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Fonseka lashes out at Govt

world Updated: May 20, 2010 19:13 IST

The prospects of peace and Sri Lanka's economic revival after the defeat of the Tamil Tigers have been replaced with political persecution and despair, detained former army chief Sarath Fonseka said on Thursday.

Fonseka said the current government failed to convert the success of the 2009 military victory into a new era of peace. For the common man, he added, the threat of a suicide bomber had been substituted with the fear of political harassment.

The former army chief, who has been under military custody since February 8, was speaking to reporters in Parliament. Fonseka won a Parliamentary seat in the April 8 general election and is allowed to attend Parliament under heavy security.

"When I ended the war last year, there was hope in the country of an economic revival and a sense of freedom," Fonseka, considered a key strategist in defeating the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) after decades of bloody conflict, said.

"Last year around this time I was the main national hero, but today I am a political prisoner," Fonseka said.

The former army chief attacked against President Mahinda Rajapaksa claiming that Rajapaksa had announced the end of the war on May 19 even before the death of LTTE chief V Prabhakaran.

According to Fonseka, when Rajapaksa addressed Parliament on May 19, announcing the end of the war, Prabhakaran was alive. And that it was Fonseka himself who confirmed to Rajapaksa - after the President's Parliament address - that the Tiger chief was dead.

But when questioned about how he could be so sure that the LTTE chief had been killed on May 19 and not a day or two before, Fonseka said "only a soothsayer or a forensic test could confirm that and the body wasn't decomposed."

Fonseka said he backed mounting international calls for war crimes investigations.

"My position is that no war crimes were committed, but if there are specific allegations they must be investigated," he said.