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​MR says India’s RAW rallied opposition to his presidency

13 March 2015 05:06 am - 61     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Claiming that the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) of India conspired with “Western agencies” CIA and MI-6 to rally the opposition led by President Maithripala Sirisena against his presidency, Sri Lanka’s former President Mahinda Rajapaksa says he does not, however, believe Prime Minister Narendra Modi or the government was responsible.

In an exclusive interview to The Hindu , his first to any Indian media organisation since his surprise defeat in the presidential polls in January, Mr. Rajapaksa says he raised concerns with the government over his belief of a conspiracy. “I said the man [RAW station chief] who is here in Colombo, should be moved out. They agreed, but only at the very last minute before the election, and by then it was too late,” he said at his residence in Colombo.

In January, a report by international news agency Reuters had claimed that an Indian intelligence official at the Indian Embassy in Colombo had been recalled over allegations he was part of a plan to unite and organise the opposition to President Rajapaksa. Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin had categorically denied that the transfer of the official was anything but routine, and “in natural course.”

While Mr. Rajapaksa alluded to the “RAW hand” in Sri Lankan politics in interviews to Dawn and South China Morning Post , this is the first time he has spelt out his accusation, saying that the plan to try and oust him began “two years ago”.

When asked pointedly if he felt the RAW was working under political guidance, he said, “No, no. I’ve never accused Mr. Modi.

“Because he only came in less than a year ago. It was a long term plan. They misunderstood me over the Chinese question. And that is why they planned this,” he added.

Mr. Rajapaksa’s comments come hours ahead of Mr. Modi’s visit to Colombo, where he is expected to meet the former President. Sources said the meeting was sought by Indian officials on behalf of the Prime Minister.

Mr. Modi met with President Rajapkasa three times last year, including the last meeting — reportedly very cordial — during the SAARC summit after the release of five Indian fishermen on death row in Sri Lanka.

Confirming that he will meet with Mr. Modi on March 14, Mr. Rajapaksa said, “Yes, I met him three times before. When he comes to my country, I felt I must meet him.”

Mr. Modi’s visit comes at a time of speculation in Sri Lanka over when parliamentary elections would be held by Mr. Sirisena. Under Sri Lanka’s system, while the Presidential poll is a direct contest between individuals, the Prime Minister is elected through Members of Parliament. This could lead to the hypothetical scenario of Mr. Rajapaksa, who still belongs to President Sirisena’s party, the SLFP, returning to government if he were to win enough support from MPs.

Fuelling the speculation are Mr. Rajapaksa’s daily meetings with the public, while two big public rallies have been held in his absence by his supporters.

In the interview to The Hindu , Mr. Rajapaksa would not confirm that he was considering a political comeback, but was angered by the cases filed by Mr. Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe against his family members and associates. “If they didn’t, I would have just supported this government. But now they want to probe, put us in jail, take our passports without any evidence. How can I retire like this? I never said I would retire. At the moment I am taking a rest.”


Full transcript of interview with former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa by Suhasini Haidar.

This was an election you were so confident about; you called them ahead of time. What do you think contributed to your defeat?

I misjudged the North and the East vote. In the South I have won, but I didn’t expect the North and East vote to go this way. Even in provincial elections, the turnout of people had been 55%, this time it was over 80%, I don’t know how. When I saw that, I knew that I am going to lose.

You are saying it was the high turnout in the North and the East, but you lost votes across several groups….the rural population, the poor, minorities all felt cut out of your regime?

That’s not correct, in the southern areas I have won, in the south province, in Uva, north central, north-western province we won, but lost our majority.

Once you knew you were losing what did you do? Because the government has alleged, specifically the Foreign Minister Samaraweera accused you of trying to use the Army to ensure you stayed in power?

No that is nonsense. As I told the Vatican cardinal who called me, and asked what would happen if I lose….I said within 5 minutes, I will leave. And I left. This government wants to throw mud at me. I mean how can you start a coup with every other government being within two hours to thwart any attempt by me? I think they were speaking to Western governments and they had this idea about me.

You have said the election was a betrayal. What did you mean? Who betrayed you?

My own people left me, one night they were eating hoppers with me, the next morning they had left. I couldn’t imagine it. But this had been going on for two years.

Rajapaksa accuses RAW

You’re saying the betrayal was from President Sirisena and other members of your government. Yet in an interview to the Dawn newspaper of Pakistan and SCMP of China you implicated RAW for what happened in Sri you believe that?

Not only RAW but also the Western agencies, working together, possibly for the first time. (Laughs).

It sounds like a conspiracy theory, what is the proof you have against them?

It was very clear, and if you ask them they will say yes. They won’t deny it.

The Indian government has denied it.

Officially yes. But agencies are active in this region.

Are you saying the election was rigged?

No, I think it was a free and fair election at least as far as I could tell.

So without putting words in your mouth is what you’re saying is that the coming together of the opposition against you was facilitated by RAW and other Western agencies?


In India, the RAW works under political guidance, so are you saying there was a political sanction for this? Are you accusing the Indian government under Prime Minister Modi?

No. I’ve never accused Mr. Modi. Because he only came in less than a year ago. It was a long-term plan. They misunderstood me over the Chinese question. And that is why they planned this. When they would ask me, I said I have a duty for the development of my people. I won the war, and my next step for economic development.

I do want to come to the Chinese question, but first, in the interview you gave you said: “It was very open, Americans, the Norwegians, Europeans were openly working against me. And RAW. You said you asked the Indians, why are you doing this? “Who did you ask, and what was the reply?

I don’t think I ever said that.

But did you take up your concerns with India that you felt RAW was working against you? What was the response?

I did. I said the man (RAW station chief) who is here in Colombo, should be moved out. They agreed, but only at the very last-minute before the election, and by then it was too late.

The last time you and Mr. Modi met at the SAARC summit in Colombo, he wished you good luck with the elections…now as he comes to Sri Lanka…will you be meeting him?

Yes, I met him three times before. When he comes to my country, I felt I must meet him.


Failed promises to Tamils, China’s entry

India said you failed to keep promises to Tamils, and you allowed China strategic influence in the region. Compared to 2009, where did India-Sri Lankan ties go wrong?

India changed its policy and voted against me under the influence of the West at the Human Rights Council in 2012, and that was a shock to me. I think it was a misunderstanding over the China issue.

There was a specific incident even with the Modi government, when you had a Chinese submarine dock here twice. That wasn’t a misunderstanding, surely?

Well, when a Chinese vessel comes through here they generally inform the Indian embassy in China. They must have done this time too. Everybody knew about it. And then after going out west towards the Maldives, it returned this way again. It was that simple.

If it was that simple, why was it so hard to clear the misunderstanding?

I guess they wanted an issue.

India’s relations with new government

In contrast, the relations with the new government seem vastly improved - four major visits in less than two months. How do you see this?

I think its good and I wish them well. Our government was never antagonistic to India. I always tried to get India’s support. Before I offered anything to any other country, it was offered to India. The harbour, port in Hambantota, the airport there, the port on Colombo, they were always informed, but they never bid for it.

Given the new relationship, I wanted to ask you your comments on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremsinghe’s remarks on Sri Lanka's right to shoot Indian fishermen if they trespass?

I can’t understand why he said this. He is a mature politician; I was very surprised to hear this came from him. I’ve always said you can’t blame fishermen because they always follow the fish. Indian government would arrest our people, one even died in prison. When we started arresting them, we would keep them for a few weeks and then release them. We wanted to discourage them. Unfortunately it was the trawlers that did bottom trawling that became the problem. This was introduced by the Norwegians. They gave us multi-day boats, but gave India bottom trawlers, that finished the Indian sea belt. It is very unfair that the government allows Indian fishermen to do this to Sri Lankan fishermen, most of whom were Tamils.

At the same time the new government’s ties with China seem strained…how do you view the suspension of Colombo Port City?

They shouldn’t have done this. My view is we wont get a port city deal like this in a hundred years.

But the government says you had no environmental clearances for it, you were giving away land sovereignty to this Chinese company. Also allegations of corruption against your regime and the port authority as well.

They have to prove that. The Chinese President came and set this up. You have to respect that. Tomorrow Mr. Modi will be here to inaugurate projects. What if some next government comes and says no we will not allow this, we can’t do that. Whether it is China India or the U.S., the principle is wrong. I deny this was a pro-China move

Charges against Rajapaksa and family

There are several court cases against your family now. Your brother has had his passport impounded, your son questioned, corruption allegations are you worried?

This is just harassment. They had to withdraw the case against my son. If there is any charge they can take me to court. The case against my brother involves a legal armoury that signed a contract with the Navy. Forget that he is my brother. He was the defence secretary with authority to do this. Is every decision going to be questioned like this?

You can dismiss these charges, but the most serious charge of war crimes remains. In the U.K., President Sirisena has agreed to start a war crimes investigation…

They can…who said not to. My instructions to former Army chief Sarath Fonseka were very clear, no matter what he says now, is that not a single civil casualty should be there.

Yet thousands of civilians died, thousands went missing, and no action was taken…

They’ve never proven that. We held several inquiries. We put the LLRC into place.

Yet you never accepted its recommendations….

We monitored the ministry doing that. But it had some recommendations on having two national anthems for example, to which I said nothing doing.

There was the allegation you were always surrounded by a coterie, that every member of your family had a position…your brothers, your son.

So what? My son was elected…There have been Rajapaksas in public life since 1931. Sometimes there have been no Rajapaksas. In 1977, I lost badly, that’s why I am happy to wait right now, take up another challenge. I’m used to it.

Political comeback?

Coming to your political plans… you’ve been meeting the public, two rallies have been held in your name, a group of politicians calling for your return, are you ready for another fight? A comeback?

Not yet. I’ve seen many leaders losing before, but I have been surprised this time by how many people have come to see me after I lost, to ask me to come back. You can come to my home in the mornings and see. I have not decided.

What would make your decision?

Well see, I gave the party to President Sirisena. And see what they did. They harassed my party people. They sacked all the people we gave jobs to. These are the things that agitate us. If they didn’t, I would have just supported this government. But now they want to probe, put us in jail, take our passports. They have no evidence. How can I retire like this? I never said I would retire. At the moment I am taking a rest.

If you were to come back to power…what would you do differently?

I think in these two months I have seen many of the mistakes I made in my ten years. And I could have done much more. People may not have appreciated the work we did, but now I think they do. Because there is no development going on. Everything has stopped.

That’s as far as development goes, how about the war against the LTTE? Since this an emotive issue in India. Would you have done the war differently?

No. I did try to talk to the LTTE. I said I will come to your territory to talk. But I had to go ahead with the war. I couldn’t stop once we began. That hadn’t worked in the past. I was fighting a terrorist. The most dangerous brutal terrorist in the world, who created suicide bombs. Or we would have faced attacks everyday.

If war crimes were committed in the process, who should take responsibility?

Then we must find out who did them. You don’t ask during a war, but after it is over. We have taken some action when there were specific charges.

So to come back to that question, if you were to return to government, would you do things differently?

We must wait and see if that happens.

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  Comments - 61

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  • chintoo Friday, 13 March 2015 10:55 AM

    Awesome....welldone RAW...

    kukula. Friday, 13 March 2015 04:27 PM

    the whole interview is MR blaming others, The man still talks about eating hoppers and ministers leaving the party.Mentally he is week going by the interview. lame excuses right along.A waste of time the print.

    Sambo Friday, 13 March 2015 04:34 PM

    NB: Its not RAW but the people who threw you out.

    Gune Friday, 13 March 2015 11:04 AM

    The last time when the TNA met with the Indian PM Modi he asked whether it was possible for the minorities to unite in SL. The rest is history.

    AC Saturday, 14 March 2015 01:03 AM

    Did u rum for Russian presidency for Western world and Raw want to defeat you Haahaaaaaaaaaaaaa

    Senevi Friday, 13 March 2015 11:08 AM

    To a query by an international journal in the 80s, JRJ accepted his lack of foresight for the growth of terrorism. It is a tragedy that SL does not have an all powerful intelligence agency to thwart external intrusions.

    nalaka Friday, 13 March 2015 11:10 AM

    Now who called for an election when 2 years were available was it RAW

    Blackie Friday, 13 March 2015 11:11 AM

    RAW loves RW ?

    Gona Friday, 13 March 2015 04:49 PM

    Thank god for RAW we got rid of this dictator let us hope for good

    Silva Friday, 13 March 2015 11:13 AM

    Go home and enjoy your retirement ! You have no role here anymore !

    wijebahu Friday, 13 March 2015 05:05 PM

    Now He is talking about conspiracies. then he is the main architect of conspiracy by bringing forward election by two years. otherwise no conspiracies he is still the president.

    Eds Friday, 13 March 2015 11:21 AM

    Rajitha senarathne himself spoke of this coup. What more needs to be said?

    freddy Saturday, 14 March 2015 03:06 PM

    100days of Nothing is nothing for the country and jobs. Shoting fisherman, witch hunt, vengeance and revenge seems the norm.Gone Berserk. Madhouse. Clearly shows no directions or solutions. Others are coming and dictating about the Tamils ONLY. Majority Sinhalese have to decide their future and country. I think MR did the right thing and no one wants to see Sri Lanka come up. Period.

    Nims Saturday, 14 March 2015 03:31 AM

    Just shut up mate your greed to power and money, your corrupted elements who were benefitted pioneered your downfall. Dont blame others.

    Ganesha Friday, 13 March 2015 05:19 PM

    Every question you evaded as if you are a clever politician ,Actually you are not either an able or clever leader because you could not know your party secretary was going to contest

    Kailainathan Friday, 13 March 2015 11:29 AM

    Oh he forget say tigers/former tigers or Tamil diaspora conspirey

    Sam Friday, 13 March 2015 05:22 PM

    Check that astrologer guy, Must be a RAW agent.

    Arjuna Ranawana Friday, 13 March 2015 11:30 AM

    why then you visited Thirupathy after immediately tenders nomination. Dear Mr. Mahinda. enough your joke. Last ten years we suffered more because of your administration.

    unity Saturday, 14 March 2015 05:17 AM

    u thought only u can do anything . via DM Android App

    Mad-Hawa Friday, 13 March 2015 11:31 AM

    Mad Cat talk on his madness. we will show how we react you at next election getting mis-guided 58 million back to truth

    Maya Friday, 13 March 2015 11:34 AM

    M...mmmm,Grumpy old man..

    adhil nizam Friday, 13 March 2015 05:34 PM

    Yes yes its CIA, MI6, Raw mossad, USA, Briton france, George bush, Camron, bushs grand mother.. etc etc.. everyone was responsible for my defeat. Everyone except for me, my selfish policies and my selfish family!!!! ohoma yamu...

    rajan vairawanathan Friday, 13 March 2015 05:49 PM

    The fact is this:~The most loved red blooded Socialist Mahinda Rajapakse lost to the Diluted capitalist President Rajapakse. Diluted capitalist President Rajapakse = Gotabhya, Basil and Namal and Yoshitha.

    Dinusha perera Friday, 13 March 2015 11:41 AM

    5 Indian "fishermen " in death row? They were drug smugglers!!! SL does not put fishermen in death row... This is manipulating by Indian media...

    Lawry Friday, 13 March 2015 06:10 PM

    RAW bribed the astrologer. MR ate the lanuwa. Smart conspiracy

    Rattapakse Saturday, 14 March 2015 05:58 PM

    If what you say is correct, then what they did when your were at the throne, can be done very easily if you are thinking of coming back again. Because taking the country away from China is important for their national safey.Negotiate a deal for your safety with the power and retire or risk what Naseed of Maldives going through.

    Bala Saturday, 14 March 2015 07:42 AM

    Future Sri Lankan leaders should not have more than one brother and one child. This automatically eliminates a lot of problems.

    ralahamy Friday, 13 March 2015 12:00 PM

    Why do you try to find a scapegoat? Look at your bank balance and those of your family members. Why did Basil run away? Why did PB Jayasundara vanish into thin air? You will find the true answers.The big bear did not tell you to keep away from bad friends. If you still want to live in fantasy, it is your problem.

    asiyawe ascharya Friday, 13 March 2015 12:00 PM

    may be your astrologer,wimale,basil,rohitha,johnny,mervyn,duminda,dayasiri,and all others who helped to get you defeated are raw agents

    Chamalee Friday, 13 March 2015 12:02 PM

    I voted my3. Next time vote MR. MR is the savior of this country.

    Naked Eye Saturday, 14 March 2015 08:04 AM

    We will never forget what you did to rid this country from terrorism. However after 2009 you had no vission for this country. Futher curruption nepotism waste mismanagement etc:became rampant and you allowed these grave crimes agaist the nation. You have been trying to sell the yarn of a froeign conspiracy.Electorate rejected these and defeated you.You also adopted an attitude of "dont care" for the international openion. If you believe that foreign interests defeated you now understand that this country has to respect civilized iternational norms,values and agreements and live with the international community.Retire with the remaining dignity/goodwill the people have for you for what you did to defeat terrorism. If you want to come back clear your name which at present directly or indirectly linked to corruption,misuse,mismanagement,nepotism etc by you,famlly members and close associates. You are again trying to do cheap politicts and put this country in peril..Please dont do it

    kamal Friday, 13 March 2015 12:06 PM

    we voted against you not RAW

    ANON69 Friday, 13 March 2015 07:26 PM

    RAW gave us Freedom

    mithra Friday, 13 March 2015 07:29 PM

    You are a defeated war hero. Winston Churchill became the same in the post war elections. But not like you he kept himself silent and people respected him and continue to do so even today

    shirley Friday, 13 March 2015 12:10 PM

    Jeeez, still living in another world !!!!

    Thanha Friday, 13 March 2015 12:11 PM

    If MR wishes to make a comeback he must announce how he would do away with his wrong policies and persons.

    Katie Friday, 13 March 2015 07:37 PM

    MR has forgotten how he arrested SF and got junior army personnel to carry SF bodily also the other killings n disappearences and how many families cannot locate their loved ones lost during MRs regime how many people did MR get arrested without inquiry

    Matilda Ellepola Friday, 13 March 2015 12:13 PM

    Yes Yes, I voted for My3 and I got a call on my dreams from RAW that I should vote only for My3.You are absolutely correct

    Monster Friday, 13 March 2015 08:01 PM

    we will never ever let you to come to politics .

    BuffaloaCitizen Friday, 13 March 2015 12:48 PM

    Do u mean all SL citizens who did not vote for u are part of RAW, CIA, FBI, Scotland yard, Tamil diaspora, LTTE and any others your foolish brain can state?

    Saran Friday, 13 March 2015 12:51 PM

    No Need Election for selected candidate and Spent money for election. Every time we will asked with RAW for change government

    ruwani perera Friday, 13 March 2015 12:55 PM

    Arjuna seems to have LTTE blood. Unbelievable comments!

    ranjit Saturday, 14 March 2015 08:53 AM

    Mahinda Rajapakse was defeated in the election; But he is not politically dead. His grass roots level of suppport will be hard to ignore for the Chandraka/Ranil duo who is running the country now.If there is ever a parilamentary election this will become clear. No party will gain a two third majority unless the election is rigged.

    hubert Friday, 13 March 2015 12:59 PM

    whats wrong with RAW and Western Countries How about White van countries UPFA Ultimately Primitive Flawed Alliance?

    amal Friday, 13 March 2015 01:08 PM

    RAW DID NOT CAST A vote. The people of this country sent you home

    Kalpesh Friday, 13 March 2015 01:10 PM

    For the past 10 years people lived with fear. Thugs running the shows. Drug Lords roaming the city. Crooks controlling the Police.This was what you did. You will see more surprise soon.

    Sambo Friday, 13 March 2015 01:11 PM

    Dead people tell no stories.

    Freebird Friday, 13 March 2015 01:15 PM

    Raw didnt tell you to have the election 2 years before end of your period. Then how do you blame them via DM Android App

    Man B Friday, 13 March 2015 01:22 PM

    India Supported to defeat LTTE, where were you that time.

    Cheers Friday, 13 March 2015 01:38 PM

    Please tell midi whe you meet him his fate will be the same one day

    anon Friday, 13 March 2015 01:36 PM

    Everybody is to blame for your defeat except you right Take a good look in the mirror Mr. President. via DM Android App

    willowsd Friday, 13 March 2015 01:45 PM

    only you to be blamed for your defeat? and the people close to you, your family members, at least stay away from them and you will have your time in some time in future. Let Namal to shine now, else Namal too would be lost

    ab Friday, 13 March 2015 01:47 PM

    We thought that voters of Srilanka has done it. via DM Android App

    notcorrupt Friday, 13 March 2015 02:09 PM

    Lies! Lies! and more lies!Crawl to your hole mahinda!Your not wanted in any way.The great destroyer of our nation!

    Bubble Banda Friday, 13 March 2015 10:20 PM

    You lost your position due to corruption and you cannot blame anyone Sir.

    Desmond Jeromme Friday, 13 March 2015 10:22 PM

    You looted the country along with your family and lost. For that you cannot blame RAW.

    Horri Jimonis Friday, 13 March 2015 10:26 PM

    You were the worst

    shantha Friday, 13 March 2015 03:20 PM

    He just cannot accept he was a bad corrupt bastard?

    TONY Friday, 13 March 2015 03:46 PM


    jayaweera Saturday, 14 March 2015 12:08 PM

    MR lost because his government went after mega commissions; was greedy for power; authoritarian and did not care for the people but only for mega projects to syphon off hefty commissions.To blame RAW, WEST and those who ate hoppers is puerile! Blame yourself. You had everything and you messed it up. Now give up and rest.

    kailainathan Friday, 13 March 2015 03:56 PM

    But after the election when arrived at your home you said because of people of Elam you lost!!

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