The Government has denied claims that Canadian opposition MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan was followed by men on motorbikes when she was in Sri Lanka recently.
Chitranganee Wagiswara, Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Canada, told CTV News that there is no truth to Sitsabaiesan’s claims.
“I don’t know how she got the impression she was followed,” Wagiswara said.
Wagiswara said Sri Lankan officials “didn’t know” that Sitsabaiesan was visiting, and said protocol should have compelled the Canadian MP to notify Sri Lankan officials that she was headed to the country.
“Let me say that it is common courtesy, common protocol for a politician or a member of parliament that is visiting a country on a private visit or a social visit, to inform the high commission or embassy concerned, so that we are aware or we could offer facilities or arrange meetings if she wanted to,” Wagiswara said.
Sri Lankan officials are aware of Sitsabaiesan’s public criticism of the government, Wagiswara said, which “she is free to do.”
However, she accused Sitsabaiesan of failing to visit the north and east of the country, “in order “to have a balanced view.” She said Sitsabaiesan was merely visited by immigration authorities in the wake of the false reports of her arrest, urging her to be “cautious.”
Sitsabaiesan said her experience helped her understand “the reality” for people living in Sri Lanka.
“For me, being a privileged Member of Parliament from Canada who went there and had this type of experience, it’s just a little — I bet — the tip of the iceberg of the reality for people who live there, because they’re probably being followed and interrogated day in and day out,” she said.