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Will provide equal rights to Tamils, says Rajapaksa

May 19, 2009 21:34 IST

 With the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam wiped out, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Tuesday offered equal rights for Tamils through a political solution, but stressed that it won't be 'imported'.

A day after his armed forces eliminated Velupillai Prabhakaran, Rajapaksa, 64, sought to reach out to the minority in the north with a brief address in Tamil in the opening speech of the Parliament session, as the army released pictures of the once-elusive Tiger chief's body with bullet wounds on his forehead.

He said the government does not accept the military solution as final and that his aim was to provide equal rights to all communities. Rajapaksa said it was necessary to give the Tamil people the freedoms that are the right of people in all other parts of the country.

"Similarly, it is necessary that the political solutions they need should be brought closer to them faster than any country or government in the world would bring. However, it cannot be an imported solution. We do not have the time to be experimenting with the solutions suggested by other countries. Therefore, it is necessary that we find a solution that is our very home, of our nation," he said, adding Sri Lanka expected cooperation for it from the international community and not obstruction.

The President said "our aim was to liberate our Tamil people from the clutches of the LTTE. The war against LTTE is not a war against the Tamil people."

"Protecting the Tamil speaking people of this country is my responsibility. That is my duty. All the people of this country should live in safety without fear and suspicion. All should live with equal rights. That is my aim. Let us all get together and build up this nation," he said in his brief remarks in Tamil.

Rajapaksa said at this victorious moment "it is necessary for us to state with great responsibility that we do not accept a military solution as the final solution. Similarly, when we see the sad faces of the people who have been fleeing Puthumatalan area, we can realise that a document offered on a tray as a political solution could also not be the final solution."

"When we accept the responsibility for the people who have been liberated, we receive many proposals from various countries and institutions. They ask us to look after our own Tamil people well," he said.

Meanwhile, the army confirmed that the body of Sea Tigers chief Soosai has also been identified.

T V Sriram in Colombo
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