The defence authorities have reacted angrily to remarks by Tamil National Alliance Chief Minister Candidate C.V. Wigneswaran in Velvettaiturai where the former Supreme Court Judge allegedly claimed Velupillai Prabhakaran was a ‘great hero‘.
The commanding officer of the northern province Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe has reportedly asked the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa to increase troop numbers in the area since the statement could result in a regrouping of ex LTTE combatants, a Sinhala language newspaper reported this weekend.
Hathurusinghe and Wigneswaran have crossed swords previously when the ex-Judge questioned why the senior military official was making political statements and criticizing the political candidates.
Wigneswaran’s remarks at Velvattathurai which is also the LTTE Leader Prabhakaran’s birth place have been badly received in other parts of the country.
Critics say the former Justice has been making increasingly Tamil nationalistic speeches on Election platforms.
Meanwhile Prof S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole wrote last night;” This morning, Sept. 13, the importance of having police who understand us was stressed when 40 youths campaigning for the TNA were arrested in Kodikamam. President Rakapakse in one of his speeches had referred to the LTTE’s V. Prabhakaran as a brave fighter and Wigneswaran had responded in typical election time rhetoric that if the President can call Prabhakaran a Veeran (brave man), then there can be no wrong in others calling him a Maa-Veeran (Great Brave Man). This was reported in the TNA’s newspaper Veedu (House, the symbol of the Federal Party which is used by the TNA). The 40 youths had copies of the newspaper with the story and Prabhakaran’s picture for distribution. The monolingual police assumed that the 40 were LTTE men and arrested them. Thirty six have since been released but it is not known on what charge the remaining four are being held. Indeed it is absurd for the police in a democracy to claim that the mere possession of Prabhakaran’s picture can be used to arrest people.”