1/14/2010

Sri Lanka President's secretary describes how Tamil Nadu Tamils were deceived by Sri Lanka and India



(January 14, Colombo - Lanka Polity)The way the Indian central government led by Congress Party deceived the Tamil Nadu Tamils ahead of the general election as Sri Lanka's war was raging in the last stage with high casualties was revealed in an interview given by Lalith Weerathunga, the secretary of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa to the Daily Mirror website. Following is the report accompanied with the video of the interview.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa helped India’s Congress party win the General Elections in Tamil Nadu last year by reaching an agreement with the Indian government to stop using heavy weapons during the last stages of the war, Secretary to the President Lalith Weeratunga told Daily Mirror online.

In an interview on the ‘HOT SEAT’ segment of the website Mr. Weeratunga said the President had turned down a request from India to stop the military operations last year but later reached an agreement to stop using heavy weapons in order to help the Congress win the polls.

"Elections were being held in India so if the government of India did not do something to stop what the rest of the world thought the massacre of Tamils (as it was wrongly termed) the Tamils would not vote for the Congress. They said “please stop this”. But the President said “sorry I cannot do that”. But he added “ok what do you want me to do to ensure victory of the Congress Party”? They requested that the use of heavy weaponry be stopped. This is what brought India and Sri Lanka closer. With the halt in use of heavy weaponry (with approval of the Sri Lankan Security Council that Sri Lanka would no longer use heavy weaponry) the Congress gained strength and the victory in Tamil Nadu can be attributed to this decision by the Government of Sri Lanka," he told Daily Mirror online.

However, it is yet to verify if Sri Lanka actually bowed to this pledge as no independent inquiry has been undertaken regarding the allegations raised by various quarters including the ex-Army Chief that war crimes including shelling hospitals and no-fire zones took place in the final phase of war.

Soon after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers, citing a UN source, the Times of UK reported that 20,000 people were killed in the final throes of the civil war, mostly by government shelling. However, one UN official described the method used to calculate the toll – which appeared to involve multiplying the figure recorded by doctors by five – as dangerous extrapolation. The Sri Lankan government rejected the Times report. Earlier UN said 7,000 civilians were killed and 16,700 wounded in the fighting from Jan. 20 until May 7 before the final battles.

Major-General Ashok Mehta, a former commander of Indian peacekeeping forces in Sri Lanka, said that India’s role was “distressing and disturbing”. “We were complicit in this last phase of the offensive when a great number of civilians were killed,” General Mehta, who is now retired, told The Times. “Having taken a decision to go along with the campaign, we went along with it all the way and ignored what was happening on the ground.”

Tamil Nadu with 60 million Tamils was the last bit of straw for the Sri Lankan Tamil nationalists that  were ahead of the imminent defeat of the armed struggle for a seperate Ealam state for Tamils. They begged for mediation to prevent their defeat but for no avail.

Almost all the Tamil Nadu politicians raised Sri Lanka's war as their main issue but Chief Minister Karunanidi's DMK allied with the Congress Party registered a landslide victory in the parliamentary election following the central government's statement that Sri Lanka government had agreed not to use heavy weaponry against the civilians trapped in the contracting rebel-held territory. Hours after  the election were finished in India, Sri Lanka eliminated the leadership of the Tamil Tigers Velupillai Prabakaran and wiped out the rebel movement from the island.

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