COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has sought support from the people to "defeat" LTTE's ideology, warning that the now defunct Tamil separatist group's "agents" are still working to create an independent state nine years after the end of the brutal three-decade long civil war.
Speaking at a ceremony in Colombo yesterday to mark the ninth anniversary of the war, Sirisena said although the LTTE (Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam) had been defeated militarily, its ideology and agents are very much alive.
"We have defeated the LTTE physically and militarily but their ideology has not died. Their agents in the diaspora in the LTTE's international network are very much alive," he said.
"They are still working to create their Eelam (separate Tamil state) dream," he said.
He said the LTTE was still challenging the Sri Lanka government, referring to a demonstration held against him by the group's sympathisers in London.
While the government and the military commemorated the fallen soldiers at the heroes' day in the south of the island, the Tamils in the north commemorated their war dead.
On Friday, around 5,000 people took part in the commemorative ceremony held at Mullaivaikkal in the Mullaithivu district, the scene of the final battle between the Lankan troops and the LTTE.
Except Northern Chief Minister C V Wigneswaran, no other Tamil politician had participated in the event.
Wigneswaran has declared that May 18 must be identified as Tamil genocide day in the coming years.
Tamils claim tens of thousands of civilians were killed in the final phase of the battle, a charge that is denied by the Lankan Army.
Government forces killed the LTTE supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran on May 18, 2009 after a brutal military crackdown, putting an end to the 37-year long conflict, which claimed at least 1,00,000 lives.
According to UN figures, up to 40,000 civilians were killed by security forces during former president Mahinda Rajapaksas regime that brought an end to the conflict.