More than 120 people have been killed this week in an upsurge of political violence by Sinhalese extremists trying to topple the Sinhalese-dominated government, authorities said.

The government of President Ran-asinghe Premadasa has vowed to deal harshly with the rebels, who it blames for the rise in murders on this strife-torn Indian Ocean island."We have to get rid of subversives one day or another. The sooner the better," Deputy Defense Minister Ranjan Wijeratne told a news conference late Wednesday.

Wijeratne said at least 60 people were killed in northern Anuradhapura province on Tuesday, a Buddhist holiday.

Officials said at least 53 people were killed Sunday and Monday, and nine were killed Wednesday as the extremists crippled the island with a daylong strike by threatening violence against anyone trying to do business.

Most of the victims have been members of the governing United National Party or policemen, Wijeratne said.