Eastern Province torn by factionalism, says bishop

By Quintus Perera

The re-establishment of the Eastern Provincial Council after recent elections has created more terrorism and further violence, a top Bishop said.

Batticaloa Bishop Rev Dr Kingsley Swampillai, told a media conference on Friday that elections in the Eastern Province came after the liberation of that province from the grip of the LTTE and all the communities were very happy that peace and normality would set in.

However, he said, what really has happened was that the province had been taken away from one armed group and handed over to another armed group, adding that people are ‘ really frustrated at this situation’.

He was responding to a question posed by a participant at the 40th anniversary celebrations of Caritas Sri Lanka, SEDEC held in Colombo.

The bishop said violence, killings and abductions have already been set in and people are in the same mindset of fear psychosis as earlier. He said that in fact on that day on Friday, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan), Chief Minister of the Eastern Provincial Council (EPC) and M L A M Hisbullah, Minister of Health, EPC were spearheading a hunger strike to agitate against the violence that has now set in in the Eastern Province.

He said, “The Chief Minister and Minister Hisbullah have realized the present volatile situation and made public utterances about their inability to do anything positive in the province, because of lack of power. They are unable to do anything, because though devolution of power is provided in the Constitution it has not been implemented. I do not know what constituency Vinagamoorthy Muralitharan (Karuna) is representing in Parliament?”

He said the present situation was all because of a split and misunderstanding between the Karuna and Pillayan factions.

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