Colombo: Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said it is not correct to view the north of the country, over which a separatist war was fought, as a predominantly Tamil area.
“Earlier before the war, all were Sinhalese. Just as ‘a lot of’ Tamil officers worked in southern districts, Sinhalese and Muslims should be able to work in the north. It is part of Sri Lanka,” Rajapaksa, who many credit with defeating Tamil rebels, said.
“So were Tamils correct to view the north as a predominantly Tamil place? Why should be that? Why should be that?” The BBC quoted Rajapaksa, as saying.
“If you are a Sri Lankan citizen you must be able to go and buy the properties from anywhere. I'm not talking about the forced settlements, I'm talking about the freedom for a Sri Lankan to live anywhere in this country,” he added.
The Sri Lankan Army defeated the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels after 26 years of a bloody civil war in May 2009.
Rajapaksa, brother of Sri Lanka’s President Mahinda Rajapaksa, also said that there were few civilian casualties in the war's closing phase.
He portrayed a normalising Sri Lanka with opportunities for all regardless of ethnicity.
First Published: Tuesday, May 29, 2012, 13:29