Army urges public to distinguish facts from fiction
The Sri Lanka Army and its Military Police on being informed of an alleged attack by soldiers on freelance journalist, Vishwalingam Vishwachandran of Mullaittivu initiated a comprehensive investigation within hours of the said incident including 682 Brigade troops who were on duty at this specific location on 27 November 2021 following instructions given by the Commander of the Army.
Issuing a Press communiqué the Army said: Various social media platforms, largely with vested interests, along with some print media in the country published unverified, exaggerated and factually incorrect accounts of the said incident, in which the soldier in question had queried from the ‘aggrieved’ journalist as to why he was filming the location with troops on duty including the Mullivaikkal name board on the roadside. As the soldier began reaching the said journalist, he had begun walking backwards while filming, but suddenly tripped against his own motorbike that was parked a few meters away from the name board, falling over some barbed wire fence bordering a land.
He picked himself up by the side of a muddy spot and found his hands ‘bruised’. Within seconds of his accident, the carefully-orchestrated and maliciously planned plot came to light as several alert groups who had apparently been awaiting his mobile phone message arrived at the scene with video cameras and mobile phones, asking the injured man to pretentiously lie on the ground and pose for visuals for the stage-managed filming, purporting that he had been ‘brutally’ attacked and injured by Army personnel at the location while filming the roadside name board.
They also promptly informed the Mullaittivu Police Station and managed to get the man in question admitted to the Mullaittivu District Hospital for treatment on the same morning (27). On prima facie evidence, the Police took the three soldiers on duty at the location into custody and bailed them afterwards pending further investigations.
In the meantime, the Medico-Legal Examination Report of the Mullaittivu District Hospital, issued on Sunday (28), hours before the hospital discharge of the said journalist, confirmed that he had been treated only for ‘abrasion’ and ‘contusion’ during his hospital stay, quite contrary to the alleged “barbaric attack with a palm stick wrapped in barbed wire” as concocted stories that went on viral alleged and called for international investigations.
It is also pertinent to mention here that those ‘so-called journalists’, some of who have already sought asylum in greener pastures, particularly in the aftermath of the culmination of the humanitarian operation in 2009, are well poised to tarnish the image of the Security Forces in the North and East since gestures of healthy reconciliation and sound goodwill spirits between the people and the Security Forces in the past couple of years have impressively grown in a positive manner without being duped by opportunistic and communal-minded elements whose agendas are meant to appease their overseas and local critics of the Security Forces.
The Army while reiterating its genuine and full commitment to the best interests of all Sri Lankans whom it serves, be it in the North or elsewhere, earnestly appeals all rational-minded and peace loving people, not to be misled by such planted incidents and malicious attempts, and instead, join hands together to usher a new era of reconciliation and development.