Sri Lanka acknowledges 'massacre of Tamils'

More than five years after announcing the military defeat of  Tamil Tigers, Sri Lanka has publicly accepted that Tamil civilians were killed in the war.

Addressing the public at an election rally held in the Tamil dominated north campaigning to  re elect current president Mahinda Rajapaksa for a third term, a ruling party Tamil legislator said that the war was a massacre against Tamils. Parliamentary Committee Deputy leader Murugesu Chandrakumar of the EPDP said,  "Tamils should be aware that Maithripala Sirisena led the war during the final stages".

Acting Defence Minister

Maithripala Sirisena, the most prominent opposition candidate challenging Rajapaksa, has claimed that he was serving as acting defence minister in the absence of the president during the last days of the war in 2009 May where the Tamil Tigers were defeated militarily.

Ruling party parliamentarian Murugesu speaking at the meeting held in the Duraiappa stadium in Jaffna on the 2nd of January, said that the military chief who led the Tamil massacre Sarath Fonseka is also campaigning to bring former minister Sirisena to power.

'Humanitarian Operation'

Recalling former president Chandrika Bandaranaike's claim that she captured 75% of the north during her rule, parliamentarian Murugesu said that She should also share an equal amount of blame for the destruction of the north.

The UN has accepted that at least 70,000 unarmed civilians were killed during the war. Mannar Catholic Bishop Rayappu Joseph has revealed at the government appointed Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) that the whereabouts of over 1,46,000 people is unknown.

The government that describes its military operation in the North as a 'humanitarian operation' vehemently denies that any civilian was killed by its troops. It has also categorically denied allegations by international organisations led by the UN that illegal warfare including cluster munitions and heavy weapons against civilians were used in the war against Tamil militants.

Sri Lankans will vote on the 8th of January to elect their fifth executive president where opinion polls forecast a tough battle between the president in office and the former general secretary of his political party, Maithripala Sirisena.