Anura Bandaranaike receives death threat

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 07 February 2007, 12:13 GMT]
Anura Bandaranaike, the Sri Lankan minister of National Heritage, and the brother of former SL President Chandrika Kumaratunga, has complained to law enforcement authorities in Colombo that he has received telephone death threats from anonymous callers. The threats are reported amidst speculation that relationship between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and Anura Bandaranaike has been severely strained since the latest cabinet reshuffle when Mr. Bandaranaike lost his Tourism Ministry portfolio.

The Sri Lankan Inspector General of Police (IGP), Victor Perera, said he has received instruction from the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat to conduct an inquiry into the complaint of Mr.Bandaranaike.

Anura Bandaranaike
The anonymous phone callers who had threatened Mr. Bandaranaike Tuesday had also mentioned the name of Mr. Samaraweera, and had warned that Bandaranaike would be hanged on a lamp post in Attanagalla and Samaraweera in his constituency in Matara.

When Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunga agreed to nominate Mr. Rajapakse as the SLFP presidential candidate, there was an understanding between them to appoint Bandaranaike as the Prime Ministerial candidate of the SLFP once Rajapakse was officially nominated.

However, when Mahinda Rajapakse named his cabinet for the first time, Anura Bandaranaike lost his Foreign Minister portfolio, but allowed to retain the Tourism ministry portfolio.

Mangala Samaraweera
Rajapakse appointed Mangala Samaraweera as Foreign Minister.

Rajapakse's supporters, during the presidential election campaign, faulted Bandaranaike for having failed to actively campaign for Rajapakse's victory. But, Samaraweera who was sworn is as the Foreign Minister, was praised for his contribution as chief coordinator of the presidential campaign.

But, Samaraweera, who recently aired criticism against the human rights record of Rajapakse regime, has been sidelined during the last re-shuffle.

The controversy between Rajapakse and Samaraweera became visible when the Lankan president appointed Dr. Palitha Kohona as the Secretary of Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January.

"Local and international human rights organisations have recorded that a person is abducted every five hours. Kidnappings, abductions and killings have become common incidents. No matter who does it, as a government we are responsible for it,"Samaraweera was reported as saying.

Anura Bandaranaike is the only son of late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike, founder of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP). S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike held the Prime Minister post from 1956 to 1959.


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