The government has an obligation to protect the
dignity of the minorities and ensure their rights
are preserved, Fisheries and Aquatic Resources
Minister Dr Rajitha Senaratne said.
Giving submissions at to the Lessons Learnt and
Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), the Minister
admitted that Tamils do have a problem in this
country and those problems needed to be addressed
In his submissions, the Minister said he was
representing the people and not the cabinet and that
his views would reflect the thoughts of the common
Dr Senaratne briefed the commission on the history
that led to the 30-year-old war and blamed it on the
politicians of that time.
He pointed out that the ethic question had
resulted in loss of lives.
“Whether a friend or a foe, all those who died were
citizens of this country. We could have saved a
large number of people if we could have solved the
problem at an early stage,” Dr Senaratne told the
The Minister said the country gained independence
through the struggles of many people belonging to
“The problem arose when we tried to share the
independence we gained,” he said.
Dr Senaratne, in his submissions, pointed out the
fate of several peace agreements between the Sinhala
and Tamil political leaders since independence due
to various issues during the time.
He said former prime minister SWRD Bandaranaike had
to tear the Banda-Chelva pact because of a strong
opposition by the Buddhist clergy.
“In 1967, the Dudley-Chelva pact was opposed by
Sirima Bandaranaike due to the prevalent political
situation at the time,” he said.
“In the 1950s Tamils demanded a separate state.
Dr Senaratne said the demands of the Tamil
politicians were later converted into a propaganda
campaign for a separate state by the latter part of
“There was no Mahatma Gandhi to come above such
political issues,” he said.
He blamed the Tamil politicians of the time for
declaring a separate state and campaigning for the
same, which was taken seriously by the youth.
“The youth of the north took forward the drive of a
separate state. This led to an armed struggle,” he
Dr Senaratne pointed out that no other governments
in the world had faced a guerrilla organisation like
“It (LTTE) had its own air force, navy, multi
barrels and submarines,” he added.
Dr Senaratne admitted to the commission that Tamils
had a problem and said terrorism was not an answer
to the problem.
“I am against terrorism, whether in the north or
south. As a result I have four shrapnel in my body
three from the south and one from the north,” he
He said each community had its own dignity and that
needed to be accepted and respected by the other
communities in the country.
“We could defeat terrorism by arms, but not the
dignity of a nation in that manner,” he said.
He pointed out that the country’s development
progress was severely hampered due to the conflict.
“Sri Lanka has a history of more than 2,500 years.
Even countries like Bangladesh, which was formed
recently, have overtaken us,” Dr Senaratne added.
Further in his submissions, Dr Senaratne said the
country was blessed with a golden opportunity to
solve the long standing ethnic issue as terrorism
has been defeated.
“Even the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which acted
as the rubber stamp of the LTTE, is in a position to
think and express its views in an independent
“The President also is in a very good position to
work towards it. The people too will not have any
doubts on the steps taken by him,” he added.
Dr Senaratne blamed the LTTE for the failure of the
According to the Minister, the LTTE was not genuine
towards the peace process and it was evident when
the outfit called upon the people to boycott the
2005 Presidential election.