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JVP Leader claims there is a witch hunt against ex-military personnel who associate with his party

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Anura Kumara Dissanayake

By Saman Indrajith

JVP-led NPP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told Parliament on Thursday that the Defence Ministry has launched a witch-hunt of former military personnel who are associated with his party.

Participating in the Third Reading debate on Budget 2024 under the Defence Ministry expenditure heads, Dissanayake said that he too was of the opinion that servicemen should not involve in politics while they are on active service but the ex-servicemen and retired soldiers have a right to support any political party of their choice.

“None has the power to prevent the retired military personnel from engaging in politics. The Defence Ministry is headed by Kamal Gunaratne and he has his political agendas. We have nothing to complain about his political associations. Other retired service personnel too have a right to do politics,” Dissanayake said.

The JVP Leader said that former Commandant of the Eastern Province retired Maj Gen Aruna Jayasekera and his wife had been held at the Bandaranaike International Airport and harassed by airport authorities at the behest of the defence ministry top brass because Maj Gen Jayasekera was involved in NPP politics. When demanded to know the reason for holding them, the authorities said that they were searching whether the couple was smuggling in narcotic drugs.  This is grossly illegal as well as unfair. Does this mean only those who are with the government could be involved in politics?

The Defence Secretary has given orders to limit the medical entitlements given to retired military personnel who are with the NPP. There is a ban for these retired officers going into army camps.

“We are well aware of who was behind the attacks on Lasantha Wickrematunge, Keith Noyahr, Upali Tennakoon and Poddala Jayantha. We also know to which extent those investigations went on. This parliament does not allocate money for the military to attack those who oppose the government. The army is not there to attack the protesters. The defence ministry top brass should understand that their way of politicizing the military will have serious repercussions.

“Narahenpita police recently arrested a group of persons who had attacked protesters. Kamal Gunaratne thereafter gave orders through the telephone to the Narahenpita police on behalf of those attackers. We know that Kamal Gunaratne is a leading political activist. We would not question his right to do politics. In the same manner what right does he have to deprive other retired soldiers doing their politics?

“There was a procession for ethnic harmony. It was a cultural procession but it was attacked at the Town Hall by police. It was Sagala Ratnayake who gave the order to police to attack processions. This is the manner in which the government now uses the defence apparatus to do their politics,” Dissanayake said.

Responding to the issues raised by the JVP leader, Defence State Minister Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon said that retired military officers have all the right to be involved in active politics. Not that all those who are associated with the NPP had faced difficulties but only a few. It is pertinent that Dissanayake should think as to why only a few had faced some difficulties.

There had been instances where some unjust treatment occurred, but those are only isolated incidents. We have addressed those issues. I call on all the political leaders not to bring politics into the army camps. There is no special purpose for retired military personnel to visit army camps. To do so they should first obtain a special permission. Even if I visit an Air Force camp, I inform the Air Force Commander first. It is expected that the Air Force commander will inform the camp officials of my visit. Retired Air Vice Marshal Sampath Thuiyakontha was banned from entering air force bases for reasons other than political,” the State Minister said.



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Heat Index at ‘Caution’ level in Northern and North-Western provinces and Anuradhapura district

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Heat Index advisory issued by the Natural Hazards Early Warning Centre At 4.00 p.m. 12 April 2024, valid for 13 April  2024

The Natural hazards Early Warning Centre says that the Heat Index, the temperature felt on the human body is expected to increase up to ‘Caution level’ at some places in Northern and North-Western provinces and Anuradhapura district.

The Heat Index Forecast is calculated by using relative humidity and maximum temperature and this is the condition that is felt on your body. This is not the forecast of maximum temperature. It is generated by the Department of Meteorology for the next day period and prepared by using global numerical weather prediction model data.

Effect of the heat index on human body is mentioned in the above table and it is prepared on the advice of the Ministry of Health and Indigenous Medical Services.

ACTION REQUIRED

Job sites: Stay hydrated and takes breaks in the shade as often as possible.
Indoors: Check up on the elderly and the sick.
Vehicles: Never leave children unattended.
Outdoors: Limit strenuous outdoor activities, find shade and stay hydrated.
Dress: Wear lightweight and white or light-colored clothing.

Note:
In addition, please refer to advisories issued by the Disaster Preparedness & Response Division, Ministry of Health in this regard as well. For further clarifications please contact 011-7446491

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Sun directly overhead Kumulamunai, Murikandi, Keridamadu and Tanniyatttu at about 12:10 noon today (13)

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On the apparent northward relative motion of the sun, it is going to be directly over the latitudes of Sri Lanka during 05th to 15th of April in this year.

The nearest areas of Sri Lanka over which the sun is overhead today (13th) are Kumulamunai, Murikandi, Keridamadu and Tanniyatttu at about 12:10 noon.

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10,000 children at 336 Child Development Centers nationwide to receive gift parcels from President today (13)

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Through an initiative taken by President Ranil Wickremesinghe, over 10,000 children under the care of 336 child development centers throughout the country, will receive gift parcels today (13).

The distribution sponsored by Ceylon Biscuits Limited is coordinated by the office of the President with support from the office of the Chief of Defence Staff and the Sri Lanka Army.

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