Ratwatte vows to keep Jaffna

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 09 May 2000, 10:06 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Deputy Minister for Defence, General Anuruddha Ratwatte wowed today in Parliament to defend Jaffna by 'recouping all resources' available to his government. Addressing the Parliament this morning on the military crisis in the north, he claimed that the draconian regulations imposed by the Sri Lankan government under the Public Security Ordinance will not be used to postpone the general elections which are due in August this year.

The Minister said that 2240 soldiers and 128 officers were wounded when the Tigers overran the Elephant Pass base and the army camps in and around Pallai and that 337 soldiers and 21 officers were killed in action there. According to Gen. Ratwatte, 346 soldiers and 03 officers are missing in action in the fighting.

"We do not want to hide the fact that we were forced to temporarily retreat from Elephant Pass. In a war situation, there may be temporary setbacks. That does not mean that the war is lost altogether. We will not be defeated. We are determined to recoup all our resources in order to achieve success at the end" the Minister said.

Speaking on the draconian regulations introduced last week under the Public Security Ordinance Gen. Ratwatte claimed "No body should harbour any panic towards these regulations. Repression of the people is not the objective of these regulations."

"It is with a view to getting the participation of the people that we have taken steps to establish civil defence committees island wide. These new regulation were promulgated not with a view to postponing elections. We would ensure this house that elections would be held in accordance with the constitutional provisions" he said.

 

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