Over 15,000 military absentees ready to resign under amnesty

Following the announcement of a general amnesty period by the Ministry of Defence to tri-forces absentees, over 15,000 military personnel have come forward to resign from their respective services.

Speaking to The Morning, Army Spokesman Brigadier Ravi Herath said that these personnel are longstanding absentees. Out of 15,891 other rank officers who were absent and have reported to their regimental centres, 15,619 were given the clearance to get themselves discharged from the service.

“In the span of one month, within the Army, around 32 officers also reported to their regimental centres after being absent and out of them, 21 were provided clearance to get themselves discharged from the service,” he added.

These statistics are as of Wednesday (14) and they are longstanding absentees of the Army, with some even being from the 1980s, he said.

He also noted that this time, a special authorisation has been offered to the absentees who have migrated to foreign countries to get their legal resignation from the military.

“In that regard, 91 officers of other ranks have asked for resignation, while being absent without leave where they have left the country and are working in private ventures in the countries where they are living now. We have given the authority for them to get their next of kin or one of their trusted relatives to come and hand over the relevant documents. Once the documents are cleared, they also will be given the authority to resign from the Army,” he added.

However, Brigadier Herath also clarified that these are not resignations from the personnel who are currently serving in the Army, but from absentees.

“It is a longstanding problem that is being resolved now. The Ministry of Defence did announce the general amnesty period, taking into account that these numbers are within the numbers given to the tri-forces. We are not in a position to recruit anybody, because these are people who have been absent without leave for a long period. This is a remedy we are taking into account, where once we give the legal approval for them to leave, they are not assigned to the Army. These absentees are not from the recent past,” he added.

He stated further: “We have opened it up for everybody who has been absent from the very beginning of the Army. We are providing them the legal passage to get out of the Army, without becoming a burden to society, the Army and themselves. If they are not cleared out of the Army, they cannot legally work at a Government job or a company. They tend to get into a lot of trouble.

“Previously, we have given a timeframe for Army personnel to either rejoin or resign if they joined during a specific period. But this time, we have kept it open for everyone to consider, and even for someone who had joined in the 1960s, so that they can obtain their clearance and leave. This is why we are seeing a large number this time.”

Accordingly, the Ministry of Defence declared a general amnesty for the tri-forces absentees from 15 November to 31 December 2022, enabling legal discharge from the respective services.

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