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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2673

If apprehended, LTTE Chief Prabaharan would be handed over to India

Colombo, 14 January, ( Sri Lanka Government would willingly hand over Velupillai Prabakaran to India, if he was apprehended and if New Delhi made such a request, said Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse.

“If they ask for him, I will send him there... Why not? He has killed so many people. If India wants him, certainly I will send him to India,” the Sri Lankan President said.

He said Prabhakaran, who is accused of being behind the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, would not be granted pardon by India.

In an interview to The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta, for NDTV’s “Walk the Talk”, Rajapakse also said that LTTE would have been finished if former President Premadasa hadn’t pulled out the Indian troops. He said he was willing to hand over LTTE chief V Prabhakaran, when caught if India wants him.

Twenty years after the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF) had a disastrous stint in Sri Lanka; Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has acknowledged the IPKF’s contribution and said a memorial for the Indian soldiers would be ready by February this year

In the interview set in Colombo’s presidential palace, Rajapakse said that a memorial for the IPKF soldiers is being built near the Sri Lankan Parliament and is expected to be ready by the Sri Lankan Independence Day, February 4. When asked whether there isn’t any gratitude for IPKF’s actions in Sri Lanka, Rajapakse was candid: “In the past, I will admit that they have not done that. We have not shown gratitude. But as soon as I came (to power on November 18, 2005) I ordered to build a monument for them and I will see that they finish that work before our Independence Day on 4 th February. It is under construction... near (Sri Lanka’s) Parliament.”

He added he didn’t think that this will be “an unpopular move”, although “LTTE may not like it”. On what the IPKF achieved for Sri Lanka that people at that point of time did not appreciate, he said, “That was a political campaign by Premadasa. If Premadasa had allowed IPKF at that time to continue for another few months, they would have done something substantial.”

Asked if that meant “finishing the LTTE”, the Sri Lankan President said, “In a way, yes, they would have at least given the Sri Lankan Army a better position.”

On Premadasa’s sabotage of the IPKF operation, Rajapakse said, “The problem was that he wanted to become the president of this country and wanted support of some of the extremists, some of the left parties.” On IPKF’s coming close to breaking the back of LTTE, he said, “First I think, they miscalculated the power of LTTE... but then only they were catching on. They were studying the ground situation and trying to consolidate themselves and that was the time they were sent out (by Premadasa)... only for a political issue.”

- Asian Tribune -

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