He made this comment in response to a question posed by the media subsequent to his visit to meet the Chief Prelates of the Asgiri and Malwathu Chapter Chief Prelates and obtain their blessings yesterday (04).
“Especially a war hero should know who a war hero and a murderer is. If a war hero has become a murderer, then he must face punishment,” the Commander explained.
Military personnel and officers are bound by Sri Lanka’s Penal Code and the Military law, he said pointing out that as such, the Tri Forces should respect discipline.
“After the war, if anyone had used the military uniform to commit crime, then he is not a war hero. It is those type of war heroes that are being hunted. No one who had fought the war in the right manner has ever had to fear or face such punishment,” he added.
He told the Chief Prelate of the Malwathu Chapter, Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera that there are a few soldiers and officers within the military. “There is no forgiveness for them and I will definitely arrest those who need to be punished.”
Security in the North:
The Malwathu Chief Prelates had also inquired from him about the security in the North.
In response he had said although certain groups have become active in the North, these are not powerful groups as the LTTE.
He further added that certain parties are trying to bring in such groups for their petty and vengeful political agendas.
“In the South sometimes it seen as wrong, but if you live in the North you will understand that there is no such situation.”
He said some are trying to compare the 1978 incidents with the current situation, “As the Army Commander I say it is a lie. In 1978 there was no army and it was only the police. The police faced certain problems, but the army came in only in 1983,” he said.
He said currently there are three divisions stationed in the North at strategic locations and if the need arose they could be deployed.
The Commander visited the Chief Prelate of the Malwathu Chapter Thibbatuwawe Sri Sumangala Thera and obtained his blessings.
Lands in North
He said except the lands surrounding the Palali airport all other lands not essential to the army will be handed over to the people and this will not hamper the security of the region.
He also said that the fishing activities of the traditional fisher folk should be revived and they should be given the right atmosphere to carry on with their fishing activities.
“During the 70s and 80s around 60% of the fish at the Colombo fish market came from the North. Today there are no multi day trawlers in the North. They come from India and take away our fish.”
“We need to strengthen our fishermen in the North. Already three generations have passed and the third generation have no fishing experience. If they receive money they don’t expect anything elaborate,” he pointed out.
Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake exchanging ideas with the Chief Prelate of the Asgiri Chapter Ven. Warakagoda Sri Gnanarathana Thera.
“Importance of education”
He said the military will organise a tribute ceremony for the 193 students who obtained nine A’s at the O/L examination and provide them with their educational requirements in a bid to assist in their education.
“We are trying to make them realise the importance of education. When they are educated the future generations will not resort to activities such as in the past,” Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake said.