LTTE revival remark by Tamil minister creates uproar

LTTE revival remark by Tamil minister creates uproar

Controversial remarks by a woman Tamil state minister seeking the revival of the separatist outfit LTTE led to an uproar in the Sri Lankan parliament on Tuesday with the Opposition legislators demanding her resignation.

In a public gathering in Jaffna on Monday, Vijeyakala Maheswaran from the northern Tamil region representing the ruling United National Party (UNP) had commented that due to the deteriorating law and order situation coupled with rising crime graph in the country, people in Northern province were wishing for the LTTE’s revival and return.

“Now we remember how we lived before May 18, 2009. In the present conditions our main intention is to bring back the LTTE if we want to live, if we want to walk freely, if we need our children to attend schools and return back,” Maheswaran, who is a state minister of Child Affairs, was quoted as saying by the Daily Mirror.

Pointing out the rape and murder of a six-year-old girl in Jaffna, the minister remarked that now people were regretting why they had voted for the present President, Maithripala Sirisena, the report said.

The LTTE had run a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the Sri Lankan Army killed its supreme leader Velupillai Prabhakaran.

Maheswaran also claimed that there was no crime in the society when the LTTE used to run a separate administration in the north and east provinces.

Questioning the development carried out by the present government in the last three years in the North and East, she reportedly commented, “We do not know what development they have done in our area. But I only thank the Government for one good thing and that is to release and return our lands to us. Other than that the Government had done nothing to us.”

When parliament assembled on Tuesday morning, the Opposition demanded the government’s response to the minister’s statement. They also demanded that the minister be asked to resign.

Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said Maheswaran's statement would be probed by the UNP. He further added that the minister had told him that she was emotionally moved by the rape and murder of the child in Jaffna.

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya’s attempt to calm the agitated opposition legislators was of no avail and he suspended the sitting for 10 minutes.

Even on resumption of the session, the opposition did not allow the business of parliament to be continued, prompting Jayasuriya to suspend the sittings for the day.

His pledge to inquire into Maheswaran’s remarks was rejected by the opposition, which called for an immediate action.

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