From Ceylon Today
The Navy in the Eastern Province seems to present a very bad omen to Ranil’s Government. Ranil’s Government in 2002 collapsed because of the Eastern Navy leadership. This time, a massive problem had to be faced because of injustice done to Ranil’s Government as well as to a Navy Official of the East. That is, the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province berating a Navy Officer of Trincomalee and insulting him in public because he had not been invited to a function at a school in Sampur.
Now, the Mahinda-friendly faction has used this to create a rift between the Maithri-Ranil Government and the Army. Public opinion is being built up against the Maithri-Ranil Government by the Mahinda-friendly faction organizing protests in favour of the Navy Official whom the Chief Minister berated, in his village and other areas as well. Those who are thus organizing protests are people who created opposition against Muslims across the entire country during Mahinda’s Government. They are attempting to, through this incident, bring back to the stage, anti-Muslim sentiments.
What comes to mind when we see this incident is how, the then President Chandrika Kumaratunga used the Navy in Trincomalee against the ceasefire brought about by Ranil’s Government in 2002. Chandrika obtained a report from the Chief of the Navy in Charge of Trincomalee then, Wasantha Karannagoda, that the setting up of Tiger camps around Trincomalee was a threat to national security. It was Mahinda who intervened to prepare this report. Mahinda toured Trincomalee and obtained this report and gave it to the media. The SLFP-JVP Alliance then used this report and built up anti-government sentiments across the entire country. Finally, based on this report Chandrika decided to take over the Ministry of Defence.
Today, Mahinda-friendly factions are trying to create anti-government sentiments across the island through the incident between the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province and the Navy Officer. Mahinda who said in the morning that he will cooperate with the government to provide relief to people affected by the floods, in the evening, issued a statement against the government, based on the incident involving the Chief Minister of the Eastern Province. What was stated therein was that there is a conspiracy afoot to disgracing war heroes who saved the country. Actually it was Mahinda himself who disgraced the Navy by handing over Yoshitha to them.
Great Britain Youth Officers’ Training Course
Yoshitha who joined the Navy on 14 December 2006, exactly two weeks afterwards, that is on 1 January 2007, left the country to participate in the Great Britain Youth Officers’ Training Course.
While Senior Navy Officers were questioning how, Yoshitha who joined the Navy just 14 days before, was given the opportunity to attend a training course in Britain the story that was spread around was that he had obtained a special scholarship. However, it was revealed only after Mahinda’s defeat that a sum of Rs 6.2 million was spent by the Navy for the British Course for Yoshitha. This discovery was made through a report issued by a committee appointed by the Navy Commander to inquire into Yoshitha, subsequent to his father’s defeat. He completes his British training course and returns to Sri Lanka on 7 December 2007.
That was the time when the war in the North was flaring and thousands of bodies of Army, Navy, and Air Force members arrived in Colombo in coffins. Yoshitha who came to Sri Lanka in December 2007, stayed in Sri Lanka only for a short period of five months. On 15 May 2008 he once again went abroad to study for the Sub-Lieutenant Technical Course. He was abroad until October and then returned to Sri Lanka in October of 2008. While there were secretive whispers regarding his trip abroad among the Navy staff, the story that was spread around was that he was once again awarded a special scholarship. However, the committee appointed by the present government has discovered that the Navy had spent a sum of Rs 5,337,600.70 for Yoshitha’s training course. It has not been reported that Yoshitha who arrived back in the country in October 2008, never went to the war fields in the North or the East. Once the war ended, on 11 November 2009 he left for Ukraine for a special officers’ course.
The sum spent by the Navy on this was Rs 3, 773, 800.76. On 7 March 2009, Mahinda Rajapaksa at the Trincomalee Navy Camp presented Yoshitha with the award for the best Midshipman. He was presented with this award for the honourable service rendered by him to the Navy. He was also presented with the award, the Sword of Honour. The website of the Defence Ministry stated that, the arrival of Yoshitha’s parents to give away this award which is presented to great heroes who dedicated themselves to saving the nation and the race, to their own son, was a discerning event. This award had been presented to Yoshitha Rajapaksa based on the instructions of the Commander of the Three Forces, Mahinda and the then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, deriding the innocent members of the Navy in villages who sacrificed their lives in the war and who became disabled.
This is the biggest insult to the Navy made by politicians. However, the most unfortunate thing was that the media was scared to talk about it then.