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Eight prisoners escape from jail in Sri Lanka

Earlier, on Human Rights Day, the men had protested against their detention without being charged, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Jun 05, 2006 13:04 IST
PK Balachandran
PK Balachandran

Eight prisoners escaped from the Batticaloa jail in Eastern Sri Lanka on Sunday, informed sources in the town said. The jailbreak occurred at 7.30 am.

The men were held for allegedly carrying arms, but had not been charged, an informed source in Batticaloa said.

Earlier, on Human Rights Day, the men had protested against their detention without being charged.

The Ceasefire Agreement signed between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE in February 2002, had forbidden non-state groups from carrying arms in government-controlled areas.

The LTTE had been asking the Sri Lankan government to disarm Tamil groups, which it said, were 'Tamil paramilitaries' of the Sri Lankan armed forces, an euphemism for the breakaway 'Karuna group.'

While the government had agreed in February 2006 that it would disarm any one carrying arms illegally, it denied that there were any Tamil paramilitary groups.

The 'Karuna' group, the government contended, was only a breakaway faction of the LTTE, over which it had no control.

People of Batticaloa live in fear Caught between the Prabhakaran and Karuna groups of the LTTE, on the one hand, and the LTTE and the Sri Lankan armed forces, on the other; the people of Batticaloa are living in fear.

All the groups involved make demands and pass orders, contradicting each other. The militant groups resort to extortion routinely.

There are attacks and counter-attacks.

The confusion created by demands from a multiplicity of forces has resulted in trade bring badly affected.

Shops close at 6 pm in Batticaloa town, and people do not venture out unless it is very essential to do so.

Economic activity being very sluggish, there is no work for labourers. Officers, both Tamil and Muslim, do not wish to work in Batticaloa and some have gone out on transfer.

Journalists are in trouble particularly. None of the groups is tolerant. Some journalists have quit and others are looking for alternative ways of earning a living.

First Published: Jun 04, 2006 20:49 IST