'Tamil signboards defaced to stall SL Prez's India visit'
Colombo: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered a probe into the defacing of Tamil-language street signboards, asserting that the "heinous move" was aimed at disrupting the November 29 India visit of his brother and the country's President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
The Prime Minister instructed the officials on Monday to put up the Tamil signboards again and called for the immediate arrest of those involved in the acts of vandalism.
Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Monday told some of his confidantes that he believed the recent complaints of defacement of Tamil-language street signboards was done by a group of people who wanted to disrupt President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's upcoming visit to India, Daily Mirror reported.
The Prime Minister instructed senior police officials that the matter be probed immediately and those responsible for these acts be arrested, it said.
The "heinous move" was aimed at creating a rift between the Tamil community and the interim government and to strain the Sri Lanka-India ties, the prime minister said.
Officials from the Police Media Division (PMD) said that following the Prime Minister's orders, all senior police officers had been informed to remain vigilant in areas where the defacement took place.
Officers have been instructed to scrutinise CCTV footage and identify all those responsible. Although an investigation is going on, no arrests have not been made so far.
On the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will visit India on November 29. This will be his first official visit after being elected to office this month.
The two leaders are expected to hold talks on a wide-ranging issues during the visit deemed as a "fresh start" between the two governments after the bilateral ties were strained during the previous Rajapaksa regime that was tilted more towards China.
According to the Sri Lankan media, Tamils and Muslims did not vote for President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the November 16 presidential election. The president himself said that he was elected by the majority Sinhalese voters.
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