Heads shaved to tighten Vanni embargo

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 30 January 2001, 18:40 GMT]
Four fishermen complained to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Mannar Tuesday that the Sri Lanka Navy shaved their heads and assaulted them severely on trumped up charges that they were defying the Vanni embargo. Fishermen in Mannar complain that the SLN arrests and beats them up regularly, accusing them of smuggling essential commodities banned under Colombo's decade long economic embargo on the Vanni region. Meanwhile the SLN’s intelligence wing began deployment in the northern coastal parts of the Mannar island Tuesday. The deployment is aimed at monitoring and curbing sea borne infiltration by the Liberation Tigers from the mainland SLN, sources said.

The SLN intelligence took up duties at camps in Tharapuram, Pesalai, Puthukkudiyiruppu, Vanakalaipaadu, Nadukkudah and Talaimannar.

The Navy sleuths will also monitor infiltration by 'external elements' mainly among returning refugees, SLN sources said.

The four youth who complained to the ICRC today said eight fishermen, arrested and punished in this manner by the SLN in Mannar this week, are unable to ply their trade because of the public humiliation caused by the shaving.

The SLN claims that many fishermen on the northern parts of the Mannar island smuggle many essential goods such as kerosene, paper, aspirin, bicycle spare parts, cloth etc., banned under the decade long economic embargo on the Vanni.

 

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