Pledges to rectify injustices caused to Armed Forces during previous regime | Daily News


 

PM at Defence Services Command Graduation Ceremony:

Pledges to rectify injustices caused to Armed Forces during previous regime

memento for PM: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who was the Chief Guest at the Defence Services Command and Staff College graduation ceremony held at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre receives a memento from the Commandant  of the college Major General Prabath Dematanpitiya. Picture by Gayan Pushpika
memento for PM: Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who was the Chief Guest at the Defence Services Command and Staff College graduation ceremony held at the Nelum Pokuna Theatre receives a memento from the Commandant of the college Major General Prabath De

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday pledged to rectify the humiliation and injustices that the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka were subjected to during the past five years and provide restitution where necessary.

He further pledged to take initiatives at the international level to restore to our armed forces, the respect and dignity they deserve.

The Prime Minister made this observations participating as the Chief Guest at the Graduation Ceremony of the Defence Services Command and Staff College held yesterday at the Nelum Pokuna Mahinda Rajapaksa Theatre.

He said that the members of the intelligence services were persecuted, harassed, and jailed by the previous government on false charges. It was not just the intelligence services that had to face this situation. The entire high command of the Armed Forces during the war against the LTTE was brought before the Police with a great deal of media publicity to answer to all kinds of allegations.

“The war time Defence Secretary, two Chiefs of Defence Staff, two Army Commanders, four Navy Commanders, two Air Force Commanders, the Chief of National Intelligence and very senior Army, Police, STF and Navy officers were among those who were humiliated in this manner.

Some were even taken to courts and remanded for periods ranging from a few weeks to over one year. The idea was to create the impression in the minds of Sri Lankans and the international community that our Armed forces were not War Heroes but thieves and murderers,” the Prime Minister said.

He further said that no government of any country in the world has humiliated its own Armed Forces in this manner. The Armed Forces are the protectors of the nation.

“The change of government in January 2015 was almost as if a hostile foreign force had invaded and taken over Sri Lanka,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said.

“A comprehensive programme was launched to harass and demoralize the Armed Forces, to intimidate the Maha Sangha and to cow the majority community into submission and to obtain through dirty politics what could not be obtained through nearly four decades of civil war,” he charged.

The Prime Minister further charged that the previous government went to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva and co-sponsored a resolution against Sri Lanka, pledging among other things to institute war crimes trials against members of the Armed Forces with the participation of foreign judges and prosecutors. That was done by the Sri Lankan government elected by the people.”Today, the people of this country have elected a President with an overwhelming mandate, to rectify the injustices of the past five years,” Prime Minister added.

“We all know that there are various agendas at the international level operational with regard to our Armed Forces. There are instances where certain foreign parties objected to promotions made within our Armed Forces. No sovereign country will allow such foreign interference in the internal affairs of its Armed Forces,” he added.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa said that the present government has been elected to power to safeguard the national sovereignty and national security of Sri Lanka and we will do whatever it takes to achieve that objective. Overcoming the challenge that we were confronted with in the form of the LTTE required military hardware and pitched battles with a terrorist Army. The new situation that we are faced with requires intelligence operations, cooperation with international intelligence agencies and certain strategic foreign policy initiatives.

“We, the political authorities will provide the Armed Forces of Sri Lanka with the leadership to achieve the objective of ensuring the national security of a sovereign Sri Lanka. That is our pledge to the armed forces and the people of Sri Lanka,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the country’s national sovereignty and national security is under threat.

“With just days to go to the tenth anniversary of the victory against the LTTE, the country experienced the Easter Sunday suicide bombings carried out by an extremist Islamic organization. In comparison to most countries in Asia, we are a small island nation. But nothing seems to happen here on a small scale,” he said.

“In the late 1980s Sri Lanka was the most intense scene of conflict in the world, with violent uprisings in the north as well as the south. Then we had to fight with the world’s deadliest terrorist group with the capacity to carry out full scale ground operations and attacks by sea and air as well. This year we had the Easter Sunday bombings which was the deadliest terrorist attack on civilian targets to take place anywhere in Asia. Even Though this is a small country, the challenges that we have had to face are not small at all,” Prime Minister Rajapaksa said.

The Prime Minister stressed that the country has to take serious note of the fact that while there were no Indians among the 2008 Mumbai attackers, all the Easter Sunday suicide bombers were Sri Lankans. This is a threat that will have to be contained not only for Sri Lanka’s sake but for the wellbeing of all other nations in the region. This year, India went on alert on at least two occasions due to information that Islamic terrorists from Sri Lanka were trying to enter India by boat.

“If we don’t get on top of the situation, all neighbouring countries including India, the Maldives, Bangladesh, and even countries further off like Myanmar, Thailand and Malaysia will be under threat. So this new terrorist threat will have to be contained by whatever means necessary. Countries in our immediate neighbourhood and beyond are well aware of the danger and we can expect their fullest cooperation in this regard,” the Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Rajapaksa further added that unlike the war against the LTTE which required ground, sea and air operations, this new threat at this stage requires mainly intelligence operations. Unfortunately, over the past five years, the intelligence services were rendered completely inoperative.

 

 


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