By Shamindra Ferdinando
Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said further devolution of power won’t solve the problems faced by the Tamil community.
Addressing a gathering organised by Viyathmaga (Gampaha organization) at Wet Water Resort on Ja-ela-Gampaha road, on Saturday, Rajapaksa said he wasn’t aware of any country where problems had been solved with the help of devolution of power.
Those who had faulted the previous Rajapaksa administration for not addressing post-war issues had conveniently forgotten how practical measures were taken to provide relief to the people.
The former Defence Secretary urged Viyathmaga activists to play an active role in the ongoing campaign to educate people on the growing threats to post-war Sri Lanka.
The war veteran said that those who were now campaigning for a new Constitution had earlier opposed a military solution. They always said that the war couldn’t be won under any circumstances, Rajapaksa said, adding that he, too, had received that advice when he became the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence in the late 2005.
Some countries, too, had also claimed that the LTTE couldn’t be defeated, Rajapaksa said. Referring to the tripartite Ceasefire Agreement among the governments of Sri Lanka, Norway and the LTTE signed in Feb 2002, Rajapaksa said such attempts were aimed at depriving Sri Lanka victory over terrorism. On the pretext of guise of promoting post-war reconciliation some element were all out to change the Constitution, he said.
Rajapaksa said the previous administration had scored a bigger victory when projects were undertaken to bring relief to the war weary population. Declaring that their resettlement and rehabilitation projects had been an unprecedented success, Rajapaksa claimed that the new administration couldn’t achieve even a fraction of what the previous government had done.
The government changed in January 2015
In spite of the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 1987, it hadn’t been able to set up the Northern Provincial Council until Sept. 2013, five years after the conclusion of the war, Rajapaksa said.
The former Defence Secretary also referred to the creation of India and Pakistan in 1947 and the subsequent war in 1971, which led to the creation of the new independent state of Bangladesh.
He said the Rajapaksa administration had sought to address problems faced by the people. Justifying their refusal to meet the aspirations of those who had been promoting separatist sentiments, Rajapaksa explained practical measures taken to help the northerners. Contrary to claims, the land held by the armed forces in the northern theater of operations as well as in other areas had been released during the previous administration, he said.
Rajapaksa repeatedly insisted that further devolution and constitutional reforms weren’t solutions to the problems faced by the people.
The former Defence Secretary said the rehabilitation of 12,000 LTTE cadres and an end to the forcible conscription of child soldiers had been significant achievements.