Sri Lankan north shuts down for release of prisoners

Colombo, Nov 13 (IANS) Sri Lanka’s northern province staged a complete shutdown on Friday in protest against the failure to free nearly 200 Tamil detainees arrested under anti-terrorism laws.

The protest saw the heavily populated Jaffna town deserted, with stores closed and public transport at a standstill, reports Xinhua.

Schools in Jaffna town were also closed. Banks and public institutions were shut down in solidarity.

The shutdown was called to demand the release of all Tamil political prisoners arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and for its repeal. The PTA was implemented during the war in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan authorities were to free 30 Tamil detainees on bail this week and more over the next few days but the process faced a snag with no one coming forward to post bail.

Nearly 200 detainees, who staged a fast last month demanding their release, resumed the fast this week.

Sri Lanka’s main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance, had talks with President Maithripala Sirisena this week, backing calls to release the detainees.

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