COLOMBO, Nov 24, Reuter: More than 300 people have been killed in the past 40 days of violence sweeping Sri Lanka, according to official figures announced on Thursday.
Parliamentary affairs Minister Vincent Perera told Parliament 112 people died in violence by “subversives” in the south during the month to November 16.
In the same period 121 people were killed in clashes between security forces and Tamil Guerrillas in the north and east, he said.
Official figures show that the death toll in violence across the island since November 16 is at least 71.
Perera asked Parliament to endorse a motion to extend a state of emergency for a month to give security forces extra power to deal with the strife.
Subversives are the term used by the government to describe members of the extremist people’s movement.
The two organizations, made up of radical youths of the majority Sinhalese community, are campaigning to topple the government of President Junius Jayewardene.
They accused it of mismanaging the country and are protesting against an agreement with India that seeks to end a revolt by minority Tamils.
The rebel youths want the abrogation of the pact signed by Jayewardene and Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in July last year.
They also want the withdrawal of 50,000 Indian troops deployed on the island to hunt and disarm Tamil guerrillas fighting for an independent homeland in the north and east.
Police have blamed the two organizations for more than 600 political killings, mostly of members of the ruling United National Party, since the agreement was signed,
Opposition politicians and leading citizens have said the country will plunge into anarchy soon unless immediate steps are taken to stop the violence.
If this continues, it will pave the way to total anarcy quite soon,” former Prime Minister Sirima Bandaranaike said in a letter to Jayewardene this week.
Jayewardene is under pressure from the opposition, religious groups and citizens organizations to dissolve parliament immediately and hold presidential and general elections.
Presidential elections are scheduled for December 19, but voting for parliament is not due until August next year.
Article extracted from this publication >> December 2, 1988