Facebook icon
Twitter icon
e-mail icon

Rajapaksa pardons Army deserters during Buddhist rite

Sri Lanka's President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on the occasion of Esala Perahera, the Sri Lankan Buddhist festival that commemorates the scared tooth of Buddha, has granted an special amnesty for 1,933 Sri Lanka Army (SLA) deserters including SLA officers released from several prisons, Sri Lankan police authorities said on Tuesday, July 28 .

270 SLA soldiers and 14 officers were released from Welikada. 3 officers and 30 soldiers from Boosa and 27 soldiers from Galle were released under the Perahera amnesty granted to them.


Meanwhile, the Sri Lankan military offered another amnesty to the tens of thousands deserters.


Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara said troops who were absent without leave could report back to their units and be officially discharged without penalty.


"They must bring all their documents and return whatever is due to the army and then they will be granted an honourable discharge," Nanayakkara told AFP.


In 2001, the army had about 51,000 deserters on its books. According to a Sri Lankan Ministry of Justice and Law Reforms official, there are over  65,000 deserters at large.


The latest amnesty offers comes 2 months after government forces ended the island's bloody civil war. Despite the end of the fighting, the military wants to recruit new troops to fill vacancies and to be deployed in areas of the north and east captured from the Tamil Tigers.

We need your support

Sri Lanka is one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist. Tamil journalists are particularly at threat, with at least 41 media workers known to have been killed by the Sri Lankan state or its paramilitaries during and after the armed conflict.

Despite the risks, our team on the ground remain committed to providing detailed and accurate reporting of developments in the Tamil homeland, across the island and around the world, as well as providing expert analysis and insight from the Tamil point of view

We need your support in keeping our journalism going. Support our work today.

For more ways to donate visit https://donate.tamilguardian.com.