We are an ungrateful nation. Ingratitude is in our genes, irrespective of ethnicity and religion. We are so intolerant of dissent that a hero becomes a villain the moment he decamps. Mangala et al who were once heroes to the SLFP have become untouchables of sorts following their mutiny on board and the resultant ouster. The same is true of the UNP, which is painting a raven black picture of its rebels who have defected to the government. Rathu Sahodarayas have suddenly found that Comrade Wimal is only a hotu kolla (snotty brat) as he broke ranks with them! The government is now sticking the LTTE label on its erstwhile ally, the JVP, without whose support Mahinda Rajapaksa would have lost the last presidential election. Our roly-poly striped friend in the Wanni says his former trusted lieutenant Karuna, who held the East for him for many years, is an impotent imbecile because of the latter's defection. The UNP is hauling Gotabhaya, a former brave officer who fought valiantly for the country and proved his mettle in battle, over the coals, as he has become a strong pillar of the government and one of the architects of a successful war effort against the LTTE. And the government is giving a mud bath to Janaka Perera, a retired decorated officer who rendered a selfless service to the country and did the army proud, following his decision to contest the PC polls on the UNP ticket.
Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Janaka Perera complains he has not been provided with State security in spite of a high threat perception, while the ruling party Chief Ministerial candidate Bertie Premalal Dissanayake has got 30 security personnel etc.
Janaka Perera should have desisted from entering active politics from any party. We, in our small way, tried to dissuade him from taking a plunge into the cesspit that Sri Lankan politics is. Old soldiers are said to fade away but he chose to 'scream himself away' in the exalted company of the scum of the earth in the garb of people's representatives. Even the learned university dons have made the same mistake. Bad karma eh?
The government must provide him with security for two reasons. Firstly, he played a pivotal role in many key battles against the LTTE and, therefore, he deserves protection regardless of his politics. After all, the government granted VVIP protection to the UPFA chief ministerial candidate S. Chandrakanthan, who had fought against the army. So, on no grounds can the government justify its refusal to give a former general what has been given to a former LTTE combatant. Secondly, the LTTE will not spare Janaka simply because he is now in the UNP known for pacifism and appeasement. The fate that befell former Maj. Gen. Lucky Algama is a case in point. In 1999, the LTTE assassinated him by using a suicide bomber on the very day it made an abortive attempt on the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga's life on the eve of the presidential election in that year. For, the LTTE did not want a man of Algama's stature in the UNP, as it knew he would not allow a UNP-led government to pander to its whims and fancies. There is no reason why the LTTE should act differently as regards Janaka, who also launched diplomatic offensives against the LTTE as Sri Lanka’s ambassador to Australia and Indonesia.
It is not Janaka Perera the politician who should be protected but the former soldier in him. The government is duty bound to ensure his security, which this country owes him.
Let no lame excuses be trotted out.