Field Marshal Minister Sarath Fonseka said today that former minister Basil Rajapaksa’s remark made in Jaffna over ‘individuals’ within the army committing crimes during and after the war was politically motivated to win the hearts of the Tamils in the North.
During the weekend in Jaffna, Mr. Rajapaksa was quoted as saying that he thinks forces didn’t commit war crimes but individuals might have committed crimes.
Addressing a news briefing held at the Regional Development Ministry, Minister Fonseka said Mr. Basil Rajapaksa had betrayed the entire army to get closer to the Tamil population.
“The minority rejected the Rajapaksas with disgust and this was clearly evident from the election results. To change this, to show affection, he used the army. We too have won the hearts of the Tamils but we used just and fair methods,” he said.
He said there was a difference between the statement he made accusing Army Commander (Rtd) General Jagath Jayasuriya of crimes and the statement made by Mr. Basil Rajapaksa.
The minister said he didn’t accuse the entire army or made accusations without naming anyone.
“I clearly pointed finger at one person and not at random individuals. I received a phone call from a corporal who was with Jagath Jayasuriya. He informed me that Jayasuriya was involved in crimes even two weeks after the end of the war,” he said.
He questioned why the individuals, politicians and monks who readily criticized him for making the previous statement over Jagath Jayasuriya and crimes, are today silent on the statement made by Mr. Rajapaksa.
“Those who pointed finger at me and spoke for the protection of war heroes are silent today. They don’t shed any tears now,” he said.
Responding to concerns that statements made with regard to military personnel and crimes would bring disgrace to Sri Lanka, Minister Fonseka said if anyone had committed crimes they should be punished.
“If anyone knows about perpetrators, they should be brought before justice. The disgrace will only befall on the country if action was not taken against the wrongdoers. If anyone withholds evidence of someone committing crimes, they should be ashamed of themselves,” he said. (Lahiru Pothmulla)