Written by Staff Writer
16 May, 2016 | 11:21 pm
Preparations have been made to hold the National Victory Day commemorations under the patronage of President Maithripala Sirisena at the War Heroes Memorial located in close proximity to Parliament on Wednesday, May 18.
Details about the Victory Day commemoration were revealed at a media briefing convened at the Government Information Department on Monday morning.
Defence Secretary Karunasena Hettiarachchi stated that families of war heroes will join the proceedings, which will commence at 4 p.m. near the the War Heroes’ Memorial near Parliament. The families will be coordinated by the Ranaviru Seva Authority together with His Excellency the President and Honorable Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Around 5,000 families of war heroes are expected to attend the event.
A question was raised whether politicians will be be invited for the ceremony and also whether the former president will be invited.
The defence secretary noted that the cabinet of ministers will be invited but that all politicians from distant provinces will not be invited since it is a weekday. He noted, however, that politicians from at least from the Western Province will be present.
He added that the former president will not be invited since the ceremony will only be held with the participation of those in the current government.
Another question was raised over actions taken by the government as preparations are underway to commemorate LTTE leaders in the North. The defense secretary added that he does not see it as a commemoration for the LTTE organisation but a commemoration for those who have died, which is normal since everyone has the right to commemorate someone irrespective of the rank of the person who has died.
When questions were raised over whether members of the defense force will be allowed to participate, the defense secretary noted that they cannot officially participate without permission as necessary permission must be obtained from relevant military commanders.
Further questions were raised on the discussions held to remove army protection. In response, the defence secretary noted that they have taken a policy decision for the police department to provide security for state VIPs. The Police Department consists of special divisions, therefore personnel from the following divisions — the Presidential Security Division, the Ministerial Security Division and the STF — will provide security. It is wrong to obtain the services of the army in this context.
Furthermore, he added that initially 50 personnel out of 103 army personnel were removed from Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa. The remaining 53 personnel will also be removed. In addition, he added that he is still looking in to the matter where police officers were deployed for security duty, which is being coordinated by the Ministerial Security Division. The army commander has been tasked with this inquiry.
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