Hardeep Puri was Directly Involved in Indian Operation Against the JR Jayewardena Govt up to July 1987

ltte   Had the then Indian government acted with responsibility, Sri Lanka would not have experienced a 30-year war, Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa said yesterday.

People of all communities would have been still suffering horrors of war, if not for the eradication of terrorism in May 2009, following a three-year combined security forces campaign, the Defence Secretary said, noting that India could never absolve itself of the responsibility for creating terrorism here, though some of those directly involved in subverting Sri Lanka were blaming the Rajapaksa administration for the plight of Tamil speaking people here.

He was responding to former Indian Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hardeep Singh Puri.

Puri had been directly involved in the Indian operation against the then JRJ government in the run-up to the July 1987 Indo-Lanka Accord, Rajapaksa said, alleging that he was one of those aware of the Indian operations here.

The Defence Secretary said that both Hardeep S. Puri and his wife, Lakshmi had been attached to India’s mission in Colombo during the tenure of J. N. Dixit as India’s High Commissioner here.

Puri had now called for an investigation into what he called specific allegations of war crimes during the last 100 days of military operations. Those demanding accountability on Sri Lanka’s part for alleged atrocities committed during the last 100 days of the conflict were silent on the origin of terrorism here, the Defence Secretary said.

Rajapaksa said that Puri should realize that the Indian intervention here had caused a major regional crisis, when Indian trained Sri Lankan terrorists raided the Maldives in early November 1988. The international community should consider a comprehensive investigation into the issue beginning with the Indian intervention, he added.

India’s former Permanent Representative could help the investigation by revealing what was going on at that time.

The defence Secretary pointed out that Dixit, in his memoirs published during his tenure as the Foreign Secretary, had acknowledged that arming Sri Lankan Tamil youth was one of the two major policy blunders of the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Commenting on Puri’s allegation that he (Rajapaksa) wanted to do away with the provincial council system and criticism on recent attacks on Muslims in Colombo, the Defence Secretary said that the Indian official couldn’t be unaware of what the Norwegian mass killer Anders Breivik had said before he slaughtered 70 men, women and children. Breivik declared that he wanted to drive Muslims out of Europe the way northern Sri Lanka was cleansed of Muslims during 1990. The Norwegian was referring to massacres carried out by the LTTE during President Premadasa’s administration.

The Defence Secretary said that those critical of the Sri Lankan government should peruse former Indian Foreign Secretary Kanwal Sibal’s recent piece to India Today.

The LTTE had used children as cannon fodder and Prabhakaran had forced the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) to recognize the LTTE as the sole representative of Tamil speaking people. The TNA couldn’t even finalize its candidates’ list for parliamentary polls without Prabhakaran’s approval, the Defence Secretary said, alleging some interested parties were reluctant to acknowledge the fact that Sri Lanka was a much better place today without the  LTTE.(Courtesy: The Island)

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