Protesters in Downing Street hold a poster of Rajapaksa on February 4th 2008 – the 60th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence
Protesters in Downing Street hold a poster of Rajapaksa on February 4th 2008 – the 60th anniversary of Sri Lankan independence

IN his recent addres to the Oxford Union, Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa tried to assert, very unconvincingly, that he did not believe that there was a military solution to the war against the Tamil people and that he favoured peace talks.

However, TamilNet reports that the Sri Lankan prime minister has just exposed this piece of deception by revealing that India has given the go-ahead for Rajapakse to ‘eliminate the LTTE’.

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickramanayaka, in a special interview to Thinakkural, a Colombo-based Tamil daily, on Friday, claimed that the Indian government had given ‘full blessings’ to the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa to ‘eliminate the LTTE.’

Mr Wickramanayaka further proclaimed that there was no ‘ethnic conflict’ in Sri Lanka.

‘The LTTE should lay their arms down if they want peace talks. We are not prepared for talks with them in the meantime,’ he further said.

‘How can Tamils live in Wellawatte in Colombo if such conflict prevails,’ Mr Wikramanayaka asked, claiming that there was only a ‘terrorism problem’ in Sri Lanka.

‘Hence, our government will destroy the LTTE very soon’, said the Sri Lankan Prime Minister.

‘We are confident that we will defeat the LTTE in the war front. The victory against the LTTE is within hand reach.’

However, the Sri Lankan Prime Minister was not prepared to fix a deadline to defeat the Tigers.

‘We have started attacking the LTTE from four sides. We are using modern sophisticated weapons,’ he said.

‘Thamileelam is not achievable,’ Wickremanayake was quoted as saying by the paper.

‘We are not worried if fifteen nations declare independence tomorrow. But our expectation is that no division is allowed in Sri Lanka.

‘We will stop that division at any cost. We will not stop the war.’

Meanwhile, Muslims in Kaaththaankudi on Saturday observed a protest shut-down against the decision by the Sri Lanka’s president Mahinda Rajapaksa in appointing the chief minister for the Eastern Province.

Shops were shut down and mosques remained closed expressing support for M.L.A.M. Hizbullah, the Muslim candidate for the Chief Minister portfolio, despite requests to keep the mosques open for prayers.

Also, at least eight Muslim people were attacked by Pillayan group paramilitary personnel, sources in Batticaloa said.

A Muslim person was attacked near the Batticaloa police station by armed paramilitary men.

Also, rural Muslim businessmen who went to Tamil areas for business purposes, complained that a hostile attitude was displayed by the paramilitary supporters.

Those who were subjected to attack or harassment were not prepared to lodge complaints with the police due to the fear of personal repercussion from the paramilitary personnel.

Meanwhile, a Colombo High Court Judge last Wednesday directed the prison authorities to produce three of the four Tamil suspects in the Chandrika Kumaratunga attempted murder case before Colombo Judicial Medical Officer for medical examination.

The judge made the order after their lawyers submitted to court that they were subjected to torture and inhuman treatment by police officials in Boosa detention camp, legal sources said.

On May 10 they were transferred from Colombo Magazine Prison to Boosa detention camp.

The fourth suspect Vasanthi Ragupathi Sarma was not produced in court along with three suspects on Wednesday as she was kept in Magazine Prison.

Attorney-at-Law N Sri Kantha, on behalf of two suspects Sellathurai Varatharajan and Sakthivel Ilankeswaran, submitted to court that his clients, on arrival in Boosa detention camp from Colombo Magazine prisons, had been subjected to severe torture and inhuman treatment after being undressed by police officials of the Terrorist Intelligence Division.

Three police officers had assaulted the second suspect, legal sources said.

K Jeyakumar, counsel for the third suspect Chandra Ayer Ragupathy Sarma, submitted to court that his client was also subjected to torture and inhuman treatment in the hands of TID police officers.

Both counsels begged the court to order the transfer of their clients again to Magazine prison from Boosa, to initiate an inquiry into the conduct of TID officials in Boosa, and to seek explanation from the Commissioner of Prisons regarding the conduct of police officials in Boosa, legal sources said.

State Counsel Kapila Vaidiayaratne told the court that the suspects had been transferred to Boosa from Magazine prison for security reasons and requested the court not to accept the defence version without obtaining explanations from the prison authorities.

Thereafter, the High Court Judge directed the prison authorities in Boosa and Magazine Prison to submit their stand regarding transferring these suspects again to Magazine Prison from Boosa.

The court further directed that these suspects should be kept under the direct supervision of the Officer-in-Charge of Boosa detention camp.

Further inquiry in this case was put off until June 9th.

l Last Friday, a bomb explosion targeted a police bus in Colombo, killing 10 and wounding 95.

A motorbike fitted with a bomb was rammed into a bus carrying riot control police personnel, a few hundred meters away from the Sri Lankan Presidential Secretariat, Friday noon, killing 10 people – seven police and three civilians – and injuring six Sri Lanka Army soldiers, 30 policemen and 59 civilians.

The explosion took place on Lotus Road inside the High Security area near the Hilton Hotel.

Twelve wounded policemen are in a critical condition, according to medical sources in Colombo hospital.

Three of the seven police personnel killed were females.

The policemen were on their way to provide additional security for the swearing-in ceremony of the Eastern Province Chief Minister, now postponed, but which was scheduled to take place on Friday at 4.00pm.

Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa blamed the Liberation Tigers of Tamileelam (LTTE) for the suicide attack.

Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillaiyan, the de-facto leader of the paramilitary-cum-political party, the TMVP, also known as Pillayan Group, was scheduled to be sworn in as the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province.

Pillayan’s group contested the elections, with widespread vote-rigging and ballot-stuffing, on the ruling UPFA-ticket, affecting the ultimate result of the election.