3RD LEAD (Update, Adds video)

Tamil protesters confront Maithiripala Sirisena in Jaffna

[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 October 2017, 07:34 GMT]
SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, who was visiting Jaffna Hindu College amidst black flag protest by Tamil activists and politicians, was trying to score a point with his Jaffna visit and ‘engagement’ with the Tamil protesters. Talking briefly to protesters wavering black flags against him, he was trying to defend his position by saying he was planning to have an internal meeting within his government before arriving at a decision regarding the demands put forward by the hunger striking Tamil political prisoners. The protesters categorically refused to buy his argument, demanded immediate decision from him as he is vested with executive powers to release the prisoners. The protesters vowed to step up the protest even further if he failed to act within short time as the health situation of the protesting hunger strikers has worsened on the 20th day of their fast-unto-death campaign.



Within a few minutes after meeting the ‘engaging’ section of the protesters, SL President Maithiripala Sirisena, in his address at Jaffna Hindu College event, was twisting the ‘engagement’ to his favour.

Mr Sirisena said he had got down from his vehicle and wanted to talk with the protesters about discussing the issue, but the protesters were refusing to come for a meeting to discuss the matter, he claimed.

Protesters confront SL President Maithiripala visiting Jaffna


In the meantime, the 20 organisations that have been behind the successful protest on Friday are to make a decision Saturday evening regarding the deteriorating situation of the protesters and how to proceed with the protests further.

The organisers of the protest move have a serious homework to do in explaining to Mr Shivajilingam and Mr Premachandran where to engage and where not to engage, commented Tamil political observers in Jaffna.

TNPF Leader Gajendrakumar Ponnambalam was also highly critical of the protesters getting trapped by the ‘engagement’ politics of the SL Government, which is behaving in a racially discriminative manner on the whole affair of the Tamil political prisoners.

Suresh Premachandran also said the SL Government was behaving in a racist manner and explained that SL President was only saying that he would discuss the matter without specifying anything concrete.

Protesters confront SL President Maithiripala visiting Jaffna


On Friday, SL Governor Cooray was trying to score a point before the visiting UN Special Rapporteur hat he was ‘engaging’ with the protesting Tamils through two NPC members M.K. Shivajilingam (ex TNA MP), B. Gajatheepan and a former civic councillor Shangmugalingam Shageevan, who had gone to negotiate without discussing their plan with the organisers of the protest.

ITAK Leader R. Sampanthan, who was scheduled to accompany SL President, backed off from the visit on Friday following the province-wide shut-down and the protest in front of the secretariat of SL Governor Reginald Cooray.


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