Why Maithri suddenly went to India after Matara Rally?
Posted on August 21st, 2016

By Gagani Weerakoon Courtesy Ceylon Today

As the unity government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe completed one year, President Sirisena who is the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) took measures to appoint 40 new electoral and district organizers removing popular yet, rebellious former organizers from their posts.

This was described by many as a move to fuel already soured relations between Rajapaksa and Sirisena camps within the SLFP and as would lead to a split in the party. Following this move, those who are in the Joint Opposition openly backing former President Mahinda Rajapaksa said, they will not attend party’s 65th Convention to be held on 4 September in Kurunegala.

However, what caught the attention of many was the strong comeback of President Sirisena who threatened to reveal ‘secrets’ if anyone attempted to create a new political party.

He was speaking at the first ceremony to mark five years of the consensual government, held on Friday (19) at the Sanath Jayasuriya Playground in Matara.
President Sirisena emphasized that he would not let those who are crowned with fraud, corruption, waste and robbery to rule this country again.

“I will work together with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to build the country definitely by taking it out from the economic crises, created by the former government, putting a ninety thousand million loan burden on the country, while talking about a vibrant development,” he said.

Though some groups are trying to change the government with their dreams which never come true, they never will be able to achieve their objectives, he added.

“The consensual government will be taken forward with a quality and wise political knowledge. The future of its journey will be decided in 2020.Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and I love this country than those who shout, appearing as patriots,” he said.

He emphasized that he would never allow any country or power in the world to subjugate the country.

“While the government is taking action to solve the problems by taking the proposals of the Human Rights Council into consideration, some people spread canards by criticizing it.

I suggest them to provide relevant options to the government if the proposals selected by us are not good. A strong reconciliation process is carried out in the country by the current government which has a foundation creating a background for the citizens either in the North or the South with no need to take weapons into their hands,” he further said.

President Sirisena said that the consensual government, getting rid of fraud and corruption, is on a clear path punishing those who engaged in frauds. “If we get any clear information about any fraud and corruption by those who are in the current government, they will be dealt more severely than the persons who committed same offences during the former government,” the President further stated.

This was the first time President Sirisena did not hesitate to show his irritation over political developments in the country and many compare this threatening to what President Rajapaksa did as it got close to Presidential elections last year.

They were of the opinion that Rajapaksa threatening MPs with ‘files’ he has in the closet as a way of blackmailing is not different from Sirisena threatening to reveal ‘secrets’ if anyone attempted to form a new political party.

Fate of Sampur

While President Sirisena is in an apparent fix over keeping his party and the consensus government intact, he too will be compelled to maintain a balance between his relations with China and India.

Despite the government finally deciding to go ahead with China with its Colombo Port City Project with a renewed agreement, the Sampur power project that has stalled for decades seems to go nowhere with President Sirisena insisting it to be converted into one operated with Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) instead of coal.

According to sources,while, the ETCA between Sri Lanka and India is slowly picking up Sampur has reached a dead-end with India pushing to go ahead with coal power as planned and President Sirisena refusing to budge.

Secretary to the Indian Ministry of Power P.K. Pujari earlier told Ceylon Today such conversion will delay the project by another eight to nine years.

“Even when you look at the perspective viability and energy security, LNG does not appear to be the best option as Sri Lanka will have to import gas. Why do you want to place your energy sector in someone else’s hand?” he queried.

When queried about concerns expressed by residents of the Sampur area and protests by environmentalists, Secretary Pujari said the project will not go ahead unless and until all requirements are looked into and procedures are followed according to Sri Lanka’s laws.

The EIA for the project was conducted and cleared in February by the Central Environment Authority, they informed.

Meanwhile, Gurdeep Singh, Chairman and Managing Director of National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) India’s largest power utility with an installed capacity of 46,653 MW, said they are all set to go ahead with the project, but are biding their time as they were compelled to wait for a few more weeks until a final decision was reached.
Maithri off to India

However, in a dramatic turn of events, President Sirisena after his somewhat threatening speech in Matara, departed the island with his family to India Friday night itself.

The tour was kept a top secret until the last minute with only the Sri Lankan High Commission in New Delhi informed to carry out protocols with the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. Sources confirmed that Indian High Commission in Colombo was not informed of this visit and they were not involved in handling protocols, which is the norm in practice.
While, many have raised doubts about President’s sudden visit to India, it was revealed as being a private visit with his family to India’s richest temple, Sri Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala in Tirupati of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is quite popular among Sri Lankan politicians and they make it sure to visit the temple at crucial times seeking blessings at Tirupati.

President Sirisena’s visit, it is learnt, follows a personal invitation, from the chief priest of the temple, who was in Sri Lanka recently. He visited Kataragama paying homage to God Kataragama and met President Sirisena and invited him to visit Tirupati.

The last time President Sirisena was in Tirupati after assuming office as the President in January 2015. When he and the First Lady visited Tirupati on 18 February 2015 to attend the Suprabhatam Seva early morning prayers at

3:00 a.m., temple trustees were compelled to break the ‘Bangaru Vakili’ (golden door)leading to the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Venkateswara, as the lock got stuck.

President and the family will arrive in the country today.

Battle of the Army Commander

Incumbent Army Commander Chrishanthe de Silva was given a one-year service extension, by President Maithripala Sirisena last week. The Army Commander was already serving an extension which was to expire on 21 August (today).
What led to this one-year service extension, instead of normal six month extension, is the lesser known fact. Though the scenes that unveiled behind the screen did not hit mainstream media like that of appointing the Central Bank Governor, President Sirisena was under similar pressure he underwent at the time, with all bigwigs exerting pressure on deciding the timeframe of the extension.

The reason being, Major General Channa Gunatilake, being amongst the six most senior Majors General in line, being the favourite amongst many in the Cabinet. Though known as an officer with a clean record, he is not known amongst the ranks as an officer who played a pivotal role during the war. But being a Royalist and being politically well connected was in favour.

The President was under pressure to give incumbent Commander an extension till 31 December this year, in view of this as all other Majors General in line will be retired by the time.

President Sirirsena, it is learnt, has had several discussions with the Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi, before granting this one-year extension. The unusual one-year extension comes as a way of escaping the internal battle over the appointment as Major General Channa Gunatilake, being amongst the six most senior Majors General in line, being the favourite too is scheduled to be retired by 1 March 2017.

By the time of the extension comes to an end on 21 August 2017, the senior most Major General in line would be Major General Boniface Perera who serves as the Security Forces Commander Wanni.

He joined the Sri Lanka Army as an Officer Cadet on 31 August 1981 and was commissioned in the Sinha Regiment in the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on 4 December 1982. He served in battlefields in the North and the East as an offensive Platoon/Company Commander from 1982 to 1992.

He also held Platoon, Company, Battalion Commander and Brigade Commander ranks in the Army.

He has also held key appointments like Colonel, General Staff 52 Div, 22 Div, Brigade Commander 212 Brigade (Mannar) and 534 Brigade (Jaffna) and Commandant Infantry Training Centre in Minneriya.

Out of his total service of 29 years Mj. Genral Perera was deployed in the battlefield for 20 years taking part in Operation ‘Trivida Balaya’ to rescue besieged troops in Jaffna Fort, Operation ‘Balavegaya I’ to rescue besieged troops in Elephant Pass, Operation ‘Akunu Pahara’ to destroy LTTE hideouts in the Mullaitivu jungle, Operation ‘Seal Off’ to destroy LTTE camps north-east of Welioya and establish Army camps in Kokkutuduwai and the operation in Silawatura to rescue besieged troops at Silawatura Army Camp.

He has also taken part in Operation ‘Wanni Wickrama’ to liberate areas north of Vavuniya, Operation ‘Sathjaya III’ to capture Kilinochchi town where he played the most pivotal role as the Commanding Officer 4 SLSR to establish the bridgehead on the other side of Karadipokku which facilitated the capture of Kilinochchi.

He in the rank of Brigadier, took part in Operation ‘Liberation’ to liberate Jaffna peninsula from the LTTE and took part in rescuing the Eastern Province under Lt. Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa after the LTTE overran all the police stations during Eelam War II.

For his bravery in the battlefield he was rewarded with the RWP and RSP. He is qualified in psc, and has a diploma in Personnel Management and a diploma in Senior Defence Management from Devi Ahilya University, India.

However, it is expected there will be a battle to choose between Major General Perera and Major General Mahesh Senanayake, Security Forces Commander Jaffna.

Having joined the Sri Lanka Army Regular Force on 16 October 1981, Maj. Gen. Senanayake, a proud product of Ananda College, Colombo, was posted as a Second Lieutenant to the Sri Lanka Engineers Regiment. During his career spanning over 34 years, he has held many Command and Staff appointments and served in many operational areas. On his seniority and efficiency, Maj. Gen. Senanayake was sent to follow many professional local and foreign courses. Also he has participated in military seminars and study tours in Havaii and the Netherlands. He is a graduate of the Army Command and General Staff College, United States of America.

He has attended Young Officer Engineer Course in Pakistan, Junior Command Course in India and Unit Command and Staff Course in Bangladesh. As a Military Officer he has followed an Engineering Degree Course in India from 1993 to 1996.

In recognition of his acts of gallantry, he was decorated with Rana Wikrama Padakkama (RWP) and Rana Shura Padakkama (RSP).

Before being appointed as the Commander SF-J, Maj. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake served as the Military Secretary at Army Headquarters. In addition, he holds the appointment of Colonel Commandant, Special Force.

Senanayake, who became a target during last regime, for being a loyal supporter of Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka is expected to get the full backing of the latter in his run-up to gaining the position.
However, that is only if the government does not take concerns about Fonseka having full control of the Army into consideration. As of the history of Army Commanders appointed in the past, the majority were those who functioned as the SF Commander- North, before it was divided as Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Wanni.

4 Responses to “Why Maithri suddenly went to India after Matara Rally?”

  1. Lorenzo Says:

    Sirisena should know what happened to MR after going to Tirupati. Same thing awaits Sira.

    SL is ruled by Lord Venkateswara worshiping HINDUS not Buddhists.

    Buddha came to SL 3 times but our fools rush to Endia to worship HINDU gods. What madness!

  2. plumblossom Says:

    It is high time that a new political party is created. The symbol can be the ‘mal pohottuwa’ as just prior to the general election, a new political party was registered under this symbol. All those SLFPers who are totally fed up with this treacherous yahapalayana government can then join this new political party.

    It is best to do this as soon as possible in order to get ready for the local government elections, to counter the treacherous OMP Act, to counter VAT increases, to counter the low prices offered to rice farmers, tea growers, rubber growers, to counter any attempt to provide any more powers to provincial councils than they have at present especially police, land or fiscal powers and any attempt to change the unitary status of the country via unwanted constitutional changes, to counter the signing of ETCA, to counter the building of the Hanuman Bridge, to counter the wide ranging privatization of state assets programme of the UNP, to ensure that no Sri Lankan Forces member is harassed by setting up of hybrid courts or even domestic courts etc.

    Unless a new party is formed now, all those people opposed to this treacherous yahapalanaya government will have nowhere to turn and nowhere to go and if the disaffected SLFPers do not take up this opportunity to form a new party, others definitely will.

  3. Christie Says:

    Do these buggers who go to these sacred sewees sing the Suprabhathams in Sinhala, Tamil, Telingu, Sanskrit, Pali’ Hindi. Urdu, Bengali or some other sh…?

    Why on earth a Sinhalese want to go to this great sewer and sing or listen to verses on Ramayana when Rama’s beloved woman Seetha enjoyed life here with Rawana.

    Our leaders should praise Rawana not Rama.

  4. S.Gonsal Says:

    I don’t know what is wrong with these bloody fools. What is Tirupathy got to do with Sri Lanka ? These Mityadushtika idiots are voted in and ruining our land.
    How can this fool call himself to be a Buddhist ?
    Time for Sinhalayas to condemn and kick out ALL FOOLS who have stepped in Tamil Nadu temples for worshipping mythical Gods. They all serve the Tamils only.

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