(October 14, Colombo - Lanka Polity) A clarification by a Sri Lankan orgin German citizen sent to Sri Lanka Minister of Human Rights Mahinda Samarasinghe regarding a controversial video clip aired by UK's Channel-4 television and the incidents that followed it reveals some interesting facts.
Sri Lanka's state and pro-Sinhala media linked Sri Lankan born Ranjith Hennayaka and his wife Ms. Lochbihler, a German politician with the video since the organization that gave the video to Channel-4 was located in a house belonged to them. Immediately, the relevant organization, Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS) issued a statement and said that they had no link with an organization run by Lochbihlers and the latter only provided the newly formed JDS to use their address temporarily.
In August 2009, a video film showing some armed men summarily executing unarmed, naked victims, was aired by British television Channel 4. It was described that this killings happened in Sri Lanka, and was committed by the members of the Sri Lankan Armed Forces. This video film was provided by the Journalists for Democracy in Sri Lanka (JDS), as it was reported by Channel 4.
Ranjith Hennayaka says, "This film drew immediate reaction from the Sri Lankan government in general and you in particular as the Minister of Human Rights and Disaster Management, as soon as it became public. While speaking in the Sri Lankan Parliament in mid of September you held me, my wife Barbara Lochbihler, who is a Member of the European Parliament, and the members of the International Network of Sri Lankan Diaspora e.V. (INSD) responsible for the distribution of this film. I herewith state, that we have not been involved at all in any way in acquiring or distributing this film to Channel 4 or any other media institutions. The responsibility of distributing this film purely lies with the JDS and they have issued a statement claiming responsibility and clarifying that the INSD and the persons connected to the INSD have nothing to do with it at all."
Hennayaka says that the address of the INSD was given to the JDS according to a request made by the latter, to use as a “c/o(care of)” address, on a temporary basis, until they find a permanent address for their use. Interestingly, he adds "This is not very unusual, as many times in the past I had offered our address to Sri Lankans, whenever they were in need. For example when Mr. Godawatta, the private secretary to the then Minister of Labour, currently President Mahinda Rajapaksa, accompanied him to Geneva in the mid-90`s I offered him a similar help. He fell sick and got hospitalized. I registered him under my address in order to be able to get treatment."
Commenting on the accusations made by Sri Lankan newspaper ‘Divaina’ against him and his wife accusing that they have been supporters of the LTTE and involved in various other crimes, Hennayaka says, "These wrong accusations, manufactured mainly by the journalist KeerthiWarnakulasuriya in Divaina newspaper, started since I organised a study tour for Sri Lankan parliamentarians to Europe to study different federal systems and models for autonomy, with the intention of helping to find a political solution to the conflict in Sri Lanka. This tour took place in January 2003 and visits were made to Belgium, Germany, Austria and Italy. Amongst others the following persons participated and most of them are currently serving as parliament members and some as even ministers: Mr. Sarath Amunugama, Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Mr. John Senevirathna, Mrs. Ferial Ashraff, Mr. P. Candrasekaran, Mr. Rishad Bathurdeen, Mr. Ramaiyah Yogarajan, Mr. Jayalath Jayawardana, Mr. Kabir Hashim, Mr. H.M.H. Harees, Mr. Dr. Thideer Thoufeek and Ven. Baddegama Samitha Thero."
He appeals the Minister of Human Rights to take the necessary steps to rectify these wrong accusations while sincerely hoping that the threats against his family in Sri Lanka will end soon. He has also sent copies of the letter to the President of Sri Lanka, Minister of Foreign Affairs - Sri Lanka, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the President of the European Parliament, the Sri Lankan Embassies in Brussels, in Geneva and in Germany and the German Embassy in Colombo.