Opposition slams President's "racist" speech

[TamilNet, Thursday, 06 January 2000, 12:03 GMT]
Sri Lanka President Chandrika Kumaratunge's marathon television speech on January 3 was an attempt to kindle racist feelings in the country, said the leader of the main opposition United National Party (UNP) Mr. Ranil Wickremasinghe when briefing the press Thursday morning.

The President spoke for three hours in Sinhala on Monday in an interview aired on Sri Lanka television.

ranil_wickramasinghe_5-p.gifPeople expected concrete proposals from the President to solve the burning problems of the country, giving top priority to ethnic war, but her speech disappointed all of them, said Mr. Wickremasinghe.

Her TV speech gave the impression that she was ignoring the sentiments of Tamil people as they had voted against her at the last presidential election, he added.

Mr. Wickremasinghe said that President Kumaratunge was trying to give a communal twist to the Sri Lankan military's recent debacle in the Vanni.

The government could not destroy democracy in the guise of crushing the Liberation Tigers, he said.

He accused the President of attempting to muzzle the Sri Lankan media.

Mr. Wickremasinghe refuted the charges made by the President that the UNP was responsible for the killing of her father S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike when he was Prime Minister 41 years ago.

Mr. Bandaranaike was shot dead by a Buddhist monk.


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