EPDP fires on women's march, four injured

[TamilNet, Saturday, 01 December 2001, 10:51 GMT]
Four supporters of the Tamil National Alliance were wounded when gunmen from the Eelam People's Democratic Party opened fire on a march by more than a thousand women at Vinayagapuram, 78 kilometres south of Batticaloa, on the island's southeastern coast Saturday afternoon. People in the villages of Thirukkovil, Thambiluvil, Vinayagapuram, angered by the attack, burnt tires across the main road and smashed an EPDP campaign auto rickshaw. The wounded persons were admitted to the Thirukkovil hospital. The march was organised by a women's group in support of the TNA.

The march began from Sinnamuhathuvaaram and was nearing the village of Vinayagapuram when a group of heavily armed EPDP cadres led by the party's chief candidate for the Ampara electoral district, Mr. Gunasekeram Shankar had attacked the women and opened fire on the procession.

The EPDP cadres beat up many women at the head of the march, TNA sources said.

Shankar had also shot at the correspondent of the Batticaloa Tamil daily, Thinakathir, Mr. Sellathamby Thushyanthan, who was covering the march.

Meanwhile a UNP supporter was killed Saturday early morning at Gokarella area in Kurunegale district in clashes with ruling party supporters. The Police later shot dead a PA supporter in an attempt to quell further clashes in the area, police said.

In the meantime the Opposition Leader Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe Saturday made an appeal to President Chandrika Kumaratunge to summon leaders of all political parties for a conference to ensure violent free general election.

Mr.Wickremasinghe said in a statement that he was expecting a favourable reply from President Chandrika to his request.

Police Election Secretariat Saturday said that it has received 1631 complaints related to election violence since the nominations were filed on 27 October. 837 complaints were lodged by the main opposition United National Party (UNP) and 642 by the ruling People's Alliance. The Marxist Janata Vimukthi Peramuna lodged 77 complaints and 55 by the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, police said.

 

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