Claiming that people were asking him to be the second in charge, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa today said he can be even the first in charge.
Mr. Rajapaksa said he would join hands with anyone who would come forward to stand for the country’s unitary character and to safeguard the soldiers of the country.
“People are asking me now whether I will be the second in charge. I can be the second in charge or even the first in charge,” he said addressing the ‘Wiruwani, oba surekeemata apa sudanam’ people’s movement launched by the National Movement to Protect Soldiers (NMPS).
He was referring to a statement made by Labour and Trade Union Relation Minister and Senior Deputy Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) W.D.J. Seneviratne, who had said that measures were now underway for the appointment of former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to the post of second leader of the SLFP.
Speaking further Mr. Rajapaksa said the government, unfortunately, believes that the admiration of soldiers is a hindrance to the process of reconciliation.
Addressing the ‘Wiruwani, oba surekeemata apa sudanam’ people’s movement launched by the National Movement to Protect Soldiers (NMPS), Mr. Rajapaksa said the former government has followed a process of improving the mentality of the soldier starting from the very beginning.
However, Mr. Rajapaksa said there were incidents where soldiers mentally broke down even in the past.
“We have built up the soldiers mind to a level that they have battled to save the country and won the war. Even after the war, we took steps to keep up the mental balance of the soldiers. These soldiers had created a peaceful situation in the country so that the people could live without fear,” he added.
Mr. Rajapaksa also said the former government had taken many actions to establish reconciliation throughout the country than the current government, during the post war period.
“We were able to remove all the explosives from the war victimized areas after the war during a short span of 2 ½ years. We were also able to re-settle the displaced who were in the war zone within only 2 ½ years,” he added.
He also said the former government has rehabilitated the LTTE cadres who were surrendered to the Tri-forces and said this could be the best example which reflect the reconciliation among nations during the former government’s term. (Kalathma Jayawardhane)