Bringing Tamils back into mainstream critical for new Lankan govt post elections: CSM

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Colombo, Apr. 2 (ANI): Sri Lanka's parliamentary elections scheduled for April 8 could become the prelude of a new era of progress, if the newly elected government decides to end discrimination among Lankan natives and Tamils and unify the war-torn nation, experts say.

But if the government pursues the same discriminatory tactics it used for the presidential election in January, it will further alienate the island's Tamil community and diminish hopes for peace, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

While the presidential elections were the first in more than a quarter century, they were marred by the misuse of state resources to aid the ruling party's candidate, unfair coverage by the state media, and poor transportation to carry internally displaced Tamils to their voting places, the report notes.

The election results illustrated the deep polarization between Sri Lanka's Sinhalese and Tamil communities that fueled a 26-year civil war and left about 100,000 dead, it added.

Now experts say that Rajapaksa's new government needs to reach out to the Tamil community and repair the economic, personal, and physical wreckage from nearly three decades of fighting.

"The government of Sri Lanka must address the underlying issues that gave birth to the conflict: equality for Tamils under the law, particularly with regard to basic freedoms and human rights," the report says.

"Paramount are the rights to free speech, freedom of movement and a free press, all of which are essential to guaranteeing the legitimacy of next week's parliamentary elections and ensuring that Tamils are stakeholders in the island's democracy," it adds. (ANI)

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