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India urged to ensure safety of Lankan MPs

The appeal follows the abduction of the son-in-law of a Lankan opposition MP at Batticaloa, reports PK Balachandran.

world Updated: Nov 23, 2007 21:28 IST
PK Balachandran

Members of the Sri Lankan parliament belonging to the opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) on Friday appealed to India and the rest of the international community to see that the Sri Lankan government ensured the safety and freedom of MPs.

The appeal followed the abduction of the son-in-law of TNA MP, Kanakasabai, at Batticaloa, and the removal of the security given to two other MPs of the TNA, Ariyanenthiran and Thangeswari, just before the voting on the Sri Lankan annual budget on November 19.

Suresh Premachandran MP for Jaffna told the media here, that the abduction was carried out by a pro-government para-military group active in the Eastern province, now headed by Pillaiyan.

"This group had told the six TNA MPs from Batticaloa and Amparai that they would have to face dire consequences if they voted against the annual budget. The MPs were told to either vote for the budget or abstain," Premachandran said.

Kanakasabai could not vote but the other TNA MPs present voted against the budget despite the threat. "The abduction and verbal threats shows that the MPs are not safe and cannot act according to their wishes. Today it is the TNA MPs who are being threatened. Tomorrow it could be any MP from any community," Premachandran warned.

"It is time India and the international community put pressure on the Sri Lankan government to see that parliamentarians are safe and have the freedom to act as they wish," he said.

Interestingly, the abducted son in law of Kanakasabai was brought to Colombo by the police a day after the budget voting, Premachandran noted.