Government sources yesterday said that there was absolutely no truth in the allegation that it planned to settle Sinhalese in the post-war Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.
Tthe allegation had been made by the TNA at a meeting with a visiting delegation of Tamil Nadu MPs at India House in Colombo. This was nothing but a barefaced lie, ministerial sources told The Island adding that the TNA had recently pledged to work with the government to resettle the war displaced. This understanding had been reached at a meeting chaired by President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa, the senior official in charge of resettlement and rehabilitation.
Sources accused the TNA of taking advantage of Saturday s meeting with visiting Tamil Nadu politicians to embarrass the government. In fact, UPFA spokesman Minister Dallas Alahapperuma told a recent press conference at the Mahaweli Centre the government would not in anyway try to change the ethnic ratio in the northern and eastern provinces.
Alahapperuma had said that not a single outsider had been allowed to settle in the East where resettlement process was nearing completion. The government s strategy in the north, too, would be the same.
Sources said that there was nothing clandestine about Sri Lanka s resettlement and rehabilitation process.
The TNA had also alleged that action had not been taken to clear mines in the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts. Military sources said that Sri Lankan forces and INGOs engaged in humanitarian mine clearing operations were deployed west of A9. Once they completed clearing operations, humanitarian de-mining operations could be stepped up east of A9.
Sources said that after failing to throw a lifeline to Velupillai Prabhakaran, LTTE propagandists were now working overtime to discredit the government in the eyes of the international community. Responding to our queries, they said that Sri Lanka expected the Tamil Nadu delegation to seek a clarification from the Indian High Commission. Referring to the ongoing propaganda campaign against the Sri Lankan government, the sources said a recent allegation that the Sri Lanka Navy had killed at least 50 Indian fishermen during a fortnight last month came shortly before a joint naval exercise involving Indian and Sri Lankan navies. `Had we killed 50 Indians, would they take part in a joint naval exercise in Sri Lankan waters,` they queried. Likewise, the TNA claim on plans to change the ethnic ratio, too, would be exposed in time to come, the sources said.