NE protests in support of fasting PTA suspects

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 08 October 2002, 17:26 GMT]
Token hunger strikes, boycott of classes and rallies were held in Northeast province Tuesday in support of the fast unto death campaign by the Tamil political prisoners now under detention at Kalutara, Welikada and other prisons in the country.

NE protests in support fasting PTA suspects
Mr.Wilfred Mahanama the Senior Supdt. of Police trying to make way for vehicle transport through marching protestors.
The Jaffna University came to a standstill Tuesday when students, academic and non-academic staff boycotted classes and official duties. At Mannar representatives of human right organizations Tuesday morning sent a memorandum through the Government Agent to the Defence Minister requesting him to release all Tamil political prisoners immediately. In Trincomalee, one day token fast was held at Uppuveli Sinnathoduwai Pilliayar Temple, two km north of port town.

Tamil National Alliance national list parliamentarian Mr.K.Thurairatnasingham speaking at the token hunger strike in Trincomalee Tuesday said," chauvinist elements in the country has planned to use Trincomalee as base to sabotage the present process. This became evident when a group of miscreants from South came to Trincomalee and organized a hartal on Friday demanding the release of six soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army now in LTTE custody.

NE protests in support fasting PTA suspects
Mr.Sathasivam Kulathevarasa the Chairman of the Federation of the Vavuniya District People's Organisation is handing over a memorandum addressed to the Prime Minister to Vavuniya Addl.GA Mr.S.Ragunathapillai.
The people of Trincomalee should be vigilant and should not allow outside elements to disrupt the prevailing peace environment in the port town where all three communities live harmoniously, he added. Hundreds of students and members of public participated in the token fast at Uppuveli in Trincomalee organised under the auspices of the Trincomalee Peace Progressive Forum.

" The delay on the part of the government in releasing all Tamil political prisoners now detained at Kalutara, Welikada and other prisons in the country at this very critical stage will seriously damage the on-going peace talks between the government and the LTTE," said the memorandum sent to the Defence Minister by the Mannar District Peoples Forum through the Government Agent Tuesday.

NE protests in support fasting PTA suspects
Demonstrators marching through the roads in Vavuniya, demanding the immediate release of Tamil political prisoners.

Excerpts from the memorandum are given below: -

" We are unable to condone the wicked confinement of Tamil youths in various prisons, thereby depriving them of their normal life particularly after the signing of the ceasefire agreement and the suspension of the PTA and at a time when the LTTE cadres have been permitted to mingle with the citizens and perform their political work.

" There have been past instances when the helpless political prisoners have staged hunger strikes and reaped only empty promises from politicians. This state of affairs cannot be allowed to continue. Tamil political forces and Human Rights Organizations have made repeated requests to the government to release the political prisoners but the government inordinately slow and have been playing with the precious lives of the youths.

NE protests in support fasting PTA suspects
A section of women participating in Trincomalee token fast.
"It is a painful fact that many Tamil youths have been arrested and detained without any valid reason under the Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The only valid basis for this unjust arrest and detention seems to be the confession forcibly obtained from the youths through torture in a language completely alien to them. We hasten to point out that nothing could justify the inhuman detention of many young men and women on mere suspicion that they have either given secret information to the LTTE or failed to share their knowledge about the activities of the Tigers with the government and that too at a time when peace appears to be imminent."


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