Cameron wants to visit Jaffna paper


By Shamindra Ferdinando

The British government is pushing for a visit by UK Prime Minister David Cameron to the office of the Jaffna based Uthayan newspaper.

Cameron is leading a British delegation to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) scheduled to be held next week while the Queen is represented by Prince Charles.

Sources based in the UK told The Island that it was to be the highlight of Premier Cameron’s visit to the Jaffna peninsula. Sources alleged that the UK was pushing for a meeting with proprietor of the newspaper, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) MP Eswarapatham Saravanabavan to appease Diaspora groups.

Confirming the British move, a senior official said that an attempt was being made to politicise the UK premier’s visit. The official pointed out that the visit was aimed at justifying allegations that the Jaffna media was being targeted by the government. Responding to a query, he said that in addition to the British, other delegates, too, could seek to visit the Uthayan.

A high ranking government official said that former British Labour Party minister Joan Marie Ryan campaigning for CHOGM boycott by India on behalf of the UK based Global Tamil Forum (GTF) was an unfriendly act. The government was really surprised at her appointment as the GTF policy advisor, he said.

The British High Commission yesterday said that it couldn’t give details as the final programme was yet to be confirmed.

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