Theweekendleader

'Signboards defaced to disrupt Gotabaya's India visit'

Colombo

26-November-2019

Ahead of newly-elected Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa's upcoming visit to India, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed that the vandalisation of Tamil language street signboards be probed immediately and those responsible be arrested.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa has also ordered officials at the Prime Minister's Office to put up the signboards again. He has said that the vandalisation was aimed at creating a rift between the Tamil community and the interim government, and also to strain Sri Lanka-India ties.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa has told some of his confidantes that he believes the vandalisation of Tamil language signages was done by people to disrupt his brother and President Gotabaya's visit to India on November 29.

In a phone conversation with Senior DIG Ajith Rohana on Sunday night, Prime Minister Rajapaksa instructed that the matter be probed immediately and those behind it be booked.

Meanwhile, officials from the Police Media Division (PMD) said following Prime Minister Rajapaksa's orders, all top police officials across Sri Lanka have been asked to remain vigilant in areas where street name boards had been vandalised.

Officers had been instructed to scrutinise CCTV footage and identify those responsible. While investigations are underway, no arrests have been made so far, the Daily Mirror reported.

On the invitation of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President Gotabaya is visiting India on November 29 on his first official visit after being elected to office.

The two leaders are expected to hold talks on wide-ranging issues during the visit deemed as a "fresh start" between the interim Sri Lankan government and the Indian government after ties were strained during the previous Mahinda Rajapaksa regime with allegations that it tilted towards China.IANS