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Lanka govt attacks UN report

world Updated: Apr 28, 2011 00:39 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The government on Wednesday launched a scathing attack on the UN, calling the release of its report divisive and publishing in a mouthpiece the well recognised photograph of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, moments before an LTTE suicide bomber attacked him in an election rally.

A statement from the ministry of external affairs criticised the public release of the expert panel's report to United Nations (UN) on accountability in Sri Lanka, saying it would disrupt efforts to usher in peace in the country.

It, however, added that the government-constituted Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) could look in allegations - deaths of thousands of civilians, for one -- levelled by the report if the Commission so wished.

"This (the UN panel report) material can be looked at by the LLRC should it wish to do so, depending on its own assessment of the contents," the statement said.

Apart from a terse and critical statement from the ministry of external affairs, the government also used its mouthpiece newspaper, the Daily News, to attack the UN. Picking up a line from the report, which called LTTE a "disciplined militant group", the newspaper published gory photographs of massacres carried out by the Tamil Tigers.

One photograph showed former prime minister, Rajiv Gandhi, being greeted by supporters minutes before a suicide bomber exploded herself near him at a rally in Sriperumbudur in Tamil Nadu in 1991. In the inset, it showed the Tamil Tiger suicide bomber, Dhanu.

The newspaper called the UN report a "childish attempt at whitewashing the LTTE, which emerged as the world's most brutal terror outfit."

In its official statement, the government said, "The public release of the Report at this stage is divisive, and disrupts our efforts to reinforce peace, security and stability in Sri Lanka. It feeds into the political agendas of interested parties."

It added that the LLRC, constituted to investigate the last years of the war, was already working towards reconciliation.

"The areas in which action has already commenced relate to land issues, law and order, administration and language issues as well as socio-economic and livelihood issues. The conclusions of the externally constituted "Darusman Panel" working from New York should not take precedence over the conclusions, still awaited, of the domestic process," the statement said.