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TNA's demands 'impossible' - Mahinda Rajapaksa

In an interview with Bhagwan Singh, published in the Deccan Chronicle, Sri Lankan president, Mahinda Rajapaksa slammed calls for a war crimes inquiry as "baseless issues" contrived by the Tamil diaspora, and dismissed the TNA's demands as "impossible".

See here for interview in full.

Extracts of Rajapaksa's responses reproduced below:

On calls for a war crimes investigation

"The LTTE remnants in these Western countries are bringing pressure on political leaders there to raise baseless issues against Sri Lanka."

"After the 1880 uprising in Ceylon’s Uva (in the south), the British rulers killed every male aged above 14, and destroyed all water reservoirs to force the people into starvation. They took away land. They did that in India, too. And they talk of human rights now. The West wants me to be their lackey and I refuse to be that."


On relationships with India

"For me, India is first, and others come only after India. As soon as I came to power, I went to India and got their support; after that, I did not have to bother about the UN, UK, US, and so on."

On TNA and devolution

"They (TNA) have the same attitude as the LTTE.

"They demand impossible things — merger of the north and the east, land policy and police. See what happened in your country [India] when Rahul Gandhi was travelling in Uttar Pradesh. Chief minister Mayawati tried to get him arrested. Do you think I want to get arrested by these people (by giving the Tamils a police force)?

"The TNA seems to be driven by the Tamil diaspora, which does not want peace and political settlement, as they fear that their host countries might then send them back home.

"The TNA cannot represent the same separatist agenda of the LTTE, which will not find acceptance with the majority population. I want to work towards a solution but the TNA is not cooperating.

On militarisation of North-East

"There are more than 300,000 Tamils in the north. The military presence is not worked out in proportion to the population but the security needs of the region. The presence of the military in an area that has seen brutal armed conflict for nearly three decades does not amount to militarisation."

"The military is playing a significant role in building infrastructure as the locals lack skills. Also, large sections of the north are yet to be de-mined."

"It is not true that school functions or library meetings and such activities require the permission of the military. But there could be cautious surveillance, knowing the nature of the defeated enemy. We are still getting hidden arms caches of the LTTE. The presence of the military will be phased out in keeping with security needs."

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