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‘Sri Lanka failed its war veterans’ claims Sajith Premadasa

On the anniversary of the Mullivaikkal genocide, Sri Lanka’s opposition leader, Sajith Premadasa, has issued a statement criticising the government for failing their “war heroes”.

In his statement, Premadasa noted hundreds of former Sri Lankan soldiers have left to for and against the Russian army on the front lines in Ukraine, amidst Sri Lanka’s economic crisis.

Sri Lanka economic development has been marred by a militarisation that has corroded Sri Lanka’s civil society. Over 30 agencies are under the remit of the Ministry of Defence. 

The military oversees a litany of operations, including airports, seaports, customs, utilities, agriculture, fisheries, land development, wildlife protection, the country’s bribery commission, and even its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tamils have consistently called for the demilitarisation of the island and to restraint the influence of Sri Lanka’s inflated military.

Premadas’s remarks come on the anniversary of the Mullivaikkal genocide in which Sri Lanka’s military engage in a litany of war crimes including the indiscriminate shelling of “no fire zones”, summary executions and mass rape. The International Truth and Justice Project Sri Lanka (ITJP) estimates that as many as 169,796 people were killed during this final stage of the campaign.

Premadasa has rejected these allegations and opposed an international inquiry into these crimes. His party has also welcomed Sri Lankan miliary officials implicated in war crimes, such as Chief of Defence Staff Major General Sathyapriya Liyanage. Liyanage stands accused of overseeing the Mullivaikkal genocide a decade ago, as head of the army’s Task Force 3, during the Sri Lanka military’s 2009 offensive.

In his remarks, Premadasa stated:

"I am committed to providing leadership to ensure that, starting this year, the war hero community in our country receives the support they deserve".

Read more here.

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