My speech was distorted and misinterpreted – Defence Secretary

Kamal Gunaratne - Defence Secretary of Sri Lanka

Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratne said that the speech he had made during an opening ceremony of the Vavuniya Kachcheri Auditorium had been distorted and misinterpreted tarnishing his integrity and reputation.

Certain media reports had been published claiming that the Defence Secretary had praised former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen during this event. However, convening a media briefing at the Defence Ministry yesterday (05), the Defence Secretary said that certain parts of his speech had been selected and coined making it look as if he was praising Bathiudeen. “I was invited to make a speech and during my speech I did not praise Bathiudeen but I did praise the services rendered by Mrs. P.S.M. Charles (Current Northern Governor) while she was the Vavuniya AG. The only statement I made about Bathiudeen was that he was the Resettlement Minister at the time. Other than that I never said a word about him. But, I did mention that Mrs. Charles had been a great source of strength to me during difficult times on behalf of the state mechanism. However, what this certain media institution has done is coin two parts of my speech, omitting parts of my speech and making it sound as if I was praising the former minister.”

The Defence Secretary played the recorded speech made by him during the event and it was clear that he had only mentioned the former minister with respect to the fact that he was the former Resettlement Minister. He said that it is understandable that media institutions are not in a position to air entire speeches made by state officials, but added that the presenter in her introduction had stated that he (the Defence Secretary) had praised the former minister (Bathiudeen) prior to airing the edited clip. Hence, he said this was a deliberate attempt to tarnish his name and cause him and the government embarrassment.

Gunaratne added that during his entire military career he had served the country with commitment and as the Defence Secretary now, his only goal is to carry out the responsibilities entrusted to him in ensuring that the people of this country could live without fear and in safety. “I have taken on that responsibility very willingly and having faced many challenges during my military service, I will not be deterred by any threat and will certainly commit myself to serve this country.”

However, the Defence Secretary said that he intends to seek legal advice regarding this distortion of his speech, with the intention of delivering a wrong message to the public and tarnishing his reputation. “If the media behaves in a decent manner, then what they should do is take the essence of a speech and air it. It is a very low down act to select a single sentence from my speech and portray it in a very misleading manner,” he said.

The Defence Secretary also said that underworld gangster Angoda Lokka has been confirmed dead in India. He said the government has put in place a mechanism to bring back all criminals who have been hiding in foreign countries.

(Source: Daily News – By Camelia Nathaniel)