Lanka places areas in Mullaithivu under COVID isolation ahead of 12th anniversary of LTTE's defeat

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Colombo, May 17 (PTI) Sri Lankan authorities on Monday placed areas in Tamil-dominated Mullaithivu district under strict COVID-19 quarantine isolation, prohibiting commemorative activities of the 12th anniversary of the end of the bloody armed campaign waged by the LTTE against the government.

Army chief Shavendra Siliva, who heads the COVID-19 prevention operations, said that Mullaitivu, Pudukuduirippu and Mulliyawalai in the Mullaitivu district have been placed under isolation.

The isolation would continue until further notice, Silva said.

The decision came as the Tamil politicians claimed that police had taken action to ban the remembrance events organised by the Tamils to commemorate their dead. However, a court in Mullaithivu had permitted some action, they added.

On May 18, 2009, the three decade-long bloody separatist campaign led by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to establish a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern province of the island nation came to an end with the killing of the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabakaran by the Sri Lankan Army in Mullaithviu’s Vellamulivaikkal.

Every year on May 18, while the armed forces celebrate the war victory, the Tamils mourn their dead during the final phase of the conflict.

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) - the main Tamil party - lawmaker Selvam Adaikkalanathan told reporters that several police stations in Mullaithivu district had obtained court orders preventing the commemoration.

He said the court in a new order issued on Monday permitted the commemoration of those killed in Mullivaikkal - the site of the last battle.

Accordingly, people have been permitted to only light lamps at the Mullivaikkal war memorial while adhering to the COVID-19 guidelines.

Last week, the Tamils complained that some group had destroyed the Mullivaikkal war memorial. The monument was established in memory of the civilian Tamils killed in Mullivaikkal in one of the bloody episodes of the island nation's last leg of the three-decade old conflict in 2009.

Meanwhile, the government said on Monday that a total of 2,456 COVID-19 positive cases were reported in Sri Lanka, taking the total number of cases in the country to 145,202. The country has also reported over 950 deaths. PTI CORR ZH AKJ

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