Civil group plans agitation in NorthEast over Buddha statue

[TamilNet, Saturday, 18 June 2005, 11:49 GMT]
Mr.V.Vigneswaran, President of the Trincomalee District Tamil Peoples Forum (TDTPF) Saturday said in a press conference that his organization will begin non-violent direct action after July 10 through out NorthEast if the Sri Lanka government fails to remove the controversial Buddhist statue which was erected close to the Trincomalee central bus stand on 15 May, sources in Trincomalee said.

Mr Vigneswaran said his organization will decide the course of action to be taken in a meeting scheduled to be held later this month with the participation of all parliamentarians of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and members of the TDTPF.

He said Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge had extended an invitation to the TDTPF through the Government Agent last week for talks in Colombo with her on the Buddha statue controversy following the last minute cancellation of the third visit of the ministerial team for talks with TDTPF.

He added his organization did not accept the invitation of the President because of the tense situation in Colombo.

"However we are ready to meet her anywhere to discuss our demand for the removal of the Buddha statue is but the ultimate decision should be the removal of the statue from the present site," said Mr.Vigneswaran on his return from a discussion with the LTTE political head Mr.S.P.Thamilchelvan in Killinochchi Peace Secretariat held last Thursday.

In a televised speech to an SLFP rally held in Kandy last Thursday in support of the Joint Mechanism proposal, Ms Kumaratunge said: "the erection of a Buddha statue in the middle of Trincomalee town opposite fish and beef stalls by some elements was an insult to the Great Teacher and also an attempt to provoke Tamils and Muslims. This is also happening in the east. They are fanning religious violence in the country."

 

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