Posted on October 18th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

Chandana Sirimalwatte, the editor of the Lanka was taken in for questioning by the police for allegedly spreading gossip claiming that there is rift between General Sarath Fonseka and the government.

Police spokesman Nimal Mediwake confirmed that he had been taken for questioning.

The Lanka had alleged there had been attempts to discredit General Fonseka on the part of the government.

Sirimalwatte’s Lanka newspaper is affiliated to the Opposition Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP).  

Earlier Sri Lanka army  Friday categorically denied widespread reports in the web and opposition publications of a rift between the government and the ex-army commander who led the troops in the war against Tamil rebels to victory.

The statement followed reports that Chief of Defence Staff General Sarath Fonseka, the most popular soldier in the country, had fallen out with the government and claims that he was planning to contest the Presidential election soon as a common opposition candidate.  

Military spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said in a statement false news was being published, alleging differences between Gen. Fonseka and the government. The media speculations were “baseless and not true,” and published with ulterior motives, he said. Even posters have been put up alleging the differences. The military spokesman said General Fonseka is still serving the army and the persons who are publishing these falsehoods will be dealt by law. He said the people who are spreading the story seem to be well organized in the campaign.

“Such reports have been planted deliberately to create a rift between the government and the army which has won public confidence and popularity,” Nanayakkara declared.

Fonseka is popular among Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese majority for leading military operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam between 2006 and 2009. The rebels were decisively defeated in May, ending a 26-year civil war by implementing a military plan of strategy produced by Fonseka.

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