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Ruling party calls for Tamil Bishop’s arrest

One of the parties of Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition has called for the prosecution of the Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, and 30 other members of the clergy who have signed a letter critical of the government.

The JHU, a Buddhist nationalist party, accused the Bishop of sympathising with Tamil separatism, for his letter that criticised the LLRC and called on the UN Human Rights Commission to pass a resolution to put pressure on Sri Lanka.

The letter reveals a growing rift along ethnic lines within the Catholic clergy on the island.

"At least now, we urge the Council to act decisively in relation to Sri Lanka, to enable Sri Lankan to move towards genuine reconciliation," said the letter signed by 31 clergymen including the bishop.

The bishop also called on the UN to urge Sri Lanka to accept an international investigation into accountability issues, something which was totally ignored by the LLRC.

The Sinhala head of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, criticised the letter and said it does not represent the Catholic community’s views.

Cardinal Ranjith said the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka rejects the resolution on Sri Lanka at the Human Rights Council, in a statement released last week and said "such efforts by western powers is an insult on the intelligence of the people of Sri Lanka".

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