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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* Sri Lanka state not linked to organizing Akon show, says Minister
Thu, Mar 25, 2010, 07:18 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 25, Colombo: Sri Lanka Minister of Tourism Achala Suranga Jagoda points out that neither the Ministry nor any other institute under it is linked to organizing the show of the American R&B singer Akon.

The Minister said that the show was organized by a private company and the support of the Ministry was sought. The Ministry had informed other institutes about the request and acted accordingly, said the Minister. But the Ministry would never allow this kind of events that are against the culture, the Minister stated.

Jagoda said the government could not issue a visa to the acclaimed singer as his music video was insensitive to Sri Lanka's cultural heritage.

Media reports said that the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) of which the majority members are Buddhists had taken the initiative to bring Akon to Sri Lanka. Akon's visit was reportedly sponsored by Sri Lankan Airlines and Sri Lanka Tourist Board.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka National Sangha Conference said that the organization had no links with the attack against the MBC/MTV office in Colombo although the organization wrote to the President protesting the show.

Ven. Hedigalle Wimalasara Thero, an executive member of the congress said that the organization denies the attack on the media institute that sponsored Akon show. National Sangha Conference is linked to a coalition party of the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance. A ruling party candidate Buddhist monk was one time chairman of this organization.

Addressing a media briefing at the Media Center for National Security yesterday, Director General of MCNS Lakshman Hulugalle said National Sangha Conference has accepted responsibility for the protest against Sirasa. He condemned the efforts by certain groups to drag the government into the controversy saying that they were exploiting the incident to embarrass the Government.

Sri Lanka police arrested 16 persons suspected of the attack but released them on police surety.

The government immediately announced Akon would not be granted a visa to enter into the country. The organizers of the concert have sought permission to proceed sans Akon.

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