‘Ram and Nagulan responsible for over 600 killings roaming free’
By Shamindra Ferdinando
Sri Lanka Republican Front leader Patali Champika Ranawaka, MP, has questioned the circumstances under which the Rajapaksas granted amnesty to 12,600 LTTE cadres following the successful conclusion of the war in May 2009. However, some of them were released during the Yahapalana administration (2015-2019) in which Ranawaka served as a Cabinet Minister.
Ranawaka has also sought an explanation from former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brothers, Gotabaya and Basil as to how they freed Kumaran Pathmanathan (better known as KP), the self-proclaimed successor of LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, Vinayagamurthy Muralitharan aka Karuna, Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pilleyan and two killers known as Ram and Nagulan.
‘KP’ lives here under military protection whereas Pilleyan, leader of YMVP (Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal) serves the Wickremesinghe-Rajapaksa government as State Minister of Rural Road Development.
Ranawaka, who was also member of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Cabinet, from 2010 to 2014, asked the Rajapaksas to explain their understanding with the LTTE. He raised a spate of issues, including the general amnesty granted to the defeated LTTE, and special treatment meted out to a selected group of LTTE personnel, at a media briefing held over the weekend at the Narahenpita party office. The Opposition MP briefed the media in the wake of British television Channel 4 alleging complicity of the Rajapaksas and breakaway LTTE faction TMVP in the 2019 Easter Sunday carnage and other high-profile cases, including the assassination of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, in January 2009.
MP Ranawaka pointed out that the C4 documentary had been based on disclosure made by Hanzeer Azad Maulana, one-time close associate of Pilleyan.The former PHU heavyweight said that the amnesty granted to ‘KP’ should be examined against the backdrop of his alleged involvement in the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi in May 1991.
Alleging that C4, as well as the BBC, over the years, directed unsubstantiated war crimes accusations, MP Ranawaka said that an attempt was being made to deceive the population that the Rajapaksas were the target of the latest C4 documentary that dealt with the situation here since 2005.
MP Ranawaka recalled the Public Security Minister Tiran Alles’s confession years ago regarding payment made to the LTTE to influence the group to order Tamil speaking people in the North and East to boycott the 2005 presidential election.
People’s Alliance candidate Mahinda Rajapaksa defeated the UNP candidate Ranil Wickremesinghe by 186,000 votes at the 2005 presidential election.Alleging that Ram and Nagulan had spearheaded attacks that claimed the lives of over 600 persons in Hambantota, Panama, Ampara and Moneragala during the conflict, MP Ranawaka said that a future government, consisting of his party, would initiate legal action against those responsible for the heinous crimes.
Referring to Mahinda Rajapaksa’s disclosure after the change of government at the Gatambe Rajopawanaramaye that a group of Muslim extremists had been provided protection by his government, MP Ranawaka stressed that the Rajapaksa brothers (Mahinda and Gotabaya) former Chief of National Intelligence (CNI) Maj. Gen. Kapila Hendarawithana and head of State Intelligence Service (SIS) owed an explanation to the public in this regard.
MP Ranawaka asked who continued with the relationship with those who fought for the LTTE 15 years after the eradication of their conventional military capability. Commenting further on the C4 documentary, Ranawaka pointed out that the government should be mindful of the disclosure that the Geneva-based UNHRC and unnamed European intelligence services gained access to Pilleyan’s aide Moulana. The former minister said that Inspector Nishantha Silva of the CID had avoided the fate befallen on former Director, CID, Shanie Abeysekera by fleeing the country. MP Ranawaka declared that the Inspector’s statement pertaining to Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga’s assassination was now before the UNHRC. Inspector Silva secured political asylum in Switzerland immediately after the last presidential election.
Ranawaka said that Moulana’s allegations should be examined taking into consideration submissions made by former Senior DIG, CID, Ravi Seneviratne and SSP Shanie Abeysekara pertaining to the Easter Sunday carnage to the Supreme Court.
The ex-minister asked the Rajapaksas to explain how they had received the backing of the National Thowheed Jamaat (NTJ) at the 2019 presidential election. MP Ranawaka endorsed Moulana’s accusations pertaining to several incidents in the run-up to the Easter Sunday massacre. They include the killing of two policemen at a checkpoint at Vavnathivu, Batticaloa, on 30 Nov., 2018. MP Ranawaka claimed that he, too, was on the NTJ hit list. Alleging that the Rajapaksas had unashamedly manipulated all communities to win the 2019 presidential poll, MP Ranawaka said that 6.9 mn votes polled by Gotabaya Rajapaksa had not reflected the real public sentiment.