Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa criticised Tamil leaders for allegedly “dividing the country” in comments made to the BBC, in the run up to next week’s general elections.
Speaking to the BBC’s Justin Rowlatt, Mr Rajapaksa was asked whether he thought it possible that Sri Lanka would be split under the current government. “Yes, certainly because this is the feeling of the people,” he replied.
Mr Rajapaksa went on to criticise Tamil political leaders for remarks made in the run up to the elections.
“I mean you just listen to the Tamil leaders speeches,” said Mr Rajapaksa. “They have already divided the country.”
In the run up to the election, Tamil political parties in the North-East were unanimous in their calls for an international investigation into the massacre of tens of thousands of Tamils during the closing stages of the armed conflict in 2009. Mr Rajapaksa was president and commander in chief of Sri Lanka at the time, overseeing the military assault on the North-East.
His comments come as the Tamil National Alliance’s spokesperson Suresh Premachandran to the BBC that the possibility of an armed struggle may arise in the future, if Tamil rights were not respected. “If the Tamils cannot enjoy the same rights which the others are enjoying then you know – you never know what will happen,” said Mr Premachandran.
“It’s not a threat,” reiterated the TNA spokesperson, but added “maybe in the future it might be a reality”.