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‘We destroyed terrorism’ – Sri Lankan minister sends chilling warning to striking teachers

Sri Lanka’s Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara warned the country’s striking teachers that the government had “destroyed terrorism” and insinuated that it would deal with any disruption in a similar manner.

Speaking at an event in Colombo last week, the controversial minister said;

“We destroyed terrorism. Whether the root cause of that terrorism was fair or not, terrorism cannot be justified, because it is innocent civilians who die from it.

Similarly, whether or not the teachers’ grievance is fair, we cannot justify their strike because it is our children who suffer from it.”

“As minister of public security, if there are any threats against teachers who do report to duty, I stress earnestly that we will take tough action against them,” he continued. “If they are harassed even with a single word, as public security minister I will take responsibility for it and take legal action against them.”

The destruction of “terrorism” that Weerasekara alludes to is the Sri Lankan military’s defeat of the LTTE more than 12 years ago. The offensive saw widespread mass atrocities including the bombing of hospitals, rape and executions, and killed tens of thousands of Tamil civilians.

Teachers in Sri Lanka have been on strike for over 100 days over reported salary discrepancies.

Earlier in the year, Weerasekara had reportedly told the Sri Lankan cabinet that they cannot be “soft” on the protesting teachers and called for “tough measures”.

His comments were echoed by Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MP S B Dissanayaka, who told reporters on Tuesday that if teachers did not return to school, “We have to defeat and suppress the strike and restart the schools”.

“It has been done in the past,” he claimed. “Advanced rich countries such as Singapore have done it. Otherwise they will still be like us.”

See more from Economy Next here.

Weerasekara is a retired Rear Admiral of the Sri Lankan navy and a long time supporter of the Rajapaksas.

See more on him in our piece:  'Ultra nationalist' Sarath Weerasekara appointed as new Minister of Public Security

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