Opposition for domestic probe

Thursday, 18 December 2014 00:40 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The joint opposition led by Maithripala Sirisena does not support an international investigation in Sri Lanka but instead says it would strengthen domestic mechanisms. Former Minister Rajitha Senaratne also claimed that the Indian government has virtually given up on the promises of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. In a report on The Hindu newspaper, Senaratne said that Sri Lanka’s Northern Tamils cannot expect powers to be devolved as long as President Mahinda Rajapaksa is in power. “The President never wanted to give anything to the northern people,” he said, alleging that even the development taken up there was solely for the purpose of commissions. “The development has not benefitted the people of the area. They have not been given employment,” he said, less than a month ahead of the 8 January elections. So far neither the joint opposition he is part of, nor the ruling coalition he left, has spoken about substantive devolution of political rights to the country’s Tamil minority in its campaign. On why he did not speak out when he was still with the government, Senaratne claimed he had been complaining even then. “Within the government I was struggling to get some social and political reforms implemented. I left the government when I knew nothing will ever come through with this President,” Senaratne said. Senaratne said some of the old timers in the Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) had been trying to push political reforms such as the abolition of the executive presidency – which has now emerged as one of the key campaign points – a political solution to the Tamil question, good governance ‘like in India’; independence of the Election Commission, the Public Services Commission and the judiciary. “President Rajapaksa promised to do all that, but never kept his word. I realised there was no point expecting anything from this government, and it is better to have our own process,” said the former Fisheries Minister.