Colombo Telegraph

That Call To My Father On 08.01.2009

By Lal Wickrematunge

Lal Wickrematunge

The worst moment in my life was to call my parents in Canada on the 8th of January 2009 to share the dreadful news that their youngest son (my youngest brother) Lasantha was murdered. There was silence at the receiving end and I repeated what I had said in the mistaken belief that my father had not heard me. “I heard you”, he said and replaced the phone. A month later he stopped talking and was bedridden, never recovered till he passed away to join his youngest son.

I felt responsible. Was guilt ridden. Lasantha was coaxed by me to take up the position of Editor in Chief of The Sunday Leader by taking a sabbatical from his law practice from the Chambers of Ranjit Abeysuriya. He had informed his senior that he would set up the newspaper and be back in six months. He never went back. He was sent back to his maker.

For seven long years the investigation into his murder was confined to the Terrorist Investigation Unit (TID). From the inception it was clear that the TID was a diversion used by the powers that be to deflect attention from the real murderers and the cowards who gave the order. Four innocent persons have been murdered to date to lead the investigations astray. These facts are part of the Court record in the Magistrate’s Court, Mt Lavinia. The investigation was with the TID from 2009 to 2015. All of it during the regime of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Three years have elapsed since a new team at the Criminal Investigations Department took over from the TID. Fresh evidence gleaned show that the Army Intelligence was responsible for Lasantha’s murder and the cover up leads to an IGP, DIG and Superintendent of Police. Why should they risk their future to cover up a murder? I believe they knew who gave such order. The Mt Lavinia court has been informed and the court records indicate who was responsible.

Sri Lanka, a nation that has been independent for 71 years is yet living a lie. As long as rulers feel, life is about 225 legislators and not the people, our nation will flounder. Lasantha, was but one journalist who was murdered. One amongst a majority from the North of the country. They too must be remembered and their perpetrators brought before court. The murders of four innocent people to place the blame on the LTTE must be probed. Is it not obvious that the LTTE canard is the trojan horse of some politicians to vilify those they wish to destroy?

Ten years is time enough for our leaders to allow the investigators a free hand. The perpetrators are known. Court records carry their names. Allow them to be arrested along with such persons who tinkered with the evidence. I wait anxiously to make another call to Canada and tell my mother and siblings that Malli’s killers are charged in Court.

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