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Alleged war crimes, HR violations
Foreign hand in move to force regime change – Govt.

The government yesterday said a section of the Opposition was conspiring with the international community to destabilise the country to pave the way for a regime change.

Top UPFA spokesman Minister Dallas Alahapperuma yesterday said that ‘the enemy’ was seeking a regime change though the government had effectively neutralised the military challenge posed by the LTTE. Addressing a press conference at Mahaweli Centre, he said that enemies of the State were in the process of building a case against on the basis of war crimes and human rights violations.

He said that two politicians and one or two ex-members of the Sri Lanka Foreign Service, too, had been involved in the conspiracy. According to him, international pressure was being directed at the government with attacks on the army’s conduct during the war against the LTTE.

Alahapperuma said the ‘Channel 4 canard’ was a despicable move aimed at helping scrap Sri Lanka’s GSP plus facility and discrediting Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and General Sarath Fonseka.

He said a politician who had helped the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa survive a conspiracy in the run up to the last presidential election in November, 2005 had joined the latest conspiracy. He said that the UNP with the help of an influential section of the then government had planned to engineer Rajapaksa’s arrest over the alleged fraud in misappropriating tsunami funds. Quoting a confidential source described as a media personality, Alahapperuma said a politician in charge of the police at that time had sent a television crew to Aluthkade to film Prime Minister Rajapaksa getting into a Black Maria.

"The UNP wanted to splash Mahinda Rajapaksa’s picture on TV and the print media. They wanted to portray him as a thief," he said. Had they succeeded, Rajapaksa would not have survived the presidential contest, he said.

Alahapperuma said loku nona (‘big lady’), too, had been involved in the conspiracy. Responding to The Island queries, he said that the man, who had now switched his allegiance to Wickremesinghe revealed the plot at the eleventh hour.

Referring to a recent debate in Parliament on the Channel 4 attempt to discredit the army, the minister said that except Speaker W. J. M. Lokubandara, none of the UNP MPs wanted to speak on the issue.

He said that the UNP avoided the issue on a directive from the leadership for obvious reasons. He applauded the Speaker’s courage in expressing his views on the issue regardless of the UNP’s position.

He claimed that the Opposition and a section of the media at the behest of the LTTE had made a desperate attempt to thwart a plan to acquire state-of-the-art MiG 29s to meet the threat posed by Air Tigers. Although a section of the government opposed, the President had authorised the setting up of a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to investigate the allegations made by the Opposition. But the UNP never bothered to make representations to the PSC though it met on three occasions, Minister Alahapperuma said adding that some LTTE cadres now in government custody had shed light on the LTTE-Opposition link.

Responding to our queries, Alahapperuma said some of those who had targeted Rajapaksa over the alleged ‘Helping Hambantota’ fraud subsequently switched sides. He said that that ‘to forgive is divine’.

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