Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake, who visited the troubled central hill capital of Kandy on Thursday, has assured that Army troops will ensure safety of all communities.
As normalcy was returning fast, Lieutenant General Senanayake visited Kandy yesterday and took stock of developments taking place in the aftermath of the violence that sparked off in the general areas of Digana, Galaha, Katugastota, Menikhinna, Ambetenna, Akurana, Poojapitiya and a few other affected areas.
Meeting with the Muslim religious leaders and community leaders during his visit to Kandy yesterday, the Army Commander assured that he would do everything possible to provide full security to the mosques and villages where the Muslim communities are resident as normalcy was fast returning to trouble-torn areas.
More than 15 Chief Moulavies during the interaction with the visiting Commander of the Army expressed their concerns on prevailing developments in respective areas and the need to further strengthen the security of people. They also insisted the continued presence of Army personnel in their areas for safety of property and their lives.
“Army troops would ensure the safety of all civilians and property and do everything possible to bring normalcy to affected areas as early as possible,” the Army Commander assured after listening to the Muslim leaders’ concerns.
He stressed that troops will not vacate the troubled areas until normalcy is returned and security will be guaranteed for all ethnic groups.
“Nor would the Army allow anyone to cause any damage to mosques or temples. I assure you the best of protection since it is the duty of the Army to maintain peace in the country and guarantee the safety of the Sinhalese, Tamils or Muslims.”
Senanayake said a minor incident has flared up to be a big one. “All ethnic groups have peacefully lived in this country for generations and coexisted on a sound footing, amid spirits of brotherhood and understanding. We should understand that our mutual bonds of friendship and coexistence should not be disturbed due to anti-social acts of a handful of miscreants,” the Commander said.
At a meeting at Pallekele 11 Division Headquarters of the Security Force Headquarters - Central (SFHQ-C), the visiting Army Commander received a comprehensive briefing about the spate of incidents that led to ethnic tension and the subsequent acts of violence.
He underlined the importance of maintaining security surveillance in affected areas with the participation of tri-service personnel and supporting the Police for restoration of normalcy as early as possible. He also made inquiries regarding the deployment of troops in vulnerable areas and precautionary measures that have been adopted.
During his meeting with the Governor of the Central Province Niluka Ekanayake, the Lieutenant General, referring to a Presidential directive in this connection, told the Governor that the Army would be able to complete the reconstruction work of those damaged buildings in late April before Vesak, at the earliest.
During his stay in Kandy, the Commander also visited a school where displaced civilians remain housed on a temporary basis at Veheratenna. Lieutenant General Senanayake spoke to them and shared a couple of views with them before he continued his visits to affected areas such as Akurana, Ambetenna, Poojapitiya, Digana, Kundasale and Teldeniya.