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The proposal to give compulsory military training to all above the age of 18 years is impractical … Fonseka

Sarath Fonseka

Parliamentarian Field Marshal Fonseka has observed that the proposal to give compulsory military training to all above the age of 18 years was impractical.

He made this observation while participating in the adjournment debate in Parliament. He said:

“We hear the Public Security Minister uttering various things these days. These are nothing but fairy tales. For example, he is proposing to give a six-month compulsory military training to all above the age of 18 years. That is not something possible because the government has no funds for that. Suppose we put this into practice. Then you have to give training to persons between 18 and 26 years. It is difficult for a person above the age of 26 years to undergo military training. There are around four million persons in that age group. The cost of giving military training to a single person for six months is Rs 750,000. Suppose we train 100,000 persons then the cost would be 75 billion rupees. Do you have funds for such an exercise? Are you talking of things that can be done?”

The Minister says that CSD personnel would be deployed for the close protection of the ministers and MPs. He proposes that the Ministerial Security Division personnel would be withdrawn from the VIP security details and the CSD personnel be deployed in their place.

Around 98 percent of CSD personnel are those from the villages who had been serving as home guards. The home guards were given shotguns. They were mostly farmers. They were also allowed to keep those guns at their homes during the war. They were Sirisenas and Gnanapalas from the villages. Even grandmothers in some villages had shotguns. It was Kamalas and Nandawathies who were given the shotguns in that manner to protect villages.

I like to ask my fellow MPs whether they will face the risk of handing over the protection of your lives to people of such calibre. It is not easy to train a person as a soldier. It is a very complex and difficult task. You cannot train every person to become a soldier. You have to select persons with special qualifications and physical abilities to become a soldier.”

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