By Muheed Jeeran –
Possible release of Former Army Chief and the Presidential Candidate General Sarath Fonseka is the main talking point in Sri Lankan media and normal public these days. There are so many speculations and news reported why this Government is having a sudden interest on the release of Fonseka. It is a 64 million dollar question marked for the Sri Lanka media as there are so many views on the reason for release.
The Jathika Hela Urumaya’s Legal Adviser and Western Provincial Council Minister Udaya Gammanpila stated to a local newspaper The Nation that they welcome the release of Fonseka as he is the greatest military commander in the history of this country and helped end the 30 years of terrorism in Sri Lanka. JHU is a one of the main alliance of this current government of Sri Lanka and it is bizarre to hear from them after all no one from the government speaks against the omission of Sarath Fonseka in the Mahawansa. The Mahavamsa “The Great Chronicle” otherwise known as “The Great Dynasty” is the single most important work of Lankan origin (written in Pali language).
A Senior Cabinet Minister told Daily Mirror yesterday that United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) seniors have pointed out that if something unfortunate were to happen to Mr. Fonseka while in jail, the government might have to face disastrous repercussions locally and internationally. “Therefore it is likely that President Mahinda Rajapaksa will announce a special decree as executive president to pardon Mr. Fonseka and release him from jail,” the senior minister said. Fonseka is in under the government custody but he is getting treatment from a private hospital and Fonseka feels that is more secure to him. Chief Justice has also ordered to treat Fonseka at a private hospital until his specialist doctor decides when should be the treatment stopped and send Fonseka back to prison. Now the ball is in the court of his personal doctor. Fonseka is treated since he suffered from the LTTE suicide attack and why government did not make any interest to provide better facilities in the prison based on his health condition. I have noticed that the family of Fonseka had to go to courts every time to plead for more facilities in prison due to his failing health.
Few days back Bandula Jayasekara, a presidential spokesman, told Reuters “If and when former Army commander Sarath Fonseka is released, it will not be due to any international or national pressure,” But he never insisted the reason for release. I wonder he answered for some media person questioned about international pressure or he just stated without any question posed by media person about international pressure.
Some local Media have been reported that the President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said the credit of releasing Fonseka should goes to his brother and the current defense secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa. He insisted that his brother was pressing on him very much to release the former army chief. I was wondering why it took more than 2 years to have a great interest on his release suddenly.
According to direct sources that US government along with UK government pressurized this government on human rights and democracy related issues in Sri Lank. United States have put forward three top priorities in their road map with Sri Lanka on peace and reconciliation. The First Priority is the devolution, the second priority is the release of Fonseka and the final one is the Accountability. The government is under Western pressure to address many human rights related issue, and the nation’s external affairs minister, G.L Peiris, is currently on a four-day visit to Washington. It’s reported that the external affairs minister is likely to meet the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Washington DC, tomorrow (18) with empty hand except the message of releasing Fonseka without any condition which was one of the top priority from the state department. It seems like western bloc used hard power against this regime rather to use soft power by pressuring this government on human rights and democracy related issues.
All the intrigues in Sri Lankan politics may come out like a cat out of the bag in the near future.