President Mahinda Rajapaksa today offered concessions to Tamil demands for greater autonomy ahead of elections in which the minority community could play a decisive role. President Rajapakse said he was proposing power-sharing arrangements to give minority Tamils a greater say in the legislature and address long-standing demands for devolution of power, AFP reported.
The quest for an independent homeland was the main plank of a decades-long armed insurgency by Tamil Tiger separatists that only ended last year with a final military victory over the rebels.
"The end of the war does not mean the end of the conflict," Rajapakse told foreign correspondents at his tightly guarded Temple Trees residence in Colombo. "We need to politically address the needs of Tamils."
"All this will require amending the constitution and seeking the approval of the people at a referendum," Rajapakse said. "The ordinary people simply want to live in peace, but there is a demand and a need for a political settlement, " AFP qouted him as saying.
Meanwhile according to the Times of India President Mahinda Rajapaksa said slain LTTE chief Velupillai Prabhakaran's mother and mother-in-law were free to go to India to settle, if they wanted.
"They (Prabhakaran's mother and mother-in-law) can go to India if India agrees," Rajapaksa said according to the Times of India .
Rajapaksa said respect was shown to the mortal remains of Prabhakaran's father Velupillai and it was well embalmed and a few vehicles were also allotted for the cremation ceremony.
The President said he was told over 300 people attended the funeral of the LTTE leader's father. Parvathi and Erambu were also present during the cremation in Jaffna earlier this week.