Sri Lanka denies move to ban national anthem in Tamil

December 13, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka denied on Monday plans to outlaw the singing of the national anthem in Tamil after the main minority party raised strong objections to the mooted ban. The status quo will remain, said public administration minister John Seneviratne, who is in charge of managing the code of conduct for the national anthem as well as the national flag.

“There is no decision to make a change with regard to the anthem and we will continue what we have been doing,” Seneviratne told AFP.

The Sunday Times newspaper in Colombo reported that the cabinet of President Mahinda Rajapakse decided last week to order that only Sinhala should be used for the anthem.

Language and discrimination were key issues used by Tamil Tiger separatists to gain popular support for their campaign of suicide bombings and assassinations that terrorised the country until last year.

The main Tamil party, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), said earlier it was seeking clarification from the government, which is dominated by the majority Sinhalese ethnic group.

“At a time when the government is talking about ethnic harmony and national integration, this national anthem is an unwante