With reference to your news item, “Divaina KW announces leaving Divaina and joining SL at Geneva”, of 26 March 2013, I herewith give the facts in the right sequence.
On the day of the resolution, 21 March 2013, when we were queuing up to enter the main plenary hall of the UN Human Rights Council, I noticed a tiny bald-headed Sri Lankan looking at us rather anxiously. Once we entered the hall, I noticed this man seated just behind the Sri Lankan delegation desk, disobeying the rules within the hall. He was taking photographs of members of civil society, especially Nimalka Fernando. This was immediately brought to the notice of the UN security staff.
As the photographer’s face was familiar to me, I went and spoke to him. I introduced myself and asked who he was. I recalled that I remembered him taking a photograph of me during the 19th session of the HRC, when I was talking to Douglas Devananda. He admitted that, and in his broken English, introduced himself to me as “Jagath Fernando” working for the Sunday Leader under Sakuntala Perera. This really surprised me. With his level of English, how could he work for an English paper? Then I asked him whether he writes articles in the Sunday Leader. He bluffed that question. While I was talking to him, I noticed that he was wearing a badge and his name started with V….. Then he asked me for my contact details. I gave him my card and asked him for the same. He told me that his cards were in his Hotel and he would give me one on the following day.
As there was another journalist who is on asylum in Europe, present in the Hall, I asked him whether that small man who was seated behind the Sri Lankan desk was Keerthi Varnakulasooriya? He told me he didn’t know that person and that it was not Keerrthi Varnakulasooriya! Later I realised that for some reason, the journalist on asylum was lying.
Now I realise, this so-called journalist, known among the Lankan journalists as “Catalog translator” for the Ministry of Defence, using Malalasekara’s English Sinhala dictionary, is none other than Keerthi Varnakulasooriya.
If we had known the true identity of this person we could have alerted certain sections of the UN, international media watch dogs and some local authorities regarding the complaints we have had to make about him in the past. These were about his fictional writings in one of the Sinhala newspapers, in which he seriously damaged our personal integrity. He had abused the role of journalism and the media.
He was fortunate that day but won’t get away with such behaviour in future.
It does not come as a surprise, that people working for the Ministry of Defence, claiming to be journalists, misuse the name of reputed newspapers like the Sunday Leader.
This shows clearly, that supporters of the President Rajapaksa regime can do anything and everything, locally and internationally. This is one of the many reasons why the UN resolution is proven to be so important.
S. V. Kirubaharan