19 September 2012

A suicide story: Major and minor matters

An Army Major was killed when he exploded a hand grenade while inside his double cab on Tuesday, September 18, 2012, at Thihagoda, it is reported. The 37-year-old army major identified as Nalin Sampath Kumara.  It is also reported that the man had committed suicide because the father of his 17 year old girlfriend had refused to let him marry the girl. 

The same day, another Major committed suicide.  Of a kind. 

Major Chandana Pradeep, who a few days earlier had been beaten up by a bunch of thugs at the JAIC-Hilton, stated via an affidavit that the main suspect, one Malaka Silva, had not assaulted him.  Now it is possible that this highly respected Army Officer had not been able to study the faces of his assailants in the rush of ‘battle’, so if we were generous, we could give him the benefit of the doubt.   
In other words, he is telling the truth: he hadn’t seen, so he cannot claim. 

On the other hand, this statement is a direct contradiction of what he said immediately after the attack, which was when memory would have been clearest.  Perhaps his focus was knocked askance by a blow and his perspective duly damaged.  All this may be true.  What is also true is that the entire attack was caught on camera.  Major Chandana Pradeep may have not seen clearly.  Even though he said he did, maybe he had rushed to name people and on second thoughts was possessed by enough doubt to withdraw the earlier claim.  The cameras, however, did see, did capture. 

Now if Major Chandana Pradeep doesn’t want to press charges, there’s very little anyone can do, notwithstanding the CCTV evidence.  So let’s not judge this soldier.  Let’s talk about fear. 
The recantation is ‘unbelievable’ for several reasons, but none as telling as the fact that this was no ordinary soldier.  He has a stellar track record in the Army, especially in counter-terrorist intelligence operations.  Compared to the kinds of risks he took during the time the country was struggling to defeat terrorism (and the likes of Malaka Silva were partying in Colombo doing goodness knows what) makes the attack of a bunch of ill-bred thugs seem like a schoolboy scuffle during the interval, where too greater numbers can prevail over superior skill.  The point is that fear would not have been a factor. 

Why then did he recant?  Why did this highly respected soldier do something that has earned derision from all quarters?  Fear of superiors?  Perhaps, but improbable.  A man who put his life on line a countless number of times cannot be expected to cower when confronted with pain of punishment. 

As of now, there’s only one possible conclusion: he was, as he has always been, a good soldier.  He was given an order and he executed, without question.  Should we hang him, therefore? No. 

Major Chandana Pradeep, according to some, by this act of recantation, undid all the good that he has done as a soldier.  He, like Major Nalin Sampath Kumara, committed suicide.  What he was is not what he is now.  From hero to zero.  That’s the word in the street.  How could we be so harsh in judgment? What moral right do we have to say, as some have, ‘He is no Major, he is a minor’? 
He was a soldier. He is a soldier. He follows orders and he’s exceptional because he has always followed orders to the letter. 

He did not commit suicide.  Someone died, though.  That someone is the person who gave him the brief, the person who ordered him to recant.  That someone divested himself of backbone, as did the someone who ordered him to be spineless and the someone who ordered that person to be spineless before that and all the way up the line of command to whoever was authorized to deliberate pros and cons and decide on course of action. 

There was a suicide in Thihagoda.  There appears to have been a mass suicide case in Colombo.  It does not shower the Army Commander in glory, does not amount to an admiring saluting of the Secretary, Ministery of Defence and does not cast the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces in positive light. 

All this, apparently, is ‘reasonable price’ to pay.  All this shows Malaka Silva’s political worth, and by extension the value of his father. 

All this stinks. 

Some may say that Major Nalin Sampath Kumara was stupid.  And yet, there’s something honorable about what he did.  Major Chandana Pradeep did not cover himself with honor, but it is likely that he was doing his ‘duty’ and was not worried about the accolades.  The same cannot be said of the ‘master (sic) mind’ that switched the first green light in the passing of buck. 

Yes, it stinks. 



Walter Rajaratne said...

If major Chandana Pradeep was good at crushing the terrorists, through covert operations that beat the hell out of Prbhakaran to go into hiding soon after his trusted lieutenant Shankar was silenced inside their domain itself, a no mean feat, a drug lord is just a Naatta for them. Its time a covert within covert operation is designed to deal with rogues such as Mervin that would send a strong message to the masters behind him. If not the day is not very far that he would tie all the law abiding citizens in this country to wayside trees.

Feizal Mansoor said...

Thank you.

java Jones said...

Wow! Wonder who it is that is 'protecting' these thugs? Any ideas???

Dr. Edward Perera said...

Yes, the biggest thug in the country is protecting other thugs. It is simple as that.

Ramzeen said...

Dr. Edward Perera summed it all up. Our leader also clams up when his leadership is wanted. Like when thugs attack Mosques but still has the audacity to publicly state that he's every citizens' leader. Put your money where your mouth is, man!