Defence Secretary pledges just society | Daily News


Defence Secretary pledges just society

Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne vowed to create a society free of drugs, underworld activities, organised crimes and extortion, so that all communities could live safely.

He was addressing his first media briefing at the Defence Ministry yesterday (16) after assuming duties as the Defence Secretary. He detailed the measures taken to strengthen national security and eradicate drug and underworld activities under the directives of the President.

The Defence Ministry is coordinating the efforts of the Police, Navy, Army, STF and the Air Force to prevent the Drug menace. National Security cannot be determined by only winning the war and ending terrorism, the Defence Secretary said, adding that national security can be achieved only when every citizen from infant to the oldest can live in peace and without fear. Gen. Gunaratne added that now a combined effort has been launched to eradicate the drug scourge in the country.

Despite the detecting and seizing large hauls of drugs over the recent past, drugs are available in the country. He added that some criminals engage in crimes from prisons supported by corrupt prison officers.

“We are determined and every effort is underway to quash all outside operations perpetrated from prison cells by drug kingpins and criminals using mobile phones. All technical measures have already been taken to trace such illegal communication networks,” Maj. Gen Gunaratne said.

He said that the flaws of the prison system have been identified and the Defence Ministry as a key stakeholder will rectify these loopholes and corruptions.

He said that the President had appointed a new Prisons Commissioner and the Prison Commissioner and himself along with several other senior officers had visited the Angunakolapelessa and Boossa prisons where hard-core criminals are housed. He said that he had inspected the prisons and realised that security was not adequate at these facilities and had deployed the STF for security in the outer perimeter of these prisons.

He said that jammers had also been installed to prevent any communication from prisons. The Defence Secretary also noted that all CCTV cameras that had been fitted at these facilities had been dysfunctional.

“During the past seven months, the Police and the Navy have seized over 1,300kgs of narcotics”, he said. A just and safe society to all citizens would be possible under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration, he said.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Police Narcotics Range Sanjeewa Medawatte added that over 1,200 kgs of heroin had been seized during the past seven months in raids and special anti-smuggling operations in the deep seas along with the Navy.

He said that the Police Narcotic Range apprehended and investigated 25,000 drug related incidents including large scale smuggling attempts during the past months.

He further said Sri Lanka handled the Coronavirus pandemic very successfully thanks to the strong leadership of the President, who used the armed forces and the administrative service to support the Health authorities.

He added that when powerful countries are struggling to contain the Coronavirus, Sri Lanka has managed to prevent community spreading and containing the virus at quarantine centres and Navy camps where the infection was reported. “Even when we detected the Navy personnel who were infected, we immediately cancelled all the leave of the tri forces and brought them all to camps to prevent the infection from spreading in society.”

The Defence Secretary noted that the first Covid-19 patient was detected in Sri Lanka on March 8 but 40 days prior to that the President had appointed the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of Covid-19 headed by the Army Commander. “Accordingly, the Army Commander handled the situation effectively as he had the manpower and the resources coupled with his vast experience and efficiency. The mechanism that was drawn up by the government was executed precisely and effectively under the leadership of the Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva,” he added.

The last community infected Covid-19 patient was found in April and since April 30, there has not been a single case reported from the community.

He added that the President had appointed two special committees in which he is a member, and one was for the conservation of archaeological sites. He noted that there are around 1,000 archaeological sites in the Eastern Province. These are sites that have the mighty works of our ancestors and it is our duty to protect them for future generations.

Acting Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Military Spokesperson Brig. Chandana Wickramasing Sanjewa Medawatte and DIG Ajith Rohana were present.


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