Gota decries sabotaging of their
sincere efforts by NGOs and others


by Dasun Edirisinghe

The previous government’s strategies to reestablish democracy and reconciliation after the war ended in the Northern and Eastern Provinces had been as sincere as its war effort which crushed terrorism, former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said.

He said NGOs as well as the international community did not acknowledge the effort of the previous government; they falsely claimed it was meting out stepmotherly treatment to Tamils.

Former Defence Secretary was speaking at a book launching ceremony at the Hector Kobbekaduwa Agrarian Research and Training Institute on Tuesday. The book ‘Conflict and Stability’ co authored by Maj. Gen. (Retd) G. A. Chandrasiri and Rear Admiral (Retd) Mohan Wijewickrema was presented to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the ceremony.

The former Defence Secretary said the ex-President had taken several crucial decisions to re establish democracy in the peninsula without considering the adverse political consequences he had to face.

"As an example, when former president decided to disarm some of the former militant groups that worked with the state in the Northern Province, politicians from Jaffna including former Minister Douglas Devananda and D. Siddharthan opposed the move," Rajapaksa said, adding "but he went ahead with the decision to facilitate the conduct of the Provincial Council election".

The former frontline combat officer said landmines were a major problem standing in the way of resettling civilians in their native lands, but foreign NGOs predicted that 12 years were needed to de-mine the Northern Province. However, the project had been completed within two and a half years with the involvement of Sri Lanka army.

Rajapaksa said 90% of lands in the possession of the Army for 20 years had been released under the previous government, but the present government was conducting ceremonies to release the lands.

"We released lands and minimised barriers in the Northern Province except the Palaly High Security Zone," Gotabhaya said, adding that the present government had yet failed to match what they had done for reconciliation.

Former Eastern Province Governor Rear Admiral (Retd) Mohan Wijewickrema and former Northern Province Governor Maj. Gen. (Retd) G. A. Chandrasiri also spoke at the ceremony.

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