Colombo, May 30: Former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa, who is mounting a political comeback, has expressed fears that the separatist Tamil Tigers could regroup and revive terrorism in the country.
"We are glad that terrorists are no more. But I have a suspicion that we may return to see terrorism," Rajapaksa said. "We don't want to see that happening we want everyone to live in peace and harmony," he told a religious gathering in the north central town of Anuradhapura yesterday.
Rajapaksa, who led the Sri Lankan forces in the bloody victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, plans to contest parliamentary polls in another bid to return to power. He first won in 2005, surfed a wave of popularity among the Sinhala majority to win again in 2010.
He then had the Constitution changed to allow the third term he hoped to win in January's poll. But the veteran politician suffered a surprise defeat in snap presidential polls he called. Rajapaksa's defeat to President Maithripala Sirisena came despite his popularity among the Sinhala Buddhist majority.
Sirisena received wide support from minority Tamils and Muslims with sizable support from the Sinhalese, who were fed up with Rajapaksa's authoritarian rule.
Rajapaksa, in order to shore up the Sinhala Buddhist support, has often visited Buddhist temples. He has accused Sirisena of relaxing security in the North in a bid to grant the Tamil demand for demilitarisation of the former conflict zones.
But the Sri Lankan government has publicly condemned those trying to make a political capital by raising fears of LTTE revival. The nearly three-decades-long LTTE war ended in 2009 with the defeat of the Tigers and resulting in the deaths of at least 100,000 people.