District-wide protests in Batticaloa over Manipay attack
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 19 February 2003, 15:33 GMT]
Massive processions and a campaign of wearing black waist-belts were held Wednesday in all Tamil regions of the Batticaloa district to protest the attack on February 12 in Manipay, where the Sri Lanka Army personnel and the paramilitary EPDP group assaulted unarmed women political cadres of the LTTE, civilians and journalists
The procession in the Batticaloa town started at the Hindu College at 11 am and ended at the Gandhi Square, where Ms. K. Thankeswary of the Batticaloa women’s upliftment committee handed over to the additional government agent for Batticaloa, Mr. V. Shanmugam, a memorandum to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe, the LTTE and the SLMM.
The Batticaloa district came to a standstill on Wednesday, sources said.
The memorandum states:
“We strongly condemn the brutal attack in Manipay on unarmed women political cadres of the LTTE by the Sri Lanka Army and the paramilitary EPDP. At a time when Tamil National leader V. Pirapaharan and Prime Minister Wickremasinghe are taking forward the peace process with international support, the occupying forces of the Sri Lanka army and the paramilitary collaborators of the EPDP attacked the women political cadres in an uncivilized and brutal way, with knives and sticks, and forcibly pulled out their waist belts. By this act, the Army has shown its cowardice and ethnic hatred.
“When the public who saw the incident went to the aid of the cadres, they too were attacked brutally in front of SLMM members. Such actions can never be justified by anyone. These actions by nefarious elements, intended to derail the peace process, are continuing as provocative attacks in Batticaloa, Kanchirankudah, Trincomalee, Delft and Manipay have demonstrated.
“The Liberation Tigers, as our sole representatives are taking forward the peace process, we, the Tamil people, are fearful that these acts of deliberate provocations may disrupt the chances for peace. Moreover, whenever any provocative attack happens, the Sri Lankan government gives the assurance that such incidents would not be repeated, but the government remains unable to control the actions by the armed forces. We wish to emphasize that the entire responsibility for such incidents rests with the government.
“If these brutal attacks and violence by the military continue, we will continue our protests and bring all government activities to a standstill.”