Aug 09, Colombo: Sri Lanka's main opposition United National Party (UNP) today heavily criticized the Defense Ministry for the recent blunder it made by publishing a derogatory op-ed article insulting the Indian Prime Minister and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.
In a statement issued today, the UNP said the "slip-up is emblematic of the pathetic state of affairs" in handling Sri Lanka's foreign relations.
The party said the Ministry of Defense had failed to understand the most elementary fact that opinions published on its official website are reflective of the opinions of the Government.
The UNP alleged that like all other state institutions and agencies, the Defence Ministry has become severely politicized under President Rajapaksa's government, "with incompetency and nepotism triumphing over experience, ability and basic intelligence."
The party said the President's call to probe the incident, which nearly escalated into a diplomatic row, and provide a report was "nothing more than ridiculous and farcical".
"After all, who is the administrative or bureaucratic head of the Ministry of Defence? Who after all, is the Minister in charge of the subject? Will the President investigate himself? Will he inquire into the conduct of his brother and powerful Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa?" UNP asked.
Commenting on another incident where President's son and Hambantota district MP Namal Rajapaksa with a popular singer visited several elite girls' schools in Colombo to promote sport of rugby among schoolgirls for his sports club Carlton, the UNP said the MP and the pop artist "made a despicable display" leading the school girls clad in school uniform to sing inappropriate lyrics and behave like groupies at a musical concert.
"Rajapaksa juniors are being permitted to turn hallowed educational institutes in this country into circuses, promoting their shallow, racing car values among the next generation."
The party appealed to all religious and community leaders in the country to take note of this degradation of values and unprofessional, juvenile handling of matters of state and asked the President to rein in his family.
"The time has come to end this circus. To President Rajapaksa we say, rein in your family. He cannot continue to call himself the 'loving father of the nation' when he and his kith and kin are intent on destroying the very values Sri Lanka once embodied," the UNP said.
Full Statement Issued by the United National Party