Sri Lankan defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
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Sri Lankan defence secretary: 'There must be freedom to live anywhere'

One of the most powerful men in Sri Lanka, the Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, has told the BBC it is not appropriate to see the north of the country as a predominantly Tamil area.

The north was the epicentre of a decades-long insurgency by the Tamil Tiger or LTTE separatists who wanted a separate homeland for the island's ethnic Tamil minority.

Our correspondent Charles Haviland asked Mr Rajapaksa to comment on the recent replacement of some senior Tamil officials with Sinhalese ones in northern Sri Lanka.

  • 28 May 2012
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