STF seize farmers' vehicles in Akkaraippattu

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 09 August 2006, 08:55 GMT]
Special Task Force (STF) forcibly took away 5 tractors and 2 motorbikes belonging to Tamil farmers Monday around 5.30 p.m., the affected farmers lodged a complaint at the Akkaraippattu Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) office, sources said. The farmers allege that the STF carried this out in retaliation to the hijacking of a tractor belonging to a Sinhalese farmer, Monday morning at Manthottam by unknown persons.

A tractor belonging to a Sinhalese farmer of Manthottam, who conducts paddy cultivation at Keethuppattai area in Poththanai, was taken away Monday morning.

The STF opened fire, chased away the Tamil farmers while they were thrashing paddy at the fields in Poththanai, Alayadivembu in Akkaraippattu, and took away their tractors and motorcycles. Among the tractors taken away, one was with a full load of harvested paddy, affected farmers said.

K.Sathasivam, S.Suppan and Subasinhe (a Tamil national) of Kolavil, K.Nithiyananthan of Alayadivembu and Thevarajan of Akkaraippattu lost their tractors. Mylvahanam and Subasinhe lost their motorbikes to the STF.

When the farmers went to the Akkaraippattu STF Camp Tuesday morning, they were told the vehicles were seized in retaliation for hijacking a tractor belonging to a Sinhalese farmer by LTTE, and the vehicles would be returned only if the hijacked tractor is released, sources said. Until then the seized vehicles would be held in Ingulana, Amparai for investigation purposes, the farmers were told.

Jeya, the political head of the LTTE for Amparai District, said the STF’s motive was to disrupt the Tamil farmer’s paddy harvest during the peak season, and denied any involvement in hijacking of the Sinhala farmer's vehicle.


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