Swiss Embassy employee ‘abduction’ fabricated - Defence Secretary | Daily News


‘Easter bombers misguided followers of a great religion’

Swiss Embassy employee ‘abduction’ fabricated - Defence Secretary

Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne who made his maiden visit to the new Army Headquarters at Sri Jayewardenepura last morning signs the Visitor’s Book. Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra De Silva looks on.
Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retired) Kamal Gunaratne who made his maiden visit to the new Army Headquarters at Sri Jayewardenepura last morning signs the Visitor’s Book. Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra De Silva looks on.

“No CID team or any law enforcement unit of this country had abducted the Swiss Embassy employee. It is a totally fabricated allegation,” Defence Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (retd) Kamal Gunaratne said yesterday speaking at the Army Headquarters.

Referring to the on-going controversy over a claim of ‘abduction’ by a Sri Lankan employee at the Embassy of Switzerland in Colombo, Gunaratne said: “It is a big-time drama. I declare this in a one hundred percent responsible manner. I got the CID to investigate this allegation and they performed a magnificent investigation and we proved it to the Swiss Ambassador with technical evidence. But the aggression towards the Armed Force from Western countries is there. But the Foreign Ministry is handling it tactfully. We gave our support in clearing our name. However, discipline is very important and I don’t want any breach in discipline from any of the military officers and their subordinates.”

The Defence Secretary was speaking during his maiden visit to the new Army Headquarters at Sri Jayewardenapura last morning, The much-decorated war veteran called upon all Army Officers to “shoulder the responsibility of national security and ensure the safety for our entire nation as a huge task that lies ahead, since the military career is the most noble profession in the world”.

“Every soldier you command is somebody’s father, husband or son. You are not given power to use them as expendable items. Therefore, you should command and employ them at the correct time and the correct place by taking the correct decisions.”

Gunaratne said that during the previous regime,  the war heroes were targeted and hunted both locally and internationally. “It was very sad to see our comrades being put behind bars,” he lamented. Referring to the Easter Sunday attacks he said: “The April 21 attack was due to nothing, but the sheer negligence and ignorance of responsible persons at the highest level.

This had been carried out by a handful of misguided followers of the great religion of Islam. Islam, being a religion with great virtues has never advocated murder of innocent civilians.

These people have misinterpreted the teachings of Islam. More than 250 men, women and children including foreigners had to die and over 500 injured, including children. We, as defenders of the nation, should not allow any repetition of such violence,” the Defence Secretary stressed. “Therefore, we have to look back and see if we have fulfilled our responsibility to our nation”.

“This is a magnificent organization, for which the entire country is indebted, and you, being stakeholders in that proud organization have a bigger role to play to take the country forward.

To match with professional standards we need to live with pride as a proud soldier. You have a well-respected Commander who would seriously address your issues when it comes to business. As military men we have to live up to the standards,” he said.

“That is why you are today blessed with a marvelous and exceptionally magnificent new HQ like this, thanks to the vision and thinking of the President. I have seen many such foreign Headquarters, but there is no match to this one at Sri Jayawardenapura. You all have contributed to the liberation of the country from terrorism on 19th May 2009, but still we have to remember that the LTTE ideology continues to remain. After the war, we saw how people move around freely,” he said.

The Defence Secretary remarked that, during the past two years, military promotions were made in an ad hoc manner. But he assured that the standards of the military would not be compromised under his direction and assured that no injustice would be done to senior serving officers and no promotions would be made where junior officers are promoted above serving seniors.

“People who perform will be promoted on merit basis. You must earn your reward. We don’t want to let this army become a dad’s army. Discipline is of utmost importance.” The Defence Secretary said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected as President by the people with great hope that he will not allow this same tragedy to be repeated.

“The moment he was selected as president, he selected me to be the Defence Secretary. I never asked for it, but he had faith in me. Now we have a mammoth task ahead of us because with the appointment of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the President, I as the Defence Secretary and Lt. Gen Shavendra Silva as the Army Commander, the people have placed great responsibility on our shoulders for the safety of the country.”

The Secretary Defence, accompanied by Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, also went on an inspection tour of the Mess facilities for Army personnel at the new HQ and went on to see the adjoining construction site of the new Ministry of Defence, and the Navy and Air Force headquarters buildings.

Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Nirmal Dharmaratne, Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force Commandant Major General Jagath Gunawardena, Principal Staff Officers, Directors and Officers were in attendance at the Defence Secretary’s visit.

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