FOREIGN MINISTER BOGOLLAGAMA SAYS THE NUMBER OF CIVILIANS KILLED IS A COMPLETE FICTION TO ATTRACT HEADLINES
Posted on June 6th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

The allegation that 20,000 civilians have been killed in the war in Sri Lanka is one that is not worthy of a reply since the numbers have been calculated as a fiction , said Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama addressing the Sri Lanka Diaspora in London.

 First there was this estimate, once again on guess work, that there could be 6000 killed. Working on that for the number of days the war lasted they came to the wrongful and unacceptable conclusion that 20,000 have been killed said the Foreign Minister answering question from the audience. Why is it not 19,504 or 21, 200, the Minister queried. Nobody takes the responsibility of these figures he said. Since these figures are published by sources hitherto believed, the foreign minister said he was compelled to reveal the truth and reply however much the allegations are not worthy of a reply.

 The figures were published as UN figures by the London Times tabloid, but the UN has disassociated them from the allegations.

 But the Sri Lankan Army has rescued nearly 250,000 Tamil refugees without shedding a drop of blood from them , the Foreign Minister said.

 He said the allegation has been concocted in the West to attract headlines and falsely allege Sri Lanka of human rights violations.

 Attacking the propagandists who pitched the barbed wire fence as a sign of a prison the Minister said it is common practice in Sri Lanka to enclose a property with a barbed wire fence to protect it from outside elements, and so do the IDP villages. He said the IDP villages are places where the Tamils are cared well. They will be definitely resettled in their original villages when they are ready for safe living he assured.

 Addressing the fully packed audience held at the Sri Lanka High Commission chancellery at 13 Hyde Parks Gardens , London Rohitha Bogollagama said From President Jayawardene to President Rajapaksa he is the first Foreign Minister who travelled to UK and capable of telling that he comes from a country free of terrorism.

After the military defeat of the LTTE the country immediately geared into an era of reconciliation, the Foreign Minister said.

 He said the government not only rescued the 250,000 Tamil civilians who were held as hostages of a human shield by the Tamil Tigers government started providing them with food, shelter and health care immediately.

 The Foreign Minister assured , the government , wanted to send every one of those IDP’s who were initially removed from their original homes to be used as a militaryshield back into their original homes immediately after de-mining the area absolutely safe for them to return.

 Referring to areas under the direct rule of the LTTE for well over 20 years the Foreign Minister said the government will usher the people with democratic political reform and economic reconstruction. He pointed out that there had been no development in those areas for decades. He said when that starts some Tamil children will start going to school for the first time in their lives. Some others for the first time will be going about their business with freedom without the LTTE’s cyanide necklaces around their necks. Everyone will be able to visit Sri Lanka as it opens to all citizens , the Minister said.

 Minister said the government is determined to build up a pluralistic society in the North where one could agree or oppose the other man’s political views. He said beginning from the Jaffna Municipal Council to the Vavuniya local bodies would soon go into elections to freely elect their representatives.

 He said right now 300,000 IDP’s in welfare villages are under the care of the government.

 The Foreign Minister said the future programs of the government are geared to the reconciliation and foreign embassies also should be geared to extend the program to the Sri Lankan diasporas in varied countries.

 He said these programs would eventually boost the economy of the country and last year it was the production of the liberated Eastern Province that helped the country to become self-sufficient in rice. The Foreign Minister said the Tamil Diaspora in London could very well invest in Board of Investment projects in Jaffna. He said , for instance , the Nothern Province, currently is contributing only point one percent to the national production while the Western Province is contributing 53 per cent to the national production. He said even the fisheries industry when it is fully developed could help the economy tremendously well. He said by supplying electricity to the North and opening up roads phenomenal success and major achievements could be obtained.

 As a start the 13th amendment should be implemented , Bogollagama opined.

 He said the LTTE will be pursued as a threat to the country and the extradition of KP would be sought from the country he is hiding.

 High Commissioner Nihal Jayasinghe welcomed the Minister

 

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