20 August, 2019

Blog

National Political Leadership Is Accountable For Failure 

By Jehan Perera

Jehan Perera

Sri Lanka’s army commander, Mahesh Senanayake is reported to have told the BBC “too much of freedom” had led to the Easter Sunday suicide bombings, which killed over 250 people. “Too much of freedom, too much of peace for the last 10 years. People forget what happened for 30 years. People are enjoying peace and they neglected security,” he said, when asked why Sri Lanka was targeted.

The past ten years most Sri Lankans enjoyed a great deal of freedom compared to those in neigbouring countries in the region and even internationally. The end of the thirty year war was interpreted by leaders of government and the general public as a restoration of peace and normalcy. People could move throughout the country in their vehicles without being checked at security checkpoints and could enter any government building or hotel without being subjected to body checks. Security experts have given this as a primary reason for Sri Lanka being selected as a target for attack. It was a soft target. This enabled the suicide bombers to walk freely into their targeted churches and hotels to explode themselves.

It has now become evident that the freedom from security checks that Sri Lankan enjoyed enabled Islamic State trained groups to penetrate and spread their tentacles through a significant segment of Sri Lankan society. The extent of this penetration is becoming more evident by the day as more and more arrests of suspects take place. There has no doubt been a failure of intelligence gathering of serious proportions. On the other hand, mainstream Muslim organisations have said that they repeatedly informed the government authorities at the highest levels going back to 2014 that infiltration by Islamic radicals was taking place but to no avail.

There is no reason to doubt that there was awareness at the highest levels of the polity, under both the previous government and the present one, that extremist Islamic tentacles were spreading. The failure was not so much in intelligence gathering than a failure of those in positions of decision making power to act. In the post-graduate classes I have taught at Colombo university on peacebuilding, the military personnel who were students often brought up the issue of radicalization of Muslims in the east. The fact that the government was not taking visible action made me believe that the problem was being dealt with politically. But now it is clear it was not.

Beyond Belief 

President Maithripala Sirisean has sought to give the impression that the process of accountability has already started. The President’s dismissal of Defense Secretary Hemasiri Fernando shortly after the Easter bombing and the President’s demand that IGP Pujitha Jayasundera should resign as head of the police has been part of that process. Both of them are public officers with long records of competent service, even if they have been seen as closer to one political side than to another. It is no secret that in Sri Lanka, it is the political masters who call the shots especially where decision making on highly sensitive issues are concerned. IGP Jayasundera has refused be scapegoated. He has refused to resign and therefore been sent on compulsory leave.

President Maithripala Sirisena is constitutionally the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of the state and Minister of Defence. During the 52 day period of the failed attempt to sack Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and dissolve parliament, President Sirisena appointed the present Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa as the prime minister. It was during this period of the failed government that President Sirisena appointed Hemasiri Fernand as Defense Secretary. President Sirisena also took control over the Police Department and the Ministry of Law and Order under which the police had been placed. It is beyond belief that the Defense Secretary and IGP did not keep the President briefed about the developments in the country.

The president also chairs the meeting of the National Security Council in which the Defense Secretary, heads of the armed forces and police, and the intelligence services are also members. It has been publicly reported that the Indian government and its intelligence agencies gave repeated warnings to their Sri Lankan counterparts about the potential attacks, the names of the assailants, their targets and even the dates. If the leaders of government did know and did not act on the information at their disposal, they need to be held accountable. If they did not know, as they all claim, they are not worthy to hold the positions of responsibility they currently hold.

Introspective Assessment 

The failure of the government leadership to take action against those were creating Islamic extremist cells needs to be assessed in the context of allegations made against the opposition of having been part of a process of supporting Islamic extremists to divide the Muslim community for political reasons. There was a failure of the previous government leadership to act on the information made available to it in 2014 when they were in power. It appears that the vast international financial resources at the disposal of the Islamic extremists, and their potential for weakening the Muslim moderate politicians, were a too powerful a combination in the eyes of political leaders seeking to be in power.

The causes of disaffection within the larger Muslim community also needs to be assessed. Since 2014, the Muslims of Sri Lanka have been under siege. They were attacked in Aluthgama, Ampara, Digana to mention some of the worst incidents. The reaction of the governments, both previous and present, were tardy. The police failed to act immediately. The wrongdoers acted with impunity in some cases. The alienation within the Muslim community would set in and get worse especially amongst the less stable and more volatile members of the younger generation. There needs to be introspection on the part of mainstream society, both Muslim and non-Muslim.

In the immediate and short terms, the responses to the crisis will be primarily led by the security forces. They have got to neutralize the threat of terror bombings and killings. The ruthlessness of the simultaneous suicide bombings on Easter Sunday, and the demonstrated willingness of the bombers to sacrifice their wives and little children has terrified the rest of society who love their children and do not wish to expose them to danger. Therefore, more than three weeks after the bombings, the schools remain largely empty.

Necessary Responses

In an ominous development, reflecting the gravity of the present crisis, there is a media report quoting the Army Commander to the effect that “The main suspect in the abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr in May 2008, who also led the shadowy military intelligence unit suspected to have been behind the 2009 murder of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, has been restored to active service.” Given the dire situation in the country most people might agree with the army commander. But the danger of further increase of alienation and polarisation in society is manifest.

Fear breeds hatred, and the manifestations of mass alienation is already visible in the eruptions of small scale violence at the community level in a number of locations. In this context it is important that the leaders of government and opposition should jointly address the people and strictly forbid any section of people from taking the law into their own hands. With presidential elections due in less than six months, it is too late for another attempt at a national government, but it is not too late for the political leaders of all parties to work together in a spirit of repentance and find the best solutions in the circumstances.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Latest comments

  • 12
    1

    What about President not inviting Prime Minister and State Defence Minister for the Security Council Meetings. The writer of the article failed to articulate this – a major lapse on his part.

    • 7
      5

      Bondscam Ranil who appointed and protects the clown IGP Pujith and Sira must BOTH go. Ranil is in fact the equivalent of the Suicide Bombers who is working with his foreign backers to turn Lanka into a military colony of the biggest rogue state in the world/

      In fac.t it is bondscam Ranil’s foreign backers, Trumpland who are behind the Easter carnage, whipping up tensions with fake news and pushing the Counter-terrorism Bill, which USAID Jehan has forgotten to mention.
      Bondscam Ranil must be impeached for Treason NOW!

    • 3
      0

      Magodi Siman,

      PM not informed?

      Apologetics for the Gamarala and MaRa?

      From the grape vines, bulath vines

      Can the Medamulana bastard who nurtured terrorism and the Royal gay boys can save the country? from a former army intelligence officer.

      Rajapaksas created and formed the Bodu Bala Sena, Thawheed Jamath and Shiva Sena is to secure their power

      Sanga and clergies should exist in all religions. Demented doctrines arise from those. Religions should be secured to bring mankind to the right path but no religions should be promoted by the government in power or by a community. Religions should develop on its own.

      That cannot be promoted by Thawheed jamath funded by the saudi’s, Ashin Virathu of Burma or giving contracts to Abdul Razik of thawheed and Gnansara of Bodu Bala. Abdul Razik is a person who received wages from Rajapaksas. He was the person who nurtured Buddhist extremist against Muslims by telling that Lord Buddha ate human flesh. Not only Bodu Bala and Thawheed but Shiva Sena too was in Rajapaksas pay list. Therefore the uprising of Abu Bakr Al Bagdadi is not an up rise of global terrorism but dangerous rehearsal of a geo political sack race. (We would write another article about how Rajapaksas formed terror groups)

      It was Rajapaksas who signed the Acquisition and Cross Service Agreement (ACSA) at first. The US would never be a silent spectator allowing China to acquire Sri Lanka’s economic and military blind spots. Easter Sunday attack was the first indication. AAGC (Asia Africa growth corridor) is an American plan against Chinese authority. Not only Sri Lanka but India’s fate too lies in this. Future operations of the Trincomalee harbor, too is described in this AAGC proposal. Sri Lanka is a country in the world of the worst begger

  • 1
    1

    how can present political leaders get together if they were culpable in the first instance according to you and
    ranjith the great
    why dont the two of you name them
    we need a new set of leaders to show us the way forward no t the old brigade

    • 2
      0

      News First broadcast: His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo recently spoke about the intervention of western nations in Sri Lanka.
      While noting that the United States of America has strategically placed its warships across the globe in key positions. The Archbishop noted that their positions allow the US to take over any country at a moment’s notice. The Cardinal explained that countries such as the USA want to create conflicts in other nations in order to sell the weapons that they manufacture. He explained that they create these conflicts by identifying countries and groups with differences and highlighting these differences. His Eminence also noted that they implement a program that creates disharmony among various religions and groups in order to create these conflicts.
      His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith believes that the ISIS organization is a part of such a program.
      Jehan Perera’s NPC conducted “research” studies on inter-religious relations in Sri Lanka with funds from USAID for last 2 years so– the US could weaponize religion with NGO research.
      Also, now US is starting a war with Iran to block oil to China, India, Sri Lankan and has bought lots of war ships into the Indian Ocean at this time and their puppet bondscam Ranil’s Avant Gurad Foreign Minister has rushed to US to sign the Paltry MCC 480$ Compact so that the biggest rogue state in the world can set up a military base Trincomalled and Katunaiyke. Bondscam Ranil must be IMPEACHED NOW!

  • 6
    0

    Absolutely……
    Sirisena is a responsible man for this failure.
    This is not anyone’s failure.
    This is completely SIRISENA’S failure.
    No Sirisena is trying his utmost to change this scenario.
    He is a brainless and senseless man.
    He is not a real and true leader and Statesman.
    No one can see any leadership in him.
    He thinks that taking revenge and talking nonsense is a leadership quality.
    That is rubbish.
    People must understand this and take a wise decision to expel him from the post.
    HE IS A JOKER

    • 1
      0

      Saman .

      Sirisena is a Traitor, Sevalaya,(sleaze), Pachaya (liar), Mala-Perethaya (living off the dead), in addition to the other titles he had earned.

      The curse of JRJ executive presidency, and the madman, the late Dr, N M Perera talked about.

  • 3
    0

    Absolutely……
    Sirisena is a responsible man for this failure.
    This is not anyone’s failure.
    This is completely SIRISENA’S failure.
    Now Sirisena is trying his utmost to change this scenario.
    He is a brainless and senseless man.
    He is not a real and true leader and Statesman.
    No one can see any leadership in him.
    He thinks that taking revenge and talking nonsense is a leadership quality.
    That is rubbish.
    People must understand this and take a wise decision to expel him from the post.
    HE IS A JOKER.
    Now UNP voters and others who did caste vote to elect this man as a president of this country are in sorrow and sad.
    This UNGRATEFUL man completely destroyed the whole country.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 1
    0

    The complete breakdown of the state intelligence service is the prime cause for this disaster. It is now evident that the root cause of the calamity goes far beyond the immediate foreign intelligence warning and the threat to national security had been prevalent much longer than it was thought. It should be a matter of serious concern as to how the activities of National Thawheed Jamath (NTJ) Terrorist group escaped the state security intelligence network of the country. The ground work for the attack must have been in place months or years ago.Had the State Intelligence Service been able to penetrate the underground NTJ activities in advance and then apprise the Security council , this calamity would have been avoided. If there were prior intelligence information, the emergency regulations would have been brought to implement the measures such as security checks, road blocks, checks at the entry to institutions including churches and hotels to counter any type of terrorist activities in the country. It was a shame for the state intelligence service to depend on the last minute foreign intelligence warning about the attack.

  • 2
    0

    JEHAN!
    I am opinion that if the government did not alienate the Tamils from the Sinhalese and encourage alienation of the Muslims from the Tamils for their own benefit and to create dissension and discord bet ween the two communities, especially in the East, in order to have smooth sailing for the government. Unfortunately the ‘smoothness’ did not take place instead the opposite happened. If the’ Tight Embrace’ between the Sinhalese and the Tamils were intact at least after the war the Muslims could not have crept through the embrace and brought in ‘ Weapons of Mass Destruction’. Similarly if the Muslims and and the Tamils were in Embrace as
    in the past, prior to independence and immediately there after, the Sinhalese may not have treated both communities in a manner unbecoming of a Buddhist religion.
    Sinhalese and Muslims wants to feather their nest at the expense of the Tamils.
    Finally the resultant out come is the present situation which may or may not teach a lesson.
    As far as the politicians , President, Prime Minster , Ministers and MP’s are concerned they only want power – power at any cost irrespective of number of deaths.
    Even Pillaiyan a friend of Rajapakses was instrumental in in allocating lands for the Muslim university to Hisbullah and Yohesawran TNA MP appears to have got up from his slumber only now and looking for cure for his political impotency caused by Sampanthar and Sumanthiran.

    • 2
      0

      Well said.

      • 0
        1

        Anpu, I need help. Help me to understand what was well said!

        • 0
          0

          Thappu very well said, indeed! 😅😅😅😅

    • 0
      0

      Great! You tackled all the issues in the same breath!! It is time to rest!!!

  • 1
    2

    The leadership HAS failed in it’s duty to prevent such attacks, and to safeguard the people. Sirisena has shown he does not care, shows disinterest, and is incapable of organizing chairs in a classroom. He consistently shows he has other priorities, lately when it is crucial, he has been busy organizing his son’s wedding, and his endless foreign trips.
    Ranil is silent, and seem unable to step in and stop the marauding brainless mobs from attacking Mosques, homes, and protect Sri Lankan citizens.

    The police are taking advantage, showing THEIR hatred for the Muslims, and looking the other way as these cowards keep terrorizing innocent people. Before anyone suggest that the Rajapakse’s should do better – remember these same mobs did the same thing during their time, and Muslims were killed in a Mosque in Aluthgama.

    Are we cursed without decent, capable leaders? The entire country suffers.

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 1
    2

    Ranil wickramsinghe, for some reason, hates Intelligence people. Last time, he gave the list of Intelligence people living in Colombo to LTTE. So, they got killed. In this yahapalana govt, one NAvy sailor had been arresrted for investigating the Wahabi links, Anoterh 320 had been question, another 12 had been harassed recently. So, how do you expect morale from them to work. Because Ranil wanted this to happen.

  • 1
    2

    IT is not difficult to brain wash people. that is their are religious cults in the world. So, when we understand because of international geo-politics, religious cults have been brain washed to be ruthlessly violent, what we can say. How about Ranil and UNP are continuing the supporting of the global Terrorism.

  • 3
    0

    “President Maithripala Sirisena left for China on a three-day official visit this morning. He will be attending the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations in Beijing. A 27-member delegation accompanied the President in the tour. ” https://www.seithy.com/breifNews.php?newsID=223941&category=EnglishNews&language=english

    Tell them since 1948 how uncivilized Buddhists Sinhalese Politicians ruined the country.

  • 5
    0

    “President Maithripala Sirisena left for China on a three-day official visit this morning”. the buggar planned to set fire to Muslims and leave country so Ranil will be blamed. Crucify Sirisena.

    • 1
      0

      Visaka
      It appears that the president sets the ball running and run off to Thirupathy and China. A clever strategist in deed.

  • 3
    1

    The saffron robbed Gnanasaara is the reason for all this. Muslims took arms because of Gnansaara’s hateful and revengeful teachings which Mahinda Rajapakse and Gotabhaya Rajapakse promoted and prospered.

    • 4
      0

      Luke

      Actually it is not just saffron clad thug Gnanasara, although he was free to roam around spewing venom, however he is not the only person to be blamed, nor he is the first person and won’t be the last.

  • 1
    0

    CT should be utterly condemned for its continuous and relentless attacks on Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

    • 3
      0

      Peiris

      “CT should be utterly condemned for its continuous and relentless attacks on Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.”

      As a religious leader he should keep his mouth shut regarding the historical status of religions. What was he trying to do? Is he dying to convert to Sinhala/Buddhist fascism? Is he already a secret Sinhala/Buddhist?

      Please check if the Archbishop is wearing a civara under his vestment.

  • 0
    0

    It is obvious the leadership is accountable for the failure . Coalition governments will never work .
    It’s time for a divorce , how can Sira Ranil relationship work ,while Sira is flirting with MaRa.

  • 1
    0

    Minister Mangala should be commended for saying that all are SRI LANKAN first and then, Buddhist, Hindu , Muslim , Christian etc. India , even though predominately Hindu , only the fundamentalist say India is Hindu Country

  • 1
    0

    This shows how bad Sinhalese are now.
    racism at peak. Your karuma will haunt you and your children in years come…
    what you have taught these children in your schools.? Is it what lord Budda tell you..

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

  • 0
    0

    Mr. Jehan Perera: You say: “National Political Leadership Is Accountable For Failure”. For how long you have been living in this country and in how many instance you have seen any of the Political Leaders or Politicians made “Accountable” and “Responsible” for “FAILURE”? Please take my word, if you go on like this making statements and writing essays, I am certain that you would never ever find any of these “Leaders” or “Politicians” are made responsible for FAILURE. If you do seriously want your “Dream” come to reality within your life span, please engage in a struggle to change the whole set up of “Politics” in the country. No 1, priority must be to declare that no Politician would be paid “Salaries” and other “Perks” ( vehicle permits, pensions, security etc…etc…) No. 2 Set up some educational criteria for the candidates. No 3. Set up a Code of Conduct . No 4 Make every politician PERSONALLY “Responsible” and “Accountable” for all their actions while handling Parliamentary functions. These are some of the very many CHANGES, we should make. So I invite you to provide your services that rest within your “Know-How” to make that “CHANGE”. If not, you will be writing your “ESSAYS” for a life long period.. Are you ready and willing to do that.?

  • 0
    0

    This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our Comment policy.For more detail see our Comment policy https://www.colombotelegraph.com/index.php/comments-policy-2

Leave A Comment

Comments should not exceed 300 words. Embedding external links and writing in capital letters are discouraged. Commenting is automatically shut off on articles after 10 days and approval may take up to 24 hours. Please read our Comments Policy for further details. Your email address will not be published.