Gotabhaya Rajapakse has spoken to Uthayan, during his trip to India, regarding his stance on the 13th Amendment, and questions of demilitarisation in the North. Extracts translated below:
Uthayan: Are you absolutely firm in your position [regarding the 13th Amendment]?
GR: Absolutely. My opinion on the 13th Amendment is firm. The Amendment was only introduced to solve Prabhakaran’s problem. But even Prabhakaran rejected it. Then the TNA had nothing to say, and it’s amusing that they are now raising their voices and crying out for the 13th Amendment.
Uthayan: Are you saying in that case, that the 13th Amendment will not resolve any problems?
GR: Absolutely. It may help with some administrative problems, but this amendment will never provide any realistic, practical solutions.
Uthayan: The TNA pointed out to India that the number of soldiers in the North and East need to be reduced and that military camps in the region need to be abolished. Did you receive any pressure from India concerning this during your trip?
GR: I received no such pressure from India, and there is no need for India to give it. The TNA are creating problems. Whether it is in the North or the South of the country, army camps are essential for national security. When it comes to security, there is no distinction between North, East, South or West.
Some of India’s key military bases are located in Tamil Nadu. Has anyone ever said that they need to be abolished in Tamil Nadu? The TNA are being worse than the Tigers. We will not compromise the defence of our country in order to bend to pressure from anyone.
The TNA is creating an outcry about the 13th Amendment. But does the 13th Amendment say anything about abolishing army camps in the North and East? The TNA needs to dissolve its act and come forward in a straightforward manner.
Courtesy – Tamil Guardian