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    Colombo questions reports on cluster bombs

    The Sri Lanka government on Wednesday questioned the veracity of photographs published in sections of the media to suggest that cluster bombs were used in the final stages of the civil war.

    Responding to queries by The Hindu in the light of the publication of a report byThe Guardian along with the photographs, Rajitha Senaratne, Cabinet spokesperson, wondered: “How do you know that the sites, as shown in the pictures, are in Sri Lanka? How do you say that these bombs belong to the Sri Lanka Army? What is the basis? There could have been cluster bombs. How do you say whether they are from the Army or the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] forces? ”

    When pointed out that the news report had stated that the weapons could have been used only by the Sri Lanka security forces which were believed to have had the capability to deploy cluster bombs in no fire zone, Dr. Senaratne retorted: “How can they say that? The LTTE could have done it.”

    The Minister asked why the photographs were published now, coinciding with the ongoing session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) which would have shortly discussions on the issues of reconciliation and accountability in Sri Lanka. “They (those involved in demining) should have reported [the discovery of cluster bombs] at the time of demining. Why now, after so many years?”

    When told that the discovery of bombs was, according to the news story, not reported for fear of retributive action from the then regime led by President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Dr. Senaratne argued that the Rajapaksa regime could not have penalised anyone for reporting any such discovery.

    Courtesy – The Hindu

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