NGO turns Lankan suicide into extra judicial killing

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The government yesterday alleged that those supporting the US-led move against Sri Lanka at the current sessions of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had cited a recent suicide at Boteju road, Narahenpita to justify relentless calls for external intervention.

A senior Defence Ministry official said that an attempt had been made by Sri Lankan NGOs involved in the US-managed operation to portray that particular incident of suicide as a killing carried out by the government. The official urged those genuinely interested in post-war national reconciliation to inquire into the latest allegation without further delay. They could meet the family of the deceased and also speak with local police as well as the judicial officers to ascertain the truth within the next few days, he said.

The official identified the dead man as 72-year-old Jayasinghe Arachchilage Siripala of 60/8, Torrington Road, Colombo 7. Responding to a query, the official said that a section of the media

had initially identified the partly burnt body as of Velayudan Methiyas Chandrapala alias Mervin (52).

Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu referred to the recovery of a partially burnt body in Colombo 5 during a ‘side event’ organised by the US-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Geneva.

The Defence Ministry said that the UNP and other interested parties were making an attempt to use a recent incident involving a group of soldiers and Kolonnawa Urban Council Chairman, Ravindra Udayashantha to justify the US call for external interference. Denying Udayashantha’s claim that a group of soldiers in civvies had tried to abduct him on Saturday night, the official emphasised the complainant represented the ruling SLFP-led coalition. The politician had reacted hastily after some ex-soldiers hired by him as bodyguards observed the presence of troops in civvies. "They were not even armed," the official said adding: "They were on a routine surveillance mission targeting a deserter. They weren’t in anyway following Udayashantha or his associates," the official said.

Responding to a query, the official said that Udayashantha was a close associate of UPFA parliamentarian, R. Duminda Silva. Those accusing the army of trying to abduct Udayashantha also allege he was involved in the lucrative narcotics trade, an accusation vehemently denied by him.

The Defence Ministry alleged that an attempt was being made to portray the Kolonnawa incident as one involving ‘white vans,’ a reference to counter-terrorist operations carried out by the government during eelam war IV.

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