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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 82

LTTE blocks Sri Lankan Premier’s proposed visit to Christian

[b]LTTE blocks Sri Lankan Premier’s proposed visit to Christian shrine [/b]

By Sugeeswara Senadhira – Bureau Chief, Asian Tribune, Colombo

[b]Colombo, 09 August, ( [/b]The Tamil rebels do not favor Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse’s proposed visit to the sacred Catholic shrine at Madhu in the rebel controlled north. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) did not favour the proposed visit when Bishop of Mannar Rev. Royappu Joseph informed them about the Prime Minister’s desire to visit the shrine in Madhu located in the Mannar district, on August 15 for the annual feast.

Bishop Joseph, without naming the LTTE said, “I have conveyed the Prime Minister’s request to the concerned parties. However, the parties concerned (LTTE) had remained silent up to date. Therefore it is not sure whether he would attend the feast or not.” However he added that if the Prime Minister wanted to come as a pilgrim for the feast and there is nothing wrong with it.

Meanwhile the Prime Minister’s office confirmed that Rajapakse had not sought ‘permission’ from the LTTE to visit Madhu. A statement from the Premier’s office said that he had not planned a visit to the church at this moment.

“Rajapakse, whose political base is the Sinhala Buddhist South, is keen to win over the Christian community before the Presidential elections for which he has won the party nominations,” an analyst said. “However, he is not ready to take any step that could jeopardize his Sinhala Buddhist block vote”. He pointed out that Rajapakse’s decision not to seek LTTE permission was to show his electorate that he would not seek permission from anybody to travel to any corner in Sri Lanka, thus reiterating his commitment to a united Sri Lanka.

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