Defence secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday cited the example of the first batch of Indian doctors who treated the internally displaced Tamils in 2009 to argue that Sri Lanka did not have anything to hide about civilian casualties.
Deposing before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), set-up to look into the last years of the civil conflict, Rajapaksa said the Indian medical team was the first one to treat those displaced who were evacuated by ship from the final theatre of battle. In March, 2009, a team of Indian doctors had set up a field hospital in Pulmodai, near the east coast.
"They were brought to the (Indian) hospital. They (Indian doctors) were the ones to receive them…to treat them and send them to other places. There was nothing we were hiding," Rajapaksa said.
But in June this year, a doctor from the second Indian team to be dispatched here had told HT that there were "massive casualties, both dead and injured, during the last phase of the battle that got over in May, 2009.
Rajapaksa said more than 6000 armed forces personnel were killed and over 30000 injured during the final few years of the conflict.
"Number of people killed in the LTTE side would be much more. Nobody talks about LTTE's casualties. Everybody talks about civilian casualty. It is difficult to make out civilian casualty. This is clear evidence of how LTTE used civilians as (human) shield," he said.