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No political plans for KP: Colombo

[Hindu, Sunday, 4 July 2010 23:39 No Comment]

Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa has denied reports in a section of the media that the government is planning to install former the LTTE leader, K. Pathnathan (KP), who is under detention, as the Chief Minister of the Northern Province.

In an interview to the state-run English weekly, Sunday Observer, Mr. Rajapaksa, who is the younger brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, however, confirmed that the government was working with KP in a “strategic manner” to mobilise the support of the Tamil diaspora.

A few days ago KP had organised a meeting of eight former leaders of the LTTE, based in different parts of the world, with the Sri Lankan authorities and pledged their support for the efforts of the government in the re-settlement of war displaced Tamil civilians and reconstruction in the war ravaged Northern and Eastern Provinces.

KP took charge of the LTTE after the death of Velupillai Prabakaran in May last year. However, he was apprehended by the Sri Lankan authorities from a South East Asian country within weeks.

KP, whose name figures in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, had been designated as the international chief of the LTTE by Prabakaran and is considered to be very influential among the Tamil Diaspora.

Since the meeting of KP and other former LTTE leaders with the government, there have been reports in a section of the media that the Rajapaksa government had forged an “alliance” with KP and he would be entrusted with an important political job.

Some Tamil leaders within and outside the island nation has criticised the government for joining hands with KP. Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) leader V. Anandasangaree, in a statement, accused the government of teaming up with a person who faces serious charges.

TamilNet, in a commentary posted on its website, said: “The Mahinda-KP move handled by the military intelligence of Sri Lanka, whether a culmination of a long-term strategy or a move to probe the diaspora, is now backfiring against Colombo, is backfiring against some international actors harping on wrong notions of reconciliation and is backfiring against some elements in the diaspora which were long dreaming on the success of this move to trail behind with their tangential politics.”

Denying the reports, the Defence Secretary told Sunday Observer that the government said it was exploring his “data base” on the LTTE to crush its international network.

“We must remember that three groups — Global Tamil Forum, and two factions led by Rudrakumar and Nediyawan — are still active and propagating the LTTE’s separatist ideologies. The truth needs to be revealed to the world,” he told the paper.

He also confirmed that a group of Tamil diaspora known to KP had visited Sri Lanka and they had been convinced by KP to deviate from their confrontational attitude towards the government.

“KP had told them categorically that there was no point in reviving the LTTE’s separatist ideology. He also explained to them the steps the government had taken for a sustainable future for Tamils and invited them to work closely with the government for a better future for the Tamils,” he told the weekly.

According to the Defence Secretary, the government hoped to have a continuous dialogue with the Tamil diaspora as they were interested in rebuilding Sri Lanka. “It was sad to note that some interested parties locally and abroad had still wanted the LTTE to stage a comeback, mainly for their survival and also to gain petty political mileage.

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