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Editor of Lankan daily fired over ‘joker’ remarks

PTI,Colombo,  December 9, 2008 
The editor of a state-run newspaper in Sri Lanka was sacked on Tuesday after it carried derogatory remarks by the Sri Lankan army chief against some Tamil Nadu politicians sympathetic to the Tamil cause in the ethnic strife-torn island nation.

Dinesh Weerawansa, the editor of the Sunday Observer, has been replaced on Monday by Jayatilake De Silva, sources said today. De Silva is a former editor of the paper.

When contacted, a high-ranking government official refused to confirm whether the removal is linked to the outcry in India following army chief Sarath Fonseka’s comments which were published in the paper on Sunday.

Fonseka had said that the Indian government would never influence Sri Lanka to restore the ceasefire with the Tamil Tigers and it would not listen to the “political jokers” of Tamil Nadu whose “survival depends on the LTTE”.

“If the LTTE is wiped out, those political jokers like (Tamil Nationalist Movement leader) P Nedumaran, Vaiko and whoever who is sympathising with the LTTE will most probably lose their income from the LTTE,” he was quoted as saying.

India today said it has lodged a protest with Sri Lanka over the remarks and Colombo has expressed “regret”.

There were sharp reactions to the comments in the political circle in Tamil Nadu, with MDMK leader Vaiko asking the Centre to seek an unconditional apology from the Sri Lankan government for the “outrageous” remarks

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