Sri Lanka govt helped India’s ruling party in election: report

(From left) Dharmasri Kumaratunga, Director - Payments and Settlements, Central Bank; Nanda Fernando, Managing Director, Sampath Bank; and Tharaka Ranwala, Head of Operations and Group Chief Marketing Officer, Sampath Bank

January 14, 2010 (AFP) – Sri Lanka stopped using heavy weapons against Tamil Tiger rebels to help the re-election bid of neighbouring India’s ruling party, a top official in Colombo said Thursday. Sri Lanka’s 12.5 percent minority Tamil community has close cultural and religious links with India’s Tamil Nadu state, which was once the staging post for Sri Lankan Tamil separatists. Lalith Weeratunga, senior aide to President Mahinda Rajapakse, said New Delhi requested the complete halt in the offensive against the Tamil Tigers because it affected the Tamil vote in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.

Weeratunga said Rajapakse did not want to stop the offensive against Tamil separatists, but was ready for a compromise to help Congress retain power.

“OK, what do you want me to do to ensure victory of the Congress Party?,” the president had asked, Weeratunga said in a video interview with Colombo’s Daily Mirror website.

“They requested that the use of heavy weaponry be stopped… With the halt in use of heavy weaponry, the Congress gained strength and the victory in Tamil Nadu can be attributed to this decision by the government of Sri Lanka.”

The Congress party easily won the el