Karuna faction says won’t disarm

By Chris Kamalendran

Parliamentarian and former LTTE eastern leader Vinyagamoorthy Muralitharan alias Karuna Amman yesterday vowed to hold on to his weapons, even as the TMVP began disbanding its military wing and handed over weapons to the authorities in Batticaloa.

Karuna spokesman Tatchanamurthi Kamalanathan said the former rebel leader would remain armed along with some 3,000 cadres until they were fully absorbed into the SLFP as full members.

“The Karuna faction is forced to retain its weapons for its own security since there remains a threat to its safety from certain armed groups operating in the east and other areas,” Mr. Kamalanathan said.

At present, Karuna loyalists and their offices were being guarded by the state security forces to prevent attacks from rival elements, he said.

In the latest incident, Mr. Kamalanathan and two other Karuna loyalists escaped unhurt when their van came under small arms fire at Urani, about two kilometres from Batticaloa town.

The Karuna faction blamed the TMVP led by Eastern Province Chief Minister Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan for the attack. But the TMVP denied any involvement.

It was not clear yesterday how the government would respond to the stand taken by Mr. Muralitharan.

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