of the area to abandon their hartal from Thursday evening and to
help the authorities to restore normalcy.
"Further we appeal to the Muslims to render all assistance to strengthen
the friendship with the Tamils."