A vital discovery | Daily News

A vital discovery

Investigators probing the assault on the former editor of the now defunct Rivira newspaper have unearthed what could be termed positive evidence of the involvement of a former Army Intelligence officer in the incident. According to newspaper reports, the CID had matched a fingerprint mark on the vehicle of slain Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickaramatunga, with fingerprints of 228 Army Intelligence officers stored in the database but had drawn a blank.

However, a fingerprint mark found on the vehicle of Upali Tennakoon, on the day of the incident, has tallied with that of former Army Intelligence Officer Corporal Lalith Rajapakse. He was arrested on Monday and remanded yesterday after being produced before the Gampaha Magistrate’s Court.

Here, therefore, is tangible evidence that the then Army Intelligence fraternity was neck deep in a sinister operation related to assault and abduction of journalists during the Rajapaksa era. If earlier these accusations were vague and stemmed from hearsay sans positive evidence, as argued by the likes of Udaya Gammanpila and Wimal Weerawansa, we now have incontrovertible proof that this was, indeed, not the case.

For, no fingerprints of two persons can be alike and each person’s fingerprints are unique to that person as is only all too well known and this is one aspect that all those JO functionaries who are shouting hoarse about witch-hunts against War Heroes by the Government cannot talk themselves out of. Hence, it is safe to conclude that the Upali Tennakoon assault is only the tip of the iceberg.

The Upali Tennakoon incident is part of the spate of white van abductions of which journalist Keith Noyahr was one of the victims. Moreover, Corporal Ratnayake was attached to the notorious ‘Tripoli Platoon’ in Maradana that was known to target journalists.

Hence, it is clear that the JO and the Pro-Rajapaksa Buddhist monks have been misleading the public with their pseudo patriotism. These elements even accused the Government of jailing Army Intelligence officers at the behest of the Tamil Diaspora. Not only that, they even accused the Government of throwing Army Intelligence Officers and war heroes behind bars to please the international community in return for financial aid.

It had been their perennial lament that the weakening of morale of the intelligence sleuths by imprisoning their colleagues had led to the breakdown in the Intelligence operations and they attributed the Easter Sunday bombings to the deliberate emasculation of the Military Intelligence apparatus. This is despite all the intelligence information pertaining to the Easter attacks being in the domain of those who matter and who were in a position to prevent the attacks.

It is hoped that at least now the JO politicians and their allied Bhikkus would see things in their proper light and refrain from using the Armed Forces for political propaganda. It cannot be for anything other than political gain. Else, these elements would have gone to town when the war winning Army Chief, whom Mahinda Rajapaksa, no less, described as the best Military Commander in the world, was dragged away like a common criminal and thrown in the slammer. Where was this group of vociferous Bhikkus then? Was this silence because Sarath Fonseka was a political foe of the Rajapaksas and it was not politick to rise in support of the man?

Besides, the law should apply equally to all citizens. Some individuals cannot be more equal just because they fought in a war or is an Intelligence officer. To differentiate is to invite indiscipline, lawlessness and anarchy. We have many precedents where men in active service in the war zone had been hauled before courts for serious crimes. The Krishanthy Kumaraswamy matter is no doubt a standout example and former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga should be commended for acting as she did. Shielding criminals from the law is unbecoming of a legitimate Government in an orderly society where the rule of law should reign supreme.

Anyway, we have this propensity to get carried away by events instead of resorting to evaluating the pros and cons under sober reflection. The hue and cry about the Government carrying out alleged witch- hunts against war heroes, without a proper assessment of reality is a case in point. Now we have a similar episode where a local lawyer is planning to petition the United Nations against the ‘ethnic cleansing’ allegedly carried out by Dr. Shafi Shihabdeen through the illegal sterilization of Sinhala women. This was after the CID, following a thorough investigation, cleared the doctor of any wrongdoing.

One recalls that another legal team was set to embark on a mission to Australia after Sri Lanka was beaten in the Cricket World Cup final in the Caribbean in 2007 after it was revealed that Australian opener Adam Gilchrist played his match-winning knock with the aid of a golf ball hidden in his battling glove. The lawyers intended to lodge a complaint of cheating and for a declaration that Sri Lanka were the rightful winners. Mercifully, sanity prevailed in the end and the mission abandoned. Rational thinking must be the basis of all our decisions.


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