'Probe IPKF Role in SL War Crimes'
Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the Sri Lankan President, has said that if an international investigation into war crimes allegedly committed in Lanka is to be fair, it has to be a comprehensive one covering events since 1980, when terrorism raised its head in the island nation. And such a probe will necessary cover the period when the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was operating in the island, drawing heavy flak from the Tamils for the atrocities it allegedly committed.
But if the IPKF’s atrocities were included, India would get upset and India-Sri Lanka relations would suffer, Weeratunga told a news agency in Washington on Tuesday. “If there is an international investigation, the whole period has to be investigated - from the 1980s onward - which includes the two-year tenure of the Indian peacekeeping force, which will upset India,” he said.
The IPKF was operating in Lanka from July 1987 to March 1990 to force the LTTE to accept the India-Sri Lanka Accord. Broken Palmyrah and The Satanic Force, both books written by Tamils, alleged Indian atrocities.
Weeratunga is in Washington lobbying against the US proposal to bring a resolution at the UNHRC in March, calling for an international probe into charges of war crimes against Lankan troops. The Lankan official said that there would be “huge chaos” in Lanka, if its armed forces, which liberated the country from terrorism, were put to a judicial test. “That is really going to reduce the morale of the army,” he warned.
But an unmoved US is sending its Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Biswal, to Lanka on January 31 for a short on-the-spot study of the rights situation.