Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday pledged that achieving national reconciliation with the minority Tamil community is a priority of his new government. Winning hearts and minds is more important than reconstructing war-devastated buildings, Sirisena stressed as he hinted reaching out at Tamils.
The President said it while addressing the ‘War Hero’s Day’ celebrations held at the southern coastal town of Matara. The event was organised as Sri Lanka marked the 6th anniversary of the end of the conflict with the LTTE that killed over 40,000 people.
“National reconciliation build on mutual trust, confidence and respect of all communities is my government’s policy,” President Sirisena said.
In a veiled attack over the earlier regime, Sirisena said Sri Lanka could not be happy with the post- conflict achievements as his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government had failed to win over the Tamil minority.
In Srilankan politics, Rajapaksa is considered as a hardline Sinhalese nationalist who oversaw the defeat of the LTTE. The action which has since attracted severe criticism from several human rights group at international level.
Neglecting Rajapaksa arguments as baseless, the President Sirisena asserted that the government will continue its support to the military. “I have the fullest confidence in you (the troops) to safeguard the security of our motherland,” he said. Sirisena further accused his rivals of spreading “false propaganda” against the government.
He also claimed that he would not allow the brutal LTTE to raise its head again.
On May 19, in the year 2009, Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) chief Velupillai Prabhakaran’s body was found dead, marking the end to the terror outfit’s nearly three decades-long fight to carve out a separate Tamil homeland.