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Don’t be distracted by minor issues; help defeat foreign conspiracies: Sri Lanka PM

IN CAMPAIGN MODE – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Media Minister Bandula Gunewardene on the campaign trail

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has urged the electorate to not be distracted by “politically unimportant” matters and to instead focus on the big picture and vote for a party that has a proven track record of safeguarding the country from foreign conspiracies.

“If we allow ourselves to be distracted and forget the broader picture even for a moment, the consequences could be disastrous,” Rajapaksa said in a statement issued yesterday.

“If people cast their votes on the basis of various minor distractions, we will lose everything, our country, our nationhood, our religion, our culture and the future of unborn generations,” he added.

The minor distractions referred to by Rajapaksa include the allegedly extravagant funeral of Former Minister Arumugam Thondaman amid a pandemic, the controversial statement made by Former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage that the 2011 Cricket World Cup final was fixed, and most recently, remarks made by LTTE-militant-turned-politician Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan (alias Karuna Amman) allegedly bragging about killing thousands of Sri Lankan troops.

“Given the threats we are up against, we will be destroyed if we fail to distinguish between what is politically important and politically unimportant. Various things can be said about the question whether social distancing was observed in the proper manner at Mr Arumugam Thondaman’s funeral or whether someone had been guilty of fixing a cricket match back in 2011. However, these are not politically important matters,” said Rajapaksa.

“We saw the manner in which the yahapalana cabal made a hue and cry about a comment made by Karuna Amman to the effect that he had been responsible for the deaths of thousands of soldiers in attacks on army camps when he was in the LTTE. This shows how easy it is to obscure the broader picture by bringing other issues to the fore,” he further said, recalling that it was Karuna who had formally identified LTTE leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s body at the end of the war in 2009.

The prime minister accused elements in what he called the Yahapalana camp, opposition parties that comprised or supported the previous administration, of supplying “lorry loads of weapons and gunny bags full of cash” to the LTTE in 1989.

“From the time Karuna Amman was murdering people, and after he had given up doing so,  and right up to the present day, what has been right at the top of the yahapalana agenda has been the division of this country. Karuna may have given up murdering people, but the yahapalana cabal has not given up trying to divide the country. That is what we have to realise here,” said Rajapaksa.

“In any case, the CID is carrying out an investigation into what Karuna said. If we allow ourselves to be distracted and forget the broader picture even for a moment, the consequences could be disastrous. That is why I always stress the importance of the broader picture,” he added.

In his statement, Rajapaksa highlighted a litany of alleged international conspiracies facilitated by the Yahapalana camp, including arresting and prosecuting Buddhist monks and war heroes on “trumped up charges”, attempts to demoralise and render ineffective the country’s military, and a systematic persecution of nationalist politicians.

Among other matters that came under his criticism were the establishment of the Office of Missing Persons (OMP), passing legislation to make provisions in the International Convention Against Enforced Disappearances applicable in Sri Lanka, passing an amendment to the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act and the pledge to bring in a new constitution.

“The situation that prevailed in this country following the assumption of power by the yahapalana government in 2015 was akin to having been taken over by a hostile foreign invading force,” he charged.

“If the Yahapalana cabal had won the 2019 presidential election, they would have implemented all this and finished off Sri Lanka. We need a very strong mandate at this election to conclusively defeat these conspiracies,” he added.

Reiterating that voters must always have the big picture in mind, Rajapaksa urged the people to consider who can best protect the country.

“The people should always ask themselves who can rule this country effectively, ensure economic development, eliminate terrorism and ensure the security of the nation? Who can safeguard democracy by holding elections on time? Who can build a Sri Lanka where future generations will be able to live freely and be proud of? I need not spell it out, every Sri Lankan knows the answer to those questions,” he said. (Colombo/Jun30/2020)

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