by Maheesha Mudugamuwa
Alleging that proposed new Constitution would give separatists what they had failed to achieve through terrorism, wartime Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said, vowing to defeat the project.
The proposed constitutional reforms were meant to appease the LTTE rump, pro-LTTE Diaspora and a section of foreign powers, Rajapaksa said, lambasting the ruling UNP-SLFP government for seeking to divide post-war Sri Lanka on ethnic lines.
Rajapaksa said so at the launching of ‘Eliya-Illuminating Aspirations’ at the Golden Rose, Borelesgamuwa. The Gajaba Regiment veteran urged the public to resist the government project to appease the separatist lobby.
Rajapaksa was the keynote speaker on the topic of ‘Out of the Darkness-the crisis of constitutional change.’
The event attracted a large number of professionals, including artistes, doctors, engineers, lawyers, politicians and members of the general public.
Among those present were former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, former Cabinet ministers, including Basil Rajapaksa, Wimal Weerawansa, Dullas Alahapperuma, Rohitha Abeygunawardena, Bandula Gunawardena, leader of Joint Opposition Dinesh Gunawardene, Janaka Bandara Tennakoon, Gamini Lokuge, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena, former Chief Justice Sarath N Silva, former Governor of Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal, Manohara De Silva PC, Tamara Kunanayagam, Dr. Dayan Jayatilleke and Maj Gen (retd) Kamal Gunaratne.
Explaining the movement’s objective, Rajapaksa stressed the importance of guiding the people against the ongoing moves to introduce a new Constitution at the expense of the unitary status of the country.
The former Defence Secretary said that they couldn’t remain silent while an attempt was being made to divide the country through constitutional means. Rajapaksa said that the proposed Constitution had the backing of those countries which had made desperate attempts to save the LTTE during the final phase of the Vanni offensive.
Eliya would oppose the ‘fraudulent’ new Constitution, with might and main, he said, adding that the country had to safeguard what it had achieved from the defeat of terrorism. The armed forces had made tremendous sacrifices to neutralise the LTTE militarily and any effort to undermine the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity must be resisted at any cost, Rajapaksa said.