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Lankan Navy asks deserters to rejoin

The navy faces a shortage of personnel in the light of the start of Eelam War IV, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Aug 16, 2006 11:48 IST

In a series of significant developments since Monday, the Sri Lankan government closed schools throughout the island till August 28, the Sri Lankan Navy urged deserters to re-join, and three persons, including a newspaper staffer, were killed in Jaffna.

According to Daily Mirror and The Morning Leader President Mahinda Rajapaksa is mulling the prospect of introducing some form media censorship to prevent the LTTE's getting too much publicity.

On Monday, the government suddenly ordered schools to advance the beginning of the August examination holidays from August 21 to August 14.

The ostensible reason was to enable school children to watch the South Asian Games. But the games are to begin only on August 18.

According to political observers, the real reason was the fear that the LTTE might attack school kids in retaliation for the killing of 61 innocent girls in a LTTE-run orphanage in North Sri Lanka by aerial bombardment a few days ago.

Earlier too, there had been rumours about the LTTE's trying to target vans carrying school children, which spread panic among parents.

More recently, a three-year-old child was killed in a van blast in front of St Paul's School in Colombo.

Navy calls deserters back

Apparently faced with a shortage of personnel in the light of the start of Eelam War IV, the Sri Lankan Navy on Tuesday announced an amnesty for deserters.

An announcement said that those who had been absent from duty on and after June 9, could join back and enjoy all the emoluments from the date of joining.

Media man, two students shot dead in Jaffna

On Tuesday, a staffer of the well known Jaffna-based Tamil daily Uthayan, a medical student, and a technical college graduate, were shot dead in Jaffna district.

The staffer was van driver Sambasivan Bhaskaran (47) a father of three, the medical student was Sivasankar and the technical graduate was Theepan.

Driver Bhaskaran was shot dead while he was distributing the daily in Puttur on the Jaffna-Point Pedro road and Sivasankaran and Theepan were killed within the Jaffna University campus near the hostel.

Later in the day, the Sri Lankan Navy and police entered the offices of Sudar Oli a sister daily of Uthayan in Colombo, and examined the antecedents of the staff.

According to N Vithiyatharan, the editor of Sudar Oli, the area in which the van driver was killed had a heavy concentration of Sri Lankan Security Forces.

He said that the police protection enjoyed by him and the paper's proprietor, Saravanapavan, were withdrawn on August 13.

"This has exposed us to danger," Vithiyatharan said.

Media censorship mulled

Seeing that the LTTE was being quoted extensively in the Sri Lankan media on par with the government, President Mahinda Rajapaksa is reportedly mulling the promulgation of some kind of censorship.

Daily Mirror said on Tuesday that Rajapaksa was contemplating "guidelines" but The Morning Leader alleged that what was being considered was the use of the Public Security Ordinance to gag the media.

First Published: Aug 16, 2006 11:48 IST