Karuna joins CabinetMar 10th, 2009 | By editor | Category: In News, World
Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, known as Colonel Karuna (right), with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s younger brother, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, after he was sworn in Minister of National Integration in Colombo on Monday.— PHOTO: AFP
B. Muralidhar Reddy
COLOMBO: Within hours after officially joining the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) along with 1,750 cadre, parliamentarian Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan (Karuna), former deputy leader of the LTTE, was sworn in Minister of National Integration on Monday.
Mr. Muralidharan alias Karuna recently parted ways with the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) following differences with Eastern Province Chief Minister, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) and announced his decision to join the SLFP.
The Presidential Secretariat said here at least 1,750 Tamils from the East, both men and women, including a large number of former LTTE cadre who left the leadership of Prabakaran with Mr. Karuna’s defection in 2004, and many others who had remained loyal to the LTTE even after, joined the SLFP, at a special event at Temple Trees.
Mr. Muralidharan and 12 others obtained their membership from Mr. Rajapaksa, who is also the president of the SLFP.
The statement quoted Mr. Rajapaksa as describing him a “talented leader”.
When development goes ahead, the arms will fall off the hands of people, said the President. The time when the Tamil people of the North would also be liberated like those of the East is very near, he said.
The Sri Lankan military on Monday claimed to have recovered at least 150 dead bodies of the LTTE cadre and found another 45 Tiger bodies floating over a lagoon as the battle appeared to reach its climax.
The Defence Ministry said here at least 200 LTTE cadre were killed and as many wounded in intense battles. The Tigers are now confined to about 40 sq km of territory in Mullathivu district. As per the military, the defeat of an estimated 400 Tigers cadre is imminent.
The military said the cargo ship MV Bintan, which carried essential items to civilians in the “Safe Zone”, came under heavy LTTE artillery fire while being unloaded at Puthumatalan on Monday.
The ship left Trincomalee on Friday with 500 metric tonnes of essential items and reached Puthumatalan on Saturday
“However, the ship was taken to the deep sea amidst bad weather to avert further shelling by the terrorists depriving innocent IDPs [Internally Displaced Persons] trapped in the ‘Safe Zone’ of essential supplies sent by the government,” said the military.