Students compelled to join LTTE hartal

by Kalinga Weerakkody

The LTTE which organised the hartal Thursday in eastern province to commemorate the death anniversary of their former leader ‘Thileepan’ who died in 1987 while engaged in a fast-unto-death demanding the withdrawal of IPKF, had compelled students in the area to be part of the ceremony.

Sources from the east said that more than 1000 students participated. More than thirty LTTE members participated in pocket meetings before the main meeting which was held in Karathivu.

A three minutes silence observed in remembrance of members who died.

The Secretary of the Karathivu Pradeshiya Sabha A. J. A. Ramakrishna, MP of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Chandraneru and LTTE Intelligence Unit leader ‘Bawa’ were among the participants. In his speech he said that ‘we love peace, it has come due to the sacrifices of these type of leaders.’

It had commenced around 9.30 a.m. and had lasted till around 4.00 p.m. Shops in the area were closed and transport services came to a standstill.

Attendance at government institutions was low.

This event was held despite appeals by parents, intellectuals and the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) not to hold meetings with the participation of students.

They recalled that similar events had led to ethnic riots a few months ago.

Earlier the LTTE imposed a fine of Rs. 1000 on all parents who were unwilling to send their children for LTTE organised hartals.