Bid to verify identities of those in C4 footage causes controversy Probe commenced in 2013– SLA

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Army headquarters yesterday said that the Military Police were in the process of closely checking Channel 4 News video footage in a bid to establish whether those in uniform were actually Sri Lankan troops.

Military spokesman Brigadier Jayanath Jayaweera emphasised that the investigation had been launched in 2013 on a directive issued by the previous government. Brigadier Jayaweera said that it was an on-going process.

Former UPFA Southern Provincial Councillor Major (retd.) Ajith Prasanna yesterday however said that the government should never recognise the British media outfit bent on humiliating Sri Lanka at the behest of the LTTE rump. Ajith Prasanna, who had served the sixth battalion of the Sinha Regiment (6SR) said that there couldn’t be anything as demeaning as interrogating officers who commanded troops on the front. The Sinha regiment veteran blamed the new government for dragging officers and men before Military Police investigations.

channel 4Attorney-at-law Ajith Prasanna alleged that the government had placed commanding officers at different levels of those fighting formations in an extremely embarrassing situation. The retired officer accused the new government of bending backwards to appease Western powers. The government shouldn’t under any circumstances act in a manner inimical to national security interests, the attorney-at-law said. The former soldier insisted that none of the claims made by the Channel 4 News had been proved.

Responding to a query, the attorney-at-law said that the government stand on Channel 4 News had been an integral part of a major international conspiracy directed at the Sri Lankan state.

Brigadier Jayaweera stressed that the SLA was acting on a government directive issued in accordance with Sri Lanka’s overall response to international accusations pertaining to atrocities committed during the last phase of the conflict. The official said that any attempt to discredit the on-going probe as politically motivated or driven by international pressure couldn’t be accepted. The official pointed out that a Presidential missing persons commission had been in operation for several years, in addition to the previous government securing the assistance of international experts to inquire into war time accusations.