International » South Asia

Updated: March 2, 2013 16:15 IST

Rajapaksa denies Army killed Balachandran

R. K. Radhakrishnan
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A file photo of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
A file photo of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Even India was “harassed” by UNHCR over Kashmir, he says

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied that the Army killed LTTE chief Prabakaran’s 12-year-old son Balachandran.

“Had it happened, I would have known [it]. It is obvious that if somebody [from the armed forces] had done that, I must take responsibility. We completely deny it. It can’t be,” he told The Hindu in an exclusive interview.

On new evidence of wrongdoing in the final stages of the war in 2009, collated by international organisations and media outlets, he said that putting out such reports and videos was their job. “We must not merely look at one side. They must not merely listen to one group and the Opposition [in Sri Lanka]. So they [the Opposition] are trying to get the support of other countries to create an ‘Arab Spring’ here. That won’t happen in Sri Lanka.”

Provincial elections

Asked whether he would hold the Northern provincial elections in September, as he had told this newspaper, Mr. Rajapaksa said: “Yes, we will hold [the poll] in September. That’s why we have postponed the other [provincial] elections too. I did not want to face the criticism that I was doing it only because I had no intention of holding the Northern provincial elections.” The North would have powers which are “not more, not less” than those enjoyed by the eight other provinces.

On the coming U.S.-sponsored resolution at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), Mr. Rajapaksa said Jaffna was provided with all infrastructure just three years after the war ended. “Who did this within three years? Anybody who has come and seen it has talked about it positively and has commended us.”

Even India was “harassed” by the UNHRC over Kashmir, he said. “Sri Lanka is like a volley ball. Everyone is taking turns punching it to cover up their sins.”

On the issue of a political solution for the Tamil people, he said that unless the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an umbrella group of Tamil parties, joined the Parliamentary Select Committee, there could be no way forward. “Without TNA [on the committee], I will not be able to do anything… Earlier, all the leaders gave their solutions from the top. It has failed. The 13th Amendment has failed. Everything has failed,” he said.

Mr. Rajapaksa allayed fears that MPs of the majority community would hijack the agenda, pointing out that some individuals and parties in the government would not allow it to happen.

The President said he had not discussed with India its support to Sri Lanka at the UNHRC. “India must know its duty, as a neighbour…, as a friend of Sri Lanka. I can’t dictate to India.”

Referring to External Affairs Minister Salman Kurshid’s comments in Parliament on accountability for alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, he insisted that Sri Lanka had held people accountable for excesses. “We have filed cases… We have handed down punishments. But this can be done only as per the laws of this country…I have released 14,000 [LTTE] prisoners, who had serious charges against them like murder, after a process of rehabilitation. Had I filed cases against the 14,000 people, what would have happened? I am a Buddhist. We have tolerance and compassion. There are still some more people [of the LTTE] in prison. We are examining ways…to release them.”

Sri Lanka’s relations with India were fine after the 2012 vote in Geneva. “There are many incidents to show that the relationship is good. We don’t hold… Indian fishermen who routinely fish in our waters…Thousands of fishermen are crossing and fishing…We sent so many Indian prisoners back home. Despite incidents in Tamil Nadu [where Sri Lankan pilgrims were sent back], there has not been any incident [involving] Indians in Sri Lanka. I understand that there are people who want India to have some confrontation with Sri Lanka… It is all politically motivated,” he said.

It is big shame that THE HINDU is giving big coverage to Rajapaksa

from:  Karthik Balasubramanian
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 16:10 IST

War crimes committed by Srilankan army (with evidences that are proved beyond doubt) are available in plenty with the International community. An international investigation must be conducted and these evidences should be used to take the action forward to punish the war criminals.

from:  Janakiraman
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 15:12 IST

UN human rights association should conduct independent investigation by meeting ethnic tamils all over Srilanka on a scheduled basis (a week in Kilinochchi, a week in Jaffna and so on..) and produce an indepth & detailed report based on the findings. This action will answer few of the thousand queries like
1. More accurate number of civilians killed.
2. How many civilians are missing and what (could have) happened to them?
3. What is the current situation of the Tamils in Srilanka?
4. What do the Tamils think is a solution to this ethnic problem?
5. How can the international community help them to lead a life of dignity in future with proper rehabilitation and political power?

Members of the UN human rights association should spend few months of their time in Srilanka for the cause of humanity.

from:  Janakiraman
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 15:09 IST

If putting out such reports and videos was job of international organisations and
media outlets, then why not give your consent for an independent inquiry and clear
your self. Or else accept that you are a 'war criminal'

from:  A.M.Thanam
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 14:37 IST

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa is telling lies. If his army did not kill Balachandran, then who killed him? Where is he now? Let him produce in front of the public. He has given free hand to kill the Tamils, whether they are affiliated to LTTE or not. Only financial sanction and some kind of warning only keep this man from harassing the Tamils in Sri Lanka.

from:  K.J.Haroon Basha
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 14:34 IST

DBS Jeyaraj who used to write columns in "The Hindu" and has been a veteran in Srilankan affairs, knows the truth. Several months ago, he wrote in one of his comments that Balachandiran was killed in captivity. By reproducing an article published in Lankawebnews (the article states the name of people involved in the barbaric act), he has shed light into the killing of Balachandiran. That is Balachandiran was brutally killed by SL army in captivity.

from:  Krishna
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 14:04 IST

Tamils of Sri Lanka must get justice and equal status in that country.
India must do more and bring pressure on Sri lanka to bring to book who
committed crimes against Tamils. But Indians must remember that British
are the world's top champion of divide and rule. They are trying to
drive a wedge between Indian Government and Sri lanka. Once this divide
is complete then Either China or Pak or British themselves will benefit.

from:  masa
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 13:36 IST

"It’s all lies and half-truths",well this is exactly what I felt like
saying while hearing what the president of Sri Lanka Mahinda Rajapakse
said,that he was 100% sure that the Sri Lankan army was not involved
in the killing of young Balachandran.How could it ever be
possible,here we have a man who personally oversaw the military
exercice that literally slaughtered the Tamils in the island nation
and today suddenly is coming clean and saying that he was not aware of
anything.More outraging is equating Kashmir issue with the ethnic
strife in Sri Lanka,the genesis,purpose and nature of strife are
totally different in both the cases.No patriotic Tamil in India would
ever say that LTTE was perfect and impeccable in their ideals and were
right in their approach,but the ethnic strife was an outcome of long
standing suppression and exploitation inflicted by successive
sinhalese regime on innocent Tamils.But the issue of Balachandran
killing is an clear mockery of human rights and war ethics..

from:  Venkataramanan Ramasethu
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 13:26 IST

Good he himself takes the responsibility for all his armies action.
now let us push for a free and fair international investigation in
to the ever continuing tamil genocide and decide if he is guilty or

from:  vetri
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 13:17 IST

Hi Naidu Ji,
It is true that Prabhakaran and his LTTE group committed atrocities.But what about the srilankan army did in the final stages of the war?
Finally it was the commmon srilankan Tamil who lost everthing in
a struggle which they never advocated for and suffering in the long run.
Sir Can you please shed some tears for the innocent son of Prabhakaran who was brutally

from:  syam
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 13:16 IST

While we cannot forget or deny the atrocities by both sides in this
matter, it is extremely disturbing and heart bleeding that a child was
shot at point blank range- the only reason being LTTE leaders son. Can
anyone predict a child how he will be as a grown up adult. Going to
take up arms or become a saint? A child is a child.

Looking back into history any so called leaders who tried ethnic
cleansing or involved in mass killings have paid their dues rightly
before their death. All it takes is time- we will wait and see....

from:  Ramkumar
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 13:13 IST

That the Sri Lankan government indulged in the worst form of carnage during its internecine conflict with the Tamil tigers is now more or less an accepted fact, given the figures of civilian casualties, rapes etc. The Sri Lankan President can go blue in his face denying the accusations but the world community cannot be convinced by just glib talk. The onus is on them to provide proof that their army did not participate in wanton killings and that will certainly be a tough task.

from:  C V ARAVIND
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 12:32 IST

The simple, emotional conclusion that many of us draw in the anger over a child being killed is that someone must be guilty, particularly those in the first in line of responsibility. It is no secret that the LTTE systematically eliminated other parties that were representing Tamil interests, in order to establish absolute dominance on that front. What is to eliminate this act as one of revenge from other Tamil factions? Truth is, we don't know, and the LTTE has not made it easy for the Sri Lankan government to be humane towards Tamil people during battle. The LTTE used such humane viewpoints as strategic advantages, using women and children as human shields. Which is lower moral ground? Sadly, this is the direction this argument is heading in.

from:  B S Kumar
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 12:26 IST

KN Naidu ji,

Ethnic cleansing - killing kids?

from:  Kmadhari
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 11:55 IST

Then, who were those people in that typical army dress portrayed by the cruel photographs? Were they men from LTTE? I don't think LTTE would take a chance to end the life of it's heir.

from:  Harish Kumar H S
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 11:50 IST

It appears that the parties who float baseless allegations never want these to be investigated or solved. They want to keep them as mysteries in order to tarnish the country's good image as and when it suits their agendas. SL repeatedly requested C4 to provide originals of documents and videos to analyse but they never responded. If Channel 4 was interested in having these investigated, it should cooperate with credible evidence with SL GOVERNMENT and SL would institute a probe.

from:  Jaya
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 11:28 IST

Sri Lanka’s relations with India were fine after the 2012 vote in Geneva. “There are many incidents to show that the relationship is good. We don’t hold… Indian fishermen who routinely fish in our waters…Thousands of fishermen are crossing and fishing…We sent so many Indian prisoners back home. Despite incidents in Tamil Nadu [where Sri Lankan pilgrims were sent back], there has not been any incident [involving] Indians in Sri Lanka. I understand that there are people who want India to have some confrontation with Sri Lanka… It is all politically motivated,” he said.

from:  Rajisha
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 11:20 IST

He is the honest man on the earth. If he has nothing to hide the best way to prove his
"innocence" to allow the international investigators to come and verify the truth. This will
prove the governments claim that no one was killed after surrendering to the government

from:  Jega
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 09:48 IST

In the process of reconciliation and peace, denying a brutal crime is of
counterproductive.There are ample evidence pointing towards the
involvement of army. What is needed is to fix responsibilities and
bring to book those who are guilty.

from:  Ramesh
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 09:13 IST

Colombo media sources such as Lanka News Web (February 14) had
identified that Balachandran Prabhakaran was killed under the
supervision of the Commander of the 53rd Brigade Brigadier Kamal
Gunaratne. And Gunaratne had informed the Defence Secretary Gothabaya
Rajapaksa, the Presidential sibling.

from:  Sachi Sri Kantha
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 08:51 IST

Ofcourse he is going to deny it. The report which published the killing was not written by a Hindu correspondent.
Newspapers have to keep their sources happy or they will not get news. Journalists only do their jobs while publishing reports. It is for readers to make their own judgements.
Newspapers should encourage their journalists to travel on their own and not on any jaunts to make their own independent decisions. There are millions of displaced Tamils throughout the world. Tamils who are contributing to the growth of different nations. Journalists can interact with these people and get some of the facts verified. Even several Sinhalese who have moved to these countries give horrifying accounts of the acts by the army. The problem is most newspapers and journalists identify the Tamils with the LTTE. Many Tamils did not support the movement. Globally, the LTTE was seen the voice of the Tamils but it was not necessary so. Here we are discussing the death of an innocent child.

from:  shiva
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 08:41 IST

What is wrong even if the Sri Lankan Army killed Balachandran, son of Mr.Prabakaran? It was known that the entire family of Mr.Prabakaran was very much dangerous to the world with their terrorist activities. Better these politicians stop the crocodile tears for that family. What was these human right activists were doing when Mr.Prabakaran and his gang was killing the Indian people too without any mercy & waged a war against a country, Sri Lanka? It was better that Balachandran was killed at the right time & before he took up the reins from his father & become uncontrollable with revengeful mind.

from:  KN Naidu
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 08:16 IST

India aleady failed against Sri lanka.Indian diplomacy is no match to Sri lankan diplomacy. The final outcome would be a complete rejection of the Congress and its ally in Tamilnadu.Of course there will be no representation for the Congress and its ally in the next Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha if the Centre persists with its present policy of appeasing Rajapaksa and his coterie in Colombo.Perhaps Rajapaksa might have won the war,but lost the confidence of his powerful minority citizens perpetually and result in Sri lanka remain a battleground permanently. Rajapaksa failed to transform himself as Asoka of Sri lanka.

from:  sundresan
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 07:38 IST

Instead that the Rajapakse regime and his leadership have failed on the Tamils, Rajapakse is blaming others.

Blame game is over and TNA has no confidence in the Regime that committed crimes against humanity. Rajapakse's and others speeches were rhetoric against the Tamils and the world is not foolish to listen to his words and actions. The time has come for accountability and whoever supporting the alleged war criminal regime will only tarnish their name. Indian UPA regime is the only large democratic nation that is entertaining the alleged war criminal regime. The Western leaders are aware of the mudslinging by the Indian UPA regime and it's time to ignore India to find a solution to the Eelam issue.

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 07:09 IST

Well, find out who did the crime, and punish them. I cannot believe that the troops would not have got precise instructions how to deal with the top rebels and their families.

If Sri Lanka wants to be respected, then stop this charade and find the truth (if it is not already known), and take the necessary action, and inform the world!

from:  Kumar
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 06:39 IST

Atleast Adolf and his henchmen had the decency to admit to what they

from:  Venky
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 06:36 IST

If we leave this man to speak he will not hesitate to say that
young Kid was killed by his own father. He and his Indian well wishers
wants Tamils to live as permanent slaves to sinhalavas.

from:  Paris EJILAN
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 05:35 IST

If no one has killed Balachandran, where is he, if dead who did this crime?

from:  V.Sivasubramaniam
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 05:28 IST

Much like the German holacaust denial after the Second World War in spite of evidence to the contrary, the leader of the Sinhalese denies the murder, rape and extra judicial killings of the Tamils in 2009. This is a travesty in light of the available evidence.
Gravest war crimes were committed in 2009 against the Tamil population, there is ample footage, witnesses and satellite corroboration, the world needs to act as India will never take the lead on this due to its complicity in this genocide.

from:  Rajasekar Thunghabadra
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 04:57 IST

Why should we believe this man? After a couple of years he will say
that there were no Tamils in Sri Lanka. He lives on lies. He cannot
wash away his sins visiting Tirupathi or Budhgaya. Who take a sword
lives by it and dies by it. Same fate to this man too.

from:  Jagan
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 03:50 IST

The International community waited four years and no credible investtigation of the genocide and war crimes yet.

It's time for a forceful investigation by the International body to bring the perpetrators to justice!

from:  Shiva
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 03:15 IST

Is Srilanka a democratic nation? Srilanka is no India, He has no rights to refer Kashmir when he hasnt given equal power to all the people like all race, religion have in India. India had a Muslim as a president, Sikh as a prime minister, a catholic as a ruling party's president, in India everyone are equal, will this be ever possible in his nation or can he even guarantee this? All he wants is a dictatorship.

from:  PSMAYO
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 00:11 IST

Ok..Then who killed him? What about the other videos which shows women
and children running for cover ? what about other testimonies of young
men and women who claim on video that they were tortured... if it is not
your army whose army was that? It is time that he is tried in
international court.

from:  Vijayan
Posted on: Mar 2, 2013 at 00:03 IST

sir..the hindu cant afford to still believe and support this world's never seen before dictator...pls i request you to empathize with our emotions

from:  vincent
Posted on: Mar 1, 2013 at 23:50 IST

Ofcourse he will deny. So who killed?

His goal is simple, Make the North and east provinces to have as many sinhalese as the tamils. That way the question of devolution of power will not arise. This systematic recalibration of the population has been attempted by many tyrants in the history. They have all been punished. Rajapakse can run from everything. He cannot run away from truth.

from:  Karthik
Posted on: Mar 1, 2013 at 23:43 IST
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