INTERNATIONAL

Sirisena hands over land deeds to Northern Tamils

President Maithripala Sirisena, in an apparent public assurance, told Northern Tamils of Sri Lanka that under his rule, every measure would be taken to resolve issues faced by people irrespective of their race or religion.

Participating in a function on Monday where he handed over title deeds of land in the former High Security Zones to the original owners, Mr. Sirisena said “The government has been giving a high priority to resolve land issues of the people in the North and East.”

The ceremony held in Jaffna also marked the first public speech of the President in the Tamil-majority Northern Province since the January 8 presidential polls, in which he defeated his one-time colleague and former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Sharing the stage with the President were Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and former President Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Speaking at the ceremony, Northern Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, who had been rather critical of former President Rajapaksa, praised President Sirisena for one of his recent speeches, urging other national leaders also to adopt a similar approach toward Tamils.

Addressing members of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) that he leads, Mr. Sirisena last week urged them to be more inclusive in their politics and sincerely engage with all the people of the country, including the minority Tamils and Muslims.

The Northern Chief Minister’s reference to President’s Sirisena’s remarks appears to have cheered up circles close to the President. “The Chief Minister made those remarks in Sinhala in Jaffna. That is a huge thing,” a top source in the President’s office told The Hindu .



President gives first public speech in Northern Province



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