The above statement indirectly hinted to the alleged incident which happened in Mullaivaikalis, a seashore area in Sri Lanka where human rights groups estimated 40,000 Tamil civilians were massacred in the final months of the island's civil war in 2009. Rebel Tamil Tiger chief Prabhakaran was killed at a nearby lagoon.
According to New Delhi TV, Ranawaka’s speech was in response to a statement by TNA leader R. Sampanthan.
"We must have unrestricted authority to govern our own land, protect our own people, and develop our own economy, culture and tradition. A meaningful devolution should go beyond the 13th Amendment to the Constitution,” Sampanthan said.
“If the Sri Lankan state continuously denies this right, we will claim our right under international law to external self-determination."
After the threat by Ranawaka, Sampanthan has flown to India on pretext of medical treatment. He is expected to meet Indian leaders to seek support before flying back.
The remark has already infuriated the Tamil population in India. Chief of Dravida Munnetra Khazhagam (DMK), the opposition party in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, M Karunanidhi has written to his Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh to take up the issue with the Sri Lankan government.
Though the central government in India remains quiet on the alleged mass killing in Sri Lanka, increased pressure by Tamils in India and Tamil Nadu after the revelations of the massacre may help prompt independent investigation.
India and the international community, who denied formal support to the fighting Tigers, have greater sympathy to Tamil groups who have come into the mainstream democratic system.
But the Sri Lankan government has repeatedly refuted any reports of mass killing of Tamil people during the final hours of war.
The government has not given any international organisations to investigate the issue or visit these places independently since the war.
A report published in June 2009 by University Teachers for Human Rights (Jaffna) uncovered evidence of government troops throwing grenades into bunkers where civilians were sheltering as well as using a vehicle to run over injured civilians.
There are also allegations that wounded civilians may have been bulldozed into mass graves along with the dead.
The report also mentioned that the Rebel Tamil Tiger fighters gunned down civilians who they believed were trying to escape.
The most controversial claim, however, was that the government authorised a massacre of Tamil Tigers cadres after persuading them to surrender.
The latest statement by Ranawaka was a revelation of partial secrets that the mass killing had taken place in Sri Lanka under the government directives. This has opened doors for further investigations into the war crimes.
The call from the international human rights groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International for justice to be given to the victims of civil war was received upon deaf ears.
A report by Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, formed by the Sri Lankan government after international pressure to investigate war crimes, failed to call for investigations into well-documented allegations of violations of international humanitarian law.
Karunanidhi said the United Nations may also be apprised of such a harsh stance by the Sri Lankan government.
Another Tamil leader in the Indian state, S Ramadoss, has urged the Centre to approach the International Court of Justice on the remarks made by the Sri Lanka minister.
Unless greater international pressure is created, secrets of alleged mass killings in Sri Lankan civil war will remain hidden for years to come.
Image Source: thesundayleader.lk