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Gotabhaya claims disarming Tamil paramilitaries allowed TNA to gain power

The Tamil National Alliance would not have won elections if the Rajapaksas had not disarmed government-backed Tamil paramilitary groups, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said.

In a thinly veiled admission of the intimidation and violence meted out by paramilitary groups to suppress Tamil nationalist politics and dissent, Gotabhaya said that by disarming the paramilitaries before the 2013 Northern Provincial Council elections, “we gave them a chance to select their own people.”

Interviewed by the Indian Express, former Defence Secretary during the war and brother of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabhaya said:

“There were many friendly groups who fell out of favour with the LTTE, like the EPDP (Eelam People’s Democratic Party), Karuna (Amman, former LTTE commander)… Before the elections, we disarmed them. We could have conducted the polls without disarming them. If we allowed that, the Tamil National Alliance wouldn’t have come to power. That means Mahinda Rajapaksa would have remained President. But we ensured a fair election process. We knew we were going to be defeated, still we gave them a chance to select their own people…”