President Maithripala Sirisena, making a startling revelation, claimed that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, former Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne, former Army Commander General Sarath Fonseka and former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa were overseas during the final two weeks of the war against terrorism.
Addressing the Sri Lankan community in New York, in the aftermath of his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly, as the acting Minister of Defence during the last two weeks of the war, President Sirisena noted that though many do not remember it, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Jayaratne, Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Fonseka were not present in the country during that two-week period.
He further noted that not many people know the reasons behind why they left the country.
“I was a victim of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam attacks. The members who carried out these attacks died in their efforts. We left home during that time, afraid for our lives, not knowing whether we would return home. I have that experience and I know the sacrifices our military forces had to make,” he said.
He further emphasized that the Government will safeguard the honour, dignity and respect of the war heroes, starting from the top generals to the last private soldier, adding also that they would be provided with every privilege. He said that there were certain incidents investigated during the war as well as after the conflict, but they were not related to the war and the probes into those cannot therefore, under any circumstance, be described as a witch hunt against the war heroes.
He said that it should not be forgotten that one of the expectations during the last Presidential Election campaign was that there would be investigations on these stray incidents and that the guilty would be punished.
“How many murders were committed outside the theatre of the war? Who would have committed them? Who is responsible for these heinous acts? This was on the top of the mandate when I was elected in 2015. If the armed forces were deployed on personal agendas, for private needs, it is a terrible crime. There are politicians who should be held responsible. Then there are normal citizens and even members of the armed forces, who were part of these acts.”
He went on to state, “There is no other President who receives backlashes on social Media than me. If the previous administration received the same criticism, the bodies of their critics would not even be found.
However, the situation is different now. During the last three years, none of the calamities that prevailed reoccurred.”