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Wish Prabhakaran was caught alive: Rajapaksa

Press Trust Of India
May 23, 2009 at 02:21am IST

New Delhi: Relieved after winning the battle against Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said he wished Tiger supremo Vellupillai Prabhakaran had been caught alive so that he could have faced trial in India for former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.

"I wish we had captured him alive. Then we could have sent him to India to face trial for killing former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi," Rajapaksa said in an interview.

"He would then have been India's headache," the Sri Lankan president said in a lighter vein.

IT'S OVER: LTTE chief Prabhakaran could have faced trial for Rajiv Gandhi's assassination.

Asked how he felt after winning the war against LTTE, he said, "I feel relief. After 30 years, we have cleared the terrorists and now we are a unified and whole country".

The Sri Lankan president said the secret of his success was that unlike others, "I united the forces and allowed our commanders to fight the battle. I gave them support".

Seeking India's help in rebuilding the war-ravaged country, he said, "It (India) is our immediate neighbour and has an obligation to do this".

On India's concerns about his government procuring arms from China, he said, "China is our friend like many others, we bought arms where we could procure them from. India shouldn't worry. We are not only friends with India but we have a relationship with it".

Rajapaksa said, "India must be large-hearted. I have said before that we would never allow any other country to use our soil to carry out activities against India".

He said his government was committed towards the rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced Tamils, build infrastructure like roads, houses and clear mines from their villages.

"I am committed to implementing the 13th amendment dealing with devolution of powers and willing to go even a step further. That step we can discuss and negotiate with political leaders," he added.

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