Lanka army chief says attache recalled from UK for own safety
Colombo, Feb 24 : Sri Lanka’s Army Chief Lt Gen Mahesh Senanayake today said the country’s defence attache in the UK was recalled for his own safety after he was filmed making “throat cutting gestures” to Tamil protesters outside the Sri Lankan High Commission in London earlier this month.
British politicians had demanded action against Brigadier Priyanka Fernando for openly making a death threat at the demonstrators.
Fernando, who was serving as the military attache in the Sri Lankan mission in London, caused controversy when he made throat cutting gestures to Tamil demonstrators opposite the mission in London on February 4.
“As the commander of the army, I have to take responsibility for his safety. When he serves in another country his security cannot be guaranteed. So I wanted him to return,” Senanayake said in the northern town of Vavuniya.
Fernando returned home on Thursday.
He had been suspended by the foreign ministry immediately after the incident however President Maithripala Sirisena ordered his reinstatement.
The incident was used by the opposition to win votes in the February 10 local council election where the government suffered a massive defeat against the new party of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.
The incident embarrassed Sri Lankan authorities who have promised reconciliation after decades of civil war that ended in 2009, when Sri Lankan troops crushed the Tamil separatist LTTE and killed its top leaders.