Feb 07, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has revoked the suspension of Brigadier Priyanka Fernando from duties as the Minister Counsellor (Defense) attached to the Sri Lanka High Commission in London, Army Commander Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake said.
He stated that the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has sent a letter to the Brigadier seeking justification for his actions during the incident.
Speaking to local media, Lieutenant General Mahesh Senanayake noted that suspending the officer without an inquiry is unacceptable and the army will provide its fullest support to any inquiry initiated by the Sri Lankan High Commission in UK regarding the incident.
However, he said that the President has revoked the suspension and has ordered to reinstate the Brigadier to the position.
Sri Lanka's Foreign Affairs Ministry yesterday announced that it has instructed the High Commission of Sri Lanka in London to immediately suspend its the Minister Counsellor (Defense) from work after a video surfaced of him making an offensive gesture towards Tamils protesting outside the High Commission premises.
A video footage circulated in social media showed the High Commission's defense attaché running a finger across his neck towards a pro-Eelam group called 'Tamil solidarity' protesting outside the High Commission on Sri Lanka's Independence Day, February 4th.
The Defense Attaché Brigadier Priyankara Fernando was filmed standing outside the High Commission, opposite the protesters, repeatedly running a finger across his throat. The gesture has been interpreted as slitting the neck.
The group has complained to the UK Foreign Ministry and the High Commission to remove the officer and the UK Labor Party MPs have called on the Foreign Secretary to immediately expel him.
"This is inappropriate, unacceptable and threatening behavior, from someone who is serving in an official capacity as a guest of this country," Labor MPs Joan Ryan and Siobhain McDonagh wrote to the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Boris Johnson.
The Foreign Affairs Ministry said the authorities in Sri Lanka including the Sri Lanka Army will initiate inquiries on the incident immediately.