Protests against EPDP presence in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 November 2002, 19:33 GMT]
All commercial, judicial, governmental and transport activities in the Jaffna district came to a standstill Wednesday for about two hours starting 8.30 a.m. in support of the demand of the people of Delft that the members of the paramilitary Eelam People Democratic party (EPDP) be withdrawn from their village immediately.

The Jaffna District People’s Movement (JDPM) organized this token protest. JDPM sources said the movement would launch a picketing campaign in front of the EPDP headquarters in Jaffna in a day or two in support of the people of Delft.

All government offices in the district except ten Pradesya Sabah offices, which are under the administrative control of the EPDP in the district, were closed down for the two-hour duration of the protest. All cases listed for hearing in several law courts in the district were put off for another date as litigants failed to attend.

Meanwhile, at the intervention of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission in Jaffna, three youths including two students (Chandramohan-Jaffna University and Gajendran-Neduntheivu Maha Vidiyalayam) who were taken into custody by the State armed forces stationed at Delft were released around 3 p.m. Wednesday, students’ union sources said.

Earlier on Wednesday morning, more than a thousand Jaffna university students held a demonstration demanding the release of a fellow student and three others who had been arrested by some armed cadres in Delft. The University students also demanded the complete withdrawal of EPDP cadres from Delft. The protesters marched in a procession from Jaffna University to the office of the SLMM in Nallur, Jaffna. The President of the Jaffna University Students’ Union, Mr.Paranitharan, handed over a memorandum to the head of the SLMM in Jaffna at the office.

In the SLMM’s view, they have no mandate to take action against the presence of the EPDP cadres at Delft. The SLMM head at the Nallur Office said however that they had already intervened on behalf of the youths, including two students, arrested by security personnel.

In the meantime, the people of Delft continue their picketing against the presence of EPDP in their village and the establishment of a camp to accommodate EPDP cadres who had entered the islet last Saturday escorted by Sri Lanka Navy personnel and police. The EPDP cadres remain surrounded by villagers demanding that they should immediately withdraw from the village.

 

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