The State run Daily News today confirmed that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had lied to the nation when he claimed on January 19 that there were only 12,000 troops in the Northern Province.
Rajpal Abeynayake, President Rajapaksa’s handpicked head of the State owned Daily News on February 14, published a graph on the front page of his newspaper that showed that there were at least 80,000 Army personnel in the Northern Province.
Speaking at the opening of the Tellippalai Trail Cancer Hospital in January this year President Rajapaksa made the extraordinary claim that there were only 12,000 troops remaining in the whole Northern Province. Within days of this statement his own Secretary, Lalith Weeratunge told a diplomatic gathering in Geneva that there has been a decrease of 30 percent of the Army in the North from a peak of 120,000 to the current level of 80,000 by October 2013.
President Rajapaksa’s number of 12,000 troops was inclusive of all security forces personnel while Lalith Weeratunge was only giving the number for the Army. The Colombo Telegraph on 23rd January 2014 pointed this glaring discrepancy.
It is unclear if Abeynayake realised that his graph detailing the real troop numbers would automatically make President Mahinda Rajapaksa out to be a liar.