Tamil Diplomat

President rubbishes talk of security threat as move to spread extremism

President Maithripala Sirisena has categorically stated that there is no threat to national security and that his government will not compromise national interest and security under any circumstances. He urged the opportunist politicians not to misinterpret gestures of reconciliation and spread extremist sentiments.

He quoted Nehru and said: “In the words of India’s first Premier the late Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘Patriotism is the final refuge of political scoundrels’. I firmly request all politicians to desist from spreading racist and extremist sentiments. There is no threat to national security and we are taking all possible steps to ensure the safety of this nation.

He was addressing the House in yesterday’s debate on the third reading of the Budget proposals in Parliament. He stated:‘The years immediately following the conclusion of a war were vital for reconciliation, rehabilitation and a durable peace. However, during the first five years since the war ended the measures needed to ensure continued peace and stability, both politically and socially, were not taken by the former regime.

The building of infrastructure such as roads in the North and East are only physical changes. This alone is not enough, the people want and need national reconciliation to heal the wounds which have been inflicted on the people of this country.

Let me clearly state that prior to lifting the ban on certain Diaspora groups, military intelligence units carried out extensive surveillance of these groups. We decided to lift the ban on these Diaspora groups after having carefully considered the information received through these intelligence networks. Civil uprisings in the nation’s modern history were all begun by youth groups and therefore the youth in the North and East deserve particular attention from the government.

We must take steps as a responsible Government to ensure that the needs of the youth in the North and East are looked into. They must not have any reason or cause to ever touch another weapon again. We as the Government must earn the trust of those in the North and East.

During the previous government some 12,000 former LTTE members were released. Hardcore LTTE leaders such as Pillaiyan and Karuna Amman were welcomed by the former government and were even part of Parliament. In my opinion, Karuna being in Parliament and made a senior member of the SLFP were positive steps. Therefore, can you say that what the current administration is doing regarding the former militants is wrong? Is it any different from the actions of the past regime? I question the sanity of those in the Opposition who protest when the incumbent government does the same that the former government did.”