Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday reiterated that post-war political strategy of Tamil National Alliance (TNA) left him with no alternative but to strongly recommend the abolition of the 13th Amendment. He urged the government, the Opposition as well as the international community to examine the conduct of the one-time mouthpiece of the LTTE.
It was up to Parliament to decide on the 13th Amendment, the Defence Secretary said, adding that the eradication of the LTTE conventional military capability shouldn’t be a reason for the government to be complacent.
The Defence Secretary was responding to a TNA delegation making representations to the Chinese Embassy in Colombo in a bid to block the on-going Chinese assistance to construct bases for security forces deployed in the Northern Province. The TNA was causing unnecessary friction, he said, adding that nothing could be as foolish as the TNA’s assertion that security forces were constructing bases on in Tamil areas.
The TNA couldn’t be allowed to dictate terms to the State as regards the deployment of security forces during war or peace time, the Defence Secretary said, noting that it was the sole prerogative of the government. He said the 13th Amendment was nothing but a springboard for those seeking to accomplish what the LTTE had failed achieve through terrorism.
The Defence Secretary said that that the government should realise the consequences of the TNA’s efforts to undermine GoSL’s relations with friendly countries. The TNA had never so much as issued a message of condolence when the LTTE killed Chinese nationals twice in separate attacks during the conflict, the Defence Secretary said. The TNA should be held accountable for its role during the 2001-May 2009 period, he, recalling that TNA leader R. Sampanthan’s had declared in the run-up to Dec 2001 parliamentary polls that the LTTE was the sole representative of Tamil speaking people.
Commenting on persistent TNA allegations that outsiders were being settled in Tamil areas since the end of the conflict, the Defence Secretary said that the main Tamil party was making an attempt to trigger ethnic tensions. “First of all let me tell you there is absolutely no necessity for the government to move outsiders to Northern and eastern Provinces. But people must have the right to live in any part of the country. There cannot be different sets of rules for Tamil speaking people and others.” He said people from the North and the East had moved to Colombo and its suburbs during the conflict and were living there peacefully. Likewise, other people, too, should have a right to live in any part of the country without being troubled by political parties or politicians, he added.
By Shamindra Ferdinando