General shut down as military closes Point Pedro schools
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 03 September 2002, 15:18 GMT]
(Adds: Photos) A complete 'hartal' (general shut down) was observed in Point Pedro and Manthikai areas in the Jaffna peninsula Tuesday in response to a call by the Jaffna Journalists' Association condemning the assault of two journalists and students during the picketing campaign held Monday. All shops and schools were closed down and black flags were hoisted. The military ordered the indefinite closure of Hartley College and Vadamarachchi Methodist Girls High School whose students were involved in Monday’s protests.
Meanwhile, police and army personnel were seen rebuilding their sentry and checkpoints, which had been destroyed by students Monday in protest against the closure of roads for public and vehicular movements, the TamilNet correspondent in the area said.
Soldiers were also seen videoing people of the area. More soldiers including motor patrol units were brought down to Point Pedro. Soldiers were seen taking up positions in the four corners of Point Pedro, the correspondent said.
In the meantime, the Army ordered the education officials to close Hartley College and Vadamarachchi Methodist Girls High School until further notice. The Jaffna SLA area commander Major General Sarath Fonseka issued the order at a conference held Monday evening at the headquarters of the 52-4 Brigade stationed in Point Pedro.
Education officials and Principal of Hartley College attended the conference, which was urgently summoned by the SLA to review the situation following Monday's student protest.
Meanwhile, the defence minister Tilak Marapone is reported to have told reporters in Colombo that except students and teachers no others will be allowed to go through the main road which leads to schools Hartley College and Vadamaradchi Methodist Girls High School.