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Canadian MP reportedly under house arrest

Canadian MP reportedly under house arrestNDP MP Rathika Sitsabaiesan rises during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa on October 19, 2012. The Canadian government is trying to determine if there is any truth to a Sri Lankan media report that a New Democrat MP is under house arrest in the Asian country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

OTTAWA - The Canadian government says there is no arrest warrant out for a New Democrat MP in Sri Lanka.

The Sri Lankan media and a Tamil website were reporting that Rathika Sitsabaiesan (RAH-tih-kah sit-sah-by-EE-sahn) was under some sort of house arrest in the Asian country.

The Columbo Gazette attributed the news to local media reports from the community of Jaffna that Sitsabaiesan had been confined to her hotel.

A Tamil website, TamilNet, posted an account saying that some Sri Lankan officials were stationed at Sitsabaiesan's hotel Tuesday night and were not allowing anyone to visit her.

The reports generated concern in Canadian government circles with Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird and the junior minister responsible for consular affairs, Lynne Yelich, expressing their concern.

Yelich said Canadian officials in Sri Lanka have contacted officials to determine the MP's status.

"Sri Lankan authorities have clarified with us there is no arrest warrant for @RathikaS. We will continue to follow closely until she is home," Yelich tweeted late Tuesday.

It was not immediately clear when the New Democrat would be returning home and NDP officials said they were still trying to determine her status.

Sitsabaiesan, 32, came to Canada with her family at the age of five and was elected to the House of Commons in 2011 in the Toronto-area riding of Scarborough-Rouge River.

The Columbo media report said she was in Sri Lanka on a fact-finding mission and she has been a fierce critic of the country's government.

Sitsabaiesan took on a prominent role in New Democrat efforts to urge Prime Minister Stephen Harper to boycott the meeting of Commonwealth leaders that was held in Sri Lanka in November.

Harper was protesting the Sri Lankan government's human rights record.

The New Democrats and others have called for the Asian country's government to submit to an investigation into alleged war crimes during the country's lengthy civil war.

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