Lanka under fire for lack of Tamil reconciliation

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New Delhi, Sep.22 (ANI): The executive director of the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka, a nonpartisan advocacy group, has said the only thing likely to change the Sri Lankan Government's behavior towards the minority Tamil community is democracy.

According to Jehan Perera, as more elections are held in Tamil-heavy areas once ruled by the LTTE, the government, "will need to build up Tamil votes."

"At the moment the government does not see the price it will have to pay [for its treatment of the Tamils] but it will have to pay - and that, we hope, will make it change," the Christian Science Monitor quotes him, as saying.

He further states that the end of the war gave Sri Lanka an opportunity to heal the bitter ethnic conflict between the Sinhalese majority and Tamil minority that had fueled it.

But even as the government says it seeks reconciliation, it is drawing fire for actions that appear counter-productive to achieving that goal.

Chief among the complaints is delaying the return of more than 250,000 displaced Tamils. They have been refused permission to return to their homes or, in many cases, unite with spouses and children living in other camps. In addition, aid agencies have been given limited access to the camps and most reporters have been barred. (ANI)

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