Mangala says protesters were not Lankan Tamils, but those of Indian origin

By Dasun Edirisinghe reporting from Kuala Lumpur

Tamils who protested in Malaysia against alleged war crimes were not Sri Lankans, Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera said in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

He said Tamils of Indian origin had organised demonstrations against Sri Lanka without knowing the new government’s commitment to reconciliation.

Ruling out Lankan Tamil diaspora carrying out protests against Sri Lanka in Malaysia, Samaraweera asked them to visit Sri Lanka to see for themselves the change that had taken place.

“I am not blaming Tamil diaspora for organising protests. They were carried out by a group of extremists,” he said.

He said there were Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim diaspora abroad who were aware of the country’s reconciliation drive after President Maithripala Sirisena came to power on Jan. 08, 2015.

The foreign minister said the reconciliation among all ethnic groups in Sri Lanka was essential for the development drive launched under the new government.

“There were several extremist groups in Sri Lanka as well and they were bent on sabotaging the government’s mission, but we are not afraid of them,” Samaraweera said, adding Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim extremist groups operated in the country, but there was no room for promoting racism under the present government.

He said international community too appreciated Sri Lankan government’s reconciliation progress achieved within nearly two years.