COLOMBO (News 1st) - A hartal campaign against the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill has commenced in the North and Eastern provinces, with shops closed, buses not operating, and a low attendance of students in schools. The campaign has been organized by political parties in the North and East, including the Tamil National Alliance.
This morning (25), shops in Thennamarachchi, Chavakachcheri, and Kodikamam in the Jaffna district were closed, according to News1st correspondents. Students did not attend schools, and buses did not operate in Vavuniya. The situation was similar in Mannar, where all shops were closed in support of the hartal campaign, and a low attendance of students in schools was reported.
In Selvapuram, Mullaitivu, the hartal campaign was carried out, and only private buses operated, according to our correspondents. However, a bus traveling from Mullaitivu to Jaffna was attacked with stones for not supporting the hartal. The incident occurred in Selvapuram, Mullaitivu.
The hartal campaign also took place in Trincomalee, where certain shops were open, according to News1st correspondents.
The proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill has been a controversial issue in Sri Lanka, with concerns raised over the potential misuse of the law to suppress political dissent and human rights. The bill proposes to expand the definition of terrorism and grant sweeping powers to law enforcement agencies to investigate and detain suspects without a warrant.
The hartal campaign is a form of non-violent protest in which businesses and educational institutions close and public transportation stops operating, resulting in a disruption of normal activities.
The hartal campaign in the North and Eastern provinces highlights the deep concerns and opposition to the proposed Anti-Terrorism Bill among certain segments of Sri Lankan society.