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India accused of forcing ceasefire on Sri Lanka

November 13, 2008

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COLOMBO, Nov 12: A week after President Mahinda Rajapakse told parliament that he was ready to welcome the LTTE into mainstream politics if the rebels were willing to enter the democratic process, a former Tamil Tiger rebel, now the chief minister of the Eastern Province, has accused India of forcing a ceasefire on Sri Lanka.

The accusation comes nearly a month after New Delhi began applying pressure on Colombo for halting operation against the Tamil Tigers.

Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan, widely known as Pillayan, who was appointed chief minister of the Eastern province following his paramilitary group’s split from the LTTE in 2004, has claimed that an Indian steered peace process with the LTTE would create a ‘disastrous’ situation in the east, a region from which the Tamil Tigers were fully ousted last year.

Mr Pillayan said at a function that India lacks a proper understanding of the ground situation in the north and east of the country.

TOTLA SURRENDER: Days after a pro rebel website reported that the Tigers were willing to consider a ceasefire, a government spokesman accused the LTTE of trying to buy time for regrouping under the cover of a ceasefire.

“We have seen this happening before. Now we will be more cautious. The past has taught us that we cannot trust them,” Keheliye Rambukwella told Dawn. “The government’s condition for the guerillas to re-enter the peace process would be a total surrender.”

Presenting the budget last week in parliament for the year 2009, President Mahinda Rajapakse had called upon the LTTE to lay down arms and join the “democratic mainstream”, warning the Tamil Tigers that if they did not heed his request, they would be ‘brought to their knees’.

The subsequent reply by the Tamil Tigers that they had never shied away from peace and were ready to enter the negotiation process followed soon after the statement by the president.