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21 October, 2008 - Published 16:47 GMT

Police powers no need - Karuna

The breakaway leader of the Tamil Tigers has said that police powers should not be handed over to the provincial councils.

The recently appointed ruling party MP, Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (Karuna Amman) has told heads and editors of Sri Lankan media commended the government for taking steps to devolve power to the regions.

"We do not need police powers at the moment because of the current security situation," he said.

It was the first time that Karuna had been invited to the monthly media heads meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa after being appointed as an MP.

Devolution of power

The new MP also praised Mr. Rajapaksa's government for initiating the implementing of the 13 amendment to the constitution which was proposed by India.

"President Rajapaksa had already begun implementing the 13 Amendment which was proposed by India. The East had been liberated from terror and the need there was for development," a statement by the presidential secretariat quoting Mr. Muralithan said.

However, the leader of Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Puligal (TMVP) said the police powers should not be given to the provincial councils established under the 13 amendment.

TMVP deputy leader, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan (Pillayan) is the chief minister of the eastern province.

A statement earlier issued by the International Crisis Group said all communities in the east have benefited as a result of government re-capturing the region from the LTTE.

However, the Group has recommended that the government should fully devolve power and disarm militant groups operating in the area.

Trained in India

"Grant police powers to the Eastern Provincial Council only after the Constitutional Council is functioning and has appointed a new National Police Commission," was one of the major recommendations by the Group.

Mr. Muralitharan, the leader of a paramilitary turned political party, accused the LTTE leader breaking the understanding reached with India on devolution of power and continuing with the war.

Speaking about his twenty two year relationship with the Tamil Tigers, he recalled his own training in India. He said that he also met Indian leaders together with the Tamil Tiger leader Prabhakaran.

Adding that the military operation in the Vanni cannot be immediately stopped, the TMVP leader has urged the Tamil Nadu leaders to send humanitarian aid through Sri Lankan government.