Promising to rehabilitate soon the 1.85 lakh civilians who fled the LTTE-held areas, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said the Tamil diaspora should realise that the rebels were killing innocent people by weapons purchased from the money collected from them.
"What is going on in the North is a struggle to consolidate the right to life of the working and innocent people of this country," Rajapaksa said at a meeting organised in connection with the 'May Day' yesterday.
It is the responsibility of the government to resettle the civilians feeling the LTTE areas "as soon as possible" and to ensure their right to "an unhindered life," he said.
"I take responsibility to fulfil the basic needs of not only those who have crossed over but also those who are yet to cross over to Government-controlled areas," Rajapaksa said. "No foreign powers could dictate to us or impose conditions on how to develop our economy," he said.
Rajapaksa said the Tiger rebels were shooting Tamil civilians by weapons purchased from the money of the Tamil diaspora and aid received from foreign powers. "Those who protest in front of our embassies and stone them as well as the international community should understand this truth," Rajapaksa said.
The security forces have by now almost defeated terrorism which was a burden on the country for three decades, he said. "As long as the working people are with us we are very strong. Our working people are intelligent and patriotic," Rajapaksa told representatives of constituent parties of the ruling United People's Freedom Alliance (UPFA).
"Their allegiance to us was proved by the Western Provincial Council (WPC) election results where the UPFA got nearly 70 per cent of the seats," he said. "If we had one more councillor we would have got two thirds' majority."
He appealed to all to unite to develop the country in the same manner as was done to overcome the tsunami tragedy. "Let us work and set an example to the world. Let us work to become a dignified nation and a developed country within two-three years. I appeal to the Sri Lankan diaspora to send us foreign exchange and invest in the country.
"My intention is to ensure the livelihood of the people who crossed over before giving political solutions. Let us give them food, shelter, water, electricity, schools, hospitals and ensure dividends of development to them," the President said.