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SLPP MP claims Sri Lanka’s defence secretary and army chief threatened him over budget cuts

A parliamentarian with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) claimed Sri Lanka’s defence secretary and army chief threatened him inside the parliament, after he proposed possible budget cuts to the military.

Chaminda Weerakkody claimed that the incident occurred as the Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security discussed possible budget cuts to Sri Lanka’s military, given the ongoing economic difficulties the government faces.

Despite reported austerity measures Sri Lanka's military budget revealed last November vastly outstrips spending in other sectors. In the 2023 budget the Ranil Wickremesinghe government allocated $1.45 billion  (539 billion Sri Lankan rupees) as the cumulative budget for the Ministry of Defense and the Ministry of Public Security. The Ministry of Defense received $1.108 billion while the Ministry of Public Security received $350 million.

The Sri Lankan army continues to be one of the largest militaries in the world and occupies vast swathes of land across the Tamil homeland.

Read more about the military occuptation of the North-East:

Sri Lankan army intimidate Tamils as Thuyilum Illam clearing begins ahead of Maaveerar Naal

Sri Lankan military intimidated Tamils to try and stop hartal – TNA MP

Mullaitivu Tamils prepare for Maaveerar Naal amidst military intimidation

Preparations continue at Mullivaikkal despite Sri Lankan military intimidation

New tactics for troops as they intimidate Tamils ahead of Maaveerar Naal 

Weerakkody claimed that instead of reducing the number of military personnel by 100,000 members, other expenditures in the military such as the allocation of Rs. 80 million to construct a garden in the army commander’s official residence be curtailed. He further highlighted other expenditures that occurred in terms of security detail for the army commander for even activities such as jogging. 

He says that the Defence Secretary Kamal Gunaratne and head of the army Vikum Liyanage threatened the MP with assault. 

“The Defence Secretary behaved like a bully, and I asked him whether he was threatening me, and he said yes,” Weerakkody told parliament. “They continued to threaten me.”

Both men were both appointed by ousted President Gotabaya Rajapakse. In a scathing comment, the MP said that the position of Defence Secretary “is not a government official; this person came to that position because he is a henchman of a politician”.


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