SLA tractor smashes shop

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 January 2000, 11:33 GMT]
Four women selling vegetables were injured when a Sri Lanka Army tractor speeding through the market area in Valaichenai went off the road around 12.15 p.m. Thursday, said eyewitnesses. The SLA soldiers who were riding on the tractor fired into the air to disperse crowd that had surrounded the vehcicle, they said.

Injured woman Ilaxumy (above), and Maheswary (below) Photo: TamilNet
The soldier who was driving the tractor, was under the influence of alcohol, the witnesses said. He lost control of the vehicle and crashed in to the market stalls.

The vehicle came to a stop after it smashed into a shop they added.

Other SLA soldiers on the tractor ordered the people to take the injured women to the hospital in an auto rickshaw and drove away on their tractor, they said.

Shocked civilians said the soldiers did not bother to help the women who were screaming in pain.

The soldiers are from the Paythaalai SLA camp, they said.

The injured women have been identified as C.Yogeswaray,30, S.Ilaxumy,36, Maheswary,42, and Komaleswary,39. They have been taken to the Batticaloa hospital, 30 km. south of Valaichenai by autorickshaw.

Hospital sources said two of them are in serious condition.

According to the sources, Ilaxumy's hip had been broken while Yogeswary has suffered serious head injuries and a broken hip.

Sources said panic stricken people fled the market and shops were closed for a while after the soldiers opened fire.


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