Sarath Fonseka warns of serious fallout if resettlement delayed

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 23:35

Colombo: Hours ahead of a landmark visit
of President Mahinda Rajapaksa to India, Sri Lanka`s detained
former Army Chief Sarath Fonseka on Tuesday warned that any delay
in the resettlement of the remaining displaced Tamils could
have a serious fallout in the country.

"As many as 80,000 (remaining) Tamil civilians should
to be rehabilitated and released. Otherwise the government
will have to confront another (difficult) situation," Fonseka,
who heads the seven-member Democratic National Alliance, told
Parliament on Tuesday.

The comment comes ahead of Rajapaksa`s visit to New
Delhi amid repeated calls by India to speed up resettlement of
the displaced Tamil civilians and solve the problem by
devolving power to the Tamil majority provinces.

Rajapaksa today begins a three-day visit to India
where he is expected to discuss issue of a political solution
to the Tamil ethnic problem with the Indian leadership.

Fonseka, who is in custody, is facing a court martial
trial for allegedly dabbling in politics while in uniform and
for corrupt defence procurements.

The former army chief, who fell out with the President
soon after the military victory over the Tamil Tigers last
May, said some of the ruling United People’s Freedom Alliance
ministers were resorting to mud-slinging against him.

"When (LTTE chief) Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed
(in May last year), they said that I was not in the country,"
Fonseka told Parliament.

The former army chief opposed the extension of
emergency law, saying apart from "government terrorism" there
is no terrorism in the country.

"There is no need for the emergency law. That is my
opinion. There is no terrorism. There is only government
terrorism," Fonseka said while speaking on the extension of
the monthly emergency regulation.

The emergency regulation was extended by another
month. Last month the government had done away with some of
the clauses of the legislation following return of peace in
the country.

Fonseka also alleged that the judiciary was facing
threat in the country.

"When I was produced in the court on the white flag
issue, the state counsel had addressed me as an army
commander. But the judge corrected it and described me as the
army commander who won the war," Fonseka said.

"Because of this correction there was a proposal to
transfer the said judge for six weeks. However, it did not
take place because of Opposition from the lawyers," Fonseka
told Parliament.

Fonseka termed the cancellation of the war victory
celebrations in May due to heavy rains as suggestive of
"nature being in our favour".

Fonseka is also facing charges for claiming in an
interview to Sunday Leader newspaper few months ago that
Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and a senior army
commander ordered the killing of top LTTE leaders and cadres
in the final stages of the ethnic war.

Subsequently he had said the newspaper had quoted him
out of context.

Rajapaksa, who begins his first state visit to India
after his sweeping electoral victories, will have talks on
bilateral matters, including rehabilitation of Tamil refugees,
and regional and global issues.

According to observers, the political situation in the
post-war scenario, particularly the issues related to
re-settlement of the displaced Tamil civilians, and efforts by
the government to find a consensus on a political solution to
the ethnic conflict would be the focus of talks in New Delhi.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 8, 2010 - 23:35

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