Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said the presence of security forces personnel in the North had been reduced with 28 battalions being moved to the East and the South.
He said the overall number of troops had been reduced by more than 21,000 since 2009.
Mr. Rajapaksa said the government would compensate the owners of the properties within the Palaly cantonment and provide them with alternate lands.
“It must be stressed that civilians have not occupied these lands for the past 20 to 25 years and it should also be noted that lands that had been forcibly taken from the people and occupied by the LTTE for many years have also been released to the legal owners,” he said.
Mr. Rajapaksa said the Northern residents enjoy their democratic rights and have equal and unrestricted access to the services offered by the state but there are a few pro-LTTE elements amongst the residents and within narrow ethnic-minded political parties.
“They may try to destabilise the peace if given the opportunity, the people in the North no longer have any reason to feel isolated or disfavoured,” he said speaking at the 5th Annual Symposium organised by the Kotelawala Defence University. The theme for this year’s symposium is, ‘Ensuring National Security Through Reconciliation and Sustainable Development’.
“It is our duty as Sri Lankans to put the past behind us and build a bright future for our nation. In this regard, it is essential that there is no longer any suspicion of discrimination or unequal treatment that might encourage people to follow an undemocratic path and bring back the divisions of the past,” Mr. Rajapaksa said. (SD)
Comments - 10
P.Jayaratne Friday, 24 August 2012 03:47 PM
We are constantly being threatened by both the government and main opposition leaders in Tamil Nadu that they will create an Elam in Sri Lanka. As long as that threat remains we should not withdraw forces from North and East
Arul Friday, 24 August 2012 03:27 AM
Does anyone believe that GR understand the theme; ‘Ensuring National Security Through Reconciliation and Sustainable Development’? It is a cyclic rotation, move out and comeback in a week.
Nero Thursday, 23 August 2012 05:05 AM
Move them off peoples land.
Arachchi Thursday, 23 August 2012 05:16 AM
Yes,Sir, now not the presence and the position that matter. It should be diplomatic diligence.
Lobo Thursday, 23 August 2012 05:38 AM
Navi coming, forces going!
Nodrog Thursday, 23 August 2012 05:52 AM
Now that the pressure from the Int'l community and UN is really on we are slowly budging and bowing to their recommendations. If we had just done so at the start we could have avoided all this unpleasantness, won their hearts and kept our pride intact.
Saskia Thursday, 23 August 2012 06:09 AM
Who are narrow ethnic-minded parties? Those who are not ready to give any political powers to minorities or those who demands those political powers?
Hoodwinked Thursday, 23 August 2012 06:36 AM
Like the proverbial " who is going to bell the cat", now in this instance who is going to take a head count. Count them if you can
shg Thursday, 23 August 2012 07:03 AM
guys be positive on what is happening & Dont blame always.Think forward and unit as one nation.
Naman Friday, 24 August 2012 12:53 PM
The ' R's (The Kings) have doctorates in 'Hoodwinking' not only their own citizens but also rest of the world!
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