Colombo, January 22 (newsin.asia): Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, told the UN Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer here on Friday, that whether he gets the support of the Tamil political parties or not, he will develop the war-shattered economy of the Tamil-majority Northern Province, the Presidential Media Division said.
On the issue of the missing, he said that, whether they were Tamil civilians, LTTE cadres or Lankan soldiers, most of the missing had actually died in battle and their bodies had not been found. “I can’t bring back the dead!” he told Singer.
Gotabaya told the UN representative that one of the main problems people in the Tamil-concentrated areas face, is the language barrier when they interact with the police.
“Therefore, as an immediate remedy, the Inspector General of Police has been instructed to recruit 3,000 persons from these areas to fill vacancies at the constable and sub-inspector levels. Vacancies up to OIC level are also to be filled with people in the area,” the President said.
On the touchy issue of tracing missing persons, President Gotabaya said that he is going to address the issue of missing persons.
“However, I can’t bring back the dead. It has been established that most of the missing persons had been conscripted by the LTTE. Their families had been witnesses to their loved ones being taken away by the LTTE. Thereafter they had had no information as to their fate. So, as far as the families are concerned, these people are missing,” the President explained.
“The unfortunate truth is that these people had died in the battles. Even in the Security Forces, there are about 4,000 personnel listed as missing,” the President pointed out.
“In reality, these soldiers had died in the fight, but their bodies had not been recovered. Therefore they are classified as missing,” he explained.
After concluding the necessary investigations, steps would be taken to issue a Death Certificate, the President said. Then the families would be given the necessary support to rebuild their lives, he added.
When the UN official asked if this as a form of reparation, the President replied: “ It is not reparation of any sort, but it will be livelihood assistance.
“That would be a very important step in the healing process,” Singer said in agreement.
She had asked about the President’s priorities in promoting peace in Sri Lanka.
Fisheries are important for all in an island nation like Sri Lanka ,the President said and added that he has appointed a Tamil, Douglas Devananda, as the Minister of Fisheries.
“The ministry must deliver on the responsibilities entrusted to it,” he added.