General shut down paralyses Trincomalee

[TamilNet, Friday, 08 October 2004, 07:52 GMT]
The entire Trincomalee town except few settlements where Sinhalese live in majority was paralysed Friday when Tamils and Muslims observed a general shut down (‘hartal’) responding to the call of the Trincomalee Tamil People’s Forum (TTPF). The ‘hartal’ is organised to express opposition to construction of new Buddhist shrines (vihares) and Sinhala settlements in traditional Tamil villages in the Trincomalee district after the ceasefire came into operation about two and half years ago and chauvinist elements making Trincomalee a centre for their racist activities, organisers said.

Trinco Shut down
Peoples Bank Trincomalee town branch closed down due to hartal despite order by Colombo Head Office.
Shops belonging to Tamils and Muslims were closed. Banks were closed. Few Sinhalese businessmen in the town also closed their shops. Branches of state banks were also closed despite instruction from their Colombo superiors to remain open on the ‘hartal’ day. Only private buses, mainly owned by Sinhalese were seen in the private bus stand. However, they ran a skeleton service with few commuters.

Buses of state run New Eastern Bus Company did not operate its regular services, sources in the eastern port town said.

Fish and vegetable markets of the Trincomalee Urban Council, which are dominated by Sinhalese vendors, were opened but were almost deserted as only a turned up to buy their provisions. Tamil and Muslim vendors did not open their stalls.

All Tamil medium schools were closed as Tamil and Muslim students boycotted classes. Even majority of Sinhalese students did not turn up for classes in their schools, education sources said.

Trinco Shut down
Students playing cricket on pavement along deserted Central Road.
Offices of central government, provincial council and local bodies were closed as ninety percent of employees did not turn for duty.

Sri Lanka Police deployed more personnel in the east port town as a part of strengthening security, sources said.

The objective of the general shutdown was also to condemn the statement by the government security establishment pressuring the LTTE to pull back and remove its sentry points from their controlled areas while government forces have been constructing new sentry points in the Northeast Province.

The protest also condemned the assault on the Human Rights Commission officials in Jaffna and the speech made by President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge in UN General Assembly and supporting the Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals of the LTTE.

Trinco Shut down
Muslim shops closed down -North Coast Road, main bazzar


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