25th July, 2004  Volume 11, Issue 2

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Tamil parliamentarians up in arms against Anura

Tamil parliamentarians are up in arms against Tourism Minister Anura Bandaranaike for allegedly having accompanied LTTE's renegade Eastern Commander, Karuna to Singapore along with two Special Task Force (STF) personnel.

Bandaranaike, it is alleged, has helped Karuna to leave the country to attend an important meeting in Singapore and subsequently visit Malaysia to see his wife and children, United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA) sources said.

According to sources, Media Minister Mangala Samaraweera who is on a visit to the United States is also expected to meet Karuna in Singapore on his return tomorrow or the day after.

Sources close to Karuna claimed that he has been invited to speak on 'Anti Terrorism' to the US State Department officials in Singapore.

Meanwhile Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Jaffna District MP, M.K. Sivajilingam raised the issue in parliament last Thursday (22) but the government neither denied nor clarified the matter.

Sivajilingam subsequently confirmed to The Sunday Leader that Minister Bandaranaike along with two STF personnel accompanied Karuna to Singapore. He also said Karuna did not use the VIP lounge at the Katunayake airport but instead used the lounge meant for intelligence officials.

Sivajilingam further claimed that it has finally been proved beyond doubt that cabinet ministers have strong links with Karuna and declared that the government or the President should not continue to live in denial.

"We are not worried about whether Bandaranaike accompanied Karuna or not but the real issue is that the government is attempting to conceal the fact that it has links with Karuna. The government and the President should stop lying to the nation that Karuna is not close to the government for now it is an established fact," he said.

TNA national list MP, Joseph Pararajasingham voiced his concern over the fact that cabinet ministers establishing links with Karuna would definitely affect the peace process.

Quoting media reports, Pararajasingham said that already two cabinet ministers have shown their interest in harbouring or safeguarding Karuna's interests, which in turn could jeopardise the  peace process.

"We cannot tolerate this type of hypocrisy. The government says one thing and does another. What type of policy is this?" he queried.

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