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Sri Lankan police forcibly quarantine and remove Muslim worshippers from prayers in Jaffna

14 people who were praying at a mosque in Jaffna on Friday, were forcibly removed by police officers and ordered to quarantine, who stated the travel ban must still be adhered to.  

Worshippers who were carrying out Jummah prayers at the Green School mosque in Jaffna, have been placed under quarantine by the instructions of the area’s public health inspector and health department.  

Some of them have been subjected to quarantine for the next 14 days at home, whilst some have been told to quarantine at the school.

Only those classed as attending essential services have been exempt from the travel ban and although important religious prayers has been argued by some as essential, the state has

The travel ban has been strictly enforced against locals in the Tamil homeland, particularly in Jaffna and Vavuniya, which has caused various issues to people. A makeshift COVID-19 treatment centre that was set up by the army in Vavuniya faced severe difficulties in coping with patient needs amidst bad weather. Families in the Vavuniya district are on the brink of starvation due to the travel ban and many have stated they have no access to electricity, drinking water or sanitation facilities. However, there is concern from locals over the leniency in the travel ban to residents from the South, who have been visiting districts in the North-East under travel ban, with less hostility and strictness from state security officials.  

The ban has seen an increase in surveillance, harassment and intimidation as an extension from the state’s militarised COVID-19 response, which has been headed by accused war criminal Shavendra Silva. Drone surveillance has been used by the Sri Lankan Air Force to monitor locals and arrests have been made.

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