31 October, 2020

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The King Is Naked And Fonseka’s “Lion Cubs”

By Uvindu Kurukulasuriya – 

The King is naked!” shouted the boy. An awkward hush fell across the crowd as excited murmurings ceased. Faces turned first to the youth sitting on his father’s shoulders and then to the Monarch.  The child was triumphant. He had been the first to see, or at least to say, the remarkable truth. The king visibly stiffened at the small piping voice. The King’s guards faltered at their reins and their horses reared causing the great palanquin to halt momentarily before lurching ahead. The King pitched forward in a most undignified manner. Only a quick step saved him from toppling over. The King did not turn back to look at the boy who had dared lift the blissful veil of ignorance. It is a part of a bedtime story everyone heard in their childhood. It came to mind recently, because of the way the Sri Lankan government responds to allegations regarding disappearances.

Army Commander Fonseka, with the knowledge and approval of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, has set up special cells within military intelligence to go after suspected LTTE cadres and sympathizers in Colombo, Jaffna and other places. We have also heard reports of a similar shadowy group called the ‘Hambantota Cats.’

It has been two years since Prageeth Eknaligoda disappeared. Prageeth became the main symbol  of disappearances for three reasons. First, he was the first Sinhalese to be abducted and then disappear under the Rajapaksas, second – he had some journalist friends and third – he actively participated in the presidential campaign of common opposition candidate Sarath Fonseka and disappeared two days prior to the 2010 presidential election. But there have been thousands of disappearances over the last 3 decades. This speaks  volumes of the impunity  with such acts are committed.
Vairamuththu Varatharasan, a 40-year-old truck driver and father of five, was abducted from his home in Colombo on January 7, 2007, and has not been seen since. His wife told Human Rights Watch: “A group of about 20 men – some in police uniforms, some in civilian clothes surrounded the house. One policeman came inside and asked for our identity cards. I went into one of the rooms to get the identity cards. By the time I came out of the room, my husband was not there; neither was the policemen. I ran out and spotted a van parked in a dark place on the road. I ran to the road, but by the time I got there, the van started and left.” Most of the victims are ethnic Tamils and Muslims. In many cases, the security forces “disappeared” individuals because of their alleged affiliation with the LTTE. Clergy, teachers, humanitarian aid workers, and journalists also were targeted – not only to remove them from the civil sphere, but also as a warning to others.

Now Prageeth Eknaligoda’s “hero” prisoner Sarath Fonseka has spoken: the military is behind a spate of abductions. The BBC Sinhala service quoted Fonseka as telling reporters outside court on Friday, January 20, that the current security forces commander in Jaffna, Major General Hathurusinghe, was responsible for the spate of abductions and disappearances in Jaffna.

Jaffna Security Forces Commander Major General Mahinda Hathurusinghe told The Sunday Leader last week that Fonseka was making baseless allegations while serving a prison sentence on several charges. Major General Hathurusinghe said that police records clearly indicate there were no “mass scale” abductions taking place in Jaffna and that the incident involving two JVP dissidents is being investigated. JVP dissident group supporters Lalith Kumar Weeraraj and Kugan Muruganathan went missing in Jaffna on December 9 last year and have not been heard of since. “The army is assisting the police to investigate the incident regarding the two missing people. But that is an isolated incident. If you speak to the police you will find there are no abductions taking place on a daily basis as some claim,” Major General Hathurusinghe said.

Who should we believe? Fonseka or Hathurusinghe? I suggest that you believe Fonseka. He was the “god father” of the abductions when he was the darling of the Rajapaksas. He knows how this abduction mechanism works. Since he was the Army Commander he may yet have military sources.  According to a leaked US diplomatic cable Mangala Samaraweera confirmed that the Government uses a group called the “Lion Cubs” to engage in extrajudicial activities.

The cable is classified as “SECRET” and recounts details of a meeting the US Ambassador to Colombo had with then Sri Lankan government MP, the SLFP Treasurer and Leader and District Organizer of Matara District, Mangala Samaraweera on February 26, 2007. The cable was written on February 28, 2007 by US Ambassador to Colombo, Robert O. Blake.

The Ambassador called on Ex-Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at his residence on February 26, at Samaraweera’s request. “Samaraweera said rumors of him conspiring with former President Chandrika Kumaratunga are baseless. Samaraweera confirmed for the first time that special cells have been established within military intelligence to abduct LTTE sympathizers”, the US ambassador to Colombo updated the Secretary of State.

Under the subject “SRI LANKA: EX-FOREIGN MINISTER COMPLAINS OF HARASSMENT BY GOVERNMENT” Ambassador Blake wrote, “Ambassador commented that the President and the Defense Secretary reportedly believe that their military strategy, including abductions and harassment of suspected LTTE sympathizers, is working to make Colombo more secure and to degrade LTTE networks. Samaraweera confirmed that the Government uses a group called the ‘Lion Cubs’ to engage in these extrajudicial activities. It is widely rumored in Sri Lanka that Army Commander Fonseka, with the knowledge and approval of Defense Secretary Gothabaya Rajapaksa, has set up special cells within military intelligence to go after suspected LTTE cadres and sympathizers in Colombo, Jaffna and other places. We have also heard reports of a similar shadowy group called the ‘Hambantota Cats.’ The recently-appointed Cabinet Minister for Environment has publicly called for the use of extralegal means to root out LTTE sympathizers. Samaraweera lent credibility to these reports by relating grisly details about the methods these groups use to dispose of the bodies of their victims at sea.” (see colombotelegrah.com for the leaked cable )

So, Fonseka was the head of the “Lion Cubs”! Forced disappearances were seen by the state as a legitimate means by which to deal with terrorism. Sri Lanka has the second highest number of disappeared people in the world, according to a new study by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances. “Sri Lanka has the second highest unresolved cases of disappearances registered with the Working Group on Disappearances. This means 1 ,000s of unclarified cases, 1,000s of families without closure,” Yolanda Foster said. Amnesty International’s Sri Lanka expert Yolanda Foster made the above remarks at an interactive meeting organised by Freedom from Torture, London. ( click here for the full speech.)

In September 2006, President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he would invite “an international group of eminent persons” to Sri Lanka to act as observers of the government’s investigations into alleged abductions, disappearances and extrajudicial killings.
“The decision… is reflective of the government’s commitment to fully investigate such allegations and bring the perpetrators to justice. It is also a response to attempts at discrediting the government of Sri Lanka, the security forces and the police with regard to human rights violations and allegations of lack of adequate investigation into such violations” the president’s office said. The Rajapaksa government has set up an array of special bodies tasked with monitoring and investigating “disappearances” and other human rights violations. None have yielded concrete results.

Whom are they trying to fool? The international community or the Sri Lankan citizens? The whole world understood. It is crystal clear,  Mahinda Rajapaksa, once a rights advocate, has now led his government to become one of the world’s worst perpetrators of enforced disappearances.
The King is naked isn’t he? The little voice was right.
uvindu@journalist.com

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Latest comments

  • 1
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    they will have to suffer for all these wrongs doings

  • 0
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    brilliant ! every dog has a day Uvindu.

  • 0
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    I’m sure Fonseka is and Rajapaksa brothers are psychopaths. I’m sure they cant sleep, all abducted people are around them. Buggers will be punished oneday, like Gaddafi and gang.

  • 0
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    Fonseka is the God father of abductions, you are correct Uvindu. now just crocodile tears are all over.

  • 0
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    Fonseka is a war criminal, just as much as his former masters. The fact that the latter turned on Fonseka shows the amount of paranoia running through the Rajapakse mindset. While Mahinda is certainly crooked, he is not psychopathic; psychopathic is better reserved for Gothabaya. Firing into NFZ’s, executing surrendering POWs, letting military intelligence handle the administration of IDP camps – all of these were the brainchild of none other than GR. Of course, MR should also be held accountable – blindly giving GR permission to carry out any and every (military) massacre of civilians does not absolve the former of responsibility.

  • 0
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    None of these allegations have any supportive evidence and only serve rumpr mongers aiming to discredit SL and hamper it’s recovery and reonciliation. The current administration has been given a democratic mandate for 5 yrs to do lead this recovery and reconciliation.and by all accounts are doing that. As long as that is the case anyone interested in SL’s wellfare should support these eforts.

    • 0
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      Hello, to support GSL has to accept their wrong doings, otherwise no reconciliation.

    • 0
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      There will be no rehabilitation without accountability. What Do You Mean By Recovery and reconciliation? Oh! you mean Militarization? Correct. That’s exactly what is happening that is militarization in the name of reconciliation in North and East.

    • 0
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      Recovery and Reconciliation. DEMOCRATIC MANDATE, My Axx, Tell THAT TO YOUR COLOMBO Monkeys,DON TRY TO FOOL US. WE ARE SINHALESE FROM EAST.
      LTTE AND POLOTICCAS DESTROYED OUR UNITY WITH TAMIL UPPER CLASS AND UPPER CAST. We were there when the war injured brought to Vauniya, Soldiers, civilians,children, old and very young ones suffering. WE went to I D P CAMPS. [POW CAMPS].WE SAW HOW THEY SUFFERED.

      WE KNOW HOW THE GOV STOOGES LIKE YOU PEOPLE ‘s POCKET GOT STUFFED with REHAB MONEY, THEY SOLD THE WAR ALSO AND ENJOYED WITH WINE< DINE AND DANCE Rajapakses are NO 1 Crooks and Power hungry psychopaths. and trying to hoodwink, fool the masses.
      Dont' try to white wash killer hyenas.IDI HAMIN, HOOTHMBAYA ALL SAME SRI LANKAN KNOW WHO THEY ARE.

  • 0
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    great comment!

  • 0
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    excellent article Uvindu! keep it up!

  • 0
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    Dear Mr.Kurukulasuriya

    An excellent piece. Sarath Fonseka is not a saint, though he poses to be one. It is during his command Jaffna recorded the highest number of disappearances.

    Krishanti Kumaraswamy, her mother Rasamma Kumaraswamy were gang raped and killed by police officers and soldiers stationed at Navatkuly check point. Krishanthy’s brother Pranavan and her neighbor who accompanied Mrs. Kumaraswamy too were killed and buried. During the course of the trial two police officers who turned crown witnesses gave graphic account of the last dying hours of Krishanti. According to their evidence, the army and police personnel pounced on their prey like hungry vultures to satisfy their carnal passions. Krishanti fainted and collapsed unconscious when these sex maniacs in khaki uniform raped her in a row. On gaining consciousness, the poor girl asked for some water to drink. Thereafter when the sixth rapist was about to take his turn Krishanti pleaded with him. She unsuccessfully begged and pleaded with her tormentor saying, “Let me rest for five minutes.” Finally, she was strangled to death and buried. It transpired she was alive at the time she was pushed into the pit.

    I am not a believer in karma, but every action has a reaction opposite but equal. It is nemesis that has caught up with Sarath Fonseka. He is a sinner like his political bosses Mahinda Rajapakse and Gotabhaya Rajapakse!

    • 0
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      Was it karma that visited Nandikadal in 2009 also?

      • 0
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        YES DAVID, OF COURSE, IT IS KARMA,SOME TIME THEIR PREVIOUS LIFE . MOST OF THEM GOT WHAT THEY HAVE DONE IN THIS LIFE ALSO,

        AND DID YOU HEAR THAT SOME OF OUR FORCES PERSONNEL ARE KILLING EACH OTHER TOO.SOME HAVE BECOME INSANE, FAMILY LIVES ARE DESTROYED.
        ERECTING BUDDHIST STATUES, BUILDING KOVILS, TEMPLES< WEARING WHITE CLOTHES WILL NOT REMOVE YOUR SINS, [THIR SINS].
        AND THERE ARE SOME MORE TO COME. YOU CAN SEE results very soon . HERE IN YOUR LIFE TIME I HOPE.
        REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED TO PREMDASA< RANJAN WIJERATHNA.ect,

  • 0
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    Thanks. Fine piece.

  • 0
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    “well written..very sharp”

  • 0
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    “Since he was the Army Commander he may yet have military sources. ” this shows the lack of credibility again. And please answer this, if this turned the other way round,if SF is in power :will you be able to post a comment on FB even against the GOV?

  • 0
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    There is a saying in Tamil “only a snake knows footprint of another”. A snake like Fonseka talking about the other snakes is not a surprise. As surely as a thirsty man drinks water,so surely will a sinful man incur punishment. There are far too many in the line of punishment.

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    Just to show the exhistance of God the almighty SF got punished for all the killings of Tamils, eventhough MaRa&Co. gave the orders , it was carried out by SF, that is why he got the punishment of Jail term. My friends do not worry MaRa & Bros. will get their share of punishment when the time comes, there is a saying ” The King will punish instantly & the God Almighty will take his own time allowing for more crimes to be commited”. MaRa & Bros wille wiped away from the earth very soon. What happened to Gadafi, Sadam Hussain, Mubarak, Zia hul huk & many others.

  • 0
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    Do not expect even divine punshiment for these rascals – as long as
    the Buddhist Sinhala Voter backed by Mahanayakes have the upper hand,
    politically speaking.

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