CBK Denies Requesting For A Pardon For Vijaya
Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge today (8) denied the statement made by Housing and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa that she had requested for a pardon from President J.R. Jayewardene on behalf of her husband Vijaya Kumaratunge, when he was jailed in the 1980s.
Kumaratunge told The Sunday Leader that the statement is an absolute lie. “I didn’t ask anyone to release Vijaya as I believed that he was unjustly incarcerated for no reason like Sarath Fonseka,” she said.
Kumaratunge said that she never asked for any pardon but sought legal redress by filing three cases before courts. “I filed a fundamental right petition, a Habeas Corpus and another one asked for Vijaya’s release,” she said.
Vijaya was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in November 1982 until February 1983. Vijaya at the time was the main campaign manager for Hector Kobbekaduwa, who contested the Presidential election at the time under the SLFP.
Kumaratunge said that Vijaya was arrested with about 3,000 SLFP activists.
Speaking of Vijaya’s subsequent release, Kumaratunge said that she received a telephone call one day from then President Jayawardene’s office and the secretary had informed her that the President had wanted to meet her.
“I said that I had not requested for an appointment, but I was told that I have already been assigned a time to meet the President. I did not want to go, but after everyone advised me to do so, I met Jayewardene. I took my sister Sunethra as a witness to the meeting. We were received well by Jayewardene at the President’s House and after a casual chat, he said he has decided to release Vijaya. I asked as to when he will be released and Jayewardene said he would be released in a week. I then asked about the other SLFPers arrested and I was told that the SLFP leaders will be released with Vijaya,” Kumaratunge explained.
She reiterated that she never made a request for Vijaya’s release at any point as her husband was incarcerated for no proper reason.
Referring to the arrest of former Army Commander Sarath Fonseka, Kumaratunge said that she did not see any reason for his incarceration and that if that be the case, then 75% of the members in the current government should be given 100 years in jail for what they have done.