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Last updated: 21 May, 2009 - Published 14:28 GMT
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Don't hurt feelings- President

'magnanimity and friendship towards all'

President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Sri Lanka has issued a statement urging the country's people to be magnanimous in celebrating the government's victory over the Tamil Tiger rebels, a victory which he formally announced on Tuesday.

President Rajapaksa has issued this special statement about the manner in which victory should be celebrated - an indication, perhaps, of the sensitivity of the end of this war with its ethnic origins.With the national flag being raised all over the country, the president said people should ensure that what he called the outpouring of joy at the defeat of terrorism "leaves no room for anyone's feelings to be hurt in any manner".

The celebration, he said, should be expressed "with magnanimity and friendship towards all".

Some members of the Tamil minority, and a group of leftist parties, say Tamils and Muslims have in some cases been harassed or insulted or forced to dance by people celebrating in the streets.



The government has been in talks with senior visiting Indian leaders about the situation of more than a quarter of a million ethnic Tamil refugees housed in camps in the north.

The Sri Lankan and Indian governments issued a joint statement saying Sri Lanka plans to allow the bulk of the displaced Tamil civilians in the north to return to their villages within six months.

The undertaking came in meetings between senior officials here and India's visiting foreign secretary and national security adviser. The statement said there were also plans to dismantle as soon as possible the camps in which the refugees are staying in overcrowded conditions with limited food, water and sanitation.Preparing for people to return to villages in the ravaged north will not be easy. But India is promising help with demining and rebuilding.

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