Gotabhaya gave orders to evict Tamils - paper
[TamilNet, Sunday, 24 June 2007, 04:00 GMT]
Minutes of a Security Coordinating Conference held at the Sri Lanka's Ministry of Defence on 31 May, attended by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, proved "conclusively that the order for the eviction of Tamil civilians from the city were given directly by Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa...The minutes also make the startling revelation that the Defence Secretary ordered for some of the evicted persons to be placed in IDP centres manned in the north and east," said Sunday Leader, a Colombo-based weekly in the weekend edition.
The Minutes dated 4 June, signed by Lt Col N.M. Hettiarachchi, secretary to the the Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, was circulated to Chief of Defence Staff Donald Perera, IGP Victor Perera, Major General L.A.D. Amaratunga, Major General (Retd) A.M. Senevirathne and Major General (Retd) H.K.G. Hendawitharana, the paper said.
The Secretary Defence wanted to monitor and conduct a census to check Tamil civilians who have come from the north and east.
"After identifying those who have come to Colombo from other areas, they should either be sent back to their native places or IDP centers manned in north and east. If there are any LTTE suspects, arrest them and hand over to detention camp at Boossa immediately," directed the Defence Secretary, the paper said.
Sunday Leader also asserted that "The minutes do not state the Tamil civilians should be asked whether they want to go back to the north and east but clearly states they should 'be sent back.'"
However, Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa ordered the IGP to conduct an inquiry and to take disciplinary action against those responsible for the eviction, the paper noted.
The paper also noted that the "Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayake later apologised for the forced eviction of Tamils under international pressure but the Defence Secretary justified the decision 24 hours later."