13 December 2021
Jaffna MP, Mr Sumanthiran refers us to the Hindu article headed ‘Controversial ex-Navy chief is Gotabaya’s pick as Governor’:
[President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday appointed a former Navy chief, previously accused of abduction and conspiracy to murder, as Governor to the North Western Province, delivering what victims’ families called “yet another blow” to their 12 year-long fight for justice.]
Former President Sirisena failed to take action despite alleged Indian Intelligence regarding Easter bombings. The current move is likely to deter the resurfacing of those who operate outside the limits of the law. As per the Hindu article headed ‘ Sri Lanka drops charges against admiral over killings’ published on 14 October 2021:
[The investigation against Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was part of a case that cast a spotlight on extrajudicial killings during Sri Lanka's 37-year ethnic war that ended in 2009.’
Police told a court in 2019 that the 11 victims were killed while in the illegal custody of the navy, although their bodies have never been found.
Investigators believe the true number of victims from the abductions and killings to be at least three times higher.
Police said the victims were not linked to ethnic Tamil separatist rebels and were kidnapped purely to extort money from families. Some were killed even after cash was handed over.
Military figures have been widely accused of extrajudicial killings during the war.]
The Hindu highlights the background as follows:
[In the years 2008 and 2009, 11 youth — most of them in their late teens and coming from Sinhala, Tamil, and Muslim families — went missing across different suburbs around Colombo. Ameenathul Jiffriya Sabreen, Jenifer Weerasinghe, and her husband Mervyn Premalal Weerasinghe — parents of forcibly disappeared youth in the 'Navy 11' case. Though the youth were forcibly disappeared in the last two years of the civil war, investigators said they were abductions for ransom, and that the case was not directly related to the war in the way scores of enforced disappearances of Tamils from that time are.]
Given the above discovery – one wonders as to why President Gotabaya Rajapaksa would choose such a person as Governor of this particular Province. Is it due to the Pakistani lynching which as the potential to lead to clashes between Sinhalese & Muslims in that Province. I thought of the young medical student who wore hijab over her jeans when traveling from Kurunegala in this Province to Colombo. As per our conversation – I concluded that Muslims were well off in that Province. As per the Navy 11 case Sinhalese were also well off in that area led by Mr Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The connection to the Navy does not establish a direct ethnic reason. But given the current situation in Pakistan, the possibility of anti-Muslim riots is minimized through this appointment. It is a Democratic decision based on Equal Opportunity principles. Given that elected leaders of Tamil areas are yet to ‘find fault’ with Tamil atrocities during the war years and Muslims about their leaders, this political decision by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is taken to be based on his intuitive intelligence – as to what he would do if he were the military President of Paskistan. Given the unregulated reactions by Tamils & Muslims – as a community – this choice is a Dharmic decision that would protect all Sri Lankans. Merit basis would not render such protection – as we are overregulated.