'Valaichenai attack premeditated'

[TamilNet, Sunday, 30 June 2002, 19:07 GMT]
"The 'Hartal' was a pretext for the Islamic extremiststo destroy the Tamil people's economy in Valaichenai. They used guns, claymore mines and grenades to attack us. The Police stood by when Islamic extremists were attacking us with these weapons. Who gave them these weapons?," asked Mr. Ethirmannasingham Kamalranjith, the spokesman for the Tamil community leaders and traders, during a discussion with Sri Lanka's army commander, Lt. Gen. Balagalle, and Minister for Economic Reforms, Mr. Milinda Moragoda in the eastern town Sunday.

The SLA commander and the Minister visited Valaichenai Sunday morning on a fact-finding mission, during which they sought a discussion with Tamil community leaders in Valaichenai. The discussion was held at the Valaichenai Hindu College Sunday afternoon.

Mr. Senathirajah Jeyanandamoorthy, a local journalist, told the SLA commander and the Minister that the violence unleashed on the Tamils by the Islamic extremists was premeditated.

Tamil traders told the Sri Lankan government delegation that the army and Police had, during the curfew, prevented them from removing their belongings from their shops and stores, saying that they would provide necessary protection.

"However, the Islamic extremists burnt all our shops on Thursday night when the army and Police said they would safeguard our property and goods", a trader said.

"Mr. Hakkeem visited Valaichenai and Oddamavadi after the violence but met only the Muslims in the area. He has sought protection only for them. In this, Mr. Hakkeem has acted very partially although he is a senior minister of the United Front Government. The Prime Minister should take disciplinary action against him for being partisan in this manner", Mr.Kamalranjith said, speaking to the SLA and Minister Moragoda Sunday afternoon.

He said that the Islamic groups imposed the Hartal without prior announcement. 'Hence there were many Tamils on the roads and in the bazaar Thursday morning when the Islamic group lobbed hand grenades in the Tamil quarter', he added.


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