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By Walter Jayawardhana reporting from Los Angeles

Despite the ongoing direct talks with the Ranil Wickremesinghe government the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam continue to extort money from the citizens of Sri Lanka living in the government controlled areas.    

  Vavuniya Police recently reported a lorry(truck) owned by A.V.Krishnamoorthy of Vavuniya had been taken to Kilinochchi and now the LTTE was demanding one million rupees ( about US $ 10,527) as extortion money to return the vehicle to the owner.     

  An unidentified man paying 2000 Rupees as advance and claiming he wanted to transport paddy from Murunkan to Kekirawa hired the lorry. The man who hired the vehicle promised to pay 12, 500 rupees as hire.      

It was complained to the Police that after the lorry reached the first phase of the trip it was taken over by two suspected LTTE men. They took the lorry and the owner to the heart of the LTTE controlled area of Kilinochchi and demanded the sum of one million Rupees as ransom from the owner. The lorry owner negotiated with the LTTE to get his vehicle back from the terrorist group but all his attempts were in vain, the complaint to the Vavuniya Police said.    

   Meanwhile the opposition Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) said the LTTE had started extorting money for the coming event of LTTE Heroes’ Week in the Mannar District. The statement said according to the orders of the Tamil terrorist group , the following workers serving in different government departments had to pay the following amounts to the terrorist group: District Secretariat Rs 150 each,  the Postal Department  Rs. 100 each, the Telecommunication Sector  Rs. 150 each, the Housing Authority  350 Rupees each. But minor employees were asked to pay only Rs. 100 each.      

The EPDP said Ithayan of the Batticaloa District had sent out orders on behalf of the transport division of the LTTE to all vehicle owners in the area to appear at their office at 1 p.m. on November 25  with their tanks full for the service of the LTTE for the Heroes’ Week.      

  In the Ampara District, the EPDP complaint said, the LTTE had ordered all owners of tractors in the Aleyedivembu Pradeshiya Sabha should pay Rs. 1500.00 annually to the terrorist group. The LTTE  engaged in paddy cultivation , to feed its army, had also ordered the tractors to  work one day free for them, the EPDP said.     

  The EPDP said in the Mannar District the LTTE had ordered that the earnings of fishing for one day every week should be set-aside for the terrorist group. They had started collecting those extortions  already from the Thalvupadu village, they said. The terrorist group was expecting to collect one million rupees from the area , the EPDP, further complained.   (EOM)  

(13/11/02 go2lanka.com)