Fire-fight as temple agreement violated

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 August 1999, 16:42 GMT]
The Liberation Tigers and the Razeek group, a paramilitary force handled by the Sri Lankan Army, are reported to have clashed near Batticaloa's Sri Mamangeswarar temple in the early hours of the morning today, said sources.

The paramilitaries broke an agreement to stay away from the temple grounds while worshippers observed a religious festival.

Fighting erupted around 2.45 a.m. as armed cadres of the Razeek group assembled at the temple area where a large number of people had gathered to attend water-cutting ceremony ('Theertham'), sources said.

No casualties were reported, residents said.

The annual festival of the Sri Mamangeswarar temple was concluded with the water-cutting ceremony today.

The army, police and other para military groups arrived at an understanding with the temple authorities that that they would keep away from the temple area while the festival period was being observed, sources said.

However, fighting broke out when the Liberation Tigers saw armed cadres of the Razeek group in the temple area in direct violation of the agreement, the sources said.

Meanwhile, the TELO leader for the Aaraiyampthy area, Seenithamby Ranjan, alias Varathan, 26, was shot and wounded by suspected members of the Liberation Tigers near the temple around 11 a.m. this morning.

He has been rushed to the Batticaloa hospital.


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