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( Prabhakaran with Charles Anthony)
A glance at a decade in the past records that Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son, Yoshitha joined the Sri Lanka Navy in December 2006. When Yoshitha joined the Navy, Mahinda proudly announced that unlike other world leaders, he had given his son to fight the war to protect the country. The Maha Sangha was full of praise for Mahinda hailing him as a true patriot. When Mahinda gave his son to the Navy, Prabhakaran’s son, Charles Anthony was already fighting the war against the Sri Lankan troops in the jungles of Vanni. Prabhakaran put his son into action when Mahinda launched a do or die battle following the breakdown in peace talks through Norway mediation. It was reported that Charles Anthony rendered yeoman service to the LTTE being in charge of LTTE air strikes.
According to a recent confession by Kumaran Pathmanathan alias KP, Charles Anthony had spoken to KP and had requested him to take his father, mother, sister and the younger brother to a safe location overseas. Charles Anthony had reported to KP that his (Charles Anthony’s) father, Prabhakaran had turned down repeated requests by him (Charles Anthony) to leave the North and seek safety overseas. However, Prabhakaran’s determination to stay in the battlefield in the face of defeat with his son Charles Anthony fighting the war demonstrated the commitment of Prabhakaran to his organization. Finally, the military found the body of Charles Anthony killed in the war.
In contrast, Mahinda used the issue of giving Yoshitha to the Navy for political gains. Yoshitha was never sacrificed to fight the war to save the country. The whereabouts of Yoshitha during the war was unknown. There was no sign or indication that Yoshitha ever stepped into the territory of the war. After the Maithri-Ranil Government was set up, a three-member committee was appointed to inquire as to what Yoshitha did during that period. When the findings of that committee are analyzed or scrutinized closely, it is clear that Prabahakaran though being a terrorist leader had not betrayed his community. Contrary to the stand of Prabhakaran, Mahinda’s bogus patriotism is crystal clear when the findings of that committee are read.
In violation of all laid down norms and procedures for recruitment to the Sri Lanka Navy, Yoshitha Kanishka Rajapaksa obtained a thirteen month course which was sponsored and paid for by Ukrinmarsh, the Ukranian Government’s State Self-supporting Foreign Trade and Investment Firm. This was followed by other courses including one to become a Doctor of Philosophy, the three-member committee had found.
It had been observed by the committee that it was all arranged by Udayanga Weeratunga, former Sri Lanka Ambassador to Russia and first cousin of Rajapaksa. Weeratunga is already under investigation and is absconding. This clearly manifests that Weeratunga, who stands accused by the Ukranian Government of selling weapons to pro-Russian separatist rebels, was operating hand in glove with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his brother, Gotabaya, former Defence Secretary, in these operations.
After the Maithri-Ranil Government came to power, the Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Jayantha Perera set up a three-member Board of Inquiry to probe Yoshitha Rajapaksa. This was done on the directions of the Ministry of Defence, in January 2015.
The Board comprised Rear Admiral D.W.B. Wettewa, Commodore U.S.R. Perera and Commodore M.M.V.B. Medegoda. Their report revealed some shocking details. According to the findings of the three-member report Yoshitha Rajapaksa had been recruited and absorbed into the Sri Lanka Navy violating the norms, procedures and other mandatory requisites laid down in the statute with regard to recruitment.
The three-member Committee made the following observations in their report;
A) The qualification requirement for the 45th Intake of Officer Cadets, to which Cadet Y.K. Rajapaksa, (NRX 2431) belongs, was to have six credit passes for GCE (OL) in one sitting including English, Mathematics, Science and Sinhala in addition to GCE (AL) two passes. This is what had been advertised. Going through his personal file, it became apparent he has NOT obtained a credit pass for Sinhala in the same sitting. Certificates for both AL and OL are not available in his file.
B) The Board did not come through any material evidence to
substantiate whether the Navy took a decision to accept the GCE (OL)
Examination results in subsequent years (2003/2004) produced by Cadet
Y.K. Rajapaksa. Therefore, the Board cannot make a conclusive statement
on his enlistment. It is possible this could have been considered as a
C) When Cadet Rajapaksa was undergoing training at the Naval Maritime Academy; three senior Navy sailors had been assigned to provide security for him. This is in addition to the security provided for the training area by the Presidential Security Division (PSD).
Adding insult injury over the illegal procedures adopted to recruit Yoshitha to the Navy, these special arrangements and other privileges including the selection of Lt. Rajapaksa for special prizes had been provided by a former Navy Commander, Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda.
Cadet Rajapaksa who was not sent on a scholarship to the Britannia
Royal Naval College had obtained that slot on a payment basis which was
exclusively created for Cadet Rajapaksa. Later, he had been attached to
the Royal Navy for two more courses in sea training, the committee had
Rajapaksa who was then a Midshipman (after joining as Sub Lieutenant) was again attached to the International Sub (Executive) Course at the Maritime Warfare College, HMS Collingwood in Hampshire, the investigators have reported.
According to the findings, after Rajapaksa reached the rank of Sub Lieutenant, he had been selected by his uncle Udayanga Weeratunga to follow a Master’s Diploma in the National University of Defence Academy in Ukraine from 29 October 2009 to 31 August 2010.Then Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had ordered that Yoshitha be paid his daily foreign allowance, travel and telephone expenses. This was paid whilst the course was paid for by Ukrinmarsh with whom Weeratunga had had close connections. The invitation to Yoshitha from Ukrinmarsh had been made in his personal capacity. There had been no proper selection process. The most shocking development was that after completing that course, Yoshitha had been selected to follow a course of Doctor of Philosophy.
Initial records indicate that at the Passing Out parade in Trincomalee, Cadet Rajapaksa was designated ‘Midshipman of the Year’ and was awarded the ‘Sword of Honour.’ All that had been arranged by former Navy Commander, Admiral Karannagoda.
Later, on the directions of the Ministry of Defence under Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Yoshitha was attached to the Presidential Security Division. After normal work at Navy Headquarters, Yoshitha had reported to Temple Trees to work for the Presidential Security Division.
A special identity card had been issued for that purpose. With the new government taking office, the transfer made to the PSD for Yoshitha has now been cancelled.
The episodes of Yoshitha Rajapaksa and Charles Anthony clearly manifest the contrast between Mahinda Rajapaksa and LTTE Leader Prabhakaran on commitment and patriotism. Prabhakaran sacrificed his son Charles Anthony to fight the war and Mahinda’s son Yoshitha was nowhere near the war, though Mahinda attempted to gain political mileage saying he gave his son to fight the war to save the country.
– Upul Joseph Fernando
(Courtesy Ceylon Today)- Melani