An attempt has been made by Chief of Defence Staff, General Jagath Jayasuriya to mobilize the military in the guise of providing security for the election. General Jayasuriya on 24th December has sent out a directorate to all three service commanders and the IGP informing that the military needs to be on standby for any “eventuality” during the election.
The Document is marked ‘top secret’ has been leaked from within the military establishment.
The memo gives details of military deployment before and after the January 8th election.
In his directorate Gen. Jayasuriya says that the “Police and STF are responsible to provide security to conduct a free and fair election throughout the country. However, in view of excessive police commitments within the country the Security Forces have been asked to assist the Police by undertaking certain responsibilities in their respective areas during the Presidential Election – 2015”.
The entire document has been leaked and the Elections Commissioner Mahinda Deshapriya told a press conference last night that he was investigating the matter. Army Commander Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake has told the Commissioner he had no idea about the standby order even though he has been copied on the document. The military memo signed by Jayasuriya is now in possession of the Colombo Telegraph.
Opposition campaigners told Colombo Telegraph that the deployment and orders are all part of a Government strategy to psyche its opponents and prevent people from going out to cast their votes.
“If there is a lot of talk about the military being out on the streets people will fear going to the polling stations. This is exactly what the Rajapaksa regime wants. So this is a psychological operation. We are getting all the information virtually in real time” Siriena campaign managers told Colombo Telegraph.
Opposition politicians say the constant leaks from the Government camp are helping them to stay on top of the dirty tricks being planned by UPFA strategists. Diplomatic missions in Colombo, the Elections Commissioner and Election Monitors are all being given regular updates of information received and everyone is on high alert to watch for mischief by the ruling party the Opposition activists said.
It is unclear who has informed General Jayasuriya that the Police are incapable of carrying out its duties or what the excessive duties that the police are performing. The IGP has stated that 65,000 police personnel have been tasked with election duty. As per the election law which currently prevails in the country since the declaration of elections, only the Election’s Commissioner or the IGP could determine the necessity for the military to maintain law and order.
This detailed directorate has instructed troop deployment to “vulnerable points” from 1400 hrs on January 5th and a fully functional operations room to be functional from that same date. There are reports that the military has been placed for “security” outside private and public media stations, without any request from those media institutions.
Colombo Telegraph has reliably learnt that troops have been assembled at Rock House, in Muttwal the headquarters of the Armour Regiment, the parent Regiment of General Jayasuriya. Tank movements are also expected within Colombo tonight.
The directive gives further details about troop deployment and chain of command. Even though the documents suggest that this directive has been sent to all service commanders it is reliably known that at least Army Commander Daya Ratnayaka has been kept in the dark regarding these troop movements. The Office of the CDS was created during the time of the war for better coordination between the three forces and has mainly been a ceremonial post since the end of the war with the real power to deploy troops lying with the Service Commanders.
This revelation comes in the wake of the Opposition releasing another leaked document last week which had names of several ex-servicemen tasked with carrying out “coordinating “ roles in the Colombo district and several other key areas on behalf of Defence Secretary.
In that leaked document it has been stated that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had requested Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to coordinate his political matters through “trusted” ex servicemen. These included several retired Majors General and a onetime Commander of the Navy who went on to serve as Chief of Defence Staff. These ex-servicemen were to handle ground operations with serving military personnel. What these ground co-ordination that required ex military personnel are yet not clear.
However the details of the individuals have now been given by the opposition to the key diplomatic missions and they are closely monitoring the actions of these persons on the day of the election. The rigged election in Kenya in 2007 ended in the International Criminal Court with several involved including its current President being indicted.
Informed military sources with knowledge of the operation under Gotabaya Rajapaksa admit the senior retired officers are now jittery since any sign of involvement in areas that they have been assigned in the leaked plan could be linked to them directly. This could adversely impact their ability to obtain visas or travel overseas since the Colombo-based diplomatic community has been fully briefed on the operation.
It is reliably learnt that military personnel are refusing to carry out these illegal orders contrary to the law of the country. As a result the plans of the regime are leaking to the opposition and the media at an unprecedented level.
On the eve of polling day the military has planned to call a special press briefing informing the public about troop deployment in Colombo city. The military will say it has received a tip off that the Opposition was planning to bring buses into the capital to create chaos and instability after polling closes.