2nd Lead (Adds background)

Sri Lanka Parliament adjourned after Tamil MPs protest

[TamilNet, Thursday, 25 November 2004, 12:10 GMT]
Sri Lanka’s Parliament was adjourned Thursday after Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MPs sat in the well of the house in protest against military attacks on civilians in Mannar. The protesting TNA Parliamentarians refused to allow sittings to proceed until their demand that the Sri Lanka army should be withdrawn to barracks in the affected areas was met. The Tamil MPs rejected an explanation by Minister for Trade and Commerce, Mr. Jeyaraj Fernandopillai that the military had no hand in the Mannar troubles.

The Minister told TNA MPs that the Sri Lankan armed forces had informed him from Mannar that only three civilians who had fought among themselves got injured in Mannar town Thursday.

The protesting Tamil Parlaimentarians scoffed at Mr. Fernandopillai's statement and continued their sit in.

The TNA demanded an independent inquiry into the SLA attacks on civilians and Mr. Vino Noharathalingam MP in Mannar immediately.

“We won’t allow Parliament to resume proceedings when it sits again on Saturday 27 December if the Sri Lankan government does not respond to our demands seriously”, said Mr. Nadarajah Raviraj, TNA MP for Jaffna.

TNA MPs demanded that the Deputy Minister of Defense should meet them in Parliament along with SLA area commanders on Saturday to resolve the crisis in the troubled areas of the northeast.

Agitation by the TNA MPs started at 4pm. Parliamentary debate on Budget was suspended at 4.15pm when party leaders convened to discuss the situation. At 5.15pm the Speaker announced his decision to adjourn the debate which would have carried on until 7pm under normal circumstances, parliamentary sources said.

 

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