Colombo: A Tamil political party has demanded the withdrawal of Sri Lankan troops from the northeast after they allegedly assaulted Tamil MPs at a meeting of another party in the region.
The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) said it "very strongly" condemned the attack by soldiers on a meeting of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) in Jaffna ahead of local elections.
"They assaulted people who had assembled there and chased them away and also caused damage to bicycles and motor cycles.
"Attempt was made by the soldiers to assault MPs of TNA. Even their security personnel were injured. This high-handed act of the army should stop."
The TULF, which has previously opposed the formerly pro-Tamil Tigers TNA, said the incident showed why the army should not be deployed in the Tamil-majority northeast of Sri Lanka.
"This is why I am insisting on the withdrawal of the army from the north and the east and (an) administration by civil officers. If incidents of this nature are not (stopped), the country`s future will be bleak."
The TNA once backed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). Since the LTTE was crushed militarily in 2009, Sri Lanka has refused to cut its military presence in the northeast, the former war zone.
This has led to tensions, with Tamils saying the army was occupying land belonging to civilians -- just like the LTTE did earlier. Colombo says the military presence is needed in view of persisting dangers.