COLOMBO: Sri Lanka on Sunday said it is taking all further steps to strengthen the security of the country as it investigates the report published in Indian media that the banned LTTE is planning an attack in the island nation on May 18, coinciding with the Mullivaikal anniversary that marks the end of the Sri Lankan Civil War in 2009.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is currently facing public demand for his resignation over his mishandling of the economic crisis, is the man who ruthlessly ended Sri Lanka’s nearly 30-year civil war with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) with the death of its supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran in 2009.
However, the former defence secretary stands accused of violating human rights, a charge he vehemently denies.
The Sri Lankan defence ministry in a statement said ” Hindu’ newspaper has published a report on May 13 quoting Indian intelligence that the LTTE is planning to launch an attack in Sri Lanka on May 18.”
“After inquiring about the above information, the Indian intelligence services have informed Sri Lanka that the information has been given as general information and further informed that the investigations will be carried out in this regard and action will be taken to inform Sri Lanka about it,” the statement said, amidst the unprecedented economic crisis and subsequent political turmoil faced by the country.
“However, the said information and all information received by the intelligence and security forces in connection with national security will be duly investigated and all further steps are taken to strengthen the security while informing the respective security forces on the same,” the statement added.
In a “special statement” issued on Tuesday, the defence ministry had requested the general public to inform details of criminal activities such as unlawful mobs/violent groups and incidents of damaging public/private property, looting and assault from any part of the island to its hotlines.
Quoting police sources, The Hindu newspaper on Friday reported that as the island nation has declared an emergency twice amid escalating violent protests, some sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, with multinational links, were trying to make their presence “felt” in the ongoing clashes between the anti-government protesters and security forces.
“Besides planning attacks to mark the Mullivaikal anniversary that falls on May 18, which some groups observe as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, the ex-LTTE cadre were also conspiring to avenge the killings of their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, newsreader Isai Priya and others, who were killed as the ethnic conflict ended after fierce fighting in 2009,” it said.
Sri Lanka is going through the worst economic crisis since independence in 1948. A crippling shortage of foreign reserves has led to long queues for fuel, cooking gas and other essentials while power cuts and soaring food prices heaped misery on the people.
The economic crisis also triggered a political crisis in Sri Lanka and demand for the resignation of the powerful Rajapaksas. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as the prime minister to make way for the president to appoint an interim all political party government.
Former Sri Lankan premier Ranil Wickremesinghe was appointed the country’s new prime minister on Thursday.