India tells Lanka to follow law in Fonseka arrest


New Delhi : India Thursday asked Sri Lanka to follow “due processes of law” in the detention of former army chief and defeated opposition presidential leader Sarath Fonseka who was arrested for allegedly conspiring to topple the government.

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The former chief of defence staff, who had led the Sri Lankan military to victory against the Tamil Tigers, was arrested Monday after being charged with conspiring against the government of Mahinda Rajapaksa, his former friend, and creating rifts in the army.

His wife and supporters claimed he was humiliated during his arrest.

Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Vishnu Prakash said India was in “touch with the Government of Sri Lanka about the detention of retired Gen Sarath Fonseka”.

“As a friend and neighbour, we trust that due processes of law will be observed in democratic Sri Lanka in this matter,” he added.

Fonseka had stood against Rajapaksa as the opposition candidate in the recent presidential election.

Since his arrest there have been violent clashes between his supporters and pro-government supporters outside the Supreme Court in Colombo. There are also media reports of protests in other cities in Sri Lanka.

In an interview published in Singapore’s Strait Times, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajpaksa, brother of President Mahinda Rajapaksa, said Fonseka will face immediate court martial for treason and could be jailed for up to five years.