Were diplomats invited to watch live coverages of Bin Laden being
hunted? - Minister Premajayantha
Sri Lanka will keep the international community
informed about what happened during the humanitarian operation of May
2009. This country will keep different forums informed about these
developments but not respond to the controversial Darusman Report,
Petroleum Industries Minister Susil Premajayantha told the Daily News in
Q: What were the origins of the Darusman Report?
A: Darusman Report was mainly based on a one sided story. It
is based on the information provided by the Tamil diaspora, a group that
supports the LTTE, some Non-Governmental Organizations which back the
LTTE and a few others who were there supporting the LTTE during the
This Report is completely biased because no other party had been
given a chance to speak. The Report had been compiled after collecting
data given by one particular party. It cannot be called a Report.
Q: When and why did Sri Lanka oppose it?
Minister Susil Premajayantha
A: The Sri Lankan government very strongly opposed it right
from the beginning. The decision to appoint the panel, appointing the
panel and its ‘Report’ were opposed. Earlier the panel was an advisory
authority, we were told.
Then the UN Secretary General said he does not have the authority to
appoint such a panel. Now this panel is illegal. It had been appointed
without the approval of the Security Council. The background of the
members of this three-member panel has now been revealed to the world.
Q: What will be the next step?
A: The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC)
appointed by the Sri Lankan government a long time back (long before
this Report came into the scene), is open to the media, public and
anybody who wishes to come forward and give evidence/submit their case.
Media publish and telecast LLRC proceedings.
LLRC invited international organizations, such as Amnesty
International, Human Rights Watch etc but none of them turned up. Why is
The Sri Lankan government will submit our case, but not reply to the
Darusman Report. While presenting the case, Sri Lanka will keep the
Darusman Report in mind and submit the case to the relevant authorities.
Important factors will be highlighted. At the same time, Sri Lanka will
explain to the international community what had happened during the
humanitarian operation. The Sri Lankan government showed diplomats the
humanitarian operation live. Our case is to be submitted to different
forums. All political parties and the Opposition rejected the Darusman
Report. Sri Lankan government is the only government in the world which
invited diplomats to watch the humanitarian operation live from Colombo.
No other country in the world showed diplomats and the international
community an operation launched to eradicate terrorism. Diplomats were
not invited to watch the operation carried out to kill Osama bin Laden.
Q: How about facing similar challenges in future?
A: Fortunately the Report failed to destroy communal harmony
prevailing in the country and the relationship now developing among
ethnicities, as it expected. Only one or two political parties from the
North accepted the Report and all the others opposed it. The Report
failed to reverse the popularity and public support gained by President
Mahinda Rajapaksa. What the International community should do hereafter
is support in developing the Northern Province of Sri Lanka and provide
a better living standard for the people who suffered 30 years in the
custody of the LTTE. Sri Lanka will face all future challenges as one
nation, Sri Lankans.
Q: Do you have any message to the Sri Lankan public?
A: The best witnesses of the humanitarian operation is the Sri
Lankan public. They watched it right from the beginning to end. They
exactly know what happened during that period. Sri Lankan public
witnessed how Sri Lankan armed forces sacrificed their lives to save the
Tamil community kept underfoot by Prabhakaran and by the LTTE as
hostages and used by them as a human shield.
They watched how Sri Lankan armed forces took care of sick, pregnant
mothers and elders who tried their level best, escaped from the LTTE and
came into the government held areas during the humanitarian operation.
LTTE sent suicide bombers with those people and they killed escaping
civilians and members of the Sri Lankan armed forces who were feeding
and treating displaced people.
It was the Sri Lankan public who fed internally displaced people
during the humanitarian operation. Loads of food, clothing and all other
essential items were sent to North in lorries without any interruption
all 24 hours. Armed forces gave their water bottles to the refugees and
worked without water to drink. The armed forces carried sick elders in
their arms. They assisted pregnant mothers to deliver babies on ships
and aircraft while transporting them to hospitals. Not only food,
clothing and medicine, as then Education Minister, I took steps to
provide sarees to the teachers who provided uninterrupted education to
displaced children. That was in addition to school equipment and
stationery. No other country in the world acts like that during similar
It is very strange that no NGO witnessed how the LTTE chased away
civilians to a small strip of land, kept them as a human shield and
killed them whenever they tried to escape from LTTE custody. There is
nothing in the Darusman Report regarding this.