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Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Travesty of Justice: The Final Medal For A Major’s Service

Chanaka Roshan
The Military Intelligence Corps (MIC) is like the heart of a country’s defence force. In the Eelam war, this particular unit in the Sri Lanka Armed Forces made a painstaking effort to gather and retrieve information about the activities in Tiger controlled areas and about their leaders. It was because of the unique talents of these men, hard core LTTE leaders like “Newton” got disappeared in the streets of Colombo. It was the MIC which terrorized the terrorists.

 The track record of the MIC in the line of duty extends to greater extents like obtaining critical information to send senior tiger leaders like Thamil Selvam to meet their maker. As a group who were invincible to the terrorists were so powerful that no one dared to challenge them. But the war has ended. Once war heroes who were decorated and worshiped by the politicos are now play things for their off springs. And the most recent act of valour conducted by two “Minister Sons” has made the once mighty task force start to tremble.

 The siblings who started this foul play are Malaka Silva and Rehan Wijerathne. Malaka is the son of Minister Mervin Silva. And Rehan is the son of Former Minister Mano Wijerathne. And Malaka holds a dirty track record of thug acts at five star hotels.

 Malaka’s latest drama was unveiled during the dawn on the 5th September 2012. That day he laid his hand on a MIC officer. Major Chandana Pradeep Susena, who was the group leader of Southern province, was Malaka’s new play thing.

 Major Susena is a popular army officer who had served the MIC for 14 years in the combat zones. He holds a distinguished service record as a skilful officer and he had been Special Forces intelligence officer for 5 years during the Wanni humanitarian mission. He had made a tremendous effort in providing information in the salvage missions of Mavilaaru, Waakarei, Wanni and KIlinochchi.

 After the final phases of war ended with the deaths of Prabhakaran and his cohort, there was another Tiger leader called Ram, who crept in to the Yaala jungle and tried to start the Eelam war again. But, it was due to the gallantry of Major Susena, who went in to the danger zone by himself and neutralized the terrorist, destroying his dream to be the next LTTE leader. Because of his success on the battle field, Major Susena was called to Colombo to fight a new kind of war. At that time with the inspiration of the Tigers, the country was a hotspot for drug lords and under world gangsters. Therefore according to the instructions of the Defence Secretary Mr. Gotabhaya Raajapaksa, Major General Sumith Maanawadu was appointed to put an end to it. And Major Susena was selected to be the Southern province MIC group leader.

 There too this brave solider did his best to the country. But as they were top secret operations, the name Major Susena never came on to the stage.

 But everything started to change after the incident at Hilton residencies complex on the 9th September 2012. The day before, Major Susena had gone to Hilton with a MIC corporal for a special mission. And that was to find information about a wing man and an underworld God father.

Major Susena was also in charge of ensuring the safety of the foreign MPs who attended the Common Wealth Parliamentarians meeting. The intelligence officers who were on the task were under his supervision.

 It was amidst of all this that he went in to tract the drug lord. Although his CO at MIC was not in town at that time, Major Susena had informed him about his work. And under the powers vested on him as the group leader, he can go to any place within his area. After obtaining the information about the suspect, they stayed in a house which is alleged to be in the vicinity of Nalin Fonseka, a leading casino businessman. May be it is because they did not trust the honesty of their informant.  After the duty, Major Susena and the other came to the Hilton car park to head back to base. But at the same time came Malaka and Rehan, accompanied with their MSD guards and some pretty girls.

 When they met face to face, Malaka asked for a cigarette from the Major. That was just to show his “thug style” in front of the females. But when the Major gave him a cigarette Malaka became angry because the Major did not have a lighter. When Susena sent his mate to bring a lighter from the vehicle, the group surrounded him. And when he was coming back he was assaulted. When Susena tried to save his mate from the attackers the “thugs” attacked him too. And after looting his service weapon, mobile phone and his Gold chain, they left the scene. As Major Susena was badly injured in the head, both of them were admitted to the General Hospital. And it was on the following morning Malaka and his clan becomes aware that they had attacked a MIC officer.

 When they saw the heat building up on the matter, they tried to negotiate by using various parties. But all failed. Some parties even tried to threaten the doctors to discharge Major Susena from the hospital.

 After this incident Military officers jumped in to action. Speaking to the police, Susena said that he was assaulted while on duty by Malaka and others at Hilton.

 And when the “master minds” that represented the Minister boys, came to understand that this can no longer be kept a secret, their next move was to make the victim the criminal. But they could not do it because the MIC officers had already copied the footages recorded in the security cameras at Hilton. So erasing the evidence did not work.

 Then started the next Act of the drama… That was the part where Major Susena becomes the bad guy. Due to the injuries he suffered the doctors had to put 8 stitches to Susena’s head.

 This attack stunned the MIC and the Military. And while the Police was “looking around searching for the suspect” the conspiracy to make the Major the criminal was on the move. That is when the story came saying that

Major Susena had gone to Hilton to give protection to Nalin Fonseka. As a businessman, it was not only Major Susena he was friends with. There were senior officers like Major Generals who were close friends with him. But here it was just cutting the cake according to the will. It was OK for the seniors to associate with Nalin Fonseka. And it was ok for the Major to associate with him till the incident. The crime is getting beaten up by Malaka and the gang. And as Nalin Fonseka did not have good terms with the Government, it was enough for the master minds to prosecute Major Susena within hours. At this point along with his CO, every responsible officer in MIC started to slip away from the matter. It was only Major General Sumith Maanawadu who stood there to protect him. All the other seniors stepped aside to save themselves. A Court-Martial was appointed to investigate on the matter. And it contained some suspicious officers too. But Military sources say that during the primary trials he was proven innocent.

 And then a MIC officer visited Susena at the Army hospital to get his signature for an affidavit on the 12th of September. It was said to make peace between him and the attackers. The affidavit said that he had dropped his weapon and his necklace was at home. And the Court martial changed his statement too. The original statement said that his CO was aware of his duty at Hilton. But the new one said otherwise.

And that is how the Army officers put Minister off springs before their own men. And when it came to the point where Major Susena was about to be dishonourably discharged from the service, no one was there for him.

 And at the same time another political figure made Susena to sign another affidavit by promising him that he will not be kicked off from MIC. But that too was only another effort to save the sons, not the      Major.

 Abandoned by his own brothers in arms, the helpless Major Susena was left with only one choice. That was to give away another affidavit saying that Malaka and Rehan did not come to the attack.

And the law in this country had gone to a pathetic level that the police had to let go Malaka’s driver who handed over the Major’s weapon the day after.

In the end a soldier who fought for his country appeared in court proving that although he gave his life to the country, the country did not give him anything in return. Everyone scolded the Major for giving up so easily. But none of those “patriots” seemed to be helping him when he was in trouble.

 And now Major Susena no longer serves in the MIC. He has now been re assigned to infantry. And his seniority has been pulled down by 200 names in the list. And this is the medal he gets for his service.


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