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Rajapaksa denies ethnic discrimination in Lanka

world Updated: Mar 23, 2007 16:08 IST
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Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied that there is any ethnic or religious discrimination in the country.

Addressing nurses in Colombo on Thursday, the President pointed out that Tamils were leaving the LTTE-controlled areas and seeking refuge in government-controlled areas. And they were settling down in Sinhala-dominated areas.

He asked if this would be happening if, as alleged, there was ethnic discrimination in the government controlled and Sinhala dominated areas.

About charges of abductions and disappearances, Rajapaksa said that these were baseless and were made by people who had differences with him. He urged these people to put the country first.

Mutual recrimination

Ruling party leaders and the opposition have been trading serious charges against each other in the Sri Lankan parliament in the past few days.

On Thursday, the United National Party (UNP) stalwart and former Speaker, Joseph Michael Perera, charged that ministers were involved in the on-going abduction and extortion rackets.

He said that he would reveal the names if a Parliamentary Select Committee was appointed to go into the rackets.

On Wednesday, cabinet minister and the Leader of the House, Nimal Sripala de Silva, had charged that the opposition United National Party (UNP) might have had a plan to assassinate President Rajapaksa in parliament.

He said that this was apparent from the way UNP MPs were complaining about the security measures put in place for the President's visit to the parliament that day.

He said that he had told the President not to come to parliament because the UNP was objecting to the security arrangements for his visit. "There are Sinhala Tigers today, and these could be in parliament," The Island daily quoted de Silva as saying.

"Hands off Lanka" JVP tells UN

With many voices in the international community demanding the appointment of a Special UN Envoy to monitor human rights violations in Sri Lanka, the opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) has written to the UN Secretary General saying that UN intervention will not be tolerated.

JVP suggested that the UN send a team to study the plight of the Afro-Americans in the US and the conditions in Guantanamo Bay and other secret CIA locations where thousands were kept without basic rights.