Four abductees released day
after budget vote
Four people who were closely connected to three Tamil National Alliance MPs were released last night in Batticaloa town by a gang which abducted them three days before the final vote on the budget, relatives said.
They said the four were blindfolded and dropped off at Batticaloa town around 8.30 p.m. with a stern warning not to divulge details.
But Deputy Inspector General Prasanna Nanayakkara, who is in charge of the east, said he had no confirmation about the release. He said a 10-member police team headed by a Superintendent was still continuing the search.
Of the four victims, three were relatives of the TNA parliamentarians K. Thangeshwari, S. Jeyanandamoorthy and P. Ariyanethran. The fourth was the secretary of Ms. Thangeshwari.
The abductors had warned that they would kill the four if the MPs voted against the budget, which was passed with 114 MPs voting for and 67 against. The three TNA MPs refrained from voting.
Ms. Thangeshwari said that an hour before the vote, her secretary told her over a mobile phone that their lives would be in danger, if they voted against the budget.
TNA MPs held the government responsible for the abduction and told parliament last week that the victims were abducted by the pro-government Pillaiyan group which dominated the east after Karuna Amman left the country.
The government denied the allegation and said the abduction was a TNA fabrication.
But the European Union and the Inter-parliamentary Union condemned the abduction.