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Last updated: 30 November, 2008 - Published 13:18 GMT
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More killings in Batticaloa
A police search operation (Library photo: AP)
Police have searched nearly 12,000 people in Batticaloa on Saturday
A civilian was shot dead in the eastern Sri Lankan town of Batticaloa hours after a massive search operation by the police.

Illayathambi Kurukulasingham, 39, was shot dead on Saturday night at his home in Kaluwanchikudy, police said.

Police imposed curfew in the district from 6.00 am to 6.00 pm on Saturday and nearly 12,000 people were searched aimed at stopping the widespread killings in the east.

123 people were arrested in the operation that involved over 2000 security force personnel, police said.

They added that three arrested are suspected to be members of the LTTE.

117 people released

Police spokesman, SSP Ranjith Gunasekara, told BBC Sandeshaya that 117 people were already released and four others were still detained under detention orders.

Two arrested were produced to a magistrate and further remanded, he added.

On Friday, Regional political leaders led a protest in Batticaloa against the continuous killings and abductions in the east.

CM Pillayan (L) and Karuna, MP
Pillayan has told media that Karuna, MP, is trying to destabilise the east

Batticaloa Mayor, Sivageetha Prabhakaran, provincial councillors and other members of the local bodies took part in the protest calling for democracy to be established in the province.

A hunger strike organised by the Thamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) as part of the protest to condemn what they call "killings with impunity".

"We can build roads, bridges but people can't benefit from development alone. Whom do we create democracy if people are getting killed? Is democracy for the dead bodies?" Batticaloa Mayor Ms. Prabhakaran of the TMVP questioned.

Batticaloa protest

Eastern province Chief Minister, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan widely known as Pillayan who later attended the protest said himself and the government should take the responsibility.

Two soldiers and a Hindu priest were killed and two civilians sustained injuries on Thursday in Batticaloa district.

Doctors protesting the murder of their colleague in Batticaloa
Doctors have suspended working in the north and east after Dr. Pathmakumara was killed

At least 23 people, including three soldiers, were killed in the district within the last week.

On 25 November, ten civilians were killed in Batticaloa district.

Doctors suspended working in the north and the east after Dr. Palitha Padmakumara who worked in Batticaloa was shot dead on 17 November.

The TMVP itself is accused by the UN and International human rights groups of killings, abductions and other rights violations.

TMVP was formed by the Tamil Tigers Eastern commander Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan known as Karuna after he broke away from the LTTE in 2004 March.

A rift between Chief Minister Pillayan and Karuna who was appointed as a Member of Parliament by President Mahinda Rajapaksa surfaced when the chief minister's supporters accused Karuna supporters of attacking TMVP offices.

Karuna denied the accusations.

The Human Rights Watch recently accused the TMVP of involved in about thirty murders and thirty abductions during September and October.

TMVP protest against killings
28 November, 2008 | Sandeshaya
TMVP accused of killings
25 November, 2008 | Sandeshaya
Safety fears hit eastern doctors
24 November, 2008 | Sandeshaya
Protest after the killing of doctor
17 November, 2008 | Sandeshaya
TMVP president shot dead
14 November, 2008 | Sandeshaya
Sri Lanka abductions 'on the rise'
14 November, 2008 | Sandeshaya
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