Alutgama: Army will carry out rebuilding operations – GR


by Shamindra Ferdinando


Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the army would re-build destroyed property and repair those damaged in recent racial violence at Alutgama, Beruwela and adjoining areas.

 Responding to a query by The Island, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had already released the required funds to begin the work.

The military would provide free labour, while the government would pay for building material and other requirements, the former infantry officer said.

 "The President has issued the necessary instructions before leaving for the Maldives,’ the Defence Secretary said, adding that the government would take all measures to prevent recurrence of communal violence.

 Rajapaksa said that security forces remained on alert to thwart attempts to trigger racial violence. "We are maintaining a substantial security presence in areas ravaged by recent violence. Security forces are ready to face any eventuality in any part of the country."

 Asked whether he believed that there was an organised attempt to destabilise the country, the Defence Secretary said that a spate of statements issued by foreign governments as well as various organizations was proof that there was an attempt to undermine the country’s post-war stability. Racial violence would only strengthen the hands of those conspirators who had been pushing for war crimes probe targeting the country, he added.

Anyone with an iota of love for the country, wouldn’t attack another community, the Defence Secretary said.

Defence Secretary Rajapaksa on Tuesday met SLMC Leader and Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem to discuss post-Alutgama developments.

The Defence Secretary said that the government was aware of ongoing attempts by some elements to cause chaos.

Wild allegations against the intelligence services over Alutgama violence, he said, were nothing but an essential part of a strategy to embarrass the government.

Dismissing allegations that the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) accused of causing massive destruction at Alutgama and Beruwela by the SLMC had government backing, Defence Secretary asked whether any government would try to destroy what it had achieved. "Give me just one reason why we should cause chaos as the country is heading for national elections. Having won every election, except the first Northern Provincial Council polls last September, there is absolutely no reason for the government to dig its own grave," the Defence Secretary said. "Give me one reason why the government wants to antagonize its coalition partners." 

The Defence Secretary said that disruptive elements were using social media networks in a bid to harass the government. Unfortunately, some Sinhalese as well as Muslims had unwittingly contributed to this strategy by propagating lies, he said. 

 The Defence Secretary detailed the circumstances under which a foreign government sought to rush body guards to Sri Lanka, where one of its VIPs was on holiday. Although the VIP turned down the offer, his government was cagey due to media reports on Alutgama violence.

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