The entire government would have resigned if a disaster like the Easter Sunday carnage had happened in any other country, but such things would never happen in Sri Lanka, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka told Parliament, yesterday.
Participating in the debate on gazette declaring a state of emergency, Field Marshal Fonseka severely criticised both the government and the Opposition for allowing the deterioration of intelligence services.
He said that soon after the end of the war in 2009, he had proposed to build a national intelligence agency combining all intelligence units and divisions and to make it the best in South Asia. But no such thing had happened. Instead, the intelligence operatives had been used to stalk and surveillance of political enemies and their children, the former Army Commander said.
Fonseka said: “Governments that have been in power during the past 10 years need to take responsibility for this failure. Immediately after the war, the then government used intelligence services as instruments of political revenge. They used them to spy on us and our children. Even the new government did not do what should have been done.
“For example, I still depend on the security vehicle provided to me by the previous government. This government has done nothing to enhance my security though I am critical of terrorists and their activities. It is clear now that the National Security Council and Defence Secretary have neglected their responsibilities.
“As such, no one could escape responsibility for what happened.”
MP Fonsea pointed out that it had taken the LTTE years to mount large scale attacks like those carried out on Easter Sunday. “The LTTE’s terrorism was markedly different as it was an organisation fighting to divide the country. Its motives were political, whereas this group is pursuing a religious agenda.
“Whatever said and done, we are now back in an era where people’s lives are uncertain. We will see security barriers coming up again. Even those with beards will be subjected to more stringent checks. Tourists will stop coming and our economy will suffer. Even if a new government comes to power, it will face the same challenges.”
Fonseka questioned why some Opposition MPs were reportedly sitting in the National Security Council while both the PM and State Defence Minister were excluded. “There are some politicians who knew more about gambling and horses sitting at the National Security Council meetings while those who had the mandate to sit there are not invited. This is the sorry state prevailing with regard to national security today,” the Field Marshal said.
He also criticized the PM and State Defence Minister for not publicly raising the matter of their exclusion prior to the Easter Sunday atrocities. Even they could not escape responsibility for what happened, he added.
“I have nothing personal against the President, but he only returned to the country from Singapore at midnight on the day following Easter Sunday attacks. There were flights from Singapore which landed in Sri Lanka at 3.00pm and 9.00pm that day. Yet, he did not choose to take an earlier flight even after such an incident.”
Fonseka said he regretted that the intelligence reports on the impending attacks were seemingly not given even a fraction of the consideration given to information provided by Namal Kumara.