|Thursday, 17 October 2002|
by Trincomalee and Addalaichenai special correspondents
A Police curfew was declared yesterday in the Akkaraipattu Police division as tension ran high in the area following the abduction of a Muslim youth the previous day.
The Police said they had to take this precautionary action, as Muslims were planning a mass protest campaign against the abduction of the youth by an unidentified armed gang on Tuesday. The Muslims in the area alleged that the youth had been abducted by the LTTE when he was passing Kolavil village and keeping under their arrest at an LTTE camp.
The Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission also had to intervene to quell the situation as Muslims also took several Tamil youth under their custody on Tuesday night demanding the release of the Muslim youth. The Muslims have released two Tamil youth under their detention and are keeping one Tamil youth till the Muslim youth is released, sources added.
All shops, banks and schools were closed and other public services came to standstill yesterday in Akkaraipattu and Addalaichenai areas due to the hartal.
It has also been reported that people in Akkaraipattu area had attacked the LTTE Akkaraipattu political wing leader 'Regan' when he was passing the town yesterday morning on a motorbicycle. However, 'Regan' had escaped from the area.
All efforts by the peace committee and the Police to quell the situation proved futile.
The peace committee was convened at the Akkaraipattu Police station by ASP Nevil Moses. It was attended by Ampara LTTE leader Bawa, Human Right Organisations and all Hindu, Muslim and Christian religious dignitaries in the area. Reports say that Muslims in the area had taken seven other Tamil youth yesterday too demanding the release of the Muslim youth.
Police had to use tear gas to disperse the crowds engaged in the protest and clamp a Police curfew until further notice.
Produced by Lake House