Serious misconduct including incidents of violence carried out by the army has been highlighted in Major General Kamal Gunaratne’s ‘Road to Nandikadal’ book, said Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera recently.
“This book basically confirms everything that the radical Tamil groups have been saying. We are going around telling the international community that there have been no war crimes, but this book gives information about how the army has been going around breaking houses, breaking legs and even killing,” Samaraweera said.
According to him, this book should not be titled ‘Road to Nandikadal’ instead it should be titled ‘Road to Geval Kadal and Handi Kadal.’
“This book is the Army’s biggest betrayal,” he said.
Citing reasons for his claim, Samaraweera reading out several excerpts from the book said that in one page Gunaratne said how the soldiers overcome with grief following the killing of their comrades, started stopping the busses on route to the counting centres and set fire to houses and destroying private property. In another excerpt, Gunaratne was quoted in his book as saying how witnessing a certain incident where angry soldiers behaved illegally by destroying private property in the Jaffna town to avenge the death of their comrade brought ‘him satisfaction.’
“Gunaratne himself is saying the soldiers have behaved illegally. Here, we are going around saying that our Army is disciplined, but this war hero says that our army is acting illegally,” Samaraweera said.
He also added that in one section of the book, Gunaratne had said that he had encountered the disgraceful conduct of some rotten elements within the rank. “So, he himself admits that the army’s conduct is disgraceful,” Samaraweera said.
“The only this that can happen by saying and writing such stuff is to help whatever remains of the Eelam to become more powerful,” he added.
Samaraweera also said that they have received substantial proof which shows that the country’s ex-Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his defence ministry was behind many of the killings and other forms of harassment and abuse during the previous government under Mahinda Rajapaksa.
“During Ekneligoda’s investigation, one of the suspects said that the meeting with Ekneligoda was on the secretary’s orders, and we all know the most powerful secretary during that time was Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” Samaraweera said.
He also lashed out at the Rajapaksa’s saying that even though the Rajapaksa’s portrait themselves as patriots; the truth is that the Rajapaksa’s themselves earned money from the war. The MiG deal was one such incident, according to Samaraweera.