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Apex court halts eviction of Tamils from Colombo
June 08, 2007 13:07 IST
Sri Lanka's [Images] Supreme Court on Friday ordered an immediate halt on the eviction of minority ethnic Tamils from the nation's capital, a day after hundreds were forced to leave at gunpoint by police as part of a crackdown on LTTE rebels.
A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court issued the order following a petition filed by a political activist group, Centre for Policy Alternatives, which argued that Thursday's action was a violation of basic human rights.
"The court will hear the case on June 22," an official said, adding that police Inspector General Victor Perera and four officers in charge of police stations here were restrained from carrying out any eviction pending the court hearing.
A CPA spokeswoman said they will go before the apex court seeking redress for those already evicted.
The government said 376 people were evicted on Thursday in seven buses and would be taken to Jaffna, Vavuniya, Trincomalee and Batticaloa.
"We were somewhat surprised by Friday's ruling. This is not something that we expected in this way," the spokeswoman said, adding that they were encouraged by the court's action.
Sri Lanka faces mounting criticism both from abroad and at home over the crackdown on minority Tamils, with the entire opposition and some government ministers terming it as 'ethnic cleansing'.