Jaffna, Vavuniya shut down in hartal, protesters clash with SLA

[TamilNet, Saturday, 12 February 2005, 10:05 GMT]
The entire districts of Jaffna and Vavuniya Saturday came to a standstill following a general shut down, condemning the killings of Mr.Kousalyan, LTTE political head for Batticaloa Amparai district, his colleagues and Mr.Chandra Nehru, former Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian for Amparai district. In several areas civilians blocked roads and burnt tyres. Clashes took place at the junctions of Puttur and Kaithady in Thenmaradchchi division in Jaffna district Saturday afternoon between groups of civilians and soldiers of the Sri Lanka Army when the latter attempted to remove the roadblocks. Soldiers fled from their sentry points when the angered civilians threw stones at them.

Hartal in Jaffna

Photos from Jaffna:
Hartal in Jaffna
Hartal in Jaffna
Hartal in Vavuniya

More troops were rushed to the site and thereafter a contingent of police personnel from Kodikamam Police arrived at the scene and started attacking civilians with batons and poles. The police fired tear gas canisters. About six civilians were injured in the attack and admitted at the Chavakachcheri government hospital, sources said.

Members of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) in Jaffna and the LTTE political head for Thenmaradchchi division arrived at the scene on receipt of information and brought the tense situation in the area under control. Thereafter protesting civilians dispersed from the area.

Soldiers were seen later rebuilding the destroyed sentry point. In Kaithady also protesting civilians set fire to another army sentry point. However no retaliation took place there, sources said.

Civilians damaged a police vehicle when a group of police personnel attempted to remove roadblocks in Nelliyady area.

Shops, government and provincial council offices, non-governmental organizations, schools and other public institutions were closed down. Transport services within the Jaffna district and to the south of the country through A 9 highway came to a stand still.

The Jaffna University Students Union, Jaffna District Students Federation and Jaffna Resurgence Movement had called for the general shut down to express their protest to the international community over the killings of LTTE senior leader Mr.Koushalyan and his colleagues, and the former TNA parliamentarian Mr. Chandra Nehru on February 7 in Pillaiarkovilady, an SLA controlled area.

TNA MPs for vanni Mr. Selvam Adaikalanathan, Mr. Sivanthan Kishore and Mr. Sivasakthi Anandan addressed various gatherings in Saturdays hartal.

Army soldiers fired in air and used force to disperse a crowd of civilians who blocked the traffic on Jaffna-Point Pedro road, sources said.

Photos from Vavuniya:

Hartal in VavuniyaHartal in Vavuniya
Hartal in Vavuniya
Hartal in Vavuniya
"We respect the CFA, even as it shackles our hands and feet," says the banner.


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