Sri Lanka arrests MP for hailing defeated Tamil rebels

In a speech earlier this year, Tamil lawmaker Vijayakala Maheswaran said people in northern Sri Lanka were safer under the Tigers. (Courtesy Internet)
Updated 08 October 2018

Sri Lanka arrests MP for hailing defeated Tamil rebels

COLOMBO: A Sri Lankan MP who called for the return of the outlawed Tamil Tiger rebel group because she said they were better at enforcing law and order than the police was arrested on Monday.
In a speech earlier this year, Tamil lawmaker Vijayakala Maheswaran said people in northern Sri Lanka were safer under the Tigers, whose 37-year insurgency was marked by suicide bombings against civilians.
Maheswaran, who represents Jaffna, the capital of the country’s minority Tamils, said there was less violence against women and children in areas controlled by the Tigers before they were crushed in May 2009.
The July remarks led to howls of protest from majority Sinhalese groups, which accused her of seeking to resurrect an organization banned as a terrorist outfit.
Maheswaran, who is a member of Sri Lanka’s ruling party, was also forced to step down as State minister for Children’s Affairs.
“The Organized Crime Division took the MP into custody and she will be produced before a magistrate,” a police statement said.
She was released on half a million rupee ($2,900) bail and a further hearing was scheduled for December 7.
Government forces crushed the Tamil Tigers in a no-holds-barred military offensive that ended their long-running guerilla war in May 2009.
At the height of their power, the guerrillas controlled nearly a third of Sri Lanka and operated a parallel state with their own police and courts.
However, the UN accused them of conscripting child soldiers and deploying suicide bombers to carry out indiscriminate attacks on civilian targets.
More than 100,000 people were killed in the island’s separatist war.


In Bolivia desperate family leaves coffin in the street

Updated 04 July 2020

In Bolivia desperate family leaves coffin in the street

  • The Andean nation has reported 36,818 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,320 deaths

LA PAZ, Bolivia: The rising toll of COVID-19 deaths is overwhelming the Bolivian city of Cochabamba, where desperate relatives of one apparent victim of the new coronavirus left his coffin in the street for several hours on Saturday to protest difficulties in getting him buried.
Neighbor Remberto Arnez said the 62-year-old man had died on Sunday and his body had been in his home ever since, “but that’s risky because of the possible contagion.”
After a few hours, funeral workers showed up and took the coffin to a cemetery.
Police Col. Iván Rojas told a news conference that the city is collecting “about 17 bodies a day. This is collapsing the police personnel and funeral workers” in the city of some 630,000 people.
“The crematorium oven is small, that that is where the bodies are collecting,” said national Labor Minister Óscar Mercado, who told reporters that officials were preparing 250 new burial plots in the city’s main cemetery.
The Andean nation has reported 36,818 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,320 deaths.