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Sumanthiran urges President to prove his good intentions on reconciliation by action

MA Sumanthiran 700 03
Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M.A. Sunamthiran has urged President Maithripala Sirisena to prove his bona fide on reconciliation by action on matters under his ministry rather than words. If the Pesident is serious about reconciliation and he really means what he says, the issues under Defence, Mahaweli and environment must be reversed and a new attitude must be displayed.

He was participating in the Committee Stage debate when the expenditure heads of the Defence Ministry and the Mahaweli Development and Environment Ministry were taken up for debate in Parliament on Thursday. During his speech, Sumanthiran said:

“We thought you had come to office with a new attitude in 2015 and for a while you demonstrated that, but now with the passage of four years, serious doubts have entered the minds of the Tamil people because one thing is said but quite another is done.

Defence expense ought not to be this big as there is no war now in the country. Recurrent expenditure is there but if proper demobilization and demilitarization had been done in keeping with the actual needs of the country, this colossal allocation need not be made.

We have been in discussion with Defence Ministry officials and the Minister of Defence himself with regard to lands that were taken over by the security forces at the conclusion of the war. After 10 long years, still many lands are held by the Army, Navy and the Air Force. The Police are also occupying some private properties and still not handed them back. They claim that they have returned over 90 per cent of lands to private ownership. That is not true. We asked to ascertain these details. We have not been given details.

We however, acknowledge that a fair amount of land has been released. We ask for an expedited process to hand these lands back. The people have been demonstrating for around four years in Keppapilavu and various other places. These lands are not crucial for national security, but these agencies are slow in returning these lands back to the people.

10 years after the end of the war, there is no process of accountability. There is discussion with regard to local or foreign judges. I want to ask the government, even with local judges, what have you done in terms of accountability? Your own LLRC report says 3,022 persons surrendered to the Sri Lanka Army after the war ended or during the last few days. That is your own commission report. But has there been even one entirely local investigation into that matter? No. So drawing a red herring and emotive speeches saying we will not allow foreign judges to come, gets you nowhere because you have not done even a local process.”





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