The evidence of retired Naval Officer Rear Admiral Shermal Fernando given a few days ago was presented in court before Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on September 27 and through that many secrets have come to light.
Rear Admiral Shermal Fernando was the ADC (flag officer) to Wasantha Karannagoda at the time he was the Navy Commander.
He revealed that on an order of the Navy Commander Karannagoda, he was required to check if these youths were being held at the navy camp and he had later reported to the Commander that these youths were being held at the Gun Side underground Camp in Trincomalee.
However, he said that he had learnt that these youths had been murdered two days later, adding that, “When the Commander wanted me to check on these children, they were still alive. But, a few days later, they had been killed,” he said in his statement.
Intervention by former Minister Felix Perera:
Wasantha Karannagoda intervened in this matter based on the request of former minister Felix Perera.
The father of one of the abducted youths Rajiv Naganathan, was a close friend of minister Felix Perera and he had gone weeping to the minister and in turn the minister had called the Navy Commander and asked him to somehow find this youth.
The parents of Rajiv Naganathan including his mother Sarojini Naganathan and the parents of the other youths have been fighting a lonely battle to seek justice for their children over ten long years.
Their grief was amply displayed by the following video by Manoj Ratnayake.
President Maithi’s stand: ‘No war hero hunt’
The President said that from the soldier to the commander the government is committed to safeguard the dignity of all those who fought against terrorism, adding that they will be provided the maximum privileges.
However, he said that investigations were being carried out against those who face allegations of committing atrocities which had nothing to do with the war, but this is certainly not a hunt of war heroes.
He said punishing such persons was a pledge he made in 2015 and he intends to honour it.
The President said that enforcing the law against such persons was in fact a honour to the real war heroes.
He noted that these true war heroes would receive international acceptance only by these corrective measures.
“My security forces”
President Maithripala Sirisena addressing the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 25 highly praised the Sri Lankan security forces before the international leaders.
He boasted of the country’s tri forces claiming them as, “My Forces”.
“I remember the valiant service rendered by the Sri Lankan security forces in defeating the powerful terrorist organisation and establishing sustainable peace in the country. I honour them for their dedicated service and commitment in bringing peace and stability to the country,” President Sirisena said.