Govt. bites the bullet, seeks IMF assistance – The Island
… admits that Geneva has taken the investigation into account
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Defense Minister Kamal Gunaratne says some stakeholders are spreading lies that the Easter attacks in 2019 were carried out to influence the electorate in the 2019 presidential election.
General Gunaratne says attempts are being made to involve President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in the dispute.
This was said by the former commander-in-chief (GoC) of the elite 53rd division at a media briefing at the defense complex in Akuregoda, Bataramula on Thursday (9).
The SLPP presidential candidate conveniently won the election. This was followed by the triumph of the SLPP in the 2020 general elections.
Under the leadership of VA Fleet Chief Nishantha Ulugetenne and IGP CD Wickramaratne, General Gunaratne said that as a result of investigations conducted by CID-led law enforcement agencies, the Attorney General would now prosecute the accused before a panel of judges appointed by the Supreme Court. the work of Easter.
General Gunaratne called on the public to be wary of despised attempts to deceive. In response to ongoing allegations made by Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjit regarding the Easter massacre, General Gunaratne stressed that the police and intelligence services had separately informed the Confederation of Catholic Bishops and Mahanayanese in this regard. General Gunaratne has denied allegations that the Easter massacre was a conspiracy in favor of the defense minister.
Towards the end of the briefing, General Gunaratne referred to the arrest of lawyer Hejaaz Hezbollah on 14 April 2020 in connection with the ongoing investigations into the Easter suicide attacks.
Police have arrested Hezbollah under the Anti-Terrorism Act (PTA).
Commenting on the ongoing challenges facing the country, General Gunaratne said the lawyer’s arrest had been raised to the highest level in the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council. Despite statements made to the UNHRC on behalf of the lawyer, the defense minister stressed that they had conclusive evidence of the detainee’s involvement in the Easter carnage.
Sri Lanka’s core group on the UN Human Rights Council, consisting of the United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, Northern Macedonia, Malawi and Montenegro, arrested the lawyer in late June 2012, along with several other cases, including former CID SSP director Sharni Abeysekera. The United Kingdom made the statement on behalf of the core group at the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The attacks on Easter Sunday claimed the lives of 270 and injured approximately 400 people.
The defense ministry held a media briefing after Cardinal Malcolm Ranjit, accusing Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister Prof. GL Peiris of planning to visit the Vatican to mislead the pope about the Easter massacre. Before leaving for Italy on Thursday night, Professor Peiris told The Island that they had never sought a meeting with the pope, nor had they received an invitation from the Vatican.
Prof. Peiris explained that the government conducts investigations in a transparent manner and informs all stakeholders, including the Vatican. A new controversy erupted over the Easter Sunday investigation after Cardinal Malcolm Ranjit refused to meet with Professor Peiris unless he was assured of the investigation.
The director general for legal affairs, the president’s office, and lawyer Harigupta Rohanadiera said he rejected allegations that the Easter massacre was intended to favor the SLPP presidential candidate.
Rohanadiera explained against the background of the grueling failure of the then-ruling LPG in the February 2018 local government elections, caused mainly by treasury bond fraud and the defeat of the presidential election was inevitable after the failure to thwart the Easter carnage, although accurate intelligence from India was provided.
Both General Gunaratne and lawyer Rohanadiera contradict the conspiracy theory. Dappula de Livera, PC, caused a media furor a few days before retiring in May this year, when he called the Easter Sunday massacre a grandiose conspiracy.
General Gunaratne, VA Ulugetenne and IGP Wickramaratne addressed several other issues, including ongoing efforts to eradicate powerful drug networks operating in the country. IGP Wickramaratne said all the property of those involved would be confiscated.
VA Ulegetenne explained the recent operations undertaken by the Navy on information provided by the State Intelligence Service (SIS) and the police. Citing two specific operations in the seas off Beruwela and on the high seas, VA Ulegetenne said the two discoveries in August and September led to the recovery of more than 600 kilograms of heroin. The Chief of the Navy evaluates the assistance provided by the intelligence of the Navy, other intelligence services and the Air Force in anti-drug operations.
General Gunaratne warned the fishing community to refrain from helping smugglers of heroin and weapons. According to him, part of the fishermen’s community was deeply involved in covert activities at the expense of their reputation.
General Gunaratne is also working on the role of the armed forces and police in assisting the civilian health administration in fighting the raging Covid-19 epidemic. The defense minister explained how President Gotabaya Rajapaksa recruited the military after attempts to sabotage the spread of vaccination. The military had the capacity to launch a large-scale inoculation campaign, despite other commitments, General Gunaratne said.