r Ministry of Defence - Sri Lanka

Proper plans afoot to de-radicalize misguided youth - Secretary Defence

January 14, 2020

Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said a  proper programme to de-radicalize misguided youth involved in the Easter Sunday attack would be implemented under a competent authority with the objective to rehabilitate and reintegrate them back to the society.

During a meeting held  with a UK delegation led by UK’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton at the Ministry today (14 January), he explained the measures taken by the government to strengthen the de-radicalization process.

Maj.Gen. Gunaratne said no action was taken by the authorities concerned to prevent the deadly attack while there was reliable prior information on the Easter attack.

He said  those officials who ignored the vital information due to negligence and ignorance on national security had led to the ultimate death and destruction of invaluable lives and property.

"Under the leadership of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has already set an exemplary political leadership, we will not leave any room for such incidents to repeat in this country", he emphasized.

He also said as the Defence Secretary he had a huge responsibility on his shoulders to ensure national security and public safety and would not compromise on taking necessary steps in that direction.

He noted that unlike before all intelligence agencies had been brought to a one forum for better coordination and operation.

Maj. Gen. Gunaratne requested UK’s assistance in sharing military intelligence, technology and expertise in combating terrorism and in the country’s fight against the growing threat of narcotics and drug smuggling.

While reminding the High Commissioner of rehabilitating over 12000 ex-LTTE combatants including suicide cadres and their reintegration back into the society, Maj. Gen. Gunaratne noted concerted efforts of Tamil diaspora groups which were trying to revive the LTTE by means of promoting separatist ideologies among the rehabilitated and reintegrated  ex-combatants in the  community.

High Commissioner Hulton emphasized the need for regional intelligence sharing and especially on Indian Ocean issues.
She also called for better cooperation between the two countries on bilateral issues.      

Garath Bayley, PM’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan and Col. David Ashman, Defence Advisor of the UK Embassy were also present at the occasion.