Gota, JO reject Mangala’s belated allegation

Secretly moving 200 hardcore terrorists out of Sri Lanka



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Gotabhaya Rajapaksa


By Shamindra Ferdinando


Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa yesterday said that the government was working overtime to discredit the former Rajapaksa administration which had defeated terrorism against numerous odds.


Gajaba Regiment veteran Rajapaksa said that those who had been demanding Geneva-supervised probe into accountability issues were now accusing him of helping terrorists escape.


The former Defence Secretary was responding to Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’s claim that over 200 LTTE cadres had secretly left the country through his (Rajapaksa’s) intervention during the last week of the Vanni offensive. The UNPer made the allegation at a Foreign Ministry media briefing on Monday evening.


The military brought the war to a successful conclusion on May 19, 2009.


Rajapaksa alleged that the government had made contradictory statements on a number of issues, including matters pertaining to ex-LTTE cadres.


Former Defence Secretary Rajapaksa told The Island that the unprecedented accusation had been made in the wake of the passage of the Office on Missing Persons (Establishment, Administration and Discharge of Functions) Bill recently in Parliament. He said that those desirous of hauling the previous government up before Geneva-supervised judicial mechanism would have been certainly surprised by Minister Samaraweera’s accusation.


The Colombo-based diplomatic community, pro-LTTE Diaspora as well as civil society organisations couldn’t keep silent on the latest accusation, the former Defence Secretary said.


 


According to him, those who surrendered to the armed forces on the Vanni east front as well as other theatres of operations were rehabilitated and released. He urged the government to reveal everything pertaining to his alleged involvement of over 200 LTTE cadres fleeing the country.


Commenting on outgoing UNSG Ban Ki-moon’s forthcoming visit to Jaffna, the former Defence Secretary said that the military had liberated Jaffna in Dec 1995. The UN wouldn’t have even contemplated its chief undertaking a visit to Jaffna until the previous government liberated Vanni in 2009, the former Defence Secretary said. The UNSG should be told that national reconciliation wouldn’t have been a reality as long as the LTTE retained military capability, the war veteran said. The UNSG couldn’t be unaware of the bid made by the UN in May 1998 to halt child recruitment, the former Defence Secretary said, alleging that had the UN taken tangible measures the LTTE wouldn’t have survived for so long.


Meanwhile, top Joint Opposition spokesperson and Matara District MP Dallas Alahapperuma yesterday called the foreign minister’s accusation a blatant lie.


Addressing the media at Dr N. M. Perera Centre, Alahapperuma alleged that an attempt was made to tarnish the good name of a person who had rendered yeoman service to the nation.


The SLFPer accused Minister Samaraweera of willfully harming the former Defence Secretary’s reputation.


MP Alahapperuma alleged that the government had been engaged in a political project to cover up its failures. With the country in chaos, the Yahapalana rulers had no option but to propagate lies.


The former Defence Secretary said that thousands of terrorists had fled Sri Lanka over the years. Foreign governments had issued them with new identity papers and in some instances passports, the former Defence Secretary alleged. Some of those who had been categorized as missing could have perished while trying to reach Australia in boats, gone underground in various parts of the world or disappeared during the deployment of the Indian Army (July 1987-March 1990). Rajapaksa pointed out that the identity of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassin remained a secret. She, too, could be listed somewhere as a missing person along with 20 other LTTE operatives who had committed suicide during the hunt for the gang responsible for Gandhi assassination, the former Defence Secretary said.


Investigations into disappearances wouldn’t be completed unless an effort was made to establish the fate of those who had made an abortive bid to overthrow the Maldivian administration in early Nov, 1988, the former Defence Secretary said. India intervened to thwart the sea-borne PLOTE raid on Male, he said, recollecting the circumstances under which the Indian Navy intercepted and sank a merchant vessel commandeered by PLOTE cadres fleeing Male.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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