`New Delhi won’t listen to political jokers in Tamil Nadu’

December 7th, 2008 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Manmohan SinghColombo, Dec 7 (IANS) The Sri Lankan Army chief has said that the Congress-led Indian government would not listen to “the political jokers” in Tamil Nadu and insist that Colombo go for a ceasefire with the Tamil Tiger rebels.Army Chief Lt.Gen. Sarath Fonseka, in an interview with the state-run Sunday Observer, expressed confidence that the Indian government “is not interested in a ceasefire in Sri Lanka” as it has listed the LTTE as a terrorist organization and handed the rebel chief a death sentence for his links with the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“The Indian government has already expressed its view on the Sri Lankan issue and Prime Minister Singh has enough problems after the Mumbai terrorist attack. They are against the LTTE and nothing in favour of the LTTE would happen,” the Sunday Observer has quoted the army chief as saying.

General Fonseka, whose term of office has been extended by one more year, has said that India “cannot just look the other side when it comes to Tamil sentiments” and was keen to ensure that innocent civilians were not harmed during military operation.

“That is why India is sending food and other relief to make sure that innocent Tamils are not suffering. That is their concern and Sri Lanka gives our fullest co-operation to ensure that innocent Tamils are not harmed…. That is what India expects from us,” Fonseka said.

The Sri Lankan Army chief’s remarks have come at a time when New Delhi is increasingly under pressure from its coalition partners in Tamil Nadu led by ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and its allies in the state assembly for an immediate truce in Sri Lanka.

On Dec 4, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi held a special meeting in New Delhi with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress President Sonia Gandhi to reiterate his call for an immediate truce in Sri Lanka.

Immediately after the meeting in New Delhi he announced that Manmohan Singh would send Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee to Colombo ’soon’ to persuade peace talks with the LTTE after declaring a truce. The Prime Minister’s office neither confirmed nor denied the statement of Karunanidhi.

Despite bad weather and heavy LTTE resistance, Sri Lankan troops advancing in several directions were said to be within the striking distance of LTTE’s one time political power centre - Kilinochchi town, lying 350 km north of here.

Claiming that the advancing troops “will definitely capture” Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu from the LTTE, the army chief has said that the “only option that will be left for the LTTE (thereafter) is just to jump to the sea or to bite cyanide capsules”.

Responding to a question on the charges that Sri Lankan security forces do not have concerns about civilians when attacking the LTTE, General Fonseka has said that “these allegations are made only by the corrupt politicians in Tamil Nadu who have been bribed by the LTTE”.

“Though they are very much aware that the civilians are not getting killed in any of these military operations they try to utter some words on behalf of the LTTE as their survival depends on the LTTE,” Fonseka said.

“If the LTTE is wiped out, those political jokers like Nadumaran, Vaiko and whoever who sympathizes with the LTTE will most probably lose their income from the LTTE,” the army chief has been quoted as saying.

Pointing out that the LTTE activities had caused much problems in Tamil Nadu, he warned that the LTTE’s ideology for a separate state could endanger the sovereignty of India.

“If you consider the overall thing, the LTTE’s separate state ideology is a threat to India, because this ideology will spread in Tamil Nadu too. It is now proved by Tamil Nadu by staging protests against the Indian government and seeking help to take the side of the LTTE,” the Sri Lankan Army chief has said.

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