Rajapaksa reinstates minister who tied official to a tree | world | Hindustan Times
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Rajapaksa reinstates minister who tied official to a tree

A controversial Lankan minister who was sacked after tying a government official to a tree has been reinstated within weeks. Sutirtho Patranobis reports.

world Updated: Sep 10, 2010 00:12 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

A controversial Lankan minister who was sacked after tying a government official to a tree has been reinstated within weeks.

In what appears to be his first decision after acquiring new and sweeping powers, President Mahinda Rajapaksa reinstated Mervyn Silva as the deputy minister for highways.

Silva, who is an MP of the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), was sacked from the post of a minister after photographs of a public official tied to a tree with Silva gesturing animatedly next to him were splashed in newspapers. Silva had ordered the man to be tied to a tree for failing to turn up for an anti-dengue programme.

But Silva got a reprieve after an internal party investigation did not find him guilty of any kind of gross indiscretion.

He had earlier said that the man himself wanted to be tied up as a way of repenting for not attending the programme.

Silva has been in the eye of several controversies including assaulting journalists and attacking television offices. In spite of his reputation, he was briefly appointed deputy media minister in April but resigned to be appointed as deputy highways minister.

He is considered close to Rajapaksa and is learnt to have played a key role in organising pro-government protests in Colombo till Wednesday in support of the 18th Amendment.