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Tamil prisoners may be released to tilt scales in favour of Rajapaksa

Press Trust of India  |  Colombo 

Mahinda Rajapaksa's son on Sunday indicated that the long held demand of the Tamil minority community to release all Tamil prisoners may be fulfilled soon, a move aimed at persuading the Tamil legislators to support Rajapaksa.

"(Maithripala) and Rajapaksa would make a decision (on the issue) very soon," tweeted in Tamil language.

The (LTTE) had run a military campaign for a separate Tamil homeland in the northern and eastern provinces of the island nation for nearly 30 years before its collapse in 2009 after the killed its supreme leader

Rajapaksa, who was the at the time, has repeatedly said that the war was against the LTTE and not against the Tamil community.

Since the war with the LTTE ended in 2009, the has denied that the imprisoned LTTE members are political prisoners. Tamils say some of the prisoners have been held over a long time under without even being formally charged.

Namal's comments are aimed at persuading the legislators in the Sri Lanka's main - - to switch their allegiance to Rajapaksa in his bid to prove majority in the parliament.

So far Rajapaksa has 100 MPs on his side while sacked has 103 MPs in the 225-member assembly. Most of the 22 remaining MPs, including the TNA, are likely to oppose Rajapaksa.

had already enticed a to join ranks by giving him a deputy ministerial position.

The TNA's parliamentary strength has been reduced to 15 as a result and there was speculation that at least 4 more of them were willing to support Rajapaksa.

The TNA has said it will support a no-trust motion Rajapaksa, amid mounting pressure on to let the suspended parliament hold a vote to end the ongoing political crisis.

In a statement, the TNA Saturday said Rajapaksa's appointment was a violation of the Constitution's 19th amendment.

The alliance had "decided to vote in favour of the no-confidence motion against Rajapaksa," the statement said.

Rajapaksa claims he has enough numbers to prove his majority and at least six of Wickremasinghe's men have defected to his side. The current suspension of parliament by the president is seen as a key to Rajapaksa negotiating for enough defections.

Wickremesinghe was sacked by President on October 26. His claims that Wickremesinghe's sacking was "unconstitutional and illegal". The president's move has plunged the country into a constitutional crisis with Wickremesinghe claiming he is still the prime minister.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, November 04 2018. 13:15 IST
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