COLOMBO, Sri Lanka, July 25 (UPI) -- Former Sri Lankan President Chandrika Kumaratunga urged the Mahinda Rajapaksa government to negotiate with the island nation's minorities to achieve peace.
Delivering a memorial lecture, Kumaratunga said the current government may have ended the 26-year-old Tamil Tiger rebellion in May 2009, but is yet to start winning the peace, the Lanka Page reported.
"We must negotiate with the minorities and their leaders and make concessions as required. Sharing what we possess with others will not reduce our strength but enhance it by bringing together divided communities," she said.
The Tamil Tiger rebels had fought the civil war for 26 years for a separate Tamil homeland.
"I wonder when I see the state the country is in today, if the government has adopted an authoritarian rule not to strengthen democracy and strengthen human rights but to do the opposite," she said.
The BBC reported the remarks of Kumaratunga, a critic of Rajapaksa, were the strongest yet.
The BBC quoted her as saying Sri Lanka is now a "terribly divided nation" and that the state is against everyone who opposed it.
The Rajapaksa government has come under severe criticism after the Britain's Channel 4 aired a documentary purporting to show war crimes by both sides during the war against the Tiger rebels. The government has dismissed the documentary as a fake.
Kumaratunga also was critical of her prime minister father for putting the Sinhala language over all others such as Tamil, the BBC said.
The Rajapaksa alliance handily won the recent local elections but in a setback for it, the Tamil National Alliance won 18 of the 26 seats in the Tamil stronghold region in the north.
Britain's Independent reported Tamil politicians say the results should convince the government to work toward a genuine political settlement.