Coup bid charge against former Lankan president Rajapaksa

Tuesday 20th January 2015 13:34 EST

Colombo: Mahinda Rajapaksa's defeat in the Presidential elections was followed by the news that he had attempted a coup as the results poured in, predicting his defeat. Now, even more explosive revelations have emerged about the attempted coup. In an interview, former army chief General Sarath Fonseka, said that Rajapaksa had moved 2,000 troops into Colombo three days before the results in an attempt to stage a coup. Rajapaksa has denied the charges.

According to Fonseka, troops brought in from the Northern Command were deployed in and around Colombo in two circles - one in the metropolitan area around Temple Trees, Rajapaksa's official residence; and an outer circle that covered the Election Commission office.

Fonseka, who was arrested by Rajapaksa for sedition in 2010, says the new government has proof of this and that they ordered the troops back into their garrisons after the results came out. Mangala Samaraweera, the Foreign Minister and a close aide to the new President said that Rajapaksa held a meeting at Temple Trees in the late hours of January 9, as votes were being counted, attended by his brother Gotabhaya, the Foreign Minister and the Chief Justice among others.

"At around 4 am, the Attorney General was summoned along with the army chief and IG of Police," said Samaraweera. But, the Attorney General refused, stating that this amounted to treason. The security chiefs were also reluctant to go ahead with the plan. "It was because of their courage, that Sri Lanka's democracy survived," said Samaraveera.

The governement has ordered the CID to conduct an inquiry into the incident. Both Fonseka and Samaraweera have maintained that the inquiry will be fair and action would be taken after the inquiry.

Rajapaksa's brother ran 'death squad'

Gotobhaya Rajapaksa, a brother of former president, ran a “death squad” and ordered the murder of a journalist, according to a police complaint filed by a former minister. It comes amid growing allegations that India played a key role in engineering the downfall of Rajapaksa in the election upset on January 8.

Mervyn Silva, once a minister in Rajapaksa’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party, has alleged that Gotobhaya - who previously served as defence minister; one of several key jobs given to Rajapaksa family members - was behind the killing of a newspaper editor, Lasantha Wickrematunga, in 2009.

Wickrematunga, founder of the Sunday Leader newspaper, and a prominent regime critic, was shot dead by four armed men on motorcycles while driving to work in Colombo a few days before he was due to testify in a legal case filed against him. Nobody was arrested, despite intense media pressure and calls from human rights groups.

There were claims in Sri Lankan newspapers that Sirisena’s election victory received crucial support from India. India’s chief spy in Sri Lanka was expelled from the country in December, weeks before the election, after apparently offering support to Sirisena’s campaign to unseat Rajapaksa.

The unidentified station chief from the Research and Analysis Wing, India’s foreign intelligence agency, also allegedly helped to organise meetings of minority parties to build a viable coalition against the president. He was recalled to Delhi in December after a formal request from the Rajapaksa government.

comments powered by Disqus

to the free, weekly Asian Voice email newsletter