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Fight not against Tamils, but against LTTE terrorism -Defence Secretary

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Fight not against Tamils, but against LTTE terrorism -Defence Secretary
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Gotabaya Rajapaksa Defence Secretary

While concerns about the plight of Wanni civilians escalated with more MPs from the Tamil Nadu Government resigning in protest and demanding the intervention of the Indian Central Government, the Sri Lankan Government reiterated its commitment to end LTTE terrorism. While the issue has reached boiling point in Tamil Nadu which is going for its elections soon, Sri Lanka’s no nonsense Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said that it was very unfair for Tamil Nadu to demand of the Indian Government, which has a longstanding relationship with Sri Lanka, to pressurise the Sri Lankan Government to halt military offensives against the LTTE. Rajapaksa, who fought many battles against the LTTE when he was in the Army, told the Sunday Observer that the fight is not against Tamils, but to combat LTTE terrorism.

“More than for us, terrorism is a serious problem to India. Therefore, India should assist us more to defeat LTTE terrorism”, he said.
* Government will continue to have a close relationship with India and will continue to get military assistance.

* Humanitarian crisis in Wanni is LTTE’s false propaganda.

* Government is trying to liberate Tamils from the clutches of the LTTE.

* Tamil Nadu has come forward to save the LTTE, but no one can save the LTTE.

* Government has adopted the zero casualty of civilians.

* Civilians will break all hard rules of the LTTE and come to liberated areas.

* Prabhakaran is a terrorist, not a democrat.

* Tamil Diaspora and the international community should understand the ground realities of the war.

* Young LTTE cadres should not be caught up in LTTE’s false promise of an Eelam.

* Media needs to be responsible in reporting in the present context.

Excerpts of the interview:

Q: What is the military assistance that Sri Lanka is getting at the moment?

A: From the inception of the Sri Lankan Army we are getting military assistance from India and it is mainly the training. We have a good relationship with India and also with its military. Indian military assistance for us is not a new thing and we are getting their help for the last so many years. Among the military assistance, training of military personnel is given priority. But, India is not giving us any offensive weapons like artillery and mortars or aircraft. However, we will continue to have our relationship with India and continue to get whatever the assistance we are getting from India.

Q: But, some political parties in Tamil Nadu have demanded of the Indian Government to stop all military assistance to us until our government stops the war in Wanni.

A: It is a very unfair request by them because we have a long-term bilateral relationship with India. Tamil Nadu should not request that because we are not fighting against Tamils, but against terrorism, which is a deadly menace to the whole world. More than for us, terrorism is a serious problem for India.

In fact, we should get more assistance from India to counter terrorism. Especially the LTTE is a banned organisation. These politicians must not forget that their popular leader, loved by most of the Indians, was killed by the LTTE. They should not forget problems that the LTTE has created in Tamil Nadu. There were LTTE gangs and the law and order was completely messed up by the LTTE. These political parties should realise that the so-called problems faced by Wanni civilians are false propaganda by the LTTE. They must understand the ground realities. Here, we are trying to safeguard Tamils from the clutches of the LTTE. This has been proved very clearly during the last three years. How we have liberated the Eastern Province is the best example. It is clear how we have cleared the area from the LTTE, and how we have transferred the power to their own people. Now they have their own Chief Minister and an MP who were former LTTEers. It is the best example to show the effectiveness of the power of the people rather than power of the gun. There the Government has given the former guerillas to come to the democratic mainstream to develop their much neglected areas. It is the responsibility of everyone to help them to learn the art of living within a democratic framework. It is not an easy task for them too. They have to change their previous stances to adjust themselves into the new life.

On the other hand, only this Government has given the Eastern Tamils the opportunity to have their own administration. The 13th Amendment was brought decades back but till this year it was not practised.

Q: Tamil Nadu politicians are trying their best to halt military offensives in Wanni. Why do you think that they have suddenly become so vociferous about civilians?

A: The LTTE has been trying and waiting for this to happen so long. We know that some of the TNA MPs are living in these areas and they are working hard on behalf of the LTTE. They have also invited the Tamil Nadu politicians to come forward to save the LTTE. Because it is very clear that the LTTE is at a decisive stage. And no one can stop them getting defeated. So, they are trying their maximum to get Tamil Nadu to pressurise the Indian Government to pressurise the Sri Lankan Government. That is what the LTTE want and that is why this sudden pressure is coming. The Government expects this situation as we know there is no other way for the LTTE. Anyway, the LTTE cannot escape facing military offensives now.


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