Tamil MPs launch hunger strike

A group of Tamil parliamentarians have launched a hunger strike in Vavuniya over the long term detention of several suspected LTTE cadres without being charged.

Parliamentarians from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) as well as MP J. Sri Ranga and former parliamentarian Mano Ganeshan are among those taking part in the protest.

Relatives of the detainees and several others are also taking part in the strike.

The Tamil parliamentarian are to continue their strike till this evening in support of several Tamil prisoners who are also on hunger strike demanding that they be either charged or released.

The TNA had this week called on the government to take immediate steps to release all Tamil political prisoners.

Sampanthan told parliament on Tuesday that there are 234 Tamil political prisoners who are on a hunger strike.

“The prisoners have refused to call off their fast stating that several assurances given in the past have not been kept and that this time they are determined to fast unto death”, Sampanthan said.

Sampanthan said he was appreciative of government action to rehabilitate and release 10,000 former LTTE recruits. “however, inexplicably many hundreds still remain in custody.”

TNA requested that proper and responsible assurances be given to the fasting prisoners so that they suspend their hunger strike.

The government said yesterday it will open new courts in some areas to hear the cases of the long term detainees.  (Colombo Gazette)