INTERNATIONAL

Rajapaksa sacks Minister

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has sacked a Deputy Minister from the government over an incident last week in which a development officer was tied up by his supporters to a tree in his electorate.

The incident involving Minister Mervin Silva sparked protests from the opposition and development officers. According to officials in the Presidential Secretariat, the Highways Minister has been removed from the job with immediate effect and suspended from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP).

The official was tied to a mango tree in his presence as a punishment for allegedly failing to prevent spread of dengue fever. A media contingent including television crews were also present on the occasion.

When the issue figured in Parliament, Mr. Silva claimed that the officer had voluntarily agreed to the punishment. He also accused the opposition and a section of the media of shedding crocodile tears in support of a government official who failed to discharge his responsibilities.

The removal of Mr. Silva came hours after President Rajapaksa met opposition leader Ranil Wickremesinghe at the President's House and discussed many issues including the proposed Constitutional amendments.

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