3RD LEAD

Ea'raavoor tense, 9 wounded, Police imposes curfew

[TamilNet, Sunday, 25 May 2008, 10:46 GMT]
Muslims in Ea'raavoor on Sunday alleged that two more Muslims were abducted as they launched a shut-down protest against the paramilitary-cum-political party, the TMVP, that had promised to release two Muslims who were abducted on Thursday, when the group attacked Muslims after a key paramilitary operative of the group was gunned down in the Muslim town of Kaaththaankudi. Ea'raavor Police has clamped down a curfew from 2:00 p.m. Sunday till 5:00 a.m. Monday. Seven passengers and two conductors were wounded when Muslim youths stoned three Sri Lanka Transport Board buses in Ea'raavoor. Residents of Tamil village Iyangkea'ni in Ea'raavoor were seen fleeing.

A mother and her daughter wounded in the episode received treatment at Chengka'ladi hospital, according to medical source. Buses with registration numbers NA 4581, NA 1367 and NA 4984, which were attacked for not respecting the shut-down protest, belong to Vaazhaichcheani depot.

Meanwhile, two Muslim traders, S.H. Mustaffa, 44, and Chinna Lebbe, 43, who went to the Tamil area of Iyangkea'ni from Meerakea'ny Sunday afternoon were abducted by the armed TMVP group that came in a white colour van and 3 motorbikes. However, the police freed the victims from the TMVP camp in Kommathu'rai with injuries.

In the meantime, TMVP camps were surrounded by police and army to ensure that the TMVP personnel did not move out creating more trouble.

Meanwhile, a group of Muslim youth, armed with batons and knifes arrived in Iyangkea'ni. Tamil residents there were seen fleeing to Ramespuram and Chengakaladi areas.

Shops were closed down and normalcy was distrurbed in Muslim areas of Eaa'raavoor, Kaaththaankudi, Vaazhaichcheanai and Oaddamaavadi in Batticaloa district due to the shut-down protest.

Muslims had launched the protest protesting that the Batticaloa Mayor, Sivakeertha Prabhakaran of the TMVP had failed to honour the promise she made during the negotiations between the Muslim representatives and the TMVP that the abducted Muslim youths wound be set free at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday.

Meanwhile a meeting was held in Ea'raavor Police station to bring the situation to normalcy. Deputy Inspector General of Eastern Province Prasanna Nanayakkara, M.L.A.M Hizbulla, a minister in the recently formed Eastern Provincial Councils, Shantha Rajapaksa, a police official, Police SSP Priyantha Veerasooriya, Police ASP Karuna Nanayakkara, Police SP Ratnayaka (Ea'raavor Police OIC), Private Secretary of Pillayan Ragu and other TMVP personnel took part in the meeting, Police said.

The paramilitary-cum-political party TMVP is aligned with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajpaksa's UPFA.

The TMVP alleges that their key operative, Shanthan was gunned down by Muslim armed group in Kaaththaankudi.

Shanthan, a former Razeek Group operative, was integrated with the Karuna group by the Sri Lankan military intelligence.


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