Ex-Sri Lankan Minister arrested for pro-Tamil Tiger comment
Colombo: A former Sri Lankan Minister was arrested on Monday for calling for the return of the Tamil Tigers, a guerrilla group that waged a long civil war in the island nation.
Vijayakala Maheswaran, who was arrestedwhen she went to testify to the Organized Crime Division of Sri Lankan police, had made the comments at an event in June when she was the Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs, a police source told Efe news.
“When we consider our lives prior to May 18, 2009, today’s circumstances call for the re-emergence of the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam). To enforce the safety of our children and women, to see them come home safely from their schools, LTTE governance must come into operation,” Maheswaran had said.
According to her, crime was almost non-existent in northern Sri Lanka during the guerrilla regime but started to rise since the conflict ended almost a decade ago.
The comments had led to a political storm in the country, especially among Sinhalese nationalist politicians, including the supporters of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who on July 3 interrupted a Parliament session demanding the ouster of Maheswaran.
Parliament had referred the incident to the attorney general and the police had started a parallel investigation to determine whether the ex-minister’s comments had jeopardised national security.
Maheswaran had entered politics after her husband Thyagarajah Maheswaran – only member of the ruling United National Party to have been elected from Jaffna – was murdered in 2008.
According to unofficial figures, the civil war in Sri Lanka between the army and the Tamil Tigers from 1983 to 2009, had killed between 60,000 and 100,000.