The report by military intelligence follows a statement by Dinesh Gunawardena in parliament recently that a military coup was possible.
It has identified the military officers who had engaged, on the then defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s orders, in ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s campaigning during the polls.
Previously, a group of lawyers handed over a report about these officers to the government, but that was not given consideration.
Plot to overthrow govt.
Information has now come to light that several of these military officers are plotting to overthrow the present administration.
Army intelligence has investigated claims that these officers had planned to provoke racial and religious hatred to create civil unrest and to make the president and the prime minister unpopular among the military.
These military officers can be charged and produced before courts under the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights Act no. 56 of 2007.
Clause 3.1 of the ICCPR Act provides that “No person shall propagate war or advocate national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility, or violence.”
Anyone arrested under this act can be remanded for between five to 45 days without bail.
Former UNP general secretary Tissa Attanayake too, is charged under this act, over a racism-provoking statement issued about a non-existent agreement between Ranil Wickremesinghe and Maithripala Sirisena.
Accusations against Daya Ratnayake
The report makes several accusations against Lt. Gen. Daya Ratnayake, the then Army commander when president Sirisena took office.
They include the printing of a five page New Year message targeting the presidential election, distribution of dry rations among families of war heroes and telephoning security forces commanders on the day of the election and ordering them to be committed for the victory of the Rajapaksas.
Ratnayake was publicly seen engaging in politics, including in Kurunegala on behalf of Mahinda Rajapaksa at the 2015 general election.
Former intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Kapila Hendavitarana too, was directly involved in politics, and was also accused over anti-Muslim attacks in Aluthgama.
Maj. Gen. Lal Perera
The then eastern SF commander, now retired, Maj. Gen. Lal Perera had sent soldiers in T-shirts with pictures of Mahinda Rajapaksa to paste posters and distribute leaflets, to conduct a mudslinging campaign in Polonnaruwa against Maithripala Sirisena and for political campaigning in Ampara, Trincomalee and Polonnaruwa under the pretext of flood relief distribution.
SF commander in the Central province Maj. Gen. Mano Perera has reportedly told the people of Badulla that they should help in the Rajapaksas’ victory if they were to receive landslide relief, while Maj. Gen. Prasad Samarasinghe had summoned all commanders to the headquarters to lecture them on the services rendered by the Rajapaksas and also influenced the postal voting.
Maj. Gen. R.V. Udawatte, who gave false evidence against Sarath Fonseka, and Brig. K.J. Jayaweera had printed and distributed a budget document to target the presidential polls.
Armoured Corps commandant Maj. Gen. Milinda Peiris and Maj. Gen. Wijesiri of the military police face various accusations too.
Uduwe Thera’s political sermon
With the involvement of Daya Ratnayake, the Army had got Uduwe Dhammaloka Thera to deliver political sermons to the Army and the general public.
A secret operations committee for the presidential polls comprised major generals, the late Sumith Manawadu, who had arrested Sarath Fonseka after the 2010 presidential polls, Jagath Wijesiri, Kamal Gunaratne and Shavendra Silva.
That committee was run under Gotabhaya Rajapaksa by Maj. Gen. N.S.R. Soyza.
On 08 January 2015, a special security plan had been in force in Colombo as part of a conspiracy to capture power if Rajapaksa was defeated.
However, the conspiracy was exposed on the same day and Mangala Samaraweera lodged a complaint to the CID regarding it, but no investigation took place.
Also, the then Jaffna SF commander was removed before he completed his term and Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis, alleged to be the head of the white van gang, was appointed in his place to be used in the election campaign.
Maj. Gen. Mahinda Haturusinghe had distributed an election leaflet among all members of the Army and forced armed motorcycle gangs like ‘Ava’ to terrorize the north and prevent its people from voting.
Lawyers serving in the Army were forced by Brig. Ranjith Rajapathirana, who had given false evidence against Sarath Fonseka, to become members of the SLFP lawyers association.
Viyath Maga & provoking racism
The law can be enforced against these officers for having influenced all ranks to vote for Rajapaksa and carried out a psychological and racist campaign against Maithripala Sirisena.
Retired Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne, who is planning to hold 100 seminars with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s ‘Viyath Maga,’ said in Galle that national security has been compromised and hinted a war was possible in the north again.
Also, a book he had written about the war had been released while in service by using resources and personnel of the Army.
How Fonseka was punished
During the Rajapaksa regime, Sarath Fonseka was accused at a military tribunal of having engaged in politics while in service, and it could be taken as precedence to take legal action against these officers as well, lawyers point out.
However, many military officers had directly opposed these political activities by the Rajapaksas and that resulted in the failure of the 08th January conspiracy.
Maj. Gen. Ubaya Medawala
Especially, Maj. Gen. Ubaya Medawala had got involved in that regard, and incumbent commander Krishantha de Silva, had refused to be party to the conspiracy, as planned by Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.
Maj. Gen. Channa Gunatilake and brigadiers Sunil Wanniarachchi and Darshana Wanniarachchi had been threatened for having opposed the conspiracy.
Meanwhile, minister Champika Ranawaka has proposed to the president and the prime minister that top officers, including Prasanna Silva and Jagath Dias, who had not got involved in any politics, be appointed to top positions in the government.
Also, the defence ministry has taken action to address the dejection among certain officers over human rights and other accusations against the Army.
Target is Mahesh Senanayake
Meanwhile, Army intelligence has reported that there was no basis to Dinesh Gunawardena’s claim about a military coup.
It is suspected that this military coup talk has been fabricated due to fear that in addition to several officers loyal to Sarath Fonseka being in top positions in the Army, the possibility of Jaffna commander Maj. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake being made a future Army commander could come in the way of the racist political campaign by the Rajapaksas.