Hartal in the East to protest arrests
[TamilNet, Monday, 21 July 2003, 14:06 GMT]
A complete hartal (general shutdown) was observed in the Batticaloa and Ampara districts Monday to protest the continuing arbitrary arrests of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam cadres and the killing on July 11 of Mr. Velupillai Paraneetharan (18), a civilian, in Puttur, sources said.
The Batticaloa people’s federation organized the protest by distributing pamphlets, and civil sources said that the hartal was a complete success, with all normal life coming to a standstill. Business establishments, schools, government offices and courts were all closed. The Batticaloa district secretariat was also closed and the courts postponed all cases that were to be taken up for the day, sources said.
All roads were deserted as public transport vehicles as well as private vehicles kept off the roads. The Muslim public in Oddamavady cooperated with the hartal, closing all shops and staying away from the roads.
However, in the predominantly Muslim areas of Kattankudy and Eravur, shops were open and a tense situation prevailed, sources said.
In an attempt to block traffic, tires were burnt at several places on the Batticaloa-Kalmunai road, but the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) and the Sri Lanka police (SLP) later removed the tires. Though heated arguments arose between the police and some youths in the Valaichenai and Sunkankerny areas, there was no violence, sources said.