When a government stands divided among themselves, when the Prime Minister and the State Minister of Defence are left out of Security Council meetings and even the venues are kept secret to them; what kind of a democratic government are we looking at? When a government is divided to such an abysmal extent, how can it not fall? More importantly, how could the Prime Minister and the State Minister of Defence have remained silent all this time and not claimed their right to be present at these meetings, thus jeopardizing the peace of the country and its people? ‘United we stand, divided we fall’ was not coined in vain – India claims to have sent three security alerts, the last being hours before the first suicide blast! Having seen that, NO ACTION HAD BEEN FORTHCOMING ON THESE SECURITY ALERTS! HOW AND WHY DIDN’T INDIA MAKE ANY MOVE TO INITIATE SOME ACTION WITH THE RIGHT SOURCE? IF THE PRIME MINISTER HIMSELF ACKNOWLEDGES THAT THESE SECURITY ALERTS HAD BEEN SENT BY INDIA, THEN ISN’T HE CULPABLE BY DEFAULT? What is baffling is that while the Prime Minister acknowledges this, the President claims the intelligence warning reports were not shared with him! WHO DO WE BELIEVE IN ALL THIS? We are trusting citizens who have stupidly left our security and the security of our country in these hands! Hundreds have died and more are suffering because of these rifts and crises within the government; these rifts have been going on for some time now! It is the poor citizens who suffer and die when a government becomes a security threat, they should not just say they are accountable, if they had any sense of shame, self-respect and decency, they should have resigned by now!
A void that cannot be filled
Universally, the Easter Sunday carnage is being denounced, vigils are being held in some countries and other country representatives are signing the Books of Condolence! While all this outpouring of outrage is undoubtedly heartening, how can it be expected in any way whatsoever to heal the brutal pain, the bereft loneliness, the missing family member – father, mother, son, husband, wife, daughter or children? WHO OR WHAT CAN EVER REPLACE THEM? WHILE WE KNOW THAT NOTHING CAN, WE ALL NEED TO STAY UNITED, WE NEED A COMPREHENSIVE ‘YES’ TO ERADICATE THIS UNHOLY MENACE TO SOCIETY ONCE AND FOR ALL! LIFE IS THE QUESTION, DEATH IS THE ANSWER WE ARE TOLD, BUT IN NO WAY CAN ANYONE ACCEPT THIS KIND OF DEATH AS ‘THE ANSWER!’
Affluence and orchestration
On an optimistic note, we can see that investigations into the horrendous Easter Sunday bombings are continuing; that quite a number of suspects have been arrested and alarmingly almost all of them have been found with swords and other apparatus for bombs! Yet, another irony is that almost all of the suicide bombers were the most prominent and richest men in their society; most of them interconnected family members and others either related or connected to ministers or other people in high positions! The atrocities have been so well masterminded and planned in such minute detail that they are regarded as the most sophisticated attacks with impeccable timing coordinated to ensure maximum impact and casualties! Another unbelievable horror is that in addition to their affluence, they are well-educated and were also recognised in society and seen accepting Export Awards!
Cost of manipulating higher defence management
In deference to public safety and the need for vigilance, I want to carry in its totality a letter penned by Arun Kumaresan – Air Vice Marshall (Retd):
Cost of manipulating Higher Defence Management – National Security Council
It was a sad and horrific day for all humans not only Sri Lankans nor Christians. Tentacles of religious fundamentalism and extremism have consumed many innocent lives on the day they were celebrating the resurrection of Christ. But as the reports indicate, there had been a pre-warning; not general but specific to violent acts targeting the Christians.
Mr. President: You have been pre-occupied in your attempt to seek a second term; in such course, you have increasingly taken all aspects of higher management defence and security into your hands. Before coming into this specific incident, there are questions that are related to your conduct as the Minister of Defence relating to higher defence management.
Mr. President: You are aware that the higher defence management of the nation is tasked with the National Security Council. It comprises, in addition to you, the Prime Minister, ministers of the subject of finance, law and order and foreign affairs, secretaries to the subject of defence, finance, law and order and foreign affairs, service chiefs and the IGP. When required, heads of intelligence services are called in for specific briefings to take stock of threats to national security. This is the way matters relating to higher defence management are conducted and courses of action formulated in any democratic nation. However, in contrast to your specific instructions, many a time such meetings have been conducted in the absence of the PM and other UNP ministers from 2015. In addition, instructions have also been given to the participants who have been cleared by you to attend such meetings, to keep the time and venue secret, to shield it from the PM and other UNP ministers.
Mr. President: Question 1 – In the pre-occupation of your secret agenda to consolidate power, did you violate the ‘Norm and Form’ of the conduct of the higher defence management by intentionally omitting legitimate members in such high-value discussions?
Mr. President: I wish to remind you that after you intentionally violated the Constitution and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister, you took over the subject of law and order under Ministry of Defence. Even after the defeat of the political coup initiated by you, you continued to hold this portfolio under your purview. Hence, the entire security apparatus of the nation was under your total command and control. It is now public knowledge that there was a pre-warning by the intelligence services that attacks were being planned by a religious fundamentalist group targeting Christians, especially during Easter.
In this context, the statement by the Prime Minister has great relevance – Quote: “Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had noted that though intelligence units had provided information on a possible attack, adequate precautions were not taken to prevent it. He has further added that he and the ministers were not informed of this as well.” This substantiates that such serious matters affecting national security have again been kept away from the Prime Minister who is a legitimate member of the National Security Council and reinforces the earlier assertion of the conduct of illegitimate National Security Council meetings under your stewardship.
Mr. President, the above sounds very serious; you may have no sense and fear to trespass constitutional boundaries, but now your acts disturbing higher defence management structures have resulted in the loss of lives, bloodshed and mayhem. It only reflects your foolish arrogance, self-centred decision-making and utter incompetence of governing the nation.
Mr. President: Question 2 – Aren’t you culpable of the offence of ‘manslaughter’ due to your intentional actions to marginalise the National Security Council and not acting on the credible intelligence that was in hand to prevent this catastrophe?
Mr. President, you have the right to visit Thirupathi in India. For a person “doing the right” to his fellow countrymen, the God will visit him or her. A person not doing the right to his people will not and should not be tolerated by anyone leave alone God. You by your in-actions and selfish actions coupled with petty thinking have aided and abetted this manslaughter.
Note to Readers:
The main issue Mr. President discusses at these illegitimate National Security Council meetings sans UNP members is what the UNP government is up to.