Maheswaran accuses Govt of harassing Tamils
by Vijitha Nakkawita and Lakshmi de Silva

UNP Colombo District Parliamentarian T. Maheswaran created a furore in Parliament yesterday (4) accusing the Government of harassing Tamil people who had been arrested in and around Colombo during the weekend. These persons should be released into his care so that they could be sent back to their villages, he screamed.

Maheswaran said some Sinhala and Muslim youth had also been arrested and wanted to know what the Government intended to do with them.

Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle got up at this stage but Maheswaran kept on screaming that he did not want a reply from Jeyaraj.

Fernadopulle: We are not trying to please the President, but it was Maheswaran who spoke to the President often to ask for favours. He has come here to scream before MP Mano Ganeshan could speak. The police have taken in 2,184 persons, including some Sinhala and Muslim people, but nearly 1,800 have been released and only about 300 are still being held in custody to investigate forged passports, national identity cards and other forged documents that they had with them.

Fernandopulle said Maheswaran was trying to fan communal disharmony but he was a person who was getting favours from President Mahinda Rajapaksa in return for information. The reason why he was shouting from yesterday was that he had been denied some favours by the President. His accusation that the Government was harassing the Tamils was completely false as he played a dual role, one during the day and another at night. He was not sincere in his complaints, but the TNA members were sincere when they complained.

Minister of Child Development and Women Empowerment, Sumeda Jayasena got an opportunity to present her petition to the Public Petitions Committee of Parliament yesterday after her last weekís complaint that the Parliament, too, harassed women members.

She said that when she wanted to present her petition, the Parliament office had sent a letter to an address at which she had not resided for over one year.

Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara: Steps would be taken to see that Parliament sends letters to the correct address hereafter.

Chief Government Whip Jeyaraj Fernandopulle: Last Thursday Minister Sumeda Jayasena came to the House just a minute after the petitions were presented. She explained to us there were two different types of harassment to women. One was physical and the other mental. In this case there was no physical violence.

Sumeda Jayasena: I am not accusing you (Speaker) I present my petition to the Petitions Committee.

Minister of Youth Affairs, Pavithra Wanniarachchi (to the Speaker) Thank you for not harassing us.


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