Karuna seeks Devananda's support for comeback

[TamilNet, Thursday, 02 October 2008, 11:02 GMT]
Amid reports of a renewed infighting among the factionalised TMVP paramilitary in the East, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, alias Karuna, a former Tiger commander who turned leader of the paramilitary group operated by the Sri Lanka Army, Wednesday met the EPDP paramilitary leader and Sri Lankan Minister Douglas Devananda, seeking the latter's support to strengthen his position in the East, which is under the grip of the UPFA-installed chief minister and paramilitary leader, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan, who was a former confidante of Karuna.

The meeting comes after Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Sri Lankan secretary of defence and the brother of SL President Mahinda Rajapaksa, adviced Mr. Muralitharan to meet Mr. Devandanda, according to informed sources in Colombo.

Karuna had fled the country with a 'false' passport to Britain and deported back to Sri Lanka after nine months of imprisonment, when Pillayan was promoted as the leader of the paramilitary group and installed as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province by the Rajapaksa government.

EPDP sources quoted Karuna as saying that he had started to re-structure his party, which was registered as a political party when he was prisoned in the United Kingdom and that he doesn't hold any formal powers in the TMVP at the moment. Now, Karuna is in the idea of leading the party and he had asked Pillayan to cooperate with him to re-structure the party, the sources added.

Karuna has called key civil personalities, supporters of his party, including some of his close associates to Colombo where a series of meetings were held. The participants were also invited to meet Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa this week.

The relationship between the paramilitary groups, the TMVP and the EPDP, was bitter when Karuna was away. A considerable number of killings were reported from both sides during that period.

Pillayan, operated by the Sri Lanka Army in Colombo for running an abduction unit that also engaged in ransom earlier, had run into a conflict with Douglas Devananda, before the former's engagement as the leader of TMVP group in the East. Later, during the elections and after, the EPDP personnel had come under violent attacks in Batticaloa forcing the EPDP to almost freeze its activities in Batticaloa.

TMVP sources close to Karuna also confirmed that they had discussed with EPDP leader. But, they said the meeting was regarding the recent clashes among the two parties in Batticaloa and to work with a better understanding in order to avoid such confrontations in future.


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