Elections will silence critics: Lankan president

Colombo: Hitting back at critics, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said the snap elections called for three provincial councils next month would silence them.

Addressing the voters of the North, Central and South-western provinces last night, Rajapaksa said that his government had faced unjust international criticism for ending a three decade old separatist armed conflict.

He said local and international critics point accusations at his government for human rights abuses to embarrass him and the voters of the three provinces have been given the opportunity to answer them.

The President said he would not allow communalism to raise its head and would treat all three ethnic groups in the island with fairness.

Sri Lanka has faced international stricture for alleged rights abuses, most prominent was the UN human rights council resolution in March moved by US and backed by India.

Snap elections are scheduled to be held on September 8 for three of the island`s nine provinces. The opposition charges the government of holding elections on a staggered basis to gain undue advantage. They demand the holding of the northern provincial council election which is being seen as a major step towards reconciliation with the Tamil minority.