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Last updated: 16 March, 2005 - Published 19:34 GMT
 
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Villagers protest against insecurity
 
Hundreds of demonstrators blocked the Polonnaruwa-Batticaloa road at the Sevanapitiya junction on Wednesday stopping traffic for several hours.

Karapola villagers
A large number of protesters were women (Photo Raj Weerasinghe)

Protesting the latest killings in the Welikanda area villagers from Karapola set down the coffins of 2 youth killed on Monday.

Army spokesman Brigadier Daya Ratnayake told BBC Sandeshaya on Wednesday that the killing of two youth S.Kunasegaram and S.Selvanagam from Karapola is the work of the LTTE.

However, the Grandmother of one of the slain youth told police on Tuesday that those in combat fatigue who came to take away her grandson accused him of supporting the LTTE.

Brigadier Ratnayake said that the SLA too based on initial information inadvertently reported on Tuesday that the youth belonged to the "LTTE Wanni faction".

"The Tamil Tigers are hatching a plot to bring the government and the security services into disrepute," he added.

SLA and protesters
Brigadier Herath addressing protesters (Photo Raj Weerasinghe)

The LTTE has been accusing the government of harbouring renegade eastern commander Karuna which the SLA denies.

Most of the demonstrators on Wednesday were women While Buddhist monks and school children were also among them.

Amidst tight security by the Sri Lankan Army (SLA) and police demonstrators called authorities to curb the activities of the Karuna faction.

One placard in Sinhala carried the slogan "chase away Karuna," reported Polonnaruwa Lankadeepa correspondent Raj Weerasinghe.

Demonstrators who said that armed Karuna supporters have built a bunker in Theevuchchenai demanded its removal.

The Army spokesman speaking to BBC Sandeshaya saying that it is impossible to stop unarmed activities by the LTTE and the Karuna faction in government held territory, admitted the existence of supporters of both parties in the area.

"Whatever security arrangements we put in place, they are capable of avoiding the net," he said.

Unhappy about the security provided in the area one demonstrator in Sevanapitiya told security personnel that they can't be patient anymore.

School children
Returning home in lorries (Photo Raj Weerasinghe)

"People die daily and security has to be provided today itself," he said.

23 Brigade Commander Brigadier H M Herath who visited the scene said that ample security has been provided to the area with over 40 SLA camps.

However, he added, "even if 10,000 troops are deployed we cannot assure proper security when public decline to provide information".

After discussions with Brigadier Herath and Welikanda Divisional secretary Sarath Premachandra demonstrators went back with the coffins.

 
 
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