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‘No dialogue’ with Delhi on Indian army deployment to Sri Lanka – defence secretary

Sri Lanka’s defence secretary rejected reports that the Indian army would be deployed to Sri Lanka as part of regional coronavirus prevention efforts, stating that the Sri Lankan military “can handle (the) coronavirus threat effectively”.

A statement from Kamal Gunaratne said there had been “no dialogue” on the matter, despite reports by the PTI earlier this week. Earleir today NewsWire quoted an Indian High Commission source as stating, “There is no plan to send the Indian Army to Sri Lanka for whatever purpose”.

“Sri Lanka’s intelligence agencies have been used to trace people who are closely associated with coronavirus positive patients and also their whereabouts to direct them to the 14-days quarantine process,” said Gunaratne, who is accused of overseeing war crimes.

“Our military has already shown their expertise and professionalism in handling the emergency situation created under coronavirus threat.”

Gunaratne has claimed that the Sri Lankan military and police have effectively handled the crisis however human rights organisations have raised significant concern over the militarised response. Both Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have issued statements raising concerns over the human rights situation in Sri Lanka with particular concern over arrests. 

Sri Lankan authorities have arrested thousands for breaking curfew; spreading false information, and they have also arrested local councillors providing voluntary relief packages to vulnerable villagers.

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