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Victory against terror belongs to all Sri Lankans: PM

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By Saman Indrajith

None of those who fought to defeat terrorism had any intention to harm civilians, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa told Parliament yesterday.

Making a special statement to mark the 12th anniversary of the conclusion of the war, the Prime Minister said: “None including former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the then Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, former Navy Commander Wasantha Karannagoda or former Air Force Commander Roshan Goonetillake led their men to the field to commit genocide.

“Our valiant troops fought with a group of terrorists who used children, mothers and fathers as a human shield. Our objective was to protect those innocents while fighting the terrorists. That was one of the most difficult challenges any military chief would face, but our military leaders bravely faced that challenge and accomplished their mission.

“We made the world’s best fighters out of children of families of common men. They fought valiantly and defeated the most ruthless terrorist outfit in the world then. After the war we did our utmost to provide for the war heroes and their family members by increasing their salaries and allowances and looking after their welfare.

“I still recall the day 12 years back how people all over the country took to the streets waving the national flag to mark the end of the war that ravaged this country for 30 years.

It is not a victory for one community against another. That was a victory of the entire nation. We saved the lives of over 400,000 people used as a human shield by the terrorists.

With that victory we ended that miserable practice that those people used to leave their homes, fields and cattle once or twice a year to streets of jungles only clutching their clothes and food as the LTTE carried out massacres. We ended the era where people of the north lived the life of displaced persons.

The victory enabled people of the East who had lived around 20 years in refugee shelters to return to their villages. That victory ended the fear of people living in remote areas who were frightened that the LTTE might come at night and smash their infants on the floor.”

It was on this day 12 years back that we ushered in peace. That victory ended the period where parents guarded schools for the safety of their children, fearing terrorist attacks.

This victory belongs to all communities.

 

 

 



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President orders probe into notification issued by Department of Immigration and Emigration

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It has been reported that President Wickremesinghe ordered an investigation into the notification issued by the Department of Immigration and Emigration requesting all  Russian and Ukrainian tourists to leave the country within 14 days.

According to the President’s Media Division (PMD), the relevant notification was issued without prior approval from the Cabinet of Ministers.

The decision had reportedly been taken as certain foreign tourists are running illegal businesses in the country.

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Contentious Chinese research vessel docks in Maldives

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Xiang Yang Hong 03 has previously visited Indian Ocean on several other occasions

A contentious Chinese research ship reached the Maldives on Thursday in the latest sign of the archipelago’s diplomatic reorientation towards Beijing and away from its traditional benefactor India.

Local residents said they had spotted China’s Xiang Yang Hong 3 at the Thilafushi industrial port near the capital Male.The 100-metre-long (328-foot) vessel was at an anchorage near Male on Thursday evening, according to the website Marinetraffic.

The Maldives’ pro-Beijing government said earlier the vessel was docking for a port call to rotate crew and take on supplies, on the condition that it would not conduct “research” while in its territorial waters.

Media reports in India had suggested that the vessel was conducting surveillance for Beijing.

India is suspicious of China’s increasing presence in the Indian Ocean and its influence in Sri Lanka and the Maldives, which are strategically placed halfway along key east-west international shipping routes.Relations between Male and New Delhi have chilled since pro-China President Mohamed Muizzu won elections last year.

Muizzu has asked India to withdraw 89 security personnel based in the Maldives to operate reconnaissance aircraft by March 15.But the president has also insisted he does not want to upend ties with New Delhi by replacing Indian troops with Chinese forces.

Sri Lanka refused entry to Xiang Yang Hong 3 after two other port calls from Chinese vessels since 2022 raised objections from India.That included the ship Yuan Wang 5, which specializes in spacecraft tracking and which New Delhi described as a spy ship. (AFP)

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MP Harsha in Australia as “Special visitor”

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Harsha de Silva

Opposition MP and Chairman of the Committee on Public Finance (COPF) Harsha de Silva is currently in Australia as a special visitor.

Taking to ‘X’, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP said he had embarked on a nine-day visit on an invitation extended by the Government of Australia.

“My engagements with policymakers, academics, scientists and investment managers began in Melbourne and will continue in Adelaide and then public officials and politicians in Canberra,” he added.

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