A day after three key operatives of the banned LTTE were killed in a major military operation in Sri Lanka's north, the government today justified maintaining troops in the former war zones.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa's special envoy on human rights and Government Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said yesterday's incident has underlined the need to keep the military on alert.
"We were asked and criticised about the presence of the military in the north and the need to scale down its presence by the international governments at the Geneva UN Human Rights Council...We explained to them the need to keep the military going as it was a decision for a sovereign government to take in view of the national security needs," he said.
"Yesterday's incident was clear evidence of that," Samarasinghe said after briefing the outcome in Geneva to the Buddhist high priests in the central town of Kandy today.
The Army said three armed suspects who attempted to escape the troops were killed in a cordon and search operation in the area of Padaviya in North Central Province on April 11.
Samarasinghe reiterated the call made by Sri Lankan External Affairs Minister G L Peiris.
He said Sri Lanka would not cooperate with the UNHRC in implementing the resolution adopted late March which was aimed at setting up an international investigation on the country's alleged human rights abuses during the final phase of the war with the LTTE.
"We will not participate as we have no confidence in such a process. We are a government which is committed to achieving reconciliation through credible local mechanisms," Samarasinghe said.
He said Sri Lanka would not give into attempts by the pro-LTTE diaspora to destabilise the country.
The Sri Lankan government claimed that pro-LTTE diaspora is moving the Western governments to act against it. (PTI)