Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Infobox Military Person
name= Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
lived=
placeofbirth=Matara, Sri Lanka
placeofdeath=


caption=Significant role as "Secretary of Defence" during the Eelam War IV
nickname=
allegiance=flagicon|Sri Lanka Sri Lanka
branch=Sri Lankan Army
serviceyears=1971 - 1992
rank=Lieutenant Colonel
commands=1st Gajaba Regiment
General Sir John Kotelawala Defence University
unit=Gajaba Regiment
battles=Eelam War I
Eelam War II
Eelam War IV
awards=Rana Wickrama Padakkama
Rana Sura Padakkama
relations=
laterwork=

Lieutenant Colonel (Ret) Nandasena Gotabhaya Rajapaksa RWP, RSP, GR is the current Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence of the Government of Sri Lanka. A retired military officer who was involved in the country's civil war with LTTE rebels in the 1980s, he is the younger brother of current President Mahinda Rajapaksa. He survived an assassinations attempt in December 2006 alleged by LTTE.

Early life

George Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was born in Palatuwa in the district of Matara and brought up in Weerakatiya in the southern rural district of Hambantota. He hails from a well known political family in Sri Lanka. His father, D. A. Rajapaksa, was a prominent politician, independence agitator Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister of Agriculture and Land in Wijeyananda Dahanayake's government.D.M. Rajapaksa, his uncle, was a State Councilor for Hambantota in the 1930s who started wearing the earthy brown shawl to represent "kurakkan" (finger millet) cultivated by the people of his area, whose cause he championed throughout his life. His brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa was first elected to parliament as a member of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party at the age of 24 in 1970. Mahinda gradually rose through the ranks of the party, becoming opposition leader in 2001, Prime Minister in 2004 and the President of Sri Lanka in 2005. Two of his other brothers, Chamal Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa, are also in the politics being current Members of Parliament.

Military career

He joined the Sri Lanka Army on April 26, 1971 as a Cadet Officer, when Sri Lanka was the Dominion of Ceylon with the Governor-General as the acting head of state during the insurrection launched by the Communist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) on April 5, 1971. He was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on May 25, 1972 and given his first command as an officer in the Ceylon Signals Corps. Thereafter he severed with in the Sri Lanka Sinha Regiment and the Rajarata Rifles before being transferred to the Gajaba Regiment apron its formation in 1983 with the amalgamation of the Rajarata Rifles and Vijayabahu Infantry Regiment. [ [http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20080605_08 www.defence.lk] ]

He rose up the ranks in the military, serving as the second in command of the 1st Gajaba Regiment during the period of 1983 - 1990. He served in the battlefronts of Jaffna, participating in the famous Operation Liberation, the offensive mounted to liberate Vadamarachchi from LTTE in 1987. He also commanded the same battalion in Operation "Strike Hard" and Operation "Thrivida Balaya" in 1990.

During the period of 20 years [ [http://www.defence.lk/new.asp?fname=20080605_08 www.defence.lk] ] in military service he moved up to a Lieutenant Colonel, and was the Commandant of the Kotelawala Defence Academy, when he retired in 1992.

Retirement from Military

Upon retirement from the Army after a service of 20 years, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa obtained a Post Graduate Diploma in Computer Technology from the Colombo University and was employed in the IT field of the local corporate sector. Then Gotabhaya migrated to the United States of America, where he worked as Seven Eleven Manager [ [http://www.economist.com/printedition/displayStory.cfm?story_id=9299003&fsrc=RSS The Ecenomist - A war strange as fiction] ] and as Computer Systems UNIX Administrator at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. When in the USA, he used his English name George Rajapaksa. In order to assist his brother's Presidential election campaign, Mr Rajapaksa returned to Sri Lanka in 2005. [ [http://www.sundayobserver.lk/2007/10/21/sec02.asp Gotabhaya to sue Sunday Leader for defamation] ] , [ [http://www.dailynews.lk/2008/02/26/news03.asp Daily News - Defence Secretary sues The Leader] ]

Defence secretary

Gotabhaya Rajapakse was appointed to the post of Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence in November 2005 by the President. He is a revered figure in Sri Lanka for leading the military operation which drove out the LTTE from the entire Eastern Province of the country.

His commitment and passion towards the military sometimes cause him to become emotional when anyone tries to criticise service personnel. The reason could be because while serving in the Army, Gotabhaya Rajapakse has received awards for gallantry by three Presidents of Sri Lanka, J.R. Jayewardene, Ranasinghe Premadasa and D.B. Wijetunga. [ [http://www.dailymirror.lk/2007/07/19/opinion/2.asp :: Daily Mirror - Opinion :: ] ]

After the military victory in east Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told media, that the next target is to re-capture Wanni from LTTE. [cite news|url=http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2007/08/070826_gotabhaya_north.shtml|title=Lanka troops 'focusing on north'|publisher=BBC News|date=26 August, 2007]

Controversies

tifling of media freedom

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa is known to have a short temper, especially when it comes to defending the Armed Forces. He has been accused of threathening journalists on several occasions, including telling two journalists attached to the state-owned Lake House Publications that unless they stop criticising the armed forces "what will happen to you is beyond my control". When asked by the two journalists if he was threathening them, he replied "No, No. I am not doing it. I am definitely not threatening your lives. I am not. What will happen is beyond my control. Our services are appreciated by 99 per cent of the people. They love the Army Commander (Lt. Gen. Fonseka) and the Army. There are Sri Lankan patriots who love us do and will do what is required if necessary." [ [http://www.sundaytimes.lk/080601/News/news0016.html Sunday Times - Death bells toll for the free media] ] This incident prompted one independent Sri Lankan newspaper to publish a picture of Rajapaksa with images of Hitler superimposed. [http://www.lakbimanews.lk/special/spe2.htm Lakbima news - Gota lays down his law to journos.] In April 2007 he allegedly called the Editor of the Daily Mirror Champika Liyanaarachchi and threatened her, saying that she would escape reprisals only if the resigned. [ [http://www.dailymirror.lk/2007/04/19/front/4.asp :: Daily Mirror on the Web - Front Page :: ] ] He also threatened to “exterminate” the Daily Mirror journalist Uditha Jayasinghe, for writing articles about the plight of civilian war casualties. Mr. Rajapaksa denied these claims. Further controversy was created when the British High Commissioner in Sri Lanka was summoned to Mr. Rajapaksa to explain why he had visited the allegedly threatened editor. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2007/04/070419_britishghota.shtml BBCSinhala.com ] ]

The Karuna Link

The former LTTE commander Vinayagamoorthi Muralitharan, better known as Colonel Karuna, has stated to British authorities that Rajapaksa was instrumental in arranging for him to be issued with a false diplomatic passport so that he could flee to Britain in September 2007. These allegations were denied by the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollogama at the time, [http://www.bbc.co.uk/sinhala/news/story/2008/01/080125_karunajail.shtml BBC Sinhala - Gotabhaya 'gave me passport'] and later by Mr Rajapaksa himself.

Criticism of UN and western countries

In June 2007, Mr. Rajapaksa was severely critical of the UN in Sri Lanka and of western governments. He accused the UN in Sri Lanka of having been infiltrated by terrorists "for 30 years or so", and as a result the UN was fed incorrect information. He also alleged that Britain and the EU were bullying Sri Lanka, and concluded that Sri Lanka "does not need them", and that they don't provide any significant amount of aid to the country. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/6745553.stm BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | Sri Lanka accuses 'bullying' West ] ]

Attempted assassination

On December 01, 2006, approximately around 10:35 an assassin attempted to drive an explosive laden auto-rikshaw into his motorcade around 10:35 AM on December 01, 2006 at Kollupitiya, Colombo. The army Commandos guarding him obstructed the vehicle carrying the explosives before it reached Rajapakse's vehicle and two commandos died on the spot, whereas Rajapakse escaped unhurt. [cite web|url=http://www.reuters.com/article/featuredCrisis/idUSCOL66488|title=CHRONOLOGY-Attacks blamed on Sri Lanka's Tamil Tigers|work=Reuters|date=January 08, 2008] . The attack was alleged done by LTTE.

ee also

*D. A. Rajapaksa
*List of attacks attributed to the LTTE
*Eelam War IV
*Eastern Theater of Eelam War IV
*Northern Theater of Eelam War IV

Reading

* Army, Sri Lanka. (1st Edition - October 1999). "50 YEARS ON" - 1949-1999", Sri Lanka Army. ISBN 995-8089-02-8
* "The Broken Palmyra - The Tamil Crisis in Sri Lanka: An Inside Account". The Sri Lanka Studies Institute, Claremont 1990. By Hoole, R., Somasundaram, D., Sritharan K., and Rajini Thiranagama. (Also available online [http://www.uthr.org/BP/Content.htm] .)
* "War and Peace in Sri Lanka: With a Post-Accord Report From Jaffna". ISBN-10: 9552600014/ISBN-13: 978-9552600012, Institute of Fundamental Studies, Sri Lanka; 1 edition (October 1, 1987), By Rohan Gunaratna.

References

External links

* [http://www.rootsweb.com/~lkawgw/gen3086.html The Rajapaksa Ancestry]
* [http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2008/07/predicament-of-defence-secretary.html The predicament of a Defence Secretary ] ,"srilankaguardian.org"
* [http://www.defence.lk Official Website - Ministry of Defence, Sri Lanka]
* [http://www.nationalsecurity.lk Media Centre for National Security, Sri Lanka] - Brainchild of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa
* TV Interview with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa. Video: [http://www.defence.lk/videos/20070823_SecDef%20Interview.wmv]
* ITN Interview with Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapska. Video: [http://defence.lk/videos/20071030_SecSpeeh.wmv]
* [http://www.peaceinsrilanka.org Government of Sri Lanka Peace Secretariat]
* [http://www.slmm.lk/ Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission]


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