Sri Lankan leader Rajapaksa rules out 'greater autonomy' for Tamils

Last Updated: Tue, Feb 05, 2013 05:43 hrs

Sydney: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ruled out giving Tamils greater political autonomy.

By doing so he backed away from his long-stalled promise to empower the ethnic minority as part of the country's reconciliation process following a bloody civil war.

Rajapaksa's decision came despite growing international pressure to compromise with the defeated minority and to investigate allegations of war crimes.

The pressure came nearly four years after the government, dominated by the ethnic Sinhalese majority, defeated the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, who had been demanding an independent Tamil nation after decades of perceived discrimination, the Australian reports.

According to a United Nations' estimate, 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed during the war, which ended in 2009, but other reports suggest it could be much higher.

Rajapaksa, however, declined to give the minority group political autonomy, saying 'when the people live together in unity there are no racial or religious differences'.

It is not practical for this country to have different administrations based on ethnicity, he added. 

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