28 September, 2020

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Death By A Thousand Cuts

By Dharisha Bastians

Dharisha Bastians

“…A soldier when answering to his conscience not only has the right, but also the duty, to disobey an unlawful order. It is one of his privileges of serving a democracy, as it is one of his burdens, that he must answer for his own actions.” – Assassinated Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, at the convocation of the Kotalawela Defence Academy, 3 October 2000.

When Lt. General Daya Ratnayake assumed office as the new Army Chief last Thursday (1) morning, he could have had no inkling what the evening would bring. The new General, a war veteran and respected soldier, made a few poignant remarks at his installation ceremony held at Army Headquarters Colombo.

“The Army has come a long way not only in structure, numbers and military hardware, but also in professionalism and reputation. Sustaining the image and its dignity, gained through unparalleled sacrifice, is therefore the most sacred duty of every serving member. Unlike most Armies, emerging from protracted and bloody conflicts rejected by the masses, our Army continues to receive the respect and gratitude of the Nation we served, a fact that we should never forget,” he said in his first speech as Commander of the Army.

Lt. General Ratnayake has a proud history during the Fourth Eelam War, when as Commanding Officer of the 23 Division in the East, he was instrumental in the operations to liberate regions of the Eastern Province from the LTTE. Unlike some phases of the battle to retake the North, the military’s operations in the East were largely controversy-free, ensuring that the legacy of commanding officers at the time, remained unsullied.

When then Brigadier Daya Ratnayake was heading the 23 Division, the LTTE’s Panichankerni base was taken over by the 6th Gemunu Watch regiment led by then Lt. Colonel, Deshapriya Gunewardane.

By accident or design, when the war for water in Weliweriya broke out last Thursday night, both these men happened to be in the thick of things. When the Government decided to deploy troops to disperse a protest for water that was blocking the main Colombo-Kandy Road in Weliweriya and Belummahara, Deshapriya Gunewardane, now Brigadier, was sent in as the commanding officer.

Witness to the ‘war’

The rest as they say, is history. Valiant attempts were made to prevent the media from reporting on the incidents in Weliweriya between 5p.m. and midnight on 1 August. But the coverage was relentless. Reporters caught in the melee threw their cameras into the fleeing crowd to protect images of the clashes. Videographers crouched for hours on the top floors of buildings to capture devastating visuals of the armed forces attack on the demonstration. Journalists spent nights in hen coops and pig pens inside the besieged villages as security forces combed residences later that night searching for demonstrators. At least two reporters sustained injuries from the clashes between residents and military personnel. Every attempt made to turn the Weliweriya clashes into another ‘war without witness’ failed as footage emerged that same night of armed soldiers firing into the crowd as they advanced. Some channels removed the video content from their websites just hours after it first aired, but the damage was already done. Journalists stationed in the town all night reported they heard gunfire and screaming from a nearby church. The morning after, villagers still huddled inside St. Anthony’s church Weliweriya told reporters how black uniformed troops with their faces masked had stormed the church and assaulted demonstrators seeking refuge there.

Lingering questions

The reports sent shockwaves throughout the country. The death toll from the clashes rose over the weekend, with official estimates putting the fatalities at three, and at least two of these from gunshot wounds to the head and chest. More than 20 people were injured in the clashes.

Lt. Gen. Ratnayake took the first step in the right direction by appointing a military board of inquiry to investigate allegations that soldiers fired at unarmed protestors. While the report may raise more questions than it provides answers, the speed with which the promise of a probe came speaks volumes for the incumbent commander of the army.  Senior Government Ministers have broken their silence on the issue, claiming that the protestors had wielded petrol bombs and thrown broken bottles at advancing troops. The residents admit to having employed these crude weapons, when the soldiers started firing. Either way, eyewitnesses claim, the response was not proportionate.

In the aftermath, both the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (recently given a boost under the auspices of the Commonwealth Secretariat) and the Bar Association of Sri Lanka have commenced recording statements about the Weliweriya violence. Together with the army investigation, if officials are permitted to conduct inquiries impartially, these reports will provide a clearer picture about the clashes. A key question in any investigation into the Weliweriya violence will be who ordered the troops in to the area to crush the demonstration and gave soldiers the green light to allegedly shoot into the crowd. And in the event to fire was an order, why did the soldier’s own moral code not prevent him from releasing his fire into a group of civilian demonstrators? Or has it become impossible for the Sri Lankan soldier to tell the difference between enemy combatant and civilian protestor? There is little clarity from Government quarters also as to why the regime opted for the military before it deployed the riot police. The military, trained to spot and fight the enemy, is much less adept in crowd control, which requires a subtler, less aggressive approach. Where the army is trained to respond to attacks, riot police personnel are trained to remain calm in the face of intense provocation, analysts say, and even in Sri Lanka where training is often inadequate, the riot policeman is likely to know better how to react against an unruly protestor compared to a soldier trained to kill ruthless terrorists.

The party line

Senior SLFP Ministers including Nimal Siripala De Silva and Dulles Allahapperuma have been put forward by the regime to trot out the party line about “provocation by the protestors” and alleged vested interests involved in the demonstration. Each time, the Government statements have raised the ire of residents in the area, who insist the demonstration was spontaneous and of the people.  The water problem, these residents say, was common to all, and so the streets were filled that Thursday with mothers carrying young children, the elderly and students.

A silent President

Interestingly, this palpable anger on the streets of Weliweriya has been met with stony silence from the most crucial quarters of the ruling regime. While Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa made a brief statement through the official Government news portal claiming the army was provoked to react, President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the SLFP’s Gampaha District Leader and Minister Basil Rajapaksa have remained mum on the clashes. The usually affable President Rajapaksa who relies on his charm to get his Government out of many sticky situations, made an appearance to inaugurate the first phase of the Colombo Port Expansion Project on Monday. Sailing on a naval tug boat as he perused the new Container Terminal, the President seemed as far removed as possible from the tragedy unfolding in Weliweriya, where one by one the town was burying its dead. Apart from issuing a ‘presidential directive’ to pay compensation to the victims of the clashes, President Rajapaksa has refrained from associating himself or the most senior members of his regime with the violence. Equally deafening is the silence from the regime’s chief conspiracy theorists. The Jathika Hela Urumaya and the National Freedom Front led by Wimal Weerawansa, have stayed determinedly away from the issue, clearly unable to take a side. This is after all a Sinhala village accusing the armed forces of certain atrocities.

It is deeply damaging for the ruling UPFA coalition that the chaos in Weliweriya has come at such an inopportune moment. The Government after much dragging of feet has finally set the wheels in motion for a provincial election in the north. As it prepares for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in November, the Rajapaksa regime has stepped into overdrive on the accountability front, reopening investigations into high profile murders in which armed forces personnel are implicated and even setting up a commission on disappearances. On the surface at least, the pressure from the Commonwealth and the international community appeared to be working, motivating the administration to make symbolic gestures in the right direction.

Strange parallels

The moves were hastened by the impending advent of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on 25 August for a five day, no-nonsense visit. Yet all of the seemingly progressive steps appear to have been undone by the Weliweriya violence that has once more revealed in ways the regime would have preferred not to, the true nature of the state. The incident and its implications create another flurry of headaches for the Commonwealth Secretariat that has been pushing Sri Lanka to deliver on the human rights and democracy fronts ahead of the summit. It has also left the diplomatic community wondering whether the Gampaha clashes will be a focal point for High Commissioner Pillay, during her visit.

There is an interesting statistic doing the rounds in opposition circles since the Weliweriya attack. The little town in Gampaha it is said, provided the largest blood donations on behalf of soldiers fighting the LTTE in the north during the final phase of the conflict.  While that claim is not verifiable, in the tense village 24 hours after the attack, donors vowed to cut off the limbs from which their blood was drawn as a happy sacrifice for the heroes of war.

When it comes to the tussle between the villagers and soldiers in the Weliweriya water crisis, there are many parallels to draw. Another war, seven years ago in July also started because of a water crisis. The LTTE’s decision to close the gates of the Mavil Aru anicut in their territory, cutting off water supply to Sinhalese farmers in the east, offered the Government a humanitarian reason to go to war. The offensive was not to acquire land, but to provide civilians with their most basic needs. When the history of the Fourth Eelam war is written, the LTTE decision to shut the sluice gates will be called a major tactical blunder. It signalled the beginning of the Tigers’ end. What history will say of the tactical wisdom of the crackdown on a demonstration for clean water by villagers in the south remains to be seen.

Every Government is pre-destined to have a week like this one. A week when none of its charms, promises and excuses can hold up against a brutally grim reality.  A week when the cries of a people wronged grow so loud, they drown out the state propaganda machinery. For six hours on Thursday, 1 August 2013, the Rajapaksa charm broke. The result has been a propaganda nightmare.

In the Weliweriya aftermath, the Government will attempt media clampdowns and mop up operations. It will place its trust in those old faithfuls – the LTTE rump, international conspiracies, political vested interests to build its defence against the use of brutal force. It will blame the protesters for resorting to violence against troops sent to clear an arterial road into the capital. It will silence the victim families and community leaders still willing to bear witness to the violence on sacred ground.

1000 cuts

The morning after the attacks, military personnel attempted to wash away blood stains and splatter on the floors of St. Anthony’s church, Weliweriya. Skillful though the soldiers undoubtedly were they missed a few bloody boot prints and small pools of blood. The Rajapaksa administration will encounter similar problems as it attempts to gloss over the ‘battle for water’ in Weliweriya. It will succeed in the short term. The media will stop chasing the story and the people will forget, even in the beleaguered town. In Weliweriya and surrounding villages nobody will ever protest for clean water again.

It is said of the ancient Chinese form of torture and punishment, ‘Ling chi’ that death comes slowly to the victim. It is death by a thousand cuts, administered slowly and over a period of time until the tortured finally bleeds out. Spiritually, Ling Chi ensures the separation of the body, ensuring that after death, the spirit of the victim will never be whole again. In ancient China, the practice was reserved as punishment for the most heinous crimes, such as treason or patricide. The incumbent administration, like all-powerful Governments that have gone before and must follow, will finally be undone by their own metaphorical 1000 cuts. Some cuts will erode its legitimacy to such a degree that it will effectively, never be restored to ‘wholeness’ again. Doubt and suspicion will persist about its every move to a greater degree than ever before.

So the Government may carry on, basking in the glory of CHOGM and its increased international stature as chair of the Commonwealth for two more years. Outwardly, all will be as cheerful and optimistic as usual. But in the grand scheme of things, the Weliweriya ‘cut’ has left the regime unalterably poorer, in argument and credibility. The naked brutality that left dozens of water protestors bloody and bruised  in the small Gampaha town has also left the ruling administration bleeding.

Altering the HR discourse

For the first time since the end of the war in the north, the value of human rights and the freedom of expression – concepts painstakingly sullied by the Government as being a conspiracy of the West against Sri Lanka – was brought home to Sinhala villagers of the south as the bullets rained down on their demonstration last Thursday. This is the UPFA’s core support base, the same people who unquestioningly bought the administration’s rhetoric that it was permissible to deny certain rights and civil liberties to its countrymen in the north in the name of  national security. The ostrich effect prevailing in the south has allowed the Government to discredit growing international calls for accountability in the last phase of the war and relegate documentary films about the final days of battle in the north to works of fiction. Taking arms against unarmed civilians engaged in a demonstration for clean water has effectively yanked heads out of the sand in the island’s south and forced them to stare into the abyss of some ugly home truths. Villagers in the area openly condemn the conduct of their once beloved soldiers and wonder aloud if there may be some truth to the claims of ill treatment of Tamil civilians during the war.

The realisation dawning in Weliweriya today that a state that upholds human rights offers them protection too, is therefore patently disadvantageous to the current rulers. Suddenly the human rights debate is no longer about shells falling on Tamil civilians in a war zone, terrorists being tortured and killed or dissenting journalists being disappeared. Black Thursday in Weliweriya brought the grim realisation home to the people of the south that it may also be about shooting dead the patriotic Sinhalese villager, begging for water.

Courtesy Daily FT

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    A well thought out and written article, giving us the readers an insight to the horrible attack by armed troops on a village that only screamed out for clean water, and which ended up in blood and tears.
    On this day, and the age of sophisticated electronics and technology, no government, even in North Korea, can expect visuals and images of the crimes against helpless civilians to be censored or blacked out. For within seconds of the terrible event, the pictures go viral. No government, even the rajapaksa’s, can deny the facts and reports, and pretend that the entire country will find out what happened, after the Army investigates it’s own self. We have had enough of the self investigations, and they do not go anywhere, leaving unanswered questions, and criminals still walking the streets of Sri Lanka. This tragic situation is simply the tip of the iceberg, it also shows that the rajapaksa’s will not hesitate to punish those that go against them, for all the crimes are now unravelling, and the people are beginning to realize they have been taken for a long ride. People are awakening up to the fact that they have ruled with smoke and mirrors. It took a cry for clean water, for the rajapaksa’s to reveal they can be brutal, even to the people of the South.

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      Wonderful piece Dharisha! Keep up the excellent work..
      As you say the ‘Nature of the Sri Lanka State’ is the crux of the matter – it is on the Failed States list – with a long track record of terrorism against its citizens – yet it is tipped to host the Commonwealth of Clowns (CHOGM) and become head of an organization that is TOTALLY IRRELEVANT AND OBSOLETE – a laughing stock of the world today.
      The Nature of the Sri Lanka state today – is a military dictatorship with a FACADE OF DEMOCRACY. Gotabaya Rajapakse has been constructing a DEEP STATE or ‘state within a state’ with select high officials in military intelligence, the judiciary, administration and business sector Rajapassa crony capitalists. It is encapsulated in the MILITARY BUSINESS MODEL OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT. Gota the goon is being aided by the WORLD BANK that is funding his city BEAUTIFICATION FACADE by soldiers whose salaries are payed by the Urban Development Authority (UDA) under the Ministry of Defense which receives LOANS from the World Bank that preaches GOOD GOVERNANCE but is funding the Ministry of Defense and the militarization of Sri Lanka. The WORLD BANK and other donors to UDA and thus MOD MUST be held accountable for funding the erosion of democracy, military business and the DEEP STATE that is at the root of STATE TERRORISM in Weliveriya today and god know where tomorrow.

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        Spot on Dharish and Don – its wheels within wheels – Lanka’s IMF and World Bank approved CRONY CAPITALIST MILITARY BUSINESS MODEL OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT – this is the new WORLD BANK (aka. Knolwedge Bank) model of NEO LIBERALISM.. keep it coming Dudes…

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    Thanks Darisha. Very insightful reading.The degree of insanity prevail at the top is obvious when such high profile meeting is at the door step watching their actions.It is only the first or second in command of military can order such brutal attack.Most like the first has no authoity over the second and second looses his sanity very easily and these orders were given during such occasion probabaly.It is unbelievable though how the ordinary soldiers could open fire like bunch of murderers into the innocent civilans.It is very clear what they would have done in North and East over many years.I tend to believe Callum macrae after these events.

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      Priya says, “It is unbelievable though how the ordinary soldiers could open fire like bunch of murderers into the innocent civilans(sic).”

      God damn it, what does it take for some people to realize that their hair is on fire?

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    They say “we did not think the army will do this to us Sinhalese who held ‘bodi puja’ to bless them”. But the complete expression is that ‘even though they did this and much worse to the Tamils in the north we didn’t think the army will do this to us Sinhalese’.

    Unwittingly, what these Sinhalese people are admitting is that they knew about the atrocities committed on innocent Tamils but were willing to ignore it. Because … ?

    Even though these people are now willing to admit that they believe the claims against their army, what I have not seen thus far, is a reaching out of to the Tamil community with offerings to help in any way possible to get information on their loved ones who are missing.

    The government may try to weasel out of this by claiming “outside groups”. But I hope people won’t let them off on using the army in the first place, using live ammunition and desecrating a church and beating up a priest and nuns.

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    which country does this woman live in . this happenned pretty much every year in universities every strike ended with cops shooting in to the crowds killing students . if you looked at the video it is clear this was no peaceful crowd .

    Typical JVP led action . valid protest . starts peacefully .then a bunch of idiots start the provacation . shots fired . innocent bystander shot . the JVP has won . and in todays environment where every idiot can publish something pseudo journos come out of the wood work second guessing the soilders . they dont have to tolerate the sticks and the stones . they just sit in thier armchair second guessing .

    Why does no journalist write on weather the water was actually polluted . I think that would be a valid discussion . The whole discourse is about how terrible gota is . no real information about the real facts . How about some facts and enough propaganda already .

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      Abhaya, before questioning where the writer lives, first ask your self if you are a human being with a bit of common sense. You may well be a patron of Mugabe type regime for your personal gains and remember you and your children need a country to live in your old age and thanks to people like you, Zimbabwe isn’t too far . enjoy.

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        it is very far dick wit , look at the map ..

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      if you also looked at the video after taking off the massive blue-tinted SLFP glasses that you wear, you’ll notice most of the footage is after the army came in- so on what basis you can claim the crowd started out being violent i have no idea. in any case, please don’t go into a profession where logic is needed- you seem to have very little of it.

      “jvp came so it’s okay to shoot” is the theme of your second para. funnily enough, your little diatribe has nothing about how wrong it is to send the military to handle a civil demonstration (violent or not) before the riot squads. what exactly are we paying the riot squad with our hard-earned taxes? to sit in their barracks and wait? and if there WAS some third party involved, do you expect us to believe the same people who managed to kill the entire ltte leadership without killing a single (or so your govt. says) surrounding civilian in that tiny strip of land in mullaithivu cant aim and kill these “third parties” in a crowd of just a couple hundred in the middle of a town?

      “Why does no journalist write on weather the water was actually polluted . I think that would be a valid discussion” How? what report should they base it on? There is nothing in the way of official figures out there, thanks to the govt.’s chuminess with Dhammika Perera. Journalists aren’t chemists last time i checked, so until something comes out into the public sphere, journalists are in no position to speculate. All they can do is report on the fact that your precious army shot and killed 3 (or more) innocent civilians, caused blackouts, hunted down civilians, attacked a church etc. You blame the journalists for being armchair critics. Did you actually bother to go to Weliweriya and talk to people and see for yourself, or is it easier for you to throw stones from the massive glass house you’re sitting in?

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    “The reports sent shockwaves throughout the country.”

    Did it? Try this kind of thing in any other country, and the country would’ve erupted.

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    Even a house pet when it starts attacking people you have little choice other than putting it to sleep.

    The Sinhala Buddhist pet “Army” was trained to attack civilians but it did not matter as it was Tamil civilians now they are in an area where there are no Tamils but it has to do what it was trained to do. May be this is one reason over 150k of the pet is still kept in the north.

    This pet might be caged for a while because of the uproar but its here to stay and southern civilians too better get used to it.

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    This Deshapriya is just a toy soldier and the real shots were called by the Goat brother and this may be a warning for poor masses not to agitate with the notorious regime of the Rajapaksha brothers.

    It is a shame that Sri Lankans could not standup in here irrespective of all their differences to take this to the International community and make sure the CHOGM is held elsewhere.

    I can guarantee come Post-CHOGM the mayhem should have been more serious as these blood thirsty rogue brothers will do anything to stay in power.

    Where is the opposition? a question every patriotic Sri Lankan have to ask in this hour of need.

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    At times I wonder who the real president is…maybe it is Gobbaya Rajapakse.

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      spot on…

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    Darisha – Thank you!
    A very well written article with simple facts.
    Rajapakses thought that they are untouchable.
    Every despot, every dictator thought that they were untouchable.
    This one incident opened the eyes of General public.
    Pakse is not talented or smart, its sheer luck that Mahendra came to power. The other Pakses joined the King-Kong later after winning the first Prez elections, thanks to JVP’s big mouth & VP of course. Both the JVP & VP paid a heavy price for the supporting the King (Kekille) Kong.
    Perhaps its time for the Pakses to face the music. Everything has an end. Bandaranaike had his rise and fall for what he did with Buddharakkitha & Somarama, similarly this Rajapakse also would face his ‘raise and fall Idi Amin’ with Gnanasara & Athuraliye Rathana gang, shortly.

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    Callum Mcray please produce a documentary o the weliveriya war.

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    Anti Govt protests, especially the nasty ones with violence where even Military Foreces come under attack are normally arranged and initiated by the Anti Govt agencies and their Agents operating from Foreign consulates, and NGOs , with the cooperation of the Opposition political aprties.

    Accoding to Ms Bastions, Srilankan Govt sent its mighty Military to shoot innocents in Weliveriya and killed a half a dozen and injured hundreds for asking only for Potable Water.

    This is the same Govt which is under sort of CCTV surveillance from Diaspra IC,the HR Boss , HR agencies and even the Dudes in the Hague.

    And the HR Boss is only two weeks away from her much anticipated “Fix Rajapksa on War Crimes” Mission.

    Then there is one of the Big Gun PMs in the CHOGM and the second strongest bacbacker of the Diaspora waiting to read the riot act to our inhabitants and their Leader in front of 54 Heads of States and perhaps the King in Waiting as well.

    Has Rajapaksa shot himself in the foot big time ?

    Or Ms Bastions didn’t listen to the Reverend Father from the Weliveriya Church on BBC Sinhala Service?.

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      KAS, My question is why did you make the mistake of ordering the army in without leaving it to Gotabhaya?

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      Tsunamisekera:
      Since you are on about “Or Ms Bastions didn’t listen to the Reverend Father from the Weliveriya Church on BBC Sinhala Service?” why don’t you, when you can take time off from depositing the cheques that the Rajapassas give you for this bilge, read this morning’s Island headline about what the priest had to say? You don’t have to take any blinders off because you don’t wear any and simply lie, distort and prevaricate in defence of your paymasters, so it should be easy enough!

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      ado Leela ( K A Sumansekera) so tell me yur solution to this incident?
      why not promise to build houses for the residents there and collect money saying you will build houses under the new scheme called Lee Potter stage 2 hahaahahahahahaa

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    Time to time sinhalese people fooled by the politicians and the people never wake up also have short memory
    70s by Bandaranayakka 80’s by JR and Premadasa now by Mahinda family regime.
    if you can’t even heve a peacefull protest against the government it shows it is a country ruling by dictators

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    Beautiful article! Keep up the work! We need more people like you!

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    This is what the baptism of fire does.Once you kill a human being, be it a Tamil or a Sinhalese it is nothing to kill again and again.When you have blood on your hands it does not matter whose blood is next.Gota knows this very well.

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      tasil:
      Dead right and remember that these killers can also turn on their handlers who tortured and murdered hundreds of youth and put them in mass graves in Matale among other places.

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    “The new General, a war veteran and respected soldier, made a few poignant remarks at his installation ceremony held at Army Headquarters Colombo.”

    What a load of rubbish!

    Wasn’t he one of the military leaders accused of war crimes against tens of thousands of innocent Tamils in the last stages of the war in Vanni? Unless, of course, he claims to have obeyed the orders from above, and hence believed to be absolved of any guilt.

    Sad to see people peddling their propaganda without considering that clear evidence has emerged of his alleged war crimes. Has the author watched the two well authenticated No Fire Zone movies by Channel 4 (2011 & 2012) available on the You Tube?

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      Thiru ,

      You are wrong and Dharsha is right , after the overwhelming Mavilaru victory , Brigadier Daya R fell out from Gen fonseka’s trusted inner circle of officers, over a dispute . He was sidelined and did not actively participate in the final battle. please go through the Names of the brigade commanders to see weather Brigadier Daya R ‘s name is there .

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    Thanks Dharisha, a very finely articulated piece of writing.
    This indeed is true journalism and the need of the hour.

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    “The Army has come a long way not only in structure, numbers and military hardware, but also in professionalism and reputation. Sustaining the image and its dignity, gained through unparalleled sacrifice, is therefore the most sacred duty of every serving member. Unlike most Armies, emerging from protracted and bloody conflicts rejected by the masses, our Army continues to receive the respect and gratitude of the Nation we served, a fact that we should never forget,” he said in his first speech as Commander of the Army.

    The above is sheer propaganda:

    Has the author watched the two well authenticated No Fire Zone movies by Channel 4 (2011 & 2012) available on the You Tube?

    The army may continue to receive the respect and gratitude of the Sinhala people but definitely not by Tamils. Why is she pretending as to the whole nation respects it?

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    This article is “Courtesy Daily FT”

    Embedded media output?

    Thiru

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    Good analysis beautiful article my view is simple M.R. as Commander & Gota as defense secretary answerable to this whole episode.

    One Day they should face charges, media & Journalist collect all the evidence keep it in safe place.

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    ‘our Army continues to receive the respect and gratitude of the Nation we served, a fact that we should never forget,” he said in his first speech as Commander of the Army

    The above statement by the new Army Commander where he stresses that the Army continues to receive the respect and gratitude of the Nation was shown in full view after the funeral of the slain student where the Army was in full strength was hooted non stop by the villagers retuning after burying Akila. Further some of the villagers who were interviewed, who had earlier donated blood to these soldiers had even gone to say they prefer to cut their hands off, regretting for having done so.

    I as one despise these Forces whether they be Army, Navy or Air Force as they show their brutality to us only in protecting the Corrupt who govern and the general public is no concern of their’s. I once remember driving on Reid Avenue the road was closed for public traffic for some non pod of a Politician to pass. The bloody Army sentry had the brass to come up to my vehicle to ask me to shut the engine of the vehicle as I was in the front. The time was in the afternoon and I refused in a manner he did not want to pursue the issue further. Thereafter he was standing in front of the vehicle with the gun pointed at me and I continued to ignore and when the road was opened I took my own coll time to proceed. To be truthful in this day and age the money spent on the Forces is a waste as no country is coming to invade us and the only country neighbouring us is India and if they decide to invade us there is very little we can do with this set of Jokers either. So why spend such vast amount of funds on the Forces which could be spent on the country instead. The only thing the Forces are used now is to guard the Corrupt Politicians and not for Public Security. One may argue the need of the Forces citing the LTTE. Well had we been prudent and truthful in solving the Tamil issue we need not have needed the Army. Otherwise how come the same LTTE is seen today sitting in High Office being saluted by the very Forces? I believe we should disband the force to the level of the Decorative levels it was before and have an Independent strong Police Force to maintain Law and Order without Political interference.

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      Well said Gamini ….

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    What an absolutely well written article. Journalism at its best I would say.
    I sincerely hope it would be translated to Sinhala as well so the masses can have a read too and understand that there are people fighting their cause or at least voicing it.

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    The True Purpose of Freemasonry

    We are not evil Just want to let you know…. there is always three sides in a story
    http://youtu.be/j9ZZsVNnSDE

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    A fine piece of writing. The Weliveriya incident raises many questions apart from the one about who was irresponsible enough to order the army in. One that concerns me is the aggressive mental state of the soldiers. They just went after the unarmed people who were fleeing away from them. I hope some forensic examinations were undertaken on the dead and the injured. I will not be surprised if some were shot in the back while running from the soldiers. Another point, why did they pursue them in to the village in a more or less house to house search like during a war time operation? Who ordered them to it? In a real war situation these soldiers would have been cleverly abushed and slaughtered!

    The new Army Commander must urgently address this issue, The whole army must be put through a detoxification process (there must be a suitable army term for this which eludes me) to revert them from the combat mindset they seem to be still wearing.

    The whole fiasco is a disgrace to the army. It is even worse that the Head of State is deaf and dumb!

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      typo 1st para last sentence…should read–ambushed and slaughtered.

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    The sad part of all this is UNP asking for information through a hot line. If the UNP is seriously looking for information, why won’t they ask their party members and organizers in each area to collect this information and provide it to the HQ. This would also show the people in the area that UNP as a party still exists. This would be an easy, safe and accurate info gathering process as people in the area will be able to get more out of the people from the same area. Is Ranil trying again to support the government by pretending to collect info through hot line? How many people in Waliweriya will know what a hot line is?

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    Well written article Darisha! We are proud of you and keep up the good work!

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    hee,hee,Abaya has opted to cover his ID with an abaya,just like his gods who covered themselves while arrested after fashion Bug attack, Abaya are you really abaya ,,I think you are , leela ,become Lester, then become jim softy boy hermaphrodite & now become Abaya,

    Go get some grease and go to your Gods.

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    sri lanka is disgusting. Instead of peace in the country Rajapaksha goverment are blood thirsty and dont know the meaning of democracy. They are corrupt and shameful to Buddhist religion. Its the goverment who are authorised terrorist and are licensed to kill people who are weak and dont own a gun. Sri Lanka army is a army which cant defend itself. It can be crushed over night by any normal outside army. They are trained only to kill innocent harmless civil society. SORRY I CANT HONOUR SRILANKAN ARMY. Recruit the army to train dogs coz they listen to their masters voice.

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