Shelling cancels Batticaloa ceremony
[TamilNet, Wednesday, 04 February 1998, 23:59 GMT]
The hosting of the Sri Lankan national flag and independence day ceremonies which were about to take place this morning at 8.30 a.m. (02.30 GMT) in Batticoloa Kachcheri were cancelled as Liberation Tigers fired shells which fell at the venue.
The Deputy Minister of Post and Telecommunication Mr. M.L.A.M. Hisbullah was to preside at the ceremony as shells continued to fall in the Batticaloa Kachcheri which is situated inside the Dutch fort.
The first shell came in just as the Sri Lanakan National flag was about to be hoisted at 8.30.
The Brigadier, Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), the heads of government departments and SLFP organisers who were present for the ceremony took cover inside a concrete structure in the fort.
The Government Agent (GA) for Batticaloa, Mr. A.K. Pathmanathan, kept away from the ceremony.
The Liberation Tigers also fired long range mortars at the Batticaloa Air Force base as well. 4 SLAF men from the base and 3 SLA soldiers from Kachcheri centry point were injured in the shelling.
The town was completely deserted this morning.
Army and Air Force artillery opened up on the LTTE controlled western hinterland across the lagoon. 2 civilians were injured in the village of Sinnailluppadichenai in the army counter fire.