All five Districts of the Northern grounded to a halt yesterday in protest of the shooting of two undergraduates. Vehicle transport was nearly absent and pedestrian movement was at a bare minimum. The routine life in some places of the East was also affected. This Harthal, held to a historically unprecedented level, excluding all services sans essential services, is proclaiming loudly the demand of the people for a quick justice for the student’s murder, said the political observers of the North.
Tamil political parties had jointly called for a full Harthal, condemning the continuation, of the murders of the Tamils perpetrated in the ruling period of every chauvinist government, and demanding justice for the killing of the two students. Many of the parties in the North including the constituent parties of TNA and TNPF had pledged their fullest support and the local news papers were replete with Protest messages of various factions.
The Harthal was held yesterday in Jaffna, Kilkinochchi, Mullaitheevu, Vavuniya and Mannar and the routine life was curtailed to an unprecedented high level.Shop keepers had closed their shops and offered full support. Private and state buses also kept off their services in support of the Harthal. Although the movement of the public was at a minimum STF were on patrol in their numbers. Riot squad was in the ready with the Police Station and the courts complex being given heavy security.
State offices, Schools, District secretariats and cooperatives did not function. Although some Banks were open, business was suspended in them. Because of the Harthal, the Central Bus stands and private bus stands were deserted devoid of any human movement. Although peaceful Attention drawing protest were held in several places, there was a confrontation reported, from Kilinochhci, between the police and public who tried intervene in the working of a Garment Factory in Kilinichchi which was working as usual. One police man was reported injured in the scuffle there.
The Federation of the students unions had warned that if the government will not provide an answer for the struggles, the form struggle will be altered.