SLFP to hold anti-UNF demo on Deepavali day

[TamilNet, Thursday, 23 October 2003, 18:11 GMT]
Sri Lanka's President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, who is also the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), rejected appeals made by Tamil parliamentarians and Hindu organizations against holding the SLFP’s demonstration against the United National Front government in Colombo on the Deepavali day, Friday, sources said.

The SLFP demonstration is to protest the UNF's peace initiatives and ceasefire agreement with the Liberation Tigers, sources said.

Ms. Kumaratunge brushed aside criticism that holding the protests on the Deepavali Day would hurt the sentiments of Hindus (Tamils) in the country.

Sources at the Presidential secretariat said that she deemed it sufficient to instruct her party organizers to maintain strict discipline at all times and the event must in no way inconvenience those who celebrate the Deepavali.

Meanwhile, the Tamil parliamentarian from the hills allied with the President, Mr.V.Puthirasikamany, has resigned from the People’s Alliance (of which the SLFP is the main constituent) Thursday, protesting what he said was her adamant stand on holding the demonstration in Colombo on the Deepavali day, sources in Sri Lanka’s parliament said.

Mr.Puthirasikamany announced his decision to quit the PA in Parliament Thursday and thereafter sat with the opposition parliamentarians. He said that he would be sitting with the Tamil National Alliance parliamentarians in the future. He added that he had believed President Kumaratunge would give sympathetic hearing to the pleas made by Tamil MPs and Hindu leaders by postponing the demonstration, parliamentary sources said.

The Sri Lankan Police, meantime, has taken steps to strengthen security along the roads that are to be used by the opposition for the demonstration. The Police have banned public transport on several roads after noon on Friday, till the the SLFP demonstrations are concluded, police sources said.

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