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 October:

"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."

 

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