Former Army Commander and Chief of Defence Staff Sarath Fonseka yesterday filed a fundamental rights petition in the Supreme Court seeking adequate security and secure quarters.
He named Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, the Army Commander, the Inspector General of Police, the Acting Chief of Defence Staff, Presidential Secretary and the Attorney General as respondents.
In his petition he said the decision not to provide him adequate security had been taken mala fide for the reasons that he would be a presidential candidate and opposing the president politically.
Filing the petition through Paul Ratnayake Associates, Sarath Chandralal Fonseka said the Defence Secretary and the State had acted arbitrarily and capriciously in breach of his fundamental rights by reducing his security and asked court to declare that his fundamental rights had been violated.
He asked court to direct Gotabhaya Rajapakse or his successor to provide him with personal security consisting of at least 600 security personnel and ten escort vehicles and two bullet proof vehicles. He also asked court to direct the Defence Secretary to handover the deed to the land gifted to him by the state.
In his petition, General Fonseka said he was enlisted to the Regular Force of the Sri Lanka Army on June 1, 1970 and having served as second Lieutenant, Lieutenant, General and Commander. Under his commandership he directed the war against LTTE until its conclusion as a conventional war in May 2009.
He said that during his tenure as a Commander he was subjected to an attempted assassination by a suicide bomber and however he survived.
He said that his life remained under high level of danger of attack by the LTTE and this danger was likely to continue for the rest of his life.
Following his request the President had assured to provide him with adequate security but there is a drastic reduction to his security just to 62 security personnel and three vehicles. The present bullet proof vehicle had done almost 50,000 kilometres and has run its life and the two jeeps are also old.
He said the present security provided to him in contrast to the other retired security force officers and politicians was quite low. Fonseka said retired Navy Commander Admiral Karanagoda had been provided with 120 security personnel and 11 escort vehicles, Defence Secretary with 500 security personnel and about 25 vehicles, President with 2000 security personnel and the Army Commander with 600 security personnel including 40 commandos and Basil Rajapakse with 250 security personnel.
Fonseka said he requested for adequate security on November 16 to the President and he was permitted only 10 commandos, 2 non-commissioned officers, 50 soldiers from the Sinha Regiment and bullet proof vehicle.
Fonseka also said in recent times, commanders of the armed forced were permitted to remain in their official quarters for several months after retirement but with a letter dated November 18 he was required to vacate his official quarters with effect from November 22.
He also stated at the conclusion of the war the Commander of the three forces were each gifted with a land by the state and the respective deeds were executed. However the Defence Secretary has retained the deed of the land gifted to him.
Fonseka said there had been much speculation in the news media about his entering politics and in fact he intended to engage in politics and for this he will have to participate frequently in public meetings, and to engage in considerable amount of traveling and therefore he would face increased danger.
He asked for an interim order directing to provide adequate security to him until the final determination of the action.
The application will be supported by Romesh de Silva PC, A. P. Niles and Manjula Fernandopulle instructed by Paul Ratnayake Associates.
Gen. Fonseka says security fails to meet his requirements
By Supun Dias and Dianne Silva
Former Army Commander and Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Sarath Fonseka says that the security assigned to him by the government was in accordance with the wishes of the government and not his needs -- as the threat to his life is the same today as it was when he held the post of CDS
Speaking to Daily Mirror online the General explained that when he was CDS he had a security staff of 600 personnel. He said these had been withdrawn when he was removed from the post. He stressed that the threat to his life was no less grave since his removal from that position.
He said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa had offered him 25 soldiers for his security and that he had rejected the offer. He had then been offered 50 soldiers and he had agreed to this though the number did not meet his security requirements.
General Fonseka said that he had then been asked to make an official request for the agreed upon security requirements - which he had done. But he stressed that the request had been made to comply with the offer made to him by the government and not in accordance with his own security requirements.The General was clear in saying that that the security details projected by the government as his were, in fact, only requested in compliance with the government s wishes -- and not his own.
Meanwhile, Army Spokesman Brigadier Udaya Nanayakkara, speaking to reporters at the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS), said that General Fonseka, in a letter to the Director Operations at Army Headquarters had requested one bullet proof car, three Defenders , a van, a bus, an ambulance, 20 commandos, 50 other rankers from the Singha Regiment, 10 drivers and five medical officers.
General Fonseka said, however, that at present the security contingent accorded to him consisted of 50 soldiers, 35 commandos, 14 riders and a number of drivers. He added that petrol provided to him by the government was only sufficient for three vehicles, and that, as a result of this, the other vehicles, including the motorbikes used by the riders, were not being utilised.
Meanwhile, with regard to his candidature at the forthcoming Presidential Election, General Fonseka said that he would arrive at a decision, within 48 hours, on whether he would run and, if so, which party he would represent.