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Rajapaksa denies Army killed Balachandran

[Hindu, Saturday, 2 March 2013 09:44 One Comment]

AP - A file photo of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied that the Army killed LTTE chief Prabakaran’s 12-year-old son Balachandran.

“Had it happened, I would have known [it]. It is obvious that if somebody [from the armed forces] had done that, I must take responsibility. We completely deny it. It can’t be,” he told The Hindu in an exclusive interview.

On new evidence of wrongdoing in the final stages of the war in 2009, collated by international organisations and media outlets, he said that putting out such reports and videos was their job. “We must not merely look at one side. They must not merely listen to one group and the Opposition [in Sri Lanka]. So they [the Opposition] are trying to get the support of other countries to create an ‘Arab Spring’ here. That won’t happen in Sri Lanka.”

Provincial elections

Asked whether he would hold the Northern provincial elections in September, as he had told this newspaper, Mr. Rajapaksa said: “Yes, we will hold [the poll] in September. That’s why we have postponed the other [provincial] elections too. I did not want to face the criticism that I was doing it only because I had no intention of holding the Northern provincial elections.” The North would have powers which are “not more, not less” than those enjoyed by the eight other provinces.

On the coming U.S.-sponsored resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Mr. Rajapaksa said Jaffna was provided with all infrastructure just three years after the war ended. “Who did this within three years? Anybody who has come and seen it has talked about it positively and has commended us.”

Even India was “harassed” by the UNHRC over Kashmir, he said. “Sri Lanka is like a volley ball. Everyone is taking turns punching it to cover up their sins.”

On the issue of a political solution for the Tamil people, he said that unless the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an umbrella group of Tamil parties, joined the Parliamentary Select Committee, there could be no way forward. “Without TNA [on the committee], I will not be able to do anything… Earlier, all the leaders gave their solutions from the top. It has failed. The 13th Amendment has failed. Everything has failed,” he said.

Mr. Rajapaksa allayed fears that MPs of the majority community would hijack the agenda, pointing out that some individuals and parties in the government would not allow it to happen.

The President said he had not discussed with India its support to Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. “India must know its duty, as a neighbour…, as a friend of Sri Lanka. I can’t dictate to India.”

Referring to External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid’s comments in Parliament on accountability for alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, he insisted that Sri Lanka had held people accountable for excesses. “We have filed cases… We have handed down punishments. But this can be done only as per the laws of this country…I have released 14,000 [LTTE] prisoners, who had serious charges against them like murder, after a process of rehabilitation. Had I filed cases against the 14,000 people, what would have happened? I am a Buddhist. We have tolerance and compassion. There are still some more people [of the LTTE] in prison. We are examining ways…to release them.”

[Full Coverage]

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One Comment »

  • P.Padmanaabhan said:

    Dear Sir,
    read yesterday in THE HINDU english daily the full account of so called denial of the the president Raajapakshe in regard to the brutal killing of the 12 year old selvan Baalchandran second son of maaveraan thiru Velupillai Prabkakaran and recorded my following comments in four paragrpahs , after the 35th posting of comments at 16:10 IST from one thiru.Karthik Balasubramnaiym. Hbaitually THE HINDU does not publish pro-Thamizh Eezham commenst save one or two. May i reproduce below my comments not published by THE HINDU under caption :”Rajapaksa denies Army killed Balachandran”:

    ” 1.If any one still feels that ethnic tamils in the island of Sri Lnaka must live in amity and reconciliation with the majority Sinhalese , it is most disgusting and cruel too. Rajapakshe reveals the traditional perfidy of other Sinhasles politicians in the past who always cheated Tamils by disowning the solemnly signed agreements one after another in the past, impelling eventually the tamils to opt for Thamzh Eazham. India supporetd Mukti Bahini and waged full scale war and created Bangla Desh, but will not support Tamil United Libertaion Front (TULF) which won the overwhelming and specific mandate from the ethnic tamils in the 1977 parliamentary elections for Thamizh Eezham , then LTTE which took over the same cause from the fatigued TULF , this time by armed struggle. why? The USA, NATO and other powers will suport Kososvo Liberation Army in Europe to liberate Kosovo -but will categorise LTTE a terrorist outfit. Why? Let the ethnic tamils too have Tahmizh Eezham

    2. But. RAJAPAKSHE , USA, India ete urge the ezham tamils to accept and consider the recommendations of the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. Why? Which way the eezhamite tamils have suffered less? All inhuman atrocities were perpetrated ( as they happened in Eezham) in Kosovo war. And , the Kosovo Liberation Army, (KLA) on its part have the record of following events: formed in 1991, initiated its first campaign in 1995 when it launched attacks targeting Serbian law enforcement in Kosovo, and in June 1996 the group claimed responsibility for acts of sabotage targeting Kosovo police stations. In 1997, the organization acquired a large amount of weapons through weapons smuggling from Albania, following a rebellion which saw large numbers of weapons looted from the country’s police and army posts. In 1998, attacks targeting Yugoslav authorities in Kosovo resulted in an increased presence of Serb paramilitaries and regular forces whom subsequently began pursuing

    3. a campaign of retribution targeting KLA sympathizers and political opponents in a drive which left 1,500 to 2,000 combatants and civilians dead and led to the plight of hundreds of thousands of refugees. After attempts at a diplomatic solution failed, NATO intervened billing the campaign in Kosovo as a “humanitarian war”, while Yugoslav forces continued to commit atrocities during the two month-long aerial bombardment of Yugoslavia. Despite initial western claims of hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians killed or missing, subsequent investigations recovered the remains of only several thousand victims. What is more? In 2000, a BBC article stated that Nato at War shows how the United States, which had described the KLA as “terrorist”, now sought a relationship with the group . U.S. envoy Robert Gelbard referred to the KLA as terrorists.

    4. Responding to criticism, he later clarified to the House Committee on International Relations that “while it has committed ‘terrorist acts,’ it has ‘not been classified legally by the U.S. Government as a terrorist organization.’” Why such double speaks and double standards by the concerned powers where it concerns Eezhamite tamils and their cherished and too-much sacrificed cause Thamizh Eezham? Your Excellency , Honourable Mr.Rajapakshe, Eezham Tamils do deserve their separate sovereign Thamizh Eezham. Do not deny it to them. Be the Gorbachev of the island please and history will be in all praise for you, Mr.President! ”
    Thnak You Sir
    P.Padmanabhan,
    at 186:04 PM IST on 3rd march 2013