Rajapakse: LTTE will be “completely crushed”;
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  • Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa stated that he was happy with the progress made by the military in its quest to capture LTTE’s last strongholds in the north. He expressed Colombo’s determination to “completely crush” the LTTE sooner than later. At an interactive session with the Sri Lanka Foreign Correspondents Association (FCA), Rajapakse also stated if LTTE chief Velupillai Prabakaran was captured alive, he would be handed over to India as he was wanted in the assassination of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Ruling out talks with the LTTE, Rajapaksa asserted that the only concession the government was ready to give to the Tigers was an opportunity to surrender1.

    In a controversial move, the Sri Lankan government announced that citizens from the battle-torn north, who have been living in and around the capital for the past five years, would have to register themselves with the police in view of the prevailing security environment. Police spokesperson Ranjith Gunasekera, at a news conference, stated that the registration would be held on September 21, at which citizens would have to fill a one-page declaration giving details of their place of origin and purpose of their current stay. The government’s decision came within days after Defence Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa expressed concern over the spurt in influx of people to Colombo and its surrounding towns in past few weeks. He added that the presence of such a large number of outsiders posed a “huge security threat2.”

    Army chief Lieutenant-General Sarath Fonseka told Daily News that security forces operating in Wanni were ready to face “gas attacks by the LTTE.” Confirming that the LTTE had fired canisters of CS gas in Akkarayankulam and Vannivilankulam, Gen. Fonseka clarified that it was not a chemical weapon, but used for anti-hijacking operations, as well as a riot control agent and was considered non-lethal3.

    A Special Tribunal headed by Justice Vikramjit Sen has meanwhile asked the Indian government to produce fresh evidence against the LTTE so as to have the ban on the group extended by another two years. The LTTE counsel argued that the group could not be banned because it did not come within the territorial jurisdiction of the Indian government4.