(This article was originally published in Daily FT on 21st July 2016)

By Ashwin Hemmathagama – Our Lobby Correspondent

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday rejected the Joint Opposition’s accusations that he had decided to establish a taskforce for national reconciliation led by former president Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranathunga

Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaranathunga

The Prime Minister, responding to Joint Opposition MP Wimal Weerawansa, confirmed that no such appointment had been made. “She is one of your old friends. I could ask her and let you know but why don’t you give her a telephone call since you two were together in the same Government sometime ago?” said Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, who countered Weerawansa’s allegations by saying that members of the Rajapaksa Government had lobbied to produce members of the armed forces before war crimes tribunals.

Weerawansa, disagreeing with the Prime Minister, said that the Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa initiated reconciliation soon after the war ended. “For the first time in our history Jaffna University students are fighting each other as Tamils and Sinhalese. Under your fraudulent reconciliation, Sinhalese students are getting hammered at Jaffna University. None of us agreed to establish war crimes tribunals.” (AH)