Parents, SLFP protest EPDP action

[TamilNet, Sunday, 10 September 2000, 19:24 GMT]
The family of a Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) supporter, including women, were severely assaulted Sunday morning by cadres of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) in Sanguvely south in Jaffna while in Pt.Pedro about thirty persons, the parents and relatives of a student of Hartley College implicated by the pro-government armed group in a grenade attack, sat in protest in front of the EPDP office at Manthikai this morning sources said.

The assaulted supporter of the SLFP Mr.N.Mathivarnan charged that the group which beat him up and his family was led by the Chairman of the Valigaman West Pradhesiya Sabha who is a member of the EPDP.

The SLFP is the main constituent of Sri Lanka's ruling People's Alliance under the patronage of which the EPDP is contesting the Parliamentary elections in Jaffna.

However, the PA leadership prevailed on SLFP members in Jaffna who had announced their intention to contest the elections under their party banner not to do so. The PA leadership which counts the EPDP among its staunch allies, had stopped its members in Jaffna from contesting in favour of the EPDP, said party sources in the north.

Chagrined by Colombo's pro-EPDP stand, the SLFP's Jaffna members and supporters decided to contest the Parliamentary elections next month as an independent group. This has annoyed the EPDP which is concerned that the SLFP's traditional vote in Jaffna might not come its way, sources said.

The Jaffna SLFP said at a press conference last week that the jobs the EPDP has promised to give in the government's poverty alleviation program for a large number of unemployed youth in Jaffna are sham. This, according to Tamil party sources, has apparently annoyed the EPDP because the promise of the poverty alleviation program jobs is a key factor in the group's election strategy in Jaffna.

Meanwhile, about thirty persons, the parents and relatives of a student of Hartley College in Pt.Pedro in Jaffna, sat in protest in front of the EPDP office at Manthikai this morning. They said that the EPDP has falsely implicated their son in the grenade attack on two of its members on 7 September near Pt.Pedro town.

K.Prasanth, one of the wounded EPDP cadres, had informed the army that the student, V.Senthoor, was involved in the grenade attack, and the army is now looking for him, according to the boy's parents.

They said that Senthoor was in Amban at the time of the attack. The family was displaced from Amban earlier this year due to the war and is now living in Upaya Kathirkamam in Pt.Pedro.

The parents alleged that the EPDP cadre had deliberately implicated Senthoor in the attack to settle an old score with him.


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