Tamil party protest holds up Sri Lanka parliament proceedings

A protest staged by the main minority Tamil political party in Sri Lanka's parliament on Saturday held up proceedings for over two hours, parliamentary officials said.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members of parliament demonstrated in the assembly following a speech by their group leader Rajavayothi Sampanthan.

The veteran TNA member told the parliament that they want the government to hold an impartial probe into the assassination of their colleague Nadarajah Raviraj who was gunned down by unknown assassins in Colombo on Nov. 10.

Sampanthan said the TNA wants an expeditious investigation and the progress in the investigation has not been satisfactory.

He said that the MP's murder which happened in the capital had taken place in a secure area and therefore serious questions are being raised as to who carried out the killing of the outspoken young Tamil legislator.

President Mahinda Rajapakse has ordered the police to obtain assistance of the British Scotland Yard on the investigation.

With the TNA leader's statement the rest of the TNA MPs holding placards disturbed the proceedings in the house which was debating the government budget for 2007.

Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara suspended the sittings in order to convene a meeting of all political party leaders. The house which came to be adjourned at 10:10 a.m. local time (0440 GMT) was reconvened at 12:25 p.m. (0655 GMT).

On the resumption, the TNA MPs carried on with their protest action demanding the government dispatch adequate food supplies to the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebel held area of Vakarai in the Eastern Province.

A large number of internally displaced due to the ongoing clashes between the government troops and the rebels are trapped in Vakarai and the rebels accuse the government of blocking food to the region.

Minister of commerce Jeyaraj Fernandopulle told the protesting MPs that some 12 lorry loads of food would be sent to Vakarai in order to feed the civilians.

The TNA MPs were not happy with the pledge and continued with their demonstration, parliamentary officials added.

The TNA is a proxy-party of the Tamil Tigers and represents the war torn Northern and Eastern provinces.

Source: Xinhua

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