18 June, 2019

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Revisiting Aranthalawa Bhikku Massacre

By Austin Fernando 

Austin Fernando

Twenty five years ago today –June 2nd – I was the Secretary of the Ministry of Rehabilitation and received a telephone call from General Sepala Attygalle, the then Defence Secretary, under President J. R. Jayewardene.

He inquired if I were aware of the massacre of Buddhist priests in Ampara, taken place that day. When I answered in the negative he narrated the circumstances under which thirty Buddhist priests have been murdered by the LTTE, in cold blood. He informed me that he had discussed with the President and received orders to send me immediately to Ampara. The President expected me to look in to the situation and provide all assistance to the affected parties and had specifically mentioned that there were nearly 140 Tamil families around Ampara town and I should ensure that none of them was touched in any way. He hung up his telephone saying “I have redirected a helicopter to the Air Force Grounds and you will be immediately flown to Ampara.”

Though human security or countering terrorist attacks was not my responsibility, but his, I would not convey to him, because he was the Defence Secretary! Moreover, I was mindful of the President’s urgency to save a worse situation.

Who does not fear death?

There were only a few Sinhalese civilians who visited these areas as officers or do-gooders. I was one. Ministers Lalith Athulathmudali, Gamani Jayasuriya and Lionel Jayatilake, Dr. Joe Fernando (Health Ministry), Dr. Hiranthi Wijemanne (UNICEF), President Jayewardene’s son Ravi Jayewardene and his wife Penny Jayewardene, Dr. Kamalika Abeyaratne, Rohan Pethiyagoda, Dr. A.T. Ariyaratna and Harsha Navaratna etc were a few others. Some of them are a forgotten lot now because “patriots” of recent times are ‘reborn’!

Dhammapada has guided my life. It stated:

Sabbe tasanti dandassa,

Sabbe bhayanthi macchuno

(All tremble at force, of death are all afraid).

I had a habit of “hiding” my visits to conflict areas from my wife and children, especially when I followed dangerous incidents, where secondary attacks after huge massacres were expected. I understood their fear.

I confided the presidential order to my Personal Assistant Lakshman Silva and gave my bungalow key to him and wanted him to inform my wife who was serving at Sirimavo Bandaranaike Vidyalaya that I had suddenly visitedAnuradhapuraand would return in the evening. True to my belief she did not know that I had been to Ampara, though she had heard about the massacre by afternoon. Not having ‘Breaking News’ unlike now would have been the reason!

Within minutes I was at the Air Force grounds seated inside a helicopter- the solitary traveller. The two pilots- immunized by training- did not show any serious security concern due to this incident. Without a word spoken among us they were air-borne flying me to a military camp. The officer in charge at the military camp was ready with security for me to proceed to Ampara. But, I was scared of a secondary threat to such convoy. That was how terrorists operated. However, I respected the young officer’s security judgment.

Nandisena’s very high blood-pressure

I was driven straight to theAmparaHospital. As I disembarked from the jeep I saw my colleague D.M. Nandisena at the entrance to the hospital. He was the G.A. Ampara. We were long standing buddies in District Administration. I queried “Nandi, what is the form?” He retorted, “What form? The bodies of the priests have been brought in and I cannot look at them. My blood-pressure was up; very high. You must go and see for yourself.” He looked worn out. His dark complexion was coal charred. No wonder. He was a sobered, God fearing, thorough gentleman.NoGAwould have seen so many dead bodies of clergy killed due to terrorism. Of course, Jinasiri Dadallage, the young Assistant Government Agent who collected the priests’ corpses in Aranthalawa would have beaten Nandisena’s eerie experience. Because, he was among the few who visited the killing field before others.

I saw through Nandisena’s wholly disturbed mind and walked to the verandah where the bodies were lying. The bodies- mostly with cut and gun-shot injuries- were kept in rows, leaving little space for each other. It was eerie. The blood that oozed from the wounds was drying on the corpses. The clean saffron robes which reflected Karuna, Mettha, Muditha and Uppekkha -the satara Brahma Viharanayas (the four sublime abodes), were discoloured bloody red, symbolic of criminality, cruelty, inhumanity and devastation. I pondered whether President Jayewardene foresaw the latter symbols splashing in bloody red on Ampara Tamil families.

I could not imagine how some of the dead priests young as 8 or 10 years could bear the attacks on their bald heads and how one could be so cruel to a “baby priest”. I realized that these were the terrorists who killed sucklings while they were being breast fed. The attackers were the young criminals, brainwashed by a megalomaniac to appease his blood thirst. What piety was in them?

Then, how could Nandisena’s blood pressure be low?

Troublesome environment

I returned to Nandisena and with him met priests who have arrived at the hospital. Some of them were crying, as expected from humans, though they preached to us at pansakulas (Buddhist funeral service) not to excessively lament on account of the dead. Some were hiding the pain of mind with silent empathy. Some were boisterous. Some were unfairly suspecting the hyper pro-Sinhalese behaviours of Venerable Indasara Nayaka Thero as provocation for this attack. Then, he ought to have been the solitary victim. Frankly, it was due to LTTE insanity. The Sinhalese businessmen were in an aggressive mood, as much as public officers. They were oozing hate. With these I knew the main purpose of the visit was a difficult, but an essential assignment.

Among the public servants who were there I met Ariyadasa- a stenographer- who served Ratne Deshapriya Senanayake, when he was a Deputy Minister. I took him aside and asked him what the ground situation was. He told me “Sir, the Sinhalese Buddhists are so wild about this massacre I do not know what would happen by evening. The labourers and some traders swear worst revenge on Tamils. We feel that there is nothing wrong if that happens, as these Buddhist priests were innocent, who should not have been killed.” His words really unsettled me, because he was insinuating that even some public officers might be harbouring dastardly revenge.

I inquired from him whether he knew the parties who would instigate troubles. He said “There are no specific parties openly doing so. But if any miscreant acts rashly no one would come forward to save such a situation. Contrarily there may be many who would join. Even policemen are worried.”

I visualized the scenario where armed thugs in Ampara town running berserk, attacking Tamils; traders and public officers joining, probably law enforcement deliberately collapsing and consequently the innocent Tamil families suffering victimization.

I decided to speak to a representative group of trouble-shooters. Ariyadasa introduced me to some, but refused participation. I know why: I would return to Colombo; he should remain in Ampara!

Peace negotiations

This arrangement fulfilled my desire, of course, in a smoky dungeon environment, inhaling the dried up secondary smoke, where some sarong clad ‘thugs’ (with shorts exposed underneath tucked up sarongs!) met me. For them every Tamil was a Tiger. Revenge had taken precedence over Mettha (Compassion)! Will these Buddhists losing compassion create surprise when 30 priests have been killed in one go?

In one voice they swore immeasurable revenge on Tamils. In a pacifying tone I tried to convince them that revenge was not the answer and it might escalate crimes. Drowning my voice they vociferously refused to accept my stance. Their voices were so loud and stern I wondered whether I had made a mistake by meeting them. However, I had no alternatives, as my failure meant invariable attacks on Tamil families.

Fortunately, there were a few who realized my dilemma. I identified them soon and focused addressing them. Incidentally, they were ‘the seniors’ among the group. I understood the usual underworld behavioral responses to leaders. Therefore, I made them the medium to address the group.

The ‘leader to group’ influence brought some sense to others’ thinking. At least, it appeared so. One of their main demands was the financing of the funeral arrangements, which should have been rightly queried by priests. Roles mix up during emergencies! Ignoring other issues raised, I harped at length on this main issue- the cremation, which sobered them. As I was also the Commissioner General of Essential Services I had no problems to bear any funeral expenses. I told them that I would advise the GA to bear all funeral expenses. When it was announced they settled down a little more. Most of them felt that they had won one battle. I felt relieved because I could explore endorsing official thinking of “No harm to Tamils”. Still I was reluctant to totally accept that they would not react adversely, after taking me for a ride. But, the leaders assured me that nothing untoward would happen. Whether I could believe them- whom I met only once for nearly two hours- bothered me.

Relieved, I left the smoky room and returned to the hospital. On my way, I saw Minister P Dayaratna walking towards the hospital. He was my friend from his Electrical Engineer days in the River Valleys Development Board and therefore it was easy for me to communicate with him. I told him “Sir, I have tentatively settled the issue of the safety of the Tamil families, as required by the President. Still I keep my fingers crossed, as I do not know personally the persons who discussed with me. I have little reliance on their promises. As you generally know the troublemakers in town you might as well continue the dialogue.” I explained to him what transpired in my discussions and assured him financing all requirements for any activity related to the “adahana” (cremation). Finally, I repeatedly requested him to impress on the thugs to “behave”!

Minister Dayaratna, a politician with feet on ground and personal charm handled the situation effectively and mustered maximum support from State, clergy and community showing his political will to maintain harmony. No Tamil was affected in Ampara as consequence to this incident, which proved his matured caliber; a lesson to many present day politicians.

It was another lesson to prove that cruelty need not be overcome with cruelty. Unfortunately, cruelty continued otherwise until May 2009. In today’s popular rhetorical context the approach of the then government to ‘touch no Tamil families’ following an inhuman massacre would be considered “cowardly” or “treacherous!

Epilogue

The Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in its report at Section 8.72 said “Representations were also made before the Commission that the Government should order a full scale probe into the Arantalawa massacre of 33 Buddhist monks, most of whom were Samaneras, on 2nd June 1987…..” It appears that along with the other investigations recommended in the LLRC Report, this is also forgotten. As recommended in Section 5.107 of the LLRC Report for other affected, as “a matter of justice,” the plight of these priests “needs to be recognized by the State…” I pray it to be fulfilled after 25 years.

An inquiry may be the mechanism to clear criminal accountability. Since there is sufficient access to information, investigating methods / technology and LLRC mandate there cannot be reason for delay. It could be the first step to reconcile with restorative justice. Restorative justice cannot flow only from the Memorial at Aranthalawa!

May the deceased Aranthalawa priests attain Nibbana!

 

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Latest comments

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    A well balanced article and an important historical event documented. Thank you .

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    Austin F should really get his head examined … He might be day dreaming according to his desires and wishes … Otherwise he could not say “….. In today’s popular rhetorical context the approach of the then government to ‘touch no Tamil families’ following an inhuman massacre would be considered “cowardly” or “treacherous!…..”
    What does he mean by “In today’s popular rhetorical context”? Does he think srilankans now are cannibals like terrorists who murdered thirty innocent Buddhists in cold blood?
    Seems that Austin has some hidden agendas …

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    Monkey praising it’s own tail?

    What was he doing when the UNP who he was closely associated with, burnt the Jaffna library, and organized the 1983 riots where 3,300 innocent Tamils were brutally and ruthlessly massacred?? Not just 30 or 33 like in ARanthalawa.

    The only reason there was no revenge attacks was that the GOSL was scared of other revenge attacks by the Tigers.

    However, it was wrong for those who killed these child monks. If it was the LTTE why are the Singhalese and the GOSL working closely with KP, Karuna, and Pillaiyan?

    Ranil made a terrible mistake appointing this fellow as Defense Secretary, who was secretly back stabbing RANIL and the UNP. Man has no integrity nor did he have any backbone that time.

    Anyway, he should canvass for “Child monks” system to be abolished. They are recruited against their will which is unconscionable. The London monk is going to jail for 7 years which is a sad thing and a disgrace to the Singhalese Buddhist. Most of the child abuse goes unreported in Sri Lanka because there is no one willing to receive complaints or any courts to have a trial, unlike in London.

    LLRC wants an investigations for 30 monks killed but there is no investigations for tens of thousands Tamil civilians killed in 2009!!!

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      Oho Donald

      Once again you sound like you have selected memory and preach like a spin-doctor. KP, Karuna and all used to report to your beloved terra leader VP and carried out the orders to kill innocent young monks. Unlike you, those fellows later realised going behind your dreamland Peelamn is unacheivable. You know what? Common people in SL now treat them like sons of mother Lanka.

      Unlike your own principle, It would be better to send young children to follow the buddhism as child-monks rather than sending them to war front with a Ak47 and a cyanide pill in their necks. I am sure you never thought about sending yours own kids to the war front as you obviously knew they would become target practice for SL forces.

      You Tamil Die-Ass-POO-Ra never give up.

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    Good article.

    But why he was scilence about the culprits.We all know it was done under the comand of KARUNA AND PILLEYAN.

    samarasekara

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    I’m Afraid… I Wonder Why One has to Take Austin’s Writings So Seriously ??? He is a Nut Cracker !!! If He had to Lie to His Family when ever he needed to go to War torn areas… This very statement confirmed he was NOT FIT TO HOLD THE POSITION HE WAS ENTRUSTED WITH !!!

    Then comes the Donald , Donald Can I ask, Is that because of the same reason Sinhalease today do not attack Tamils? Are they still scared of Ur pussy-tiger-ltte???

    Seeya, Nahina Dehina Kale what U should do is going to temple & get ready for Ur next journey where U’d meet people like that fat pig gu-paharan…

    Seeye, Do U still get up in the middle of the night remembering Gu-Paharan ???

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      You are spot on! The guy who almost helped the then PM to hand over the key to the terrorist leader for half of the country, who called Pulidevan ‘machan’ has found something to talk about. He is critical of the government for not acting on diaspora pressure implementing LLRC either, what a comic! Who gave a shotgun as a birthday present to the terrorist? The list goes on. He did not bother doing anything all those years but after retiring, and seeing how active diaspora gangs are, he wants to join the fun. If he dared doing any investigation those days, some result could have been expected, but he wants to do this investigation after a quater of a century. Are you ‘aving a laugh boss?What do you expect to find? Those who committed the massacre ended up at Nanthikadal three years ago, don’t worry about it now.

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      Austin, ‘Dr’ Nirmal Ranjith Devasiri, Prof. Kumar David like people has only one agenda … They will go for the extra mile to redicule Sinhalese/Buddhists in the country to achieve the hidden aim … That is to deny the rightful place to the Sinhalese/Buddhists in this country … This has become a fashion for these writers to throw away lines in their articles to inject that propaganda … They use their present and past credentials to inject the venom into the hearts of sinhalese/buddhists so that to paralyse them as racist superior majority with mahawansa mentality. If you have studied their past, you would not care a cent for their ideas – Austin’s past as defense sec, Kumar’s servility for centuries old failed communism and predicting waterloo at Mulathiev, Devasiri’s political agendas…. –

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    what Karuna and Pilliyan get doing that mass murders at Aranthalawa. All bloody politician are coward when they want to retain in power. Are we going bring them to the justice? Is any justice done to the innocent monks was killed by those so called politicians like Karuna and Pilliyan? We are waiting !!!

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    Austin F- why do not you tell:
    Gnakoone-that you have not praised yourself but others like Ministers mentioned, AT Ariyaratne, some doctors, Senior Minister Dayaratna etc ?Further I have not heard anything agaisnt your integrity although your decisions have been contested. But Ganakoone’s are real vultures as we have heard. Why allow such crticism to perpetuate?
    Samarasekara- that an inquiry will reveal those responsible for this crime?Why not argue that Pillayan would have been about 15 years when this happened and he would not have been a LTTE leader to do this type of crime?
    Kahapola who seem to be your eternal critic like Vanderkoon that you abide by Buddhist principles as told in the article?
    Umbato what connections Drs Devasiri and David have to your article?

    By being silent you allow this madness to be beleived.It is unfair by you.I feel sorry for genuine writers like you who should be defended by CT by editing comments better.

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    Well Mr Austin,

    It was very sad and tragic. Killing of any civilian is a crime and it is nothing but terrorism. But have you, being a self proclaimed good Buddist, ever thought of other killings that had gone on periodically in this country since 1956. The civilians other than Sinhalese who had been periodically butchered never came into your good conscience? Please do not ever think that I support any of these barbaric acts by the LTTE and for me clearly LTTE was a terrorist murderous group of fellows. But as god fearing and sane and educated people, we have to always look for the “cause and effect” if we are really interested in an answer and a solution.

    This massacre occurred in 1987, isn’t it? But have you ever given your thoughts to the events that took place prior to 1987. How about 1956, 1958, 1977, 1983? How about the boat load of people in a boat named Kumudini were butchered by the navy in mid ocean between Nagadeepa and Delft where situated the great Buddist temple? Were they not crimes against humanity?

    This bunch of LTTE terrorists did not fall from the sky but a response to continued Sinhala violence against the Tamil civilians. Unless and until you understand this truth we will continue to have this bitterness and will be evading a solution.

    You were feeling for the pain those young bikkus would have felt, certainly they would have. But have you ever thought of what thousands of Tamil infants, children, mothers and fathers would have felt when they were ruthlessly bombarded, starved and allowed to die by refusing medications in 2009.

    Why we are always one sided? Why we always feel for one side? Why our sufferings are always one sided? Is it only in a land like this? I hope some one other than Mr Austin may be able to answer that!

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    To Mr. Nadesan

    You very much deserve a reply. I think it is nothing but fair that I answer than any other.

    May I first say that this article is on reminiscing the 25th anniversary of a dastardly event written through my experience as a public officer involving in the aftermath? I have written similarly on the 25th anniversary of July incidents too where I had personal involvement in the aftermath. Please Google “Pricking the conscience on reminiscences of ‘Black July’ by Austin Fernando which was carried in a national English daily (I forget what the paper is.). It was reproduced in Groundviews on 26-7-2008, and understand the way I looked at the July 83 incidents through my personal involvement.

    I may pick some important event and write so in the future too. Unfortunately I may not pick all or many other events which are quoted by you or not quoted (e.g. Kattankudy or Mullivaikkal or Kebithigollewa) and write. I assure that I had never been involved in any those incidents of killings or torture etc, as I have been a civilian administrator who looked after the affected, which many in the Tamil community know.

    Secondly please understand that I, like many others, understand the true picture of distanced harmony and I agree with you that unless we as a nation do not understand the pains inflicted on others physically or mentally “we will continue to have this bitterness and will be evading a solution.” Last few paragraphs of the above mentioned article shows my agreement with you and many others on that count.

    I may quote my article in The Island on 10-6- 2010 titled “Learn Reconciliation from the South African Old Lady!” which would explain what I feel about forgiving. Please Google and see what I have to say about harmony and reconciliation.

    To Devil’s Advocate
    Thanks for the understanding you exhibited with your comment.
    I have seen some commentators do not understand what others write as you have quoted in your comment. Their comments show what their unruly and unprofessional attitudes to others’ views. I do not want to take them as it is a waste of time. Regret that I cannot agree with you to respond to them.

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    Thank you Mr Austin for your prompt and kind response and I appreciate it very much. Sorry if I have missed some of your previous articles that may have given me a better understanding of your stand. Only way to prevent such calamities is to understand each other, get over suspicion and learn to live with each other. But sadly the present day politics and at least some of the buddist clergy add fuel to fire to not only make matters worse but they are giving a new concept of “religio – political” twist in the name of nationalism and patriotism.

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    http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=53497
    The then Defence Minister, Tilak Marapone, one-time Attorney General, to his credit, thwarted an attempt by the Kandy police to prolong the detention of DMI operatives using the provisions of the PTA. The Wickremesinghe regime didn’t even bother to consult the armed forces and police top brass regarding the provisions of the agreement. Then Navy Commander, Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri told the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) how then Defence Secretary, Austin Fernando, had bypassed them with regard to sensitive military issues.

    Fernando in an article captioned ‘The Peace Process and Security Issues’ (Negotiating Peace in Sri Lanka: Efforts, Failures and Lessons) admitted that the failure on the part of the then government to consult the military had been a failing. Fernando said (page 42): “The military chiefs weren’t consulted in the drafting of the CFA. Of course, a casual opportunity was given to them to discuss the draft with Ministers of Defence (Tilak Marapone) and Constitutional Affairs (Prof. G. L. Peiris). This wasn’t considered adequate by them as they didn’t get an opportunity to discuss the CFA with their senior officers.”

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    CT
    I have not seen this quote which is referred by Mr. Kahapola. Since it does not have any relevance to my Aranthalawa article I need not respond. But I respond to educate Mr. Kahapola who does not know facts and grumble.
    1. Can Mr Kahapola or any other inclusive of the journalist who has written (I do not know who) this piece show me in the LLRC Report (Annexures included) the name of the former Navy Commander Daya Sandagiri as one who has sent representations to the LLRC or given oral evidence and the page number of that reference in the Report for me to educate myself?
    Secretary Defence is higher in hierarchical order in the MOD and there are occasions where the Secretary has to overrule the Commanders,then, now and it will be the same in the future. If the Commanders are the last word, then why have a Secretary? So I would have overruled Commanders. So what? It was my prerogative!

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    Dear Mr. Austin,
    Thanks indeed for the Pain U have Taken to Educate Me !!! Thanks to Ur Generosity I’ve Re-Born Today as a New Person !!! How Ever Let Me Also Say Few Other Things,

    Any Idiot will Know that the Link I Posted Here has no Direct Relevance to Ur Aranthalawa Article.

    At the Same Time Only an Idiot will Not Know Above Link Reflects How Incompetent the person Who Held the Position of “Defense Secretory” !!!

    Lets Make Things Simple, Any Gov would Want to have Strongest Possible Commanders & a Defense Sec at a Time it Really Wants to Wage a War Against its Enemy !!! Also at a Time If the Gov Wants to Promote Peace Instead, it would Require a Combination of Puppet “Defense Sec” Like U & a Puppet Defense Minister Like Mara-Pane & Set of Puppet Ground, Air & Naval Commanders…

    If U Found the Island Article by Shmindra Fernando on 03rd Jun’12 was Flawed, Have U Taken Any Attempt to Write to The Island and Ask Them to Correct it ???

    I Do Understand Circumstances Where a Superior has to Over Rule His/Her Subordinates, (Mind U I Look After More Than 20 Companies Situated Across 14 Countries in the Middle East, North & East Africa plus Mauritius and Seychelles and responsible for Auditing, Accounting & Finance Functions). As U Rightly Said Above, U’ve By-Passed /Over Ruled Commanders of SL Armed Forces for Reasons ONLY KNOWN to U at That Time (Of Course Whole SL Knows Now U were a Nothing But a Puppet). Below I’ve Posted a Link Where One would Find U, Eating Ur Owen Words Lately,

    Quote “When you take the failures, I thought that there are several headings under which you can address this.  One is the political situation, political reasons of this. The weaknesses in the CFA as a tool have to be accepted” Un-Quote

    http://groundviews.org/2010/09/30/llrc-evidence-given-by-mr-austin-fernando-former-secretary-of-defense-on-18th-august-2010/

    Given the Above Information, All I’ve to Ask U Now is, If U had Power to Over Rule or By-Pass Armed Commanders, How U Later Say that Whole Peace Process Failed Mostly Due to Weaknesses in the CFA as a Tool ??? Those were Ur Own Words Mr. Ex-“Defense Sec” & NOT MINE or People Who would Want to Attack U Personally !!!

    (Do Note that, I was So Careful to be Decent as Much as I Can as I did Want U to Reply Me on This)

    Over to U Mr. Ex-“Defense Sec” !!!

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      Completely BS by this KKK person. get informed men! Read this and Get a life!
      http://www.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=54235

      By Shamindra Ferdinando
      Austin Fernando’s claim

      Reacting to ‘War on terror revisited: The Aturugiriya Affair’ published on June 4, 2012, then Defence Secretary Austin Fernando told The Island that then Navy Commander Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri had never testified before the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) or provided written submissions.

      The Island reported Vice Admiral Daya Sandagiri as having told the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), how the then Defence Secretary, Austin Fernando, had bypassed them with regard to sensitive military issues. In fact, Sandagiri issued several media statements critical of Fernando after the latter testified before the LLRC.

      Fernando authored ‘My Belly is White’, which discussed a range of issues, including exposure of the Millennium City safe house, events leading to the signing of the CFA as well as the conduct of Norwegian peace envoy, Erik Solheim, from his perspective. Although ‘My Belly is White’ describes what was going on at that time, it does not explain the failure on the part of the administration to examine issues from the standpoint of the armed forces and police.

      The UNP seemed to be still unaware that inept handling of the Aturugiriya issue, which also contributed to the ultimate downfall of the administration, was a major turning point in the conflict.

      Isn’t it ironical that the armed forces chiefs, Lt. Gen. Balagalle and Vice Admiral Sandagiri were given an opportunity to peruse a draft of the CFA at ‘Visumpaya’, the official residence of Minister G. L. Peiris at that time only a few days before the signing?

      Lt. Gen. Balagalle told The Island that they had been quite anxious, particularly in view of the crisis caused by the Millennium City raid.

      The hastily arranged meeting took place after the UNP, the LTTE and Norway finalised the agreement abroad. The then Defence Secretary said that he had arranged the meeting at ‘Visumpaya’ through Defence Minister, Tilak Marapone subsequent to Lt. Gen. Balagalle and Vice Admiral Sandagiri requesting an audience. Fernando couldn’t remember whether the SLAF Commander at that time had been present, though he acknowledged that Ministers, Peiris and Marapone refused to allow the army and navy chiefs to take copies of the CFA with them. They had emphasised the need to discuss security matters with senior commanders of their respective services, before going ahead with the CFA, though the ministers believed the document shouldn’t be released until the finalisation of the agreement.

      The UNF government simply agreed to the Norwegian-LTTE plan placing the armed forces in an extremely difficult position, particularly in the Jaffna peninsula. In fact, the armed forces had absolutely no say as regards security issues, though they were expected to adhere to the CFA blindly. The UNP didn’t even know who had really worked out the CFA. Prime Minister’s Secretary, Bradmon Weerakoon, in an article titled ‘Initiating and Sustaining Peace Process: Origins and Challenges’ years after the collapse of the peace process, said that Solheim had been the brains behind the CFA, while underscoring the need to examine the process, which had led to the agreement. Unfortunately, the LLRC failed to identify those who had prepared that document.

      Although the Norwegians and the LTTE refused to accommodate some crucial proposals made by the government, those who negotiated on behalf of Sri Lanka accepted major recommendations, including vacation of public buildings, disarming of Tamil para-military groups and giving access to unarmed LTTE cadres to enter government-held areas.

      Austin Fernando, in an article titled ‘The Peace Process and Security Issues’ revealed that the government had planned to reduce the number of military positions from 152 to 88 in the Jaffna peninsula alone. He lamented the failure on the part of the LTTE to facilitate the process and instigating public protests to prevent the re-location of troops.

      Both articles by Weerakoon and Fernando were carried in ‘Negotiating Peace in Sri Lanka: Efforts, Failures and Lessons’ edited by Kumar Rupesinghe, one-time darling of the Norwegians. Rupesinghe incurred the wrath of the Norwegians, when he switched his allegiance to President Rajapaksa and went to the extent of trying to strike a deal with heLTTE on behalf of the government in late September, 2006, about a week before the LTTE targeted Defence Secretary, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, on Oct 1.

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    Also Given the Above Circumstances, If U had to Over Rule Armed Commanders, Whom U Find Now to Blame on Weaknesses in CFA as a Tool ??? Do We General Public have to Blame it on the Rain ??? Sun, Moon or Which Planet Exactly ???

    Or Else Blame Must be Taken by Someone Who was Paid Handsomely & Still Getting a Retirement Benefits from the Funds Paid by Tax Payers Like Me ???

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      Read more and get a life my friend!

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    Talk what you know. zero knowledge is dangerous.

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    Dharme,

    If Austin did Write to The island to Correct the Errors in Shamindra’s Article, part of Issues I’ve Raised is Solved & Thanks for that.

    How About the Solving Bigger Issue I’ve Raised There, That is If Austin had to over Rule Armed Commanders and By-Pass Them, Whom He is Going to Blame lately for Weaknesses in CFA as a Tool ???

    [Edited out]

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    Mean Time Dharme or Rather [Edited out] Why Do U Jump the Gun ??? After All I was Asking Austin to Reply !!!

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    CT,

    I reiterate that I am not interested in responding to Mr. Kahapola’s comments that are unrelated to the Aranthalawa article.

    But for posterity I may briefly respond to issues raised by him that are personally related to me.

    1. Responding to The Island is personal to me and Shamindra knows the background under which he wrote as quoted by ‘Dharme’, re: “then Defence Secretary Austin Fernando told The Island”. This was after seen Mr. Kahapola’s comment, without knowing who the writer of the said article was.

    2. Again to erase any misunderstanding I may mention that I resigned a better private sector job (of course not so great as one held by Mr. Kahapola, who I rightly or wrongly believe is just behind or parallel to Bill Gates) to take up the Secretary Defense position on the request of the then PM, and my pension is not related at all to the Secretary Defense position I held, as I retired in August 1996, long before I became the Secretary Defense. Hence, my pension is related to my public service career from 1963- 1996 and not for the two years from 2001 December to 2003 November. Therefore, if Mr. Kashapola is paying taxes in Sri Lanka while working in the UAE (?) let him be relieved that his tax money is not going to a wrong hand for a wrong purpose! Let this be understood also by your readers.

    3 Ref: “If U had Power to Over Rule or By-Pass Armed Commanders, How U Later Say that Whole Peace Process Failed Mostly Due to Weaknesses in the CFA as a Tool ???” As my personal actions are related to this query I may say that I had power to overrule Commanders because I was hierarchically ‘superior’ to them but not that of the Government’s, or PM’s or Cabinet’s, because I was hierarchically ‘inferior’in status to them. While giving evidence before the LLRC I said that I had no hand in drafting the CFA which Mr. Kahapola has conveniently avoided mentioning. So a public servant’s limitations have to be understood. Unfortunately it may not be the same in UAE where Mr. Kahapola ‘reigns’ in the private sector.

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    Dear Austin,
    I did Pay Taxes in SL Starting from 1998 to 2002, Funny Tho, that Period Covers Ur Full Term as “Defense-Less Sec” !!! (Now U Know I’ve Helped U to Get Ur Bread & Butter)And How Thankful U are to Return the Complements !!!

    The 3rd Reply, Says Loudly What I Exactly Wanted to Hear in Different Torn… that Confirms U were a Nothing but a Puppet !!!

    Also Mr. “Ex-Defense-Less Sec” have Some Mercy on People Like Us, Have U Ever Read a Central Bank Annual Report to Find % of Remittances Send to SL by People Like Us ???

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    Mr Austin
    As I have once earlier said this Kahapola is an eternal critic of yours and definitely insane. He has no decencies and this is why he goes on disparaging you when he has been told that you are disinterested on responding to anythings other than related to your article.

    I can only pray God to save the companies he says he is servicing abroad. And I wish his madness exposed here is unknown to his company owners. Otherwise, on this behavior alone he will be sacked from his job!!!! My biggest worry from such action is that this mad fellow will return to Sri Lanka.

    Aho Kahapola noditi Mokpura! (Alas, Kahapola could not go to Heaven!)(With apologies to Ven Wettawe Thero/Guttila Kavya)

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    Devil’s Advocate,
    You can Lick Tit-Tin’s Ass, Privately (If U Want) & Let Mr. Ex-Defense-Less Sec to Reply Me !!!

    BTW, Turkey, Cyprus and Greece will Soon be Added to My Area of Control & Seems Like My Employer does Think Otherwise !!!

    Get a Life U Idiot !!!

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