|Looking for enemies where
another development, former Army Chief of Staff Major General
Janaka Perera has replied to a decision taken by the Army
Headquarters to ban him from entering any Army installation or
camp with immediate effect.
The military banned Major General Perera and a decorated
soldier, Colonel Jayavi Fernando from entering any Army camp
following their remarks on the current war situation in country.
Earlier too, during President J.R. Jayewardene’s time, a similar
ban was imposed on late Air Marshall Harry Gunatilleke, who
wrote back to the President challenging his decision and
threatening to take legal action against the President.
Here Major General Perera though had not specifically said that
he would take any corrective measures but had written a long
explanation stating his position. Major General Perera’s
statement is reproduced below:
“I wish to respond to a special circular issued by the Army
Headquarters to all military camps and bases country-wide
instructing them not to allow me and Col. Jayavi Fernando (Retd),
who is a much-decorated soldier, to enter their premises and
instructing Army officers and other ranks not to have links with
us and also instructing them to inform their families and those
others not to support any of our activities, alleging that we
have made certain comments through the media undermining the
recent military victories, thus demoralising the forces and
bloating the alleged achievements of the LTTE.
“I would like to state that since my retirement almost eight
years ago, I have not visited any Army camp, but visited an Army
officers’ mess on two occasions, despite being invited many
times to attend functions, as an ex-senior military officer,
although my heart and soul will always remain with them.
“At no stage have I demoralised the victories of our heroic
soldiers of the past or the present. To me, what is important is
the supreme sacrifice made by our heroic soldier, sailor,
airman, policeman and auxiliary forces and to share the pain and
the suffering of the families that have to eventually bear the
“In all my interviews in the print and electronic media, I have
highlighted this and called on all countrymen to support our
heroes and assist in caring for their families. I have, also
stated the importance of analysing the strength and weaknesses
of our enemy and the impact on us if we are to achieve the
ultimate victory which is long awaited.
“What I have stated is no different to any military analyst who
bears genuine concern for our country. I believe it is my
fundamental right to express my views as I have no doubt the
people of our country are also concerned with the issue of this
long drawn-out war against terrorism, that affects their lives
almost on a daily basis.
“They have the right to information and to views of those who
have fought and experienced this kind of rabid terrorism, in
order to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of
our motherland, which I feel is the collective responsibility of
all our people. It is based on this genuine concern that I have
expressed my views which I consider to be my duty as well my
“Right through my long career in the Army, spanning over three
decades and over half my life, I have, together with our heroes,
our valiant soldier, sailor, airman, policeman and auxiliary
forces fought against separatist terrorism. I continued to
oppose terrorism, both within and outside the country, in
positions I have held in uniform and otherwise. As Sri Lanka’s
High Commissioner to Australia and as the Country’s Ambassador
to Indonesia, I faced up to the attempts made by the LTTE
propagandist and extremist diaspora to discredit our country.
Records will bear testimony to these facts.
“Nevertheless when we were in the battlefield we have seen
ministers and senior public officials give bloated figures of
success, thinking that this would give them political mileage;
misleading those in authority. I sincerely hope this is not
happening today, since I know it does not encourage those who
have to face the battles in the field. I am of the firm opinion
that we have to win the hearts and minds of the Tamil people
along with the rest of the people, through genuineness and
sincerity and with respect for human dignity and right, if the
war against separatist terrorism is to be won.
“My intentions are therefore loud and clear and I consider the
circular issued by the Army Headquarters to be malicious and
defamatory and is intended to tarnish my image nationally and
internationally, for reasons that are only best known to the
persons who are responsible for issuing the circular.
“I wish to continue to uphold my fundamental right to freedom of
expression in a country that is expected to uphold such rights
as per our democratic Constitution and internationally accepted
norms. I also wish to continue to feel for and want to care for
the families of our valiant forces, their families and all
communities who have paid the supreme sacrifice in the process
of defending the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our
“It is with this intention that I conducted ranaviru asiri
poojas at the historic Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi on April 5 to invoke
the blessings on our heroic soldier, sailor, airman, policeman,
auxiliary forces and their families and called upon all people
to unite, shedding all differences to achieve a peaceful and
stable Sri Lanka, free of terrorism and violence where all can
live together in brotherhood and work towards a greater nation.
Working towards such as an end I consider once again not just my
inalienable right but also the duty as a patriotic citizen.
“It is my fervent hope that those responsible for issuing this
circular would concentrate their effort on the battles that are
raging on the war front and continue to encourage and protect
our valiant soldiers, who are our strength and wealth in the
tasks at hand, rather than engage themselves in negative issues
in looking for enemies where none exist, which would be
counterproductive. Such actions would only demoralise our
valiant heroes at the battlefront, as they would feel that if
this vilification could happen to two persons who have
sacrificed so much for the country, what could happen to them.
“May the blessings of the noble Triple Gem be with our heroic
soldier, sailor, airman, policeman, the auxiliary forces and all
the people of Sri Lanka.”