Sri Lankan President rules out autonomy for Tamils


Sri Lanka's president on Monday ruled out giving Tamils greater political autonomy, appearing to back away from his long-stalled promise to empower the ethnic minority as part of the country's reconciliation process following a bloody quarter-century civil war.

President Mahindra Rajapaksa made his about-face despite growing international pressure to compromise with defeated minority and investigate allegations of war crimes.

Sri Lanka is expected to face questions from UN Human Rights Council in March on progress in implementing its own war commission report.

The pressure comes nearly four years after the government, dominated by the ethnic Sinhalese majority, defeated the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been demanding an independent Tamil nation after decades of perceived discrimination. According to a UN estimate, 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed during the war, which ended in 2009.

"When the people live together in unity, there are no racial or religious differences," Rajapaksa said in his independence day speech.

"Therefore, it is not practical for this country to have different administrations based on ethnicity. The solution is to live together in this country with equal rights for all communities," he said.

Please read our terms of use before posting comments
TERMS OF USE: The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writer's alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of The Indian Express Group or its staff. Comments are automatically posted live; however, reserves the right to take it down at any time. We also reserve the right not to publish comments that are abusive, obscene, inflammatory, derogatory or defamatory.