Sri Lankan television has been showing what purports to be the body of Tamil Tiger Leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran, the man who led one side in Asia’s longest running wars in modern times.
The majority Sinhalese community has been celebrating in the capital Colombo and heaping praise on their President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He has been fending off fierce Western criticism in the waning weeks of the war. This over the intensity of bombardment of Tamil areas, which is said to have cost the lives of many civilians. In the long term he must now win the confidence of the Tamil people, scarred by decades of what they call blatant discrimination. He told parliament: “For almost three decades the laws enacted by this legislature were not in force in almost a third of our land. The freedom of our country is supreme. I will not permit separatism. I will not allow anyone to destroy democracy in our country.” The fate of tens of thousands of refugees in the north east of Sri Lanka is not clear. Aid agencies estimate more than a quarter of a million people have been displaced and are sheltering in overcrowded camps, short of food and lacking even the basic medical care. Most aid workers and journalists have been barred from the conflict zone, but may get access now. It is expected the President will call early elections to capitalise on his popularity. Whoever leads Sri Lanka faces a monumental task of healing the wounds of the last few decades and rebuilding its crippled economy.