2:38 PM

Prabhakaran won't allow amicable solution

Holding talks with the Tigers' shadowy leader would be a blunder and there will be no peace unless he is killed, Sri Lankan militant-turned-minister Douglas Devananda has warned.Social Services and Welfare Minister Devananda, who is vehemently opposed to the Tigers, says he has escaped more than a dozen assassination attempts.

The last was on November 28, when a female bomber officials say was sent by Tiger leader Velupillai Prabhakaran made her way into his ministry in central Colombo.Devananda was watching closed-circuit TV footage of visitors in the ministry's offices and hallways when the woman blew herself up, killing one of his aides.

"Prabhakaran ... is anti-human," Devananda told Sri Lanka's Foreign Correspondent's Association late on Thursday, after showing journalists a recording of the attack. "You have to compare (him) with Pol Pot or Hitler ... He has to die.""As long as Prabhakaran is alive, he won't allow anyone to solve the problem (conflict) amicably," he added. "If the President goes again for talks, it's a blunder."

Prabhakaran is infamous for his use of suicide attackers as part of his campaign to create a separate state in the island's North and East.Devananda himself took up arms against the state with other militant groups in the late 1970s and 1980s. He remains at the top of the Tigers' hit list.

"I have the right to be the chief minister of the North and East," Devananda said.He also wants the Government and other political parties to decentralise power to provincial councils, rather than wait for divided parties to try to reach an elusive consensus on devolution."The Tamil people have grievances. They should be dealt with with a political package," he said.Devananda, who adopted the alias Douglas because it was his karate teacher's name, laughs as he recalls a series of attempts on his life.

He was once forced to dive into the Palk Strait separating Sri Lanka from India in 1996 to escape a Tiger attack and spent the whole night in the sea.

The minister, who founded the militant Eelam People's Revolutionary Front (EPRLF), which later morphed into his political party, has no regrets about his own violent past.