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Lanka says India being misled by LTTE

The SL Govt has reacted firmly to the message sent by India on Monday that it was both concerned and unhappy at the plight of Tamil civilians in the north of the country, where armed forces are locked in battle with the LTTE.

world Updated: Oct 08, 2008 00:01 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

The Sri Lanka government has reacted firmly to the message sent by India on Monday that it was both concerned and unhappy at the plight of Tamil civilians in the north of the country, where armed forces are locked in battle with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Foreign minister Rohitha Bogollagama read out a carefully worded statement in Parliament on Tuesday.

The crux of it was that India had been mislead by LTTE propaganda, civilian casualty had been kept at minimum, and that the Tigers did not represent the Tamil community. But he also made it clear that the Sri Lankan government would continue the military offensive against the LTTE, which he added, were now confined to the Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu districts.

Bogollagama said the LTTE had managed to mislead Sri Lanka's “friends” about the situation in the north. “It’s unfortunate that some of our friends too have been influenced by this malicious propaganda,” Bogollagama said, soon after mentioning that Narayanan had expressed concern on the situation in Sri Lanka.

He said: “The critics of Sri Lanka and sympathisers of the LTTE are attempting to portray a misleading and totally false notion that the government is opting for a military solution to address the problems of the minorities.'”

Bogollagama added the LTTE did not represent the Tamil community in Sri Lanka. “Therefore, military action against the LTTE should never be perceived as action against our brethren, the Tamil community. We are concerned about them and will work with them to ensure their welfare, security and aspirations since they are our fellow citizens,” he said.