Self-determination call shuts down Batticaloa

[TamilNet, Saturday, 20 January 2001, 15:10 GMT]
The Batticaloa town was deserted Saturday as shops and businesses were closed and most people stayed indoors despite warnings by the Sri Lanka army against the Hartal (general shut down) called by the Independent Students' Union (ISU) to impress that 'the Tamil people's aspiration is the right of self determination and to demand that genocide in Sri Lanka be stopped and a fear free environment in which the Tamils can live peacefully be created'.

There was no public or private transport on the roads from the early hours of the morning. Few people came in from the suburbs and surrounding villages Saturday.

The east coast town is a bustling market centre drawing thousands from the district's large hinterland during weekends.

The local brigade headquarters of the SLA had warned shopkeepers Friday that it would be an offence to close shops in response to the ISU's call.

The SLA issued handbills and announced over the town's public address system that it was banning the Hartal called by the ISU, admonishing the townsfolk to keep away from it and telling them that there was no need for a cease-fire with the Liberation Tigers.


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