Govt ready for DNA test on Prabha’s body

Defence spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella yesterday said that if the need arose the government was prepared to subject the body of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran to a DNA test.

Responding to a question he said Prabhakaran’s body has been identified. There was no need to go for a DNA test unless required for a legal matter.

He was speaking at a news conference held at the Information Department.

Rambukwella quoted Army Commander Gen. Sarath Fonseka as saying that the body of Prabhakaran has been identified beyond doubt. The General had said in no uncertain terms that he was making the statement with full responsibility.

Answering a query from the AFP Correspondent in Sri Lanka whether the LTTE leader would be accorded a State funeral, Rambukwella said no government will accord a State funeral to a terrorist.

Asked what would be the next step taken by the government now that the LTTE has been decimated, he said "It is a hearts and minds operation and we have to rehabilitate thousands of people who have suffered under the jack boot of Prabhakaran and re-settle them."

The government had already commenced the re-construction of the war torn areas and soon rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced people will commence, the minister said.

Answering a question as to what action the government plans to take about the strong Tamil Diaspora, Rambukwella said "That’s why Milibands and otherbands visited here to try to save Prabhakaran and his cronies."

However, the respective government’s in those countries will take appropriate action against them, he said adding that already the Canadian government had punished a few of them who were found guilty of aiding and abetting terrorism.

He said that the USD 4.5 million pledged by Japanese Peace envoy Yasushi Akashi will now be used for rehabilitation and resettlement purposes.

Asked whether the number of security forces personnel deployed in the No Fire Zone and surrounding areas would be reduced Rambukwella said "In fact we have to increase the number by another 40,000-50,000 because more personnel will be needed when resettlement of IDP’s commences.

Rambukwella said security will be tightened and more stringent checks will be made in Colombo for a few more months while the security establishment has to make an assessment of the situation.

Asked by a foreign journalist what he felt when he saw the video footage of the slain LTTE leader, Rambukwella said "I had mixed feelings. I don’t like to see anyone being killed. He is also a Sri Lankan and a human being. What ran through my mind was that if he had put his extraordinary capabilities to good use, it would have benefited the country. Sadly he was a misguided man who eventually killed over 100,000 people.

However, Prabhakaran has finally paid the price for what he did Rambukwella said.

Mass Media and Information Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa said "I don’t like people being killed but Prabhakaran got what he deserved for what he had done."

The next generation will have a ray of hope for their future he said.

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