12 December, 2007 - Published 18:14 GMT

Legislators' relatives 'abducted'

A paramilitary group has abducted relatives of three Tamil parliamentarians in the east, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) says.

In a statement to the parliament, TNA legislator Suresh Premachandran accused the Pillaiyan group of abducting three relatives.

P. Ariyanethran's elder brother, S.Jeyanandamoorthy's nephew and K.Thangeswary's Secretary were abducted on Tuesday in Batticaloa in three different incidents during the day and the night, he said.

Kept 'in Pillaiyan camp'

The abducted people are kept in Pillaiyan group's Arasady camp in Batticaloa, according to the legislator.

Suresh Premachandran said three legislators were threatened by the Pillaiyan group not to vote against the government at third round of voting on 14 December or else their relatives were killed.

Pillaiyan now heads the breakaway Tamil Tiger group known as Karuna group formed by former senior LTTE leader, Vinayagamurthi Muralitharan alias Karuna.

There have been media reports of clashed between Karuna and his deputy, Pilliayan, who is currently establishing his aurthority in the east in the absence of Karuna.

Karuna, who recently fled to UK, is currently under custody in a British detention centre.

Government denies

Raising a parliamentary privilege issue, the TNA legislator has urged Speaker WJM Lokubandara to look into the alleged breach by the Pillaiyan group.

Suresh Premachandran, MP, said the government should take responsibility if the abductees are harmed by the paramilitary group.

The abductions are carried out, he said, with the connivance of the Mahinda Rajapaksa administration.

However, the government denied the accusations.

Defence Affairs spokesman, Minister Keheliya Rambukwella, said it has been a habit of opposition groups to point the finger at the government for every incident.

Pre-budget 'intimidations'

The government was earleir also accused of intimidating TNA parlaimentarians ahead of a crucial budget vote.

TNA parliamentary group leader, R Sambandhan, accused the government of threatening his party's legislators on 19 November.

Son-in-law of Batticaloa district MP, T Kanagasabai was abducted on Sunday by an armed group while police officers provided security to his residence, he told the parliament.