The Sri Lankan Minister for National Heritage, Anura Bandaranaike, has told The Sunday Leader that if the Mahinda Rajapaksa government does not provide adequate security for his sister and former President Chandrika Bandaranike Kumaratunga, the family will get "Indian security" for her!
"She remains a prime target of the LTTE. She was nearly killed. She deserves ample security and nobody should deny her that. If the President is unable to grant the former President sufficient security due to the military engagement or any other reasons, we will get herIndian security," he told the latest edition of the opposition paper.
The government had drastically scaled down her security following a Supreme Court judgement, which said that she was enjoying undue privileges as a former President.
Bandaranaike said that his sister had been told by the family that she should not come back to Sri Lanka after her daughter's wedding inLondon because the security provided for her was inadequate. "It is unsafe for her to return without sufficient security," he said.
Kumaratunga was attacked by an LTTE suicide bomber in 1999 and she had lost an eye in the blast. "She nearly died and remains on the hit list despite not holding any political office," Bandaranaike said.
"The judiciary has no business to reduce the security of a person who is under grave threat," he added.
Ungrateful to India
Bandaranaike ,whose relations with the President Rajapaksa have been very unsteady, said that it was "vain and childish" to imagine ( assome in the government seemed to do) that LTTE would one day attack India and that India had to be sensitised to this to make it fullysupport Sri Lanka's policy on the Tamil question.
"India will never ever be an LTTE target. India can blast the day lights out of the LTTE," he said.
Any attempt to drag in India would fail because it would not be 'fooled' again, he warned.
Recalling the earlier Indian attempt in the 1980s to bring peace to Sri Lanka by sending the Indian Army, Bandaranaike said that the SriLankans had not been grateful.
"They (Indians) lost their cadres, got ingratitude in return, and a promising opposition politician Rajiv Gandhi was killed. Up to now wehave not even put a monument in his honour. The SLFP (the ruling Sri Lanka Freedom Party) with which the Gandhis were so closely linkedalso did not do it which is a crying shame. India is bitter about all these. We are an ungrateful people and it shows," he said.
Although Bandaranaike is now talking of the Sri Lankans' ingratitude to India and is thinking of getting Indian security for his sister and former President, he had earlier, as Minister of Tourism, lambasted India in parliament for interfering in the internal affairs of Sri Lanka.
Specifically targeting the then Indian High Commissioner, Nirupama Rao, he said that she was a 'pretty' lady but she had better mind her own business and let Sri Lankans run their affairs. The remark, made in parliament, went un-countered on the floor of the House, much to India's dismay.