B. Muralidhar Reddy

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa on Friday made a strong appeal to the opposition not to “betray” the world’s most disciplined security force to gain political mileage.

A report posted on the government information website quoted Mr. Rajapaksa as telling a gathering of young men and women at the President’s Pavilion in Kandy, “Some are levelling allegations that those who raised white flags were shot and killed.

But the troops rescued Prabakaran’s parents. Even Thamil Chelvam’s wife and child are in the camp.

The children of the sea tiger leader are with his wife.” The comments of Mr. Rajapaksa assume significance in view of the ongoing controversy triggered by charges made (subsequently withdrawn) by former Army Chief and the major parties opposition parties consensus presidential candidate Sarath Fonseka against Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa about the sequence of events in the last phase of Eelam War IV (May 16 to 19).

Meanwhile, the General has said as a military officer who faced debacles and victories alike and risked his life for the sake of the country, he would never betray any fellow military officer or soldier.

At a meeting in Ratnapura town, he said he always stood by the forces whether it was during a drawback or a victory but did not erect giant hoardings to gain political mileage from it. He pointed out that the individuals who erected hoardings and cut-outs claiming that it was they who won the war should understand that the war in the North and East could not be won by sitting in cosy air-conditioned rooms in Colombo.

The General said: “President Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Defence Secretary alone were not responsible for the victory.

Their predecessors had taken steps to cripple the LTTE. I served the country for 40 years as a military officer and campaigned against terrorism for 30 years.”