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Detentions, arrests increase since passing of Emergency Regulations

Arrests and abductions by Sri Lanka’s security forces under the recently revived Emergency Regulations are on the rise, said press reports. The detentions have drawn protests in the North-East.

The abduction of two fishermen at sea by the Sri Lanka Navy is the latest in a series of increase detentions of Tamil civilians by the Sri Lankan security forces. Protestors at Manatkadu in Vadamaradchi East threw stones and burning-tires on Sri Lanka Army (SLA) vehicles Wednesday night. Violent protests erupted in the area following reports that the two fishermen, who were thought to be missing at sea, had in fact been abducted by the SLN on Sunday. The protestors laid siege to the 52-4 Brigade camp of the SLA at Manatkadu where the men are being held.

According to the villagers, the Sri Lankan military officials Wednesday morning informed the families that the two fishermen were in the custody of the Sri Lanka Navy in Trincomalee, and that they would be handed over to the families in the evening. But they were not returned, villagers complained.

Fisherman of Jaffna's Vadamaradchi region have been demanding that the SLA leave schools, villages and farm lands it has garrisioned and that the SLA should lift restrictions on fishing. SLA and fishermen have also been at loggerheads since the signing of ceasefire agreement in 2002 over digging and dredging mooring points.

On Monday, fifteen Tamil girls were arrested in a combined search operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy, Sri Lanka Army and Sri Lanka Police in a house which is located in the Mannar district. The were released after a lengthy interrogation. The girls were arrested on wrong information received by the Sri Lanka Navy, said the Mannar Police in its report furnished in the Mannar Magistrate Court Tuesday afternoon, legal sources said. The girls were not produced in court.

The Police in its report submitted to court the arrested girls had submitted necessary legal documents for their stay in the house. They had been working in a coir factory managed under a UNDP project, Police said in its report.

Earlier, Jaffna District Political Secretariat of the LTTE Monday lodged a complaint with the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) that the abduction of Mr.Gopi, an LTTE cadre by a group of Sri Lanka Army soldiers and policemen from his house is a blatant violation of the Ceasefire Agreement. "LTTE has informed to the SLMM that Mr.Gopi should be released immediately," said a statement issued by Mr. Imayavan of the LTTE Jaffna district political secretariat Wednesday.

On 17th August a group of army soldiers and policemen surrounded the house where Mr.Gopi was residing with his parents and opened fire on the house. Thereafter they abducted Mr.Gopi in the presence of neighbours and members of his family, the statement further said.

Meanwhile in Colombo, a Tamil journalist in Colombo, who was assaulted by supporters of the Marxist-cum-nationalist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) was arrested by the police and subsequently assaulted again in police custody.

Mr. Yathurshan Premachchandran, a photojournalist of Colombo Tamil daily "Sudar Oli" was handed over to the police on Tuesday after being attacked whilst covering a JVP demonstration held in front of Fort Railway Station. He was then also attacked again by the Police, according to media sources. The Fort Police has handed over the journalist to the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) alleging him to be a member of the Liberation Tigers, sources added.

Sudar Oli representatives immediately made representation to the Fort Police to release Mr. Yathurshan Premachchandran, as he has been a trainee who accompanied a senior journalist of their institution to this event.

However, the Fort Police officials are reported to have told Sudar Oli authorities that Mr. Premachchandran has been handed over to the National Intelligence Bureau (NIB) of the Sri Lankan Police for further interrogation under the Emergency Regulations now in force as they suspected him a member of the LTTE.

This article is compiled from reports by TamilNet news agency.

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