Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday warned that Tamil Tiger chief Velupillai Prabhakaran will now have to "face consequences for his acts" against the state during the past three decades, as he has snubbed a pardon by not surrendering during the last and final ultimatum that ended on Tuesday noon.
"Prabhakaran has spurned the possibility of pardon by us. In doing so, by not giving up arms and surrendering as required, he must now face the consequences of his acts," the President said.
The President's remarks came a day after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam ignored Colombo's 24-hour ultimatum to surrender, even as 100,000 people have fled the LTTE-held areas and came to the government-held areas.
Speaking to a group of party supporters at the tightly guarded official residence, Temple Trees, Rajapaksa said that in keeping with the traditions of Buddhism, the government was ready to pardon those ready to change their ways to a better path.
He pointed out that the government "has shown such clemency to Karuna Amman and Pillaiyan (former LTTE leaders of the East who had defected from the outfit in 2004)," who had been rehabilitated in democracy, and were now a minister and chief minister respectively.
"Such clemency would have been possible for Prabhakaran if he had surrendered, given up arms and abandoned violence," the president said.
He said the LTTE was facing an imminent defeat with the troops effectively cornering them into a small land strip in the Mullaitivu district. The defence ministry said two LTTE leaders, Velayuthan Thayanithi alias Daya Master and Kumar Pancharathnam alias George, have sought refuge with the Sri Lanka Army.
George, a retired postmaster, had been the official translator for political wing head S.P. Thamilselvan, who was killed in a Sri Lankan Air Force raid in November 2007. He is fluent in Tamil, Sinhala and English languages and had accompanied Thamilselvan in all the six rounds of peace talks with the Sri Lankan government between 2002 and 2006 in various foreign capitals.
Daya Master, a former English teacher at a school in the north, has been coordinating and organising interviews with the LTTE political wing leaders for the local and foreign media organisations, mainly during the 2002 Norway-brokered truce period. The government in July 2006 allowed Daya Master to be brought to the Apollo Hospital in Colombo for treatment of his heart ailment.