Sarath Fonseka warns of serious fallout if resettlement delayed
Last Updated: Tuesday, June 08, 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.


First Published: Tuesday, June 08, 2010, 23:35

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