Arrest of soldiers was not due to fighting the LTTE – CBK

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Chairperson of the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR), Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, on Tuesday (9), said the Government’s reconciliation process was aimed at stopping further damage being caused to national security.
Speaking at a media briefing, after the government approved the National Reconciliation Policy, the former President was responding to the question on whether the Government had undertaken to cater to the West’s interest, jeopardizing the national security, as claimed by several politicians of the Joint Opposition.
She said, “If you don’t work on the national policy of reconciliation to bring about religious and ethnic harmony, there can be isolation between communities triggering a war situation. She said only a reconciliation process can halt such splits and some people don’t have the brains to understand this.

The ONUR Chairperson said that the National Policy on Reconciliation was set to fill a long-standing vacuum due to the absence of a consolidated National Policy on Reconciliation. “The National Policy on Reconciliation will aim to satisfy the need of the country for an over-arching vision on reconciliation and a broad, coherent framework to steer and direct the process of national reconciliation. In this regard, it declares that, “Acknowledging that while several reconciliation initiatives are underway, there does not exist, an expressed declared policy by the Government of Sri Lanka on the subject; hence this National Policy on Reconciliation aims to bridge this gap.”

She added that no military personnel were arrested for fighting the Tamil Tigers.

“Several Military personnel were arrested due to interference and receiving support of the members of the Ministry of Defence who attacked and killed journalists. Persons like Ekneligoda went missing, and Lasantha Wickremetunga was murdered. These were the reasons why some of the Army officials were arrested and not for fighting the civil war,” she noted.

She pointed out that on the alleged MIG deal with Russia, the former regime bought MIG fighter jets for USD 7 million but cashed on some 21 million USD and deposited the cash in their sons’ five bank accounts in Los Angeles in the US. “Those suspected military personnel were only arrested,” she said.

She also said some soldiers were arrested for killing innocent civilians and their political opponents, too. She alleged that the military higher-ups ‘used’ ordinary soldiers to commit those crimes. “When such crimes are committed how can we ignore it saying that they are war heroes?” she asked.
She stressed that for investigation purposes the military men were arrested and in due course the investigation will identify the senior persons behind the killings.

“If these men are legally proved as being connected to the extra judicial killings, we will have to arrests them,” she added.

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