Fonseka affair: UPFA ministers blamed for deteriorating relationship

The JVP, under fire for causing a rift between the UPFA government and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Sarath Fonseka, said on Sunday (Oct. 25) that Government Ministers were responsible for adverse remarks regarding the military over the past few weeks.

Addressing a press conference at JVP headquarters, Anura Kumara Dissanayake, MP said that ministers, Lakshman Yapa Abeywardena, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Dilan Perera, Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Mervin Silva and Hemakumara Nanayakkara had been severely critical of the military. But nothing could be as bad as a recent statement attributed to Hemakumara Nanayakkara, who referred to Ambalangoda rukada (puppets). This was nothing but a reference to war veteran General Fonseka, who hailed from the southern township of Ambalangoda, he said, emphasising that the government should take the blame for the present crisis.

He accused the government of politicising the army by issuing statements regarding the crisis through Military Spokesman Brigadier Udana Nanayakkara. The JVP Central Committee member said that the Brigadier should never have been asked to issue statements as his job was to discuss matters relating to security and on-going operations. He said that statements attributed to UPFA politicians as well as the Brigadier had actually highlighted the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the government and General Fonseka.

The Brigadier, dismissing reports relating to the alleged rift, last week said that anyone using the names of serving officers for political purpose should be dealt with.

The JVPer said that before warning the Opposition, the UPFA should ensure that its ministers do not talk nonsense, and run down the army.

The National Freedom Front (NFF) last week accused the JVP of being part of a UNP-led strategy to cause a rift between the government and the army. NFF posters displayed in Colombo and its suburbs identified UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, SLFP dissident Mangala Samaraweera and JVP General Secretary Tilvin Silva as leaders in this conspiracy.

He said that anyone, including General Sarath Fonseka should be able to enter politics. Referring to Ranjan Wijeratne and Anuruddha Ratwatte, the Kurunegala District MP said that the entry of military leaders into politics in a post-LTTE era should not be considered as a political conspiracy.

He said that during elections to provincial councils, ex-military personnel had contested on the UPFA ticket. The UPFA was now playing an entirely a different tune. He said that the government had unashamedly exploited battlefield success to its advantage at provincial council elections but now wanted a news blackout.

Although Dissanayake refused to comment on the possibility of the Marxist party backing General Fonseka at a presidential election, he said that the next poll could be a three-cornered battle. He indicated that the JVP could field a candidate other then one fielded by the UNP-led United National Alliance (UNA) at the forthcoming presidential polls.

UPFA’s Defence Spokesman Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told a recent meeting in Kandy that the presidential election would be held in January.

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