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Army Commander strips media
(2019-06-03)

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Army Commander strips media

There are so many stories regarding the Army Commander these days. There are several opinions regarding his statements and behavior regarding media. There were also accusations that he is over abusing his power. Especially when he was commenting about Ministers and politicians these opinions came out.

During the past weeks moderate politicians, religious leaders, scholars, academics and criticized media for their irresponsible behavior and arousing and scaring the community. But none of the media listen to them. Though the government prohibited social media from time to time we did not see any regulations on electronic or printed media.

Recently at a press conference the Army Commander criticized media and asked to stop acting. Even though it came late it is commendable that he made this criticism. This shows the attitude of the Army Commander towards media.

These are the comments made by Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake the Commander of the Army.

“it was asked from media to work within a framework. I never talked about a media censorship. This country faced war for 30 years. It was having sword fights for more than thousands of years. It also had traditional fights such as ‘angampora’. Thus if the people in this country feel sad and scared when they see a 12 bore gun, 16 bore gun or an air riffle as the Commander of the Army I wrote to the government to stop this acting by media not to censor media.”. 

Once I saw a media channel showing a bullet of a 12 bore gun fallen on the road. Three personnel in uniform was showing it for  several minutes as if 10 RPGs were found. If you take a walk in a thicket in Dehiattakandiya you will find several of them which are used by the Vedda community. There is nothing to sensationalize in that. Every time when 15 shot gun bullets or 3 riffles are found it is kept on a table and about 15 personnel are round it and shows it on media for several minutes.

These are found every day. It will be found tomorrow also. These days we are doing search operations in places where the majority Muslim community lives. I know if we do a search operation where Sinhala or Tamils live we will find more than this. That’s why I told so.

This situation is created since the same things are shown over and over again. Why did these swords come out? We have to find the reason for this also. An incident takes place in Aluthgama in 2014. An incident is taken place in Beruwala. There is another incident in Digana. Now there are incidents. Thus self defense should be accepted. This cutting of grass is also something like that.

The problem is in the terminology. A box of weapons is more suitable. A bundle of knives or sword factory is the words used. In my house I have 5 swords. I am Senanayake. We have had swords from generation to generation. Though I joke I actually posses swords. We are a nation who held swords. We had swords from those days.

 You are asking these things from the Army. We don’t have the answer. There should be a national plan for this. For instance if money is being pumped to the country the Central bank should monitor and regulate these. What is the purpose of the grant, what is it used for. You know more than me. When we go to the bank to deposit Rs 100,000 so many questions ar asked from you. Thus if millions are pumped and no one is questioning there is a big problem. There should be an answer to this problem. That is not within my mandate.

If ship loads, boats and containers are coming it should be looked by the Customs. It is not my job. Since there is no education or awareness about it , everything is being asked from me


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