MK Stalin Led DMK and Allied Parties Including Congress Leading in 38 0f 39 Lok Sabha Constituencies in Tamil Nadu Heading for Sweeping Victory in State.

By
Priyanka Thirumurthy

For the ruling AIADMK which hauled 37 seats in the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections, results have been nothing short of disappointing this time around.

As of 1.45 pm, the party is leading in just one seat in Tamil Nadu. Anbumani Ramadoss of the PMK – part of the AIADMK-BJP alliance – has been oscillating between leading and trailing.

The ‘mega alliance’ of AIADMK, BJP, PMK, DMDK and others has clearly failed in the state.

The DMK and its allies, meanwhile, is leading in all seats it contested, barring Theni, where Congress’ EVKS Elangovan is trailing.

Continue reading ‘MK Stalin Led DMK and Allied Parties Including Congress Leading in 38 0f 39 Lok Sabha Constituencies in Tamil Nadu Heading for Sweeping Victory in State.’ »

Narendra Modi Set to Become Prime Minister of India Again with BJP -led NDA Coalition Leading in More Than 300 Seats In Elections to the 542 Member Lok Sabha.


By

Ramanathan S.

Sparking euphoria among his supporters across the country, and in a brutal defeat to the opposition, PM Narendra Modi has led his coalition to a victory, yet again.

The BJP-led NDA is all set to form the Union government for a second consecutive term.

With counting for the 17th Lok Sabha still underway, the BJP is leading in 300 seats as of 2.15pm according to the Election Commission website, which is well past the halfway mark of 271 seats, of the 542 which went to poll in April and May 2019.

The NDA is leading in 350 seats. The Congress is leading in just 50 seats, which is just six more than what they won in 2014.

The BJP seems to be sweeping Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Karnataka. In 2014, the BJP won 282 seats, while the NDA had 336 seats.

Continue reading ‘Narendra Modi Set to Become Prime Minister of India Again with BJP -led NDA Coalition Leading in More Than 300 Seats In Elections to the 542 Member Lok Sabha.’ »

Convicted Gnanasara Thero Pardoned by Sirisena Exits Welikade Jail Premises Through Separate Gate While BBS Gen Secy’s Mother, Monks, Media and Supporters Waited at Main Gate .

By
Chaturanga Samarawickrama

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera was released from the Welikada Prison, Commissioner General of Prisons, J. W. Tennakoon said.

Earlier today, President Maithripala Sirisena ordered the Commissioner General of Prisons to release Gnanasara Thera who was sentenced to 19 years imprisonment to be served in six years for contempt of court.

Continue reading ‘Convicted Gnanasara Thero Pardoned by Sirisena Exits Welikade Jail Premises Through Separate Gate While BBS Gen Secy’s Mother, Monks, Media and Supporters Waited at Main Gate .’ »

Rauff Hakeem, Ravi Karunanayake, Sarath Fonseka,Kavinda Jayawardena, Ashu Marasinghe, Jayampathy Wickramaratne and MA Sumanthiran Appointed to Parliament Select Committee Probing Easter Sunday Attacks; UPFA and SLFP Opt out of PSC.

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) had decided not to participate in the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC), appointed to probe the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

However, parliament yesterday approved a motion to set up a select committee to look into Easter Sunday attacks and to determine if any MP or minister was associated with the terror group which carried out the attack.

Continue reading ‘Rauff Hakeem, Ravi Karunanayake, Sarath Fonseka,Kavinda Jayawardena, Ashu Marasinghe, Jayampathy Wickramaratne and MA Sumanthiran Appointed to Parliament Select Committee Probing Easter Sunday Attacks; UPFA and SLFP Opt out of PSC.’ »

No Confidence Motion Against Cabinet Minister and ACMC Leader Rishad Bathiudeen Would be Taken Up for Debate on June 18 and 19 Announces Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

The Speaker Karu Jayasuriya announced that the No Confidence Motion against Industry and Commerce, Resettlement of Protracted Displaced Persons, Co-operative Development and Vocational Training and Skills Development Minister Rishad Bathiudeen would be taken up for debate on June 18 and 19.

The Speakers decision upheld the ruling party’s position that the Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) probing Bathiudeen is given three weeks to investigate the allegations.

Continue reading ‘No Confidence Motion Against Cabinet Minister and ACMC Leader Rishad Bathiudeen Would be Taken Up for Debate on June 18 and 19 Announces Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.’ »

Tamil National Alliance unequivocally condemns the President’s act of pardoning Ven. Gnanasara Thero by abusing the Constitutional powers vested in the Head of State.

(Text of a Press Release Issued By the Media Office of the Tamil National Alliance )

The Tamil National Alliance unequivocally condemns the President’s act of pardoning Ven. Gnanasara Thero by abusing the Constitutional powers vested in the Head of State. He was jailed by the Court of Appeal for committing the offence of contempt against the Magistrate’s Court of Homagama.

The conviction and sentencing happened after the learned Magistrate complained to the Court of Appeal, and after a trial at which he was afforded every opportunity to defend himself. His appeal to the Supreme Court was later dismissed.

This was the one instance when the Thero was dealt with under the law when his conduct in instigating violence against the non-Buddhist citizens of the country never drew any action against him by the law enforcement agencies.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance unequivocally condemns the President’s act of pardoning Ven. Gnanasara Thero by abusing the Constitutional powers vested in the Head of State.’ »

Convicted Bodu Bala Sena Gen-Secy Gnanasara Thero Serving Prison Sentence for Contempt of Court Offence Has Been Issued Presidential Pardon by Sirisena in a “Big Blow to Rule of Law” in Sri Lanka.

By Chathuri Dissanayake

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Secretary General Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero has been granted a presidential pardon, highly placed sources confirmed.

The hardline Buddhist group has called on its supporters to gather near Welikada Prison, where Gnanasara Thero was serving his jail term, at 3 p.m. today to welcome the monk, expected to be released today.

BBS Chief Executive Officer Dilantha Withanage claimed that he has received “verbal confirmation from the President’s Office” on the pardon granted to Gnanasara Thero.

Officials in the Prison Department told Daily FT that the process of granting Gnanasara Thero the pardon was in the works, but that they were yet to receive the final paperwork. However, officials in the President’s Office confirmed that the pardon has been signed.

Continue reading ‘Convicted Bodu Bala Sena Gen-Secy Gnanasara Thero Serving Prison Sentence for Contempt of Court Offence Has Been Issued Presidential Pardon by Sirisena in a “Big Blow to Rule of Law” in Sri Lanka.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Compelled to adjourn Parliament Early Due to Ruckus Created by Joint Opposition MP’s Protesting Over No Confidence Motion Against Rishad Badiutheen Issue.

By Ashwin Hemmathagama

Lawmakers engaged in heated arguments yesterday in Parliament, unable to reach a decision on the date to take up the No-Confidence Motion against Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen and the Parliamentary Select Committee appointed to look into allegations against him.

Having listened to lawmakers of both sides for two hours, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya adjourned Parliament till 10.30 am today, unable to continue further with the business of the House scheduled for Wednesday, with the Opposition invading the centre aisle of the chamber to stage a protest, violating Standing Orders.

The Opposition shouted slogans, rejecting the Select Committee and the alleged delay in deciding a date to take up the No-Confidence Motion against Minister Bathiudeen for debate.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Compelled to adjourn Parliament Early Due to Ruckus Created by Joint Opposition MP’s Protesting Over No Confidence Motion Against Rishad Badiutheen Issue.’ »

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Instructs Home Minister Abeywardane to Ensure That all Public Signboards and Nameboards Should be in Sinhala,Tamil and English only and Not in any Other Language.

By

Kelum Bandara

In the wake of reports about Arabic signboards in some areas of the eastern province, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed that they should be written only in Sinhala, Tamil and English languages.

According to sources close to the Prime Minister, the Prime Minister instructed Home Affairs Minister Vajira Abeywardane to initiate action to make sure that signboards and name boards are written in three officially recognized languages in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Instructs Home Minister Abeywardane to Ensure That all Public Signboards and Nameboards Should be in Sinhala,Tamil and English only and Not in any Other Language.’ »

Resolution to Appoint Parliament Select Committee to Probe Causes for Easter Sunday Violence Passed with Amendment to Empower PSC to Investigate MP’s and Governors with Alleged Terrorist Links also.

By Ajith Alahakoon

The resolution for appointing a Parliament Select Committee (PSC) to probe the causes of the Easter Sunday terror attacks which killed over 250 persons and caused injuries to around 500 others was passed in Parliament yesterday (22) with an amendment.

UNP National List MP Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne PC brought the amendment to give the PSC powers to investigate any parliamentarian or governor who had allegedly extended support to terrorists responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage.

Representing the UNP, UPFA, TNA and JVP, 40 MPs had presented resolution requesting an appointment of a PSC to ascertain as to why authorities had failed to prevent the terror attacks despite having advance intelligence on the impending strikes.

Continue reading ‘Resolution to Appoint Parliament Select Committee to Probe Causes for Easter Sunday Violence Passed with Amendment to Empower PSC to Investigate MP’s and Governors with Alleged Terrorist Links also.’ »

Cabinet Minister Bathiudeen Tells Parliament That He Only Asked the Army Chief Whether a Particular Person Was in Military Custody and Never Asked for the Release of Anybody.

by

Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera

Minister Rishad Bathiudeen today said he had never influenced the army commander and that he only inquired about a person who was taken by an unidentified group.

He told parliament that he never forced the Army Commander to release anyone and asked if it was wrong to inquire about a person in their custody.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Minister Bathiudeen Tells Parliament That He Only Asked the Army Chief Whether a Particular Person Was in Military Custody and Never Asked for the Release of Anybody.’ »

Four Disturbing Developments That Could Make Sri Lanka More Vulnerable to Attacks in the Future.

By P.K.Balachandran

There have been four very disturbing developments in Sri Lanka in the past few days, which, if not recognized and attended to immediately, could pave the way for more attacks by the local affiliates of the Islamic State (IS).

In fact, the vitiated political and communal atmosphere could be used by any group, local or foreign, wanting to destabilize Sri Lanka. Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the leader of the Lankan Catholic community, has warned about this eventuality.

Continue reading ‘Four Disturbing Developments That Could Make Sri Lanka More Vulnerable to Attacks in the Future.’ »

Has the Good-Intentioned Army Commander Lt.Gen Mahesh Senanayake Been Misled by Vested Interests Into Re-enlisting Alleged ” Black Sheep” Maj Prabath Bulathwatte as a Staff Officer ?

By

Manoj Colombage

Army Intelligence Major Prabath Bulathwatte has been back in the spotlight after Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake stunned civil society in a television interview last week, announcing that the officer, who was interdicted for allegedly running the white van squad responsible for a slew of attacks against journalists, had been reinstated into a team under Senanayake’s command to combat radical Islamic terrorism.

According to the army commander, the arrest and interdiction of Bulathwatte for the 2008 abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr led to intelligence failures due to Bulathwatte’s purported role in monitoring Zahran Hashim, one of the suicide bombers who attacked the Shangri-La hotel on April 21, and is believed to have masterminded the coordinated Easter suicide bombings that have claimed over 250 lives.

Bulathwatte was arrested in February 2017 when the CID unearthed evidence that he had led the team that abducted Noyahr in a white van on the night of May 22, 2008 and tortured him at a Dompe safehouse. Nohayr believed that he would be killed, according to his statement to the CID, until a senior officer had telephoned his assailants and ordered that he be released. The CID has charged that this telephone call was one placed by then Director of Military Intelligence Amal Karunasekara to Bulathwatte, who they allege was torturing Noyahr at the time.

While senior military officers were quick to make the case to the army commander in the aftermath of the Easter attacks that Bulathwatte was a critically underused intelligence asset in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism, evidence has since emerged that raises questions about the sincerity of that claim.

Continue reading ‘Has the Good-Intentioned Army Commander Lt.Gen Mahesh Senanayake Been Misled by Vested Interests Into Re-enlisting Alleged ” Black Sheep” Maj Prabath Bulathwatte as a Staff Officer ?’ »

Sri Lanka’s Nationalists See the Present Situation as a Grand Opportunity for Their ‘Strongman’ in the Presidential Race.

By Gamini Weerakoon

Politicians, like astrologers, are keen to predict a quick end to the ‘malefic period’ that befell the country on Easter Sunday for their usual fun and games to resume.

The realisation that it was a fanatical, ruthless attack, the likes of which have devastated some countries has still not dawned on many.

There is much debate on whether the impact of the attacks on national security has petered out or been entirely eliminated.

President Maithripala Sirisena two weeks ago (on April 7) told parliament that 99 percent of those responsible have been arrested and ‘within the next three days’ the rest will be taken in.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told parliament the same day: “The threat is not over as yet because we are subject to global terrorism.”

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka also told parliament that it would take a minimum of two years to eradicate the terrorist menace.

Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa wished that the Yahapalanaya government’s two leaders would speak with one voice on this issue.

We will not venture to guess who is correct: Sirisena, Wickremasinghe or Fonseka, but it does strike us that even the countries that have been hit much harder by this variety of terrorism and have better security apparatus to monitor terrorism, no such definite predictions are made on the time that will be taken to eliminate the threat.

Certainly it cannot be done within days or weeks as some frenzied political activists with hidden agendas are now demanding.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Nationalists See the Present Situation as a Grand Opportunity for Their ‘Strongman’ in the Presidential Race.’ »

Fellowship of Christian University Students (FOCUS) and All University Muslim Student Association (AUMSA) Representing Christian and Muslim Undergraduates of Sri Lanka Make Landmark Declaration and Sign Joint Pledge.

DECLARATION & PLEDGE BETWEEN FOCUS AND AUMSA

The series of bombings on Easter Sunday (21st April 2019) and subsequent events compel us to reflect deeply about how we as Sri Lankans must change the way we think, speak and act towards one another. In light of this, the Fellowship of Christian University Students (FOCUS) and the All University Muslim Student Association (AUMSA), which largely represents the Christian and Muslim students in the universities of Sri Lanka, would like to declare and pledge the following to one another:

We declare that the people of Sri Lanka belong to different ethnic and cultural backgrounds,speaking different languages and adhering to different religious traditions. Christians and Muslims have a long history of engagement with each other globally and nationally.

We reject the idea that this engagement can be reduced to a clash of civilizations or as inherently antagonistic towards one another.

We acknowledge that we have often viewed each other with suspicion and disparaged the lifestyles and religious practices of the other.

Continue reading ‘Fellowship of Christian University Students (FOCUS) and All University Muslim Student Association (AUMSA) Representing Christian and Muslim Undergraduates of Sri Lanka Make Landmark Declaration and Sign Joint Pledge.’ »

Parallels Between the Anti-Tamil Violence of July 1983 and the Anti -Muslim Violence of May 2019 Are Stark and Terrifying -” Sunday Observer”.

(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Sunday Observer” of May 19th 2019 Under the Heading “A long war against racism”)

Ten years ago, Sri Lanka finally ended a bloody conflict that spanned three decades. It is particularly tragic that the week preceding this milestone was marked by calls to guard against a repeat of July 1983, which likely sparked the full-blown war over Tamil separatism.

Before the riots of July 1983, the LTTE numbered a few dozen scrappy militants operating largely in Jaffna. For four long days, the mobs pillaged and killed. Some estimates claim up to 3000 Tamils were killed, their homes burned and businesses destroyed islandwide.

To Sri Lanka’s eternal shame, the 1983 riots came to embody state apathy towards heinous injustices perpetrated against minorities.

It was years before the smoke cleared following the anti-Tamil pogrom of July 1983.

The LTTE capitalised on that persecution, with a community feeling vulnerable and marginalised, and morphed into a 10,000 strong fighting machine. Successfully hiding sheep’s clothing, the terror group managed to draw international sympathy and support, as they waged their war and couched their bloodshed in the name of Tamils persecuted by a majoritarian state.

That support would continue, until the world saw the true colours of the Tigers, who openly turned on the Tamil people with child conscription and other forms of totalitarianism. The Tamil people ultimately were sickened by their atrocities and string of high-profile assassinations and brutal terror attacks on a foreign Prime Minister, a Sri Lankan president, several national politicians and countless civilian targets.


Thirty something years later, the parallels are stark and terrifying.

Continue reading ‘Parallels Between the Anti-Tamil Violence of July 1983 and the Anti -Muslim Violence of May 2019 Are Stark and Terrifying -” Sunday Observer”.’ »

President – Prime Minister Divide Fractures Foreign Relations Drastically as Sirisena Holds Hands with Beijing While Marapana Plays Footsie With Washington.


By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

In the aftermath of the IS-linked Easter bomb attacks that left the country riven, Sri Lanka’s government representatives at the highest level were seen going in different directions – both literally and figuratively speaking.

President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday (May 13) suddenly left for Beijing to attend a conference on Asian civilisations. The following day (14) Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana left for Washington DC with another delegation.

On Friday (16) the President returned to the country to announce that he had met Chinese President Xi Jinping. China had pledged a Rs 2.6 billion grant to help deal with the new terrorist threat, Rs 1.5 billion for the Sri Lanka Police, plus technical assistance to help improve intelligence operations, according to a statement from the President’s Media Division (PMD).

On Thursday, Marapana met US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who condemned the attacks which also killed five Americans, and pledged US support for Sri Lanka in its fight against terrorism. He also met US National Security Advisor John Bolton.

Continue reading ‘President – Prime Minister Divide Fractures Foreign Relations Drastically as Sirisena Holds Hands with Beijing While Marapana Plays Footsie With Washington.’ »

Recent Anti-Muslim Attacks in Gampaha and Kurunegala Districts were Orchestrated by Political Forces Connected to a Key Party: Prof GL Peiris and Basil Rajapaksa of SLPP Not Available for Comment.


The recent anti-Muslim attacks in the Gampaha and Kurunegala districts that left one dead and thousands affected were orchestrated by political forces connected to a key party, the Sunday Observer reliably learns.

UPFA MP and SLFP General Secretary, Dayasiri Jayasekara made a statement yesterday at the Colombo Division DIG’s office regarding video footages that emerged on social media sites depicting his attempt to bail out six suspects allegedly engaged in the riots in Kuliyapitiya.

One footage shows MP Jayasekara speaking on the phone, surrounded by smiling police officers, reportedly at the Hettipola police station. “Mama mage jeep eke dagana ennan. Ethakota epa hari neda?’ (I will bring them in my jeep, so that bail will be given, right?), he asks.

In a separate video he was seen in the same area with the Anti-Corruption Front’s (ACF) leader Namal Kumara who was also questioned by the CID regarding his connection to the incidents.

The MP said during a press conference at the SLFP headquarters on Tuesday, May 14, a day after the riots, that he does not have any connections with those arrested and that he went to the scene to control the situation.

Continue reading ‘Recent Anti-Muslim Attacks in Gampaha and Kurunegala Districts were Orchestrated by Political Forces Connected to a Key Party: Prof GL Peiris and Basil Rajapaksa of SLPP Not Available for Comment.’ »

Why Are The Leading Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka Not Stating That Violence has No Place in Buddhism and Denouncing Anti – Tamil and Anti-Muslim Attacks as Being Anti-Buddhist?

BY TISARANEE GUNASEKARA

“And even here
Lies the other shore
Waiting to be reached.”

Tagore (My Reminiscences)

The blue, red, yellow, orange and white lights are on, as are the makeshift stalls selling lanterns. Yet few pause to see, haggle, buy. Vesak, so near chronologically, had never seemed so far away spiritually.

After the Easter Sunday Massacre, fears were raised about Vesak too being turned into a bloody spectacle by the IS, working through its local adherents. As it turned out, neither the IS nor its local adherents were necessary to turn Vesak into a season of violence. The Sinhalese managed the task on their own.

The outburst of anti-Muslim violence began on Sunday (12) in Chilaw (the inciting incident seemingly was a Facebook post by a Muslim trader with deficient English and a cavalier attitude towards punctuation; it was translated into Sinhala by a Sinhalese whose knowledge of English was even poorer). Within hours, the violence spread to other parts of the North Western Province and to the Gampaha district. Undeterred by the curfew or the presence of the security forces, the mobs attacked and burnt, as they did in Digana in 2018, Aluthgama in 2014 and nationally during Black July.

As of now, the worst of the violence seems over. Even so, this is only a reprieve. If the perpetrators of this week’s riots are not brought before the law, fast, a new outburst is bound to follow.

The main suspects of the Digana anti-Muslim violence (including Amith Weerasinghe of the Mahason Balakaya) were arrested, and remanded. But they were never charged, despite the presence of ample evidence in the public domain. Three days after the anti-constitutional coup of October 26, they were enlarged on bail. Thereafter, Amith Weerasinghe tried to ignite other religious flares. For instance, earlier this year, he attempted to fire up Buddhists by shouting about a Hindu takeover of the Sri Pada

The Mahason Balakaya and other Sinhala-Buddhist fanatics happily returned to the anti-Muslim groove after the Easter Sunday Massacre. A demonstration against ‘Islamic terrorism’ planned for Saturday (11) in Digana was banned by the courts. Responding to the ban, the Mahason Balakaya leader made no secret about his future plans. “I ask the leaders of this country, if in future a ten thousand Amith Weerasinghes are created can you issue ten thousand banning orders? If fifty thousand, sixty thousand monks of this country get on to the road, what will you do?”.

His threat turned into an actuality in less than 48 hours.

Continue reading ‘Why Are The Leading Buddhist Monks in Sri Lanka Not Stating That Violence has No Place in Buddhism and Denouncing Anti – Tamil and Anti-Muslim Attacks as Being Anti-Buddhist?’ »

Were the police and security forces inactive when hordes of scrawny Sinhalese men shouting unspeakable filth went on the rampage for two days, attacking mosques and Muslim shops, despite curfew being imposed? IF SO WHY?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

There is much good sense in the assertion by Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church this Friday that despicable communal violence by organised mobs against Muslims in the North Western Province and Minuwangoda a few days earlier was not only politically instigated but also a deliberate attempt to turn public focus away from the shock and horror of the Easter Sunday butchery of worshippers and tourists.

Hard questions asked from police and army

And the serious question asked by the Church is repeated by countless Sri Lankans, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim. Were the police and security forces inactive when hordes of scrawny Sinhalese men shouting unspeakable filth went on the rampage for two days, attacking mosques and Muslim shops, despite curfew being imposed? If so, why was this the case?

No fog of uncertainty must obscure that core question. Sri Lanka’s Army Commander replied that the forces were thin on the ground in the areas which unexpectedly erupted and that it took time to deploy additional troops to contain the violence. But this explanation is only partly satisfying.

Certainly the Army Commander must be applauded for his urbanely measured responses and refusal to be drawn out on provocatively abrasive questioning with racist undertones by mainstream television ‘anchors’, if these grinning poseurs can be glorified as such. Nonetheless, hard questions must be asked and indeed, with far more emphasis from the police where the command structure remains in confusion with the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on compulsory leave.

Continue reading ‘Were the police and security forces inactive when hordes of scrawny Sinhalese men shouting unspeakable filth went on the rampage for two days, attacking mosques and Muslim shops, despite curfew being imposed? IF SO WHY?’ »

The Spread, Scale and Scope of Violence – Verbal and Kinetic, Digital and Physical – Against the Muslims and Tamils Since Easter Sunday Indicates the Success of the Easter Sunday Terrorism.

By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

A decade after the end of the war, Sri Lanka is visibly, and far more than what’s acknowledged or reported openly, reeling from violent conflict.

The anti-Muslim riots last week – of a scale, scope and speed of destruction that dwarfed Digana just over a year ago – coupled with the increase of everyday racism and attacks in Negombo, after the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, have kept the country on tenterhooks.

The responses are revealing. A President and Prime Minister, who do not speak to or work with each other, call upon the public to be united and undivided.

In Singapore, and by some accounts, shopping, at the time of the Easter Sunday attacks, the President took over a day to return to the country. At the time of the anti-Muslim riots last week, the President was attending a banal conference in China.

Mob violence that featured horrific public lynching, the destruction of nearly 500 buildings including mosques, widespread looting, wanton vandalism and violence against Muslim women, children and men, didn’t, however, compel the President to issue a statement of any kind, to date. How can one comprehend, much less counter, this callousness?

Continue reading ‘The Spread, Scale and Scope of Violence – Verbal and Kinetic, Digital and Physical – Against the Muslims and Tamils Since Easter Sunday Indicates the Success of the Easter Sunday Terrorism.’ »

Muslim Victims have no faith that the police and army personnel would protect them if Violence Happens Again Because the security forces Have Tragically failed them.

BY AANYA WIPULASENA AND ANURADHA KODAGODA

An irredeemable gloom hung over the air. On Tuesday (14) evening Kottaramulla, in Nattandiya, was uncomfortably silent. As the 6.00 p m police curfew approached army personnel and police officers patrolled deserted streets. They would stop and check all vehicles going past that way.

A day after an organised gang, of about 400 men, on motor-bikes armed with swords, poles, knifes and axes wreaked havoc in the area killing one, residents in Muslim populated streets were taking refuge in their homes. Several families would spend the night in one house for better protection.

In Fathima Watte about a dozen men and boys sat on two mats that were laid in the front yard of a house. From inside the house women peeked out every now and then to check on the men who were feasting on a humble meal of rotti, dates, kanji and fruit juice with basil seeds.

Fear and insecurity

They were breaking fast. This year’s holy month of Ramadan is plagued by fear and insecurity for many Muslims in the country. In several areas- Kobeigane, Wariyapola, Hettipola, Katupotha, Chilaw, Kuliyapitiya and Minuwangoda- Muslims were directly targeted on Sunday (12) through to Monday. Mosques and homes were stoned, and businesses torched.

“We usually have this meal inside our homes. But this time it is different. We have to stay together to protect our families,” says M. Rifaz, a businessman from Fathima Watte,who is on the alert for a possible second attack.

They have no faith that the police and army personnel would protect them if it does happen because the evening before the security forces tragically failed them.

Continue reading ‘Muslim Victims have no faith that the police and army personnel would protect them if Violence Happens Again Because the security forces Have Tragically failed them.’ »

Majority of Attackers Were Organized Mobs Coming From Outside Who Were Assisted by Local Residents who Pointed out Muslim-owned Properties and Participated in the Violence at Times

By Namini Wijedasa

The mobs that hurled the stones were largely outsiders. But the men that threw bottles of petrol into his wholesale shop and struck the match while his family quaked in the flat above were from his own village.

And that is what’s tearing communities apart in areas where, on Sunday and Monday, violence was unleashed on ordinary Muslims on the pretext that they were somehow responsible for the April 21 terrorist bombings targeting Catholics and foreigners. People who cohabited for years–ate off the proverbial “same plate”–have turned foes.

There is nothing left, 55-year-old M. T. M. Saffwan said, stepping gingerly amidst the ruins of his shop. The attackers came in waves, starting around 10 p.m. on May 11. The fire was lit at 10.45 p.m.

Mr Saffwan is a father of three. His wife is of Sinhalese origin–nee Abeysinghe Mudiyanselage Pushparani–and converted to Islam at marriage. His daughter, a divorcee with a child, was so shaken by the attacks that she has started babbling.

Continue reading ‘Majority of Attackers Were Organized Mobs Coming From Outside Who Were Assisted by Local Residents who Pointed out Muslim-owned Properties and Participated in the Violence at Times’ »

No Confidence Motion Outlining Ten Charges Against Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen Signed by 66 MP’s Submitted to Speaker Jayasuriya on May 16th Has Been Listed on Parliament Order Book.

By Sandun Jayawardana

The no-confidence motion (NCM) against Minister Rishad Bathiudeen alleges he tried to pressurise the Army Commander to release suspects arrested over the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks, and that the Ministry of Industry and Commerce under him had supplied empty cartridge cases violating procedure to the copper factory owned by Inshaf Ahmed — the suicide bomber who blew himself up at the Cinnamon Grand Hotel.

The ten charges in the NCM claim there is justifiable suspicion that the Minister used political influence to ensure that the copper factory workers, who police claimed helped assemble the bombs used in the attack, were released on bail on May 6.

The Minister’s alleged close association with Mohammed Ibrahim, who is the father of two of the Easter Sunday suicide bombers, has also been mentioned.

Continue reading ‘No Confidence Motion Outlining Ten Charges Against Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen Signed by 66 MP’s Submitted to Speaker Jayasuriya on May 16th Has Been Listed on Parliament Order Book.’ »

Grief is a Country That Looks Different to Each Person Entering it.

By

V. V. Ganeshananthan

In the case of September 11 2001, communal loss is – comparatively, at least – well understood. Everyone saw or could see those deaths; they were on the news even as they happened; the broadcast was part of their lasting tragedy. Few perceived denial of the deaths as rational. The people who had killed them made sure there was plenty of physical evidence. No one fought the act of mourning and was taken seriously. Not so with what I saw from a great distance eight years later: the deaths of Tamil civilians at the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war.

These deaths require, among other tasks, ongoing announcement and explanation – and because certain authorities have failed to fully acknowledge that the casualties occurred, saying I grieve means stating, repeatedly, I believe that they did. It is a kind of complicated voting. This recitation of the facts means a commitment not only to how definitively these people are gone, but also to hearing it over and over again as I am forced to argue for it. I resent this more than I could ever have thought possible, because in this country of grief, the best kind of shelter is to be understood, to have someone stop next to me and without asking anything, put their umbrella over us both, between us and the rain.

Before we ever came to this place, we heard reports of steady, gray fog – pale, opening clouds – late and sudden violent storms. Rumour had it that some people, surprised to stop here, never left, while others, knowing another destination, were able to find slow but certain passage through. I myself am a wary traveler in this country. I can sense that groups of people move around me, but I am mostly alone: a stranger, feeling strange, on a rain-marked stone road, my umbrella blown inside out.

Grief is a country that looks different to each person entering it, to be sure. How does one find fellowship or shelter in loss? There is a hierarchy here; we measure the validity of grief in specific ways. And so before I talk about how death has touched me, I should say how it has not. I must acknowledge that some will see my grief as presumptuous, while others will find it inadequate: I did not know the people I am mourning, and I was not there. Still, I cannot imagine a road as smooth or a sky as blue as the ones I remember from the time before I came to this place and I cannot wish myself any happier. By any measure of reason, what happened to me was nothing – nothing more than watching and knowing and finally, imagining a terrible thing and how it might have happened. Although I was physically safe, the knowledge of that terrible thing became a shadow over everything I did and saw afterwards in a way I had not previously known was possible. Because the deaths involved were not only private, but also public and political, in their wake I found myself faced for the first time with both the desire for collective mourning and a complete inability to engage with it. All time and space was marked first and foremost by its relation to this disaster.

Continue reading ‘Grief is a Country That Looks Different to Each Person Entering it.’ »

“Soldiers in Black Clothes With Faces Covered in Black Knocked Doors with Their Guns and Shouted Obscenities, Saying ‘Thambio’ (Muslims) Allege Terrified Muslim Residents of Galoluwa to WSWS Reporters

By World Socialist Web Site Reporters

On Wednesday, World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) reporters visiting Minuwangoda, a bustling town in the Gampaha district of Sri Lanka, discovered a ghost town. The town, with many Muslim-owned shops, is located 50 kilometres from Colombo in the Western Province. It has been devastated by an anti-Muslim rampage by Sinhala racist thugs.

Fully armed Sri Lankan army soldiers and police special task force officers are now “protecting” this town along the Colombo highway, after a rampage carried out with the direct or indirect backing of the police and military. The attack lasted several hours on Monday evening, before and after a curfew imposed by the government.

Other areas that came under attack included Chilaw, Nikaweratiya, Kuliyapitiya, Hettipola, Bingiriya, Kobeigane and Wariyapola. Kotramulla and Thummodera in the Naththandiya area experienced severe violence. All are located in the north-western province. One 45-year-old Muslim was killed by thugs at Kotramulla. Many were injured.

As WSWS reporters visited Minuwangoda, acting defence minister Ruwan Wijewardena toured the area with Muslim ministers, a day after Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also toured the town. Town residents spoke with contempt of their promises of “protection for the people.”

Continue reading ‘“Soldiers in Black Clothes With Faces Covered in Black Knocked Doors with Their Guns and Shouted Obscenities, Saying ‘Thambio’ (Muslims) Allege Terrified Muslim Residents of Galoluwa to WSWS Reporters’ »

Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India Must State His Position on Nathuram Godse Who Killed the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi says Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

By
Sunetra Choudhury

On the last day of the 2019 election campaign, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra spoke about the big controversies of the day, her political debut, and the possibility of seeking election to the Lok Sabha.

Edited excerpts:

What is your reaction to the Prime Minister’s remark today that he can’t forgive the remark by Pragya Thakur that Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse was a patriot?

It’s a cop-out. You are the Prime Minister of the country, there is a question of somebody stating that the person who killed the founder of this country and created its democratic foundation, is a patriot. It’s not enough to say that in your heart, you will not forgive them. You are a political leader, you have to state your political position. What is your position on the killer of Mahatma Gandhi?

What should he have done?C

He should have taken action. He should have stated very clearly what he felt about Nathuram Godse. I don’t know what the Prime Minister thinks about Nathuram Godse.

Continue reading ‘Narendra Modi as the Prime Minister of India Must State His Position on Nathuram Godse Who Killed the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi says Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra’ »

We Each Have a Role to Play in Protecting Freedom of Expression and an Open, Free and Secure Internet But This Should Never be Used as a Justification for Leaving Extremism and Terrorism Unchecked

by Jacinda Ardern

Essentially, our motivations have been to create change for the better.

In the wake of the terrorist attack in Christchurch New Zealand on the 15th of March, you may have seen many images or footage.

Disturbingly, you may have also seen the attack itself.

Not because social media was created to be a platform for violence – but because a man thousands of miles away from here used its openness and accessibility to spread hate.

In doing, so he not only violated the standards set for those platforms, he violated our most basic sense of humanity.


Unseen images

But there were other images you may not have seen.

Continue reading ‘We Each Have a Role to Play in Protecting Freedom of Expression and an Open, Free and Secure Internet But This Should Never be Used as a Justification for Leaving Extremism and Terrorism Unchecked’ »

“When the Attacks Began in Minuwangoda, Air Force Personnel in a Double Cab On Airport Road Drove Away While the Army and Police at the Spot did NOTHING to Prevent or Stop the Mobs” – An Eyewitness Account

By

AN EYE WITNESS

I happened to be there at the exact time when rampaging mobs were attacking the shops and the following is an eye witness account by me.

The time was almost 7.15 pm in the evening.

The police were only handling the traffic, no riot police or policemen with batons were present, not even the water canon police truck which they use to disperse the crowds.

On the Airport road an Air Force double cab was parked with many Air Force personnel in uniforms, but when the troubles began they drove away towards Katunayake.

A few khaki clad army soldiers were there with their weapons, but they did nothing to stop the mob. Perhaps there was no officer to command them! The mob consisted of nearly 2000 youth and many were wearing helmets to prevent identification.

The police could have easily stopped the destruction by firing tear gas at them, but they did nothing. Are the tear gas canisters only meant and reserved for the university students or protesters marching towards President’s House?

Continue reading ‘“When the Attacks Began in Minuwangoda, Air Force Personnel in a Double Cab On Airport Road Drove Away While the Army and Police at the Spot did NOTHING to Prevent or Stop the Mobs” – An Eyewitness Account’ »

Muslims Are Being Ridiculed by Fancy Stories about “Virgins of Paradise” Despite The Fact That in Sri Lanka’s 1000 Year Muslim History No Muslim Has Killed A Member of Another Community to Attain Such Virgins


By

M.S.M.Ayub

The terrorists of the National Thawheed Jama’ath cold-bloodedly killed around 300 Christians just because they were Christians. That was clear by the statement made eight days after the terrorist attack by Abu Bakr-al Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which seemed to be behind the Easter Sunday massacre.

Baghdadi during his first public appearance after five years last month said in a televised speech, that the suicide attacks on three Christian churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday (April 21) were launched to avenge their defeat in their last stronghold Baghuz in Eastern Syria.

It was the same fanatic and unfounded hate that has led to the anti-Muslim riots in Minuwangoda in the Gampaha District and Kuliyapitiya, Hettipola, Bingiriya, Dummalasuriya, Rasnayakepura, Kobeigane and several other areas in the Northwestern Province on Sunday and Monday (May 12 and 13).

The mobs set fire to houses as well as shops that belonged to Muslims and attacked mosques just because the victims were Muslims.

It had been the same mindset that was in action- “one has to be eliminated for not being us”- in both cases, despite one being too savage and called extremism and terrorism.

Interestingly, both attacks were, in a way launched by the perpetrators against friends, in real life, proving the hatred to be unfounded.

Continue reading ‘Muslims Are Being Ridiculed by Fancy Stories about “Virgins of Paradise” Despite The Fact That in Sri Lanka’s 1000 Year Muslim History No Muslim Has Killed A Member of Another Community to Attain Such Virgins’ »

Sri Lankan Muslim Suicide Bombers Were Radicalized by a Religious Fervour Fuelled by Events Outside Sri Lanka Connected to Global Politics and Global Terror Group Links.

By

Dr.Nirmala Chandrahasan

It is said that those who do not heed their past often repeat it. In other words history repeats itself. Looking at the present scenario in the Country one feels that we might be on the brink of another period of conflict.

Recent revelations that some members of the Muslim community have been bringing to the attention of the Governments, prior to and after 2015, details regarding preachers who were preaching dangerous doctrines and of ISIS operatives in Sri Lanka, shows there were sections of the community who were concerned and taking action.

Can we say the same of the persons and institutions entrusted with looking after the security of the citizens of the country?

Not only did they pay no attention to the information provided by the Muslim community, but they even chose to ignore the three warnings with specific details of the places to be attacked and names of the terrorist organization, even down to telephone numbers, given by the Indian Security Agencies.

This shows sheer indifference and a massive security lapse amounting to criminal negligence by the security and intelligence personal involved, and the Government Ministers responsible for defence and security. Either they did not care, because in their view the community to be targeted did not merit taking action, or in the alternative they had some agenda of their own.

Either way the prospects for the country are frightening to say the least. Just as frightening is the sudden eruption three weeks later of attacks on mosques and burning and looting of Muslim homes, shops and businesses by organised mobs in some parts of the Country.

For many of us who have seen it happen before there is a sense of dejavu.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Muslim Suicide Bombers Were Radicalized by a Religious Fervour Fuelled by Events Outside Sri Lanka Connected to Global Politics and Global Terror Group Links.’ »

Sri Lanka Podujana Party(SLPP) Wattala Organizer Mohammed Rizwan Arrested for Alleged Links to Proscribed National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) Organization.

By Hemantha Randunu

Police investigations have revealed that millionaire businessman and Mabole resident arrested for his alleged links to the proscribed Islamic extremist terrorist outfit National Thowheed Jamaath (NTJ) is the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) organiser for Wattala.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podujana Party(SLPP) Wattala Organizer Mohammed Rizwan Arrested for Alleged Links to Proscribed National Thowheed Jamath (NTJ) Organization.’ »

Army Commander Lt.Gen Mahesh Senanayake Says Anti-Muslim Violence In Three Districts were Perpetrated by Well- Organized Groups Engaging in Co-ordinated Attacks.

By Shanika Sriyananda

Army Commander Lt. General Mahesh Senanayake yesterday said anti- Muslim violence carried out in at least three districts this week was perpetrated by well-organised groups.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, he denied allegations that the military was ineffective in cracking down on the groups that carried out well-coordinated attacks across a number of areas, including Bingiriya, Hettipola, Kuliyapitiya, Dummalasuriya, Kobeiganai,Nikawaratiya, Minuwangoda, and Panduwasnuwara. Eyewitnesses said groups as large as several hundred moved through the villages and towns, attacking dozens of shops and houses.

“When you look at the pattern of those attacks, they didn’t happen haphazardly, but were organised attacks,” Major General Senanayake said, adding that since there are not many Army detachments compared to the number of police stations in the North Western Province, it took time for the Army to reach the areas that were under attack.

Continue reading ‘Army Commander Lt.Gen Mahesh Senanayake Says Anti-Muslim Violence In Three Districts were Perpetrated by Well- Organized Groups Engaging in Co-ordinated Attacks.’ »

Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association Strongly Condemns the Re-induction of Major Prabath Bulawatte Implicated in Past Attacks on Journalists Into active Service by the Army Commander and Urges President and Govt to “Correct Mistake”.


The Sri Lanka Working Journalists’ Association has strongly condemned the decision to restore an Army Intelligence official named as the main suspect behind the abduction and torture of journalist Keith Noyahr who is also linked to the murder of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge back into active service.

In a statement issued yesterday, the SLWJA refers to an interview with Army Commander Lt. Gen. Mahesh Senanayake, who claimed Major Prabath Bulathwatte, who has been named as the main suspect in the Noyahr abduction case, was back in active duty in a special unity functioning directly under the commander.

Major Bulathwatte was taken into custody over Noyahr’s abduction in 2017 and later bailed out, the statement said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Working Journalists Association Strongly Condemns the Re-induction of Major Prabath Bulawatte Implicated in Past Attacks on Journalists Into active Service by the Army Commander and Urges President and Govt to “Correct Mistake”.’ »

Anti-Terrorist Action Must Not Become a Witch Hunt Against Sri Lankan Muslims

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Mohammed Zahran the founder – leader of the National Thawheed Jamath and suspected ring leader of the Islamic State (IS) inspired attacks on Easter Sunday has been officially reported dead by the Sri Lankan Police. According to an official communique issued by the Sri Lankan Police , Mohammed Cassim Mohommed Zahran was one of the two suicide bombers involved in the explosive attack on Shangri-La Hotel at Galle Face. A media release by the Aamaq news agency on behalf of the Islamic State (IS) revealed that Zahran had adopted the nom de guerre “Abu Ubaidah” in the IS. Abu Ubaidah refers to Abu Ubaidah Amir ibn Abdillah ibn al-Jarra who was one of the ten prominent companions of Prophet Mohammed. He later served as a commander of the Rashidun Army under Caliph Umar. Abu Ubaidah , credited with several military victories , was hailed then as the “commander of all commanders”.

Friday prayers at Dawaatagaha Mosque in Colombo, Apr 26 ~ pic via: @rashmalhardeen

“The evil that men do lives after them” said Mark Antony in William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar”.Likewise the evil that Mohammed Zahran alias Abu Ubaidah did lives after him. This perpetrated evil and its consequences have drastically affected Zahran’s family members, his hometown Kattankudi, his community the Sri Lankan Muslims and Sri Lanka the land of his birth.
Continue reading ‘Anti-Terrorist Action Must Not Become a Witch Hunt Against Sri Lankan Muslims’ »

Anti-Muslim Violence in Negombo: What Really Happened on Sunday May 5th and the Commendable Response of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Negombo, called Meegamuwa in Sinhala and Neerkozhumbu in Tamil, is a multi-ethnic coastal town 31 km to the north of Colombo. The ethnic breakdown in Negombo is roughly 75% Sinhalese, 14% Muslim and 9% Tamil people. The population is mainly Christian, comprising Catholics (65.3 %) and Protestants (3.35%). With numerous Catholic cathedrals, churches, shrines and grottos dotting the landscape, Negombo is often referred to as “Little Rome”.

pic via: ukcatholicpress: Nuns and priests pray during a special Mass on Thursday at St Sebastian Church in Negombo, Sri Lanka, for the souls of those who died on Easter bomb attack by Islamist militants. It was the first Mass at the church since the bombing~May 10

The peace and tranquillity of Negombo was shattered on 21 April when a suicide bomber targeted the St. Sebastian’s Church at Katuwapitiya during Easter mass. A large number of people were killed and injured. The attack was part of a coordinated campaign by suicidal followers of the Islamic State (IS) organisation in which three churches and three five-star hotels were targeted.

Ninety-three people including children who were killed at St. Sebastian’s Church were buried en masse in a highly-emotional funeral conducted by His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, who is also the Archbishop of the Catholic Diocese of. Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Anti-Muslim Violence in Negombo: What Really Happened on Sunday May 5th and the Commendable Response of Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.’ »

New Species of Snake Discovered in Sri Lanka Named “Rough-sided Snake “(Aspidura desilvai) Which Is Only Found in the Matale Knuckles Hills Range in the Central Province

by Dilrukshi Handunnetti

COLOMBO –From the misty Knuckles Hills that form a part of Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands, a new snake species has been added to the island’s already rich catalog of unique reptiles.

De Silva’s rough-sided snake (Aspidura desilvai) is described in a new paper published in Zootaxa, making it the ninth species in the genus Aspidura, endemic to Sri Lanka.

The new species bears a strong resemblance to A. trachyprocta and A. ravanai, a species described in 2017, but is easily distinguishable by its color pattern, scales in the ischiadic region, and morphometric characteristics, the paper says.

The new species has so far been recorded only in the Knuckles Massif in the central district of Matale, known for its rich biodiversity and part of a UNESCO-declared World Heritage Site.

Continue reading ‘New Species of Snake Discovered in Sri Lanka Named “Rough-sided Snake “(Aspidura desilvai) Which Is Only Found in the Matale Knuckles Hills Range in the Central Province’ »

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Reveals he has Information that some local Politicians Belonging to Certain Political Parties Were Behind Current Anti-Muslim violence and Says “We would like to tell the leaders of these political parties to control their party members”

By Uditha Jayasinghe, Chathuri Dissanayake, and Chandani Kirinde

The Police yesterday arrested 33 people linked to widespread anti-Muslim Ma attacks, which erupted countrywide as Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe renewed appeals for the public to cooperate with security forces and Police to restore calm.

The Police arrested 60 people from the North-Western Province, but only nine people were arrested from Hettipola, and another 10 from Kuliyapitiya, for taking part in attacks. The Police, issuing a short statement, said 14 people had been arrested in Minuwangoda, taking the total to just 33 despite numerous reports of large, well-organised mobs, some numbering in the hundreds.

Nearly half the people taken into custody by Police were detained, mostly for violating curfew, Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said in a short recording released to media. The arrested have been remanded till 29 May.

Police also arrested Mahason Balakaya leader Amith Weerasinghe and Anti-Corruption Force Operations Director Namal Kumara, in the Teldeniya region of Kandy and Warakapola areas respectively. The Nawa Sinhale National Organisation Director Suresh Priyasad alias Dan Priyasad was also arrested by the Colombo Crime Division (CCD) in Colombo. Priyasad was not at home when police arrived at his home to record a statement, but was later arrested after he surrendered to police with the assistance of his lawyer.

Police also re-imposed curfew till 4a.m. countrywide and 6a.m. in Gampaha and North Central Province, as unrest continued. Police lifted curfew in the North Central Province for two hours on Tuesday, from 4p.m.-6p.m., before re-imposing curfew. The North Western Province saw the worst of the violence. Dozens of shops and houses were attacked, and some burned, in a number of areas including Bingiriya, Hettipola, Kuliyapitiya, Dummalasuriya, Kobeiganai, Nikawaratiya, and Panduwasnuwara.

Continue reading ‘Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Reveals he has Information that some local Politicians Belonging to Certain Political Parties Were Behind Current Anti-Muslim violence and Says “We would like to tell the leaders of these political parties to control their party members”’ »

By Celebrating Son Daham’s Wedding on Such a Grand Scale 18 Days After the Easter Sunday carnage, President Sirisena has Added Callousness to his Already Bloated list of Negative Traits.

BY

RAJEEWA JAYAWEERA

Daham Sirisena entered wedded life last week. I believe most, if not all, citizens, will join me in wishing the newly wedded couple happiness, joy and wedded bliss in the years to come.

Daham is no ordinary person. He is the youngest child and only son of Maithripala Sirisena, the President of the Republic and first citizen of the country.

At least, in theory, elected Presidents are supposed to be sensitive to the feelings and moods of their citizens. They are required to share both the joys and sorrows of their subjects.

The wedding initially scheduled to be held at the Shangri-La Hotel on May 9, was hurriedly moved to the Colombo Hilton. The original venue was closed for business due to extensive damage resulting from bombings on Easter Sunday. Five Star ballrooms in Colombo are generally booked for weddings 12 to 18 months in advance.

However, on this occasion, the Colombo Hilton Ballroom, the second or third most sought after function room for weddings in the country, was miraculously found available to hire less than three weeks before the event.

Even though the guest count is a well-guarded secret, the ballroom and foyer had been used for accommodating the guests.

Continue reading ‘By Celebrating Son Daham’s Wedding on Such a Grand Scale 18 Days After the Easter Sunday carnage, President Sirisena has Added Callousness to his Already Bloated list of Negative Traits.’ »

Muslim Communities Living in Pre-dominantly Sinhala Areas in North -Western Province Attacked by Rampaging Mobs Numbering Over 500 During Curfew Hours Despite Deployment of Police and Army.

By Chandani Kirinde and Chathuri Dissanayake

Huddled together with her one-year-old grandson, husband and daughter-in-law, Sarah Umma (55) left her fate in God’s hands as mobs stoned their house and set fire to the motorbike in the front patio.

The mobs, over 500 of them, Umma says, took over the winding inner roads of Kottampitiya in the Panduwasnuwara electorate where the Muslim community lived, setting fire to Muslim homes and mosques as families fled for safety during Monday afternoon.

Umma and her family had nowhere to go as mobs came from both sides of roads, so they hid in a passage inside their house to shield from hurling stones.

“I told my daughter-in-law to keep feeding the baby as I feared he would make any noise, they kept screaming ‘come out’. Even when the house filled with smoke, we still stayed in,” she says.

It was dawn when they finally came out, after over 16 hours of imprisonment in their own house.

The mob also attacked Umma’s son, who attempted to get to his family when violence broke. He ran for safety and hid in a neighbour’s house.

Continue reading ‘Muslim Communities Living in Pre-dominantly Sinhala Areas in North -Western Province Attacked by Rampaging Mobs Numbering Over 500 During Curfew Hours Despite Deployment of Police and Army.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Largest Pasta Manufacturing Facility Diamond Pasta Ltd in Minuwangoda Totally Destroyed By Mob Numbering Over 200 on Monday Night: Damages Estimated at Over 700 Million Rupees for Muslim Owned Company with Largely Sinhala Employees.

By Darshana Abayasingha

Sri Lanka’s largest pasta manufacturing facility, Diamond Pasta Limited, which is located in Minuwangoda, was destroyed during the violence on Monday night.

Speaking to the Daily FT, the company’s management stated that though Police was called to control the situation, only ten officers had arrived at the scene, and they had been unable to contain the unruly mob, which had numbered well over 200.

“The factory is completely decimated, there is nothing to be recovered. Seven employees were inside the factory at the time of the attack, and they barely made it out with their lives, but they are safe now,” they added.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Largest Pasta Manufacturing Facility Diamond Pasta Ltd in Minuwangoda Totally Destroyed By Mob Numbering Over 200 on Monday Night: Damages Estimated at Over 700 Million Rupees for Muslim Owned Company with Largely Sinhala Employees.’ »

SLFP Gen -Secy Dayasiri Jayasekera MP Says he only Got Six Arrested Persons Transferred from Hettipola to Bingiriya Police Station To Resist Mob Pressure and That Were Later Released Due to an “Independent” Decision taken by the Police.

Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) General Secretary Dayasiri Jayasekera yesterday denied that he had used political influence to get several suspects released from the Hettipola police station, insisting his intervention was only to calm a rapidly escalating situation.

Jayasekera told reporters at SLFP party headquarters that he was informed of a large group of people gathering around the Hettipola police station on Monday morning, while he was holding a public day in his electorate.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Gen -Secy Dayasiri Jayasekera MP Says he only Got Six Arrested Persons Transferred from Hettipola to Bingiriya Police Station To Resist Mob Pressure and That Were Later Released Due to an “Independent” Decision taken by the Police.’ »

Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey Wants Govt to Safeguard Life and Property of Each Individual in the Country While Urging Police and Armed forces Not to be Influenced by Vested Political Agendas.

By Divya Thotawatte

Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey yesterday called on authorities to take strong action to prevent mob violence, and warned that failure to do so will only expand rifts between the majority and minority communities in Sri Lanka.

Addressing the media, Canagasabey stated that the Government should act without fear while enforcing the law strictly and impartially, to safeguard the life and property of each individual of the country. He also urged the Police and armed forces to not be influenced by vested political agendas.

“I appeal to the Police and armed forces to act according to your conscience, and be true to yourself, and do not be led by the negative emotions of people intent on creating chaos,” he stated.

Continue reading ‘Anglican Bishop of Colombo Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey Wants Govt to Safeguard Life and Property of Each Individual in the Country While Urging Police and Armed forces Not to be Influenced by Vested Political Agendas.’ »

49 Year Old Furniture Shop Owner MS Fouzul Ameen From Kottaramulla in Nattandiya Succumbs to Injuries Inflicted by a Sword -Wielding Gang and Passes Away at Marawila Hospital

The family of M.S. Fouzul Ameen (49) is in shock. The well-to-do furniture shop owner from Kottaramulla in Nattandiya fell victim to a mob attack on Monday night, passing away at the Marawila Hospital, having sustained serious cut injuries to his neck and face.

M.S. Fouzul Ameen’s national identity card held by one of his sons
After his family laid him to rest yesterday afternoon amidst tight security at the local cemetery, friends and relatives gathered around to console his wife and four young children, aged between 16 to six years.

Continue reading ‘49 Year Old Furniture Shop Owner MS Fouzul Ameen From Kottaramulla in Nattandiya Succumbs to Injuries Inflicted by a Sword -Wielding Gang and Passes Away at Marawila Hospital’ »

24 Year old Aadhil Ameez the Software Engineer From Aluthgama Who Called Himself “Aadhil Ax” Arrested by Police is Suspected of Providing Logistical and Technological Support to the Easter Sunday Suicide Bombers


The software engineer suspected by authorities of having provided technical and logistical support to the Easter Sunday suicide bombers was monitored by Indian intelligence agencies three years ago for links with Islamic State suspects, Reuters reported on Tuesday quoting investigators.

Four sources in Sri Lankan investigating agencies had said they believed 24-year-old Aadhil Ameez was the link between two groups that carried out the attacks on churches and hotels.

Aadhil has been arrested and is in police custody, the sources said.

His arrest has not been made public, but when asked by Reuters, Police Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera had confirmed that Aadhil was taken into custody on April 25, four days after the attacks.

The spokesman had declined to give more details.

Continue reading ‘24 Year old Aadhil Ameez the Software Engineer From Aluthgama Who Called Himself “Aadhil Ax” Arrested by Police is Suspected of Providing Logistical and Technological Support to the Easter Sunday Suicide Bombers’ »

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Denies Catholic Involvement in North Western Province Anti-Muslim Violence and says “Certain political parties and their agents at the base level have run out of control and they go and attack these people unnecessarily”

The head of the Catholic church in Sri Lanka, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, told newspersons here on Tuesday, that the clashes in the North-Western Provinces have no religious nuances and that the attacks on Muslim properties appear to have been carried out by political and not religious elements.

“What we see is more a political crisis where certain political parties and their agents at the base level have run out of control and they go and attack these people unnecessarily. I don’t think there are religious nuances,” the Cardinal said.

The Catholics of Sri Lanka, even those in Negombo where they are in sizeable numbers, have been quiet following the Cardinal’s appeal not to retaliate or take the law into their hands after eight suicide bombers, belonging to the National Tawheed Jamaat (NTJ) and the Jamaathei Millathu Ibrahimi (JMI) attacked three churches and three hotels in the island on April 21 killing 253 persons, mostly Catholics attending the Easter Mass.

Continue reading ‘Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Denies Catholic Involvement in North Western Province Anti-Muslim Violence and says “Certain political parties and their agents at the base level have run out of control and they go and attack these people unnecessarily”’ »

Christian Evangelical Alliance Calls Upon Govt to Take Urgent Action to Stop and Prevent Mob Attacks on Mosques , Muslim Owned Businesses and Homes

(Text of a Statement Issued by the NCEASL on the Recent Violence Against Muslim Communities)

The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka ( NCEASL) is deeply saddened by the ongoing attacks on Muslim communities in Kurunegala, Gampaha, and the Puttalam districts.

The violent mob attacks targeting mosques, Muslim owned-businesses and homes have left our country in a state of shock and polarized communities further.

The violence unleashed by extremist elements upon our own citizens is abhorrent, atrocious, and worthy of condemnation in the strongest possible manner by all peace-loving people of Sri Lanka.

We are extremely troubled that some of the incidents were reportedly perpetrated by mobs during police curfew.

We call upon the government, therefore, to carry out a thorough investigation into the attacks.

Continue reading ‘Christian Evangelical Alliance Calls Upon Govt to Take Urgent Action to Stop and Prevent Mob Attacks on Mosques , Muslim Owned Businesses and Homes’ »

Amith Weerasinghe of “Mahason Balakaya” Who was Suspected Of Having Incited Violence against Muslims in Digana Last Year Arrested Again by Police for Questioning About Alleged Complicity On -Going Anti-Muslim Violence

By
Meera Srinivasan

On Monday afternoon, mobs unleashed sustained violence on a group of villages in Kurunegala district in the island’s North-Western Province, damaging several mosques in the area.

A 45-year-old man, who ran a timber store, died of stab injuries, even as two busloads of people, aided by local goons, carried out raging attacks on mosques, Muslim-owned shops and homes on May 13 at Kurunegala in Sri Lanka.

This is the worst outbreak of violence since the Easter bombings in the island nation.

“The fact that the mobs arrived in buses showed that these attacks were planned,” said Hilmy Ahmed, vice-president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, an umbrella body of Muslim civil society organisations. “It was very much like the previous instances of anti-Muslim attacks,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday.

Continue reading ‘Amith Weerasinghe of “Mahason Balakaya” Who was Suspected Of Having Incited Violence against Muslims in Digana Last Year Arrested Again by Police for Questioning About Alleged Complicity On -Going Anti-Muslim Violence’ »

Two Bus Loads of Outsiders Aided by Local Goons Engage in Sustained Anti-Muslim Violence in Kurunegala District; Two Suspects Linked to Earlier Aluthgama and Digana Attacks on Muslims Seen in the Vicinity; Dayasiri Jayasekera Allegedly Freed Six Suspects Arrested by Police?


By

Meera Srinivasan

On Monday afternoon, mobs unleashed sustained violence on a group of villages in Kurunegala district in the island’s North Western Province, damaging several mosques in the area.

At least two busloads of people, aided by local goons, carried out raging attacks on mosques, Muslim-owned shops and homes on May 13 in Kurunegala, according to locals. This is the worst outbreak of violence since the Easter terror attacks in Sri Lanka.

A 45-year-old Muslim man, who ran a timber store, succumbed to stab injuries.

“The fact that the mobs arrived in buses showed that these attacks were planned,” said Hilmy Ahmed, vice-president of the Muslim Council of Sri Lanka, an umbrella body of Muslim civil society organisations. “It was very much like the previous instances of anti-Muslim attacks,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday.

Continue reading ‘Two Bus Loads of Outsiders Aided by Local Goons Engage in Sustained Anti-Muslim Violence in Kurunegala District; Two Suspects Linked to Earlier Aluthgama and Digana Attacks on Muslims Seen in the Vicinity; Dayasiri Jayasekera Allegedly Freed Six Suspects Arrested by Police?’ »

Mosques, Muslim Owned Homes and Businesses Attacked in Kuliyapitiya, Kobeigane, Rasnayakapura, Hettipola, Bingiriya and Dummalasuriya in Kurunegala District: Mobs on Motor Cycles Reportedly Moving From Place to Place


By

Meera Srinivasan

Mobs attacked several mosques, torched dozens of shops and homes of Muslims in Kurunegala, some 100 km north-west of capital Colombo, on Monday, in the biggest outbreak of violence since the April 21 Easter serial bombings.

A police curfew, initially imposed in six villages in the district, was later extended to cover the entire island until Tuesday morning, amid fears of the attacks spreading.

The government blocked social media platforms, including WhatsApp and Facebook, following the violence. Army Commander Mahesh Senanayake told local media that troops would not hesitate to use “maximum force” to contain the tense situation.

The incidents point to an escalation of violence targeting Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, following the Easter terror attacks that the government had attributed to two local Islamist radical groups. The IS, too, had later claimed responsibility for the explosions that claimed over 250 lives in in Colombo, nearby Negombo and the Eastern city of Batticaloa.

Continue reading ‘Mosques, Muslim Owned Homes and Businesses Attacked in Kuliyapitiya, Kobeigane, Rasnayakapura, Hettipola, Bingiriya and Dummalasuriya in Kurunegala District: Mobs on Motor Cycles Reportedly Moving From Place to Place’ »

“We can see many places where the curfew has been announced. The army is on the streets with guns, but they don’t take any action against the violence,” -Muslim Businessman Tells BBC.

Sri Lanka has partially lifted an overnight curfew imposed nationwide after an upsurge in anti-Muslim violence, three weeks after the deadly Easter Sunday bombings.

The curfew in the North-Western province will remain until further notice, police said.

Mosques and Muslim-owned shops have been vandalised or set on fire, and one Muslim man has been slashed to death.

In several towns, police fired into the air and used tear gas to disperse mobs.

Tensions have been high since Islamist militants attacked churches and hotels on Easter Sunday, killing more than 250 people.

In a televised address, Police Chief Chandana Wickramaratne warned that officers would respond to rioters with maximum force.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe also appealed for calm in the early hours of Monday, saying the current unrest was hampering the investigation into last month’s attacks.

Continue reading ‘“We can see many places where the curfew has been announced. The army is on the streets with guns, but they don’t take any action against the violence,” -Muslim Businessman Tells BBC.’ »

Muslim Community Fearful as Violence Escalates in Kurunegala District: Police Arrest Three Men in Kuliyapitiya but Cave in to Pressure and Release Them


By Chathuri Dissanayake

As mob violence escalated yesterday, the Government clamped down imposing an island wide curfew and blocked social media sites as clashes erupted across three districts and the Government appealed for calm.

As security forces struggled to contain the communal violence which started on Sunday night in several localities in Kurunegala area, the Police took steps to impose an islandwide curfew from 9 p.m. last night.

“Shops have been attacked today as well, as it continued, we have imposed police curfew over the whole North-Central Province until further notice,” SSP Ruwan Gunasekara said in a statement released by the Information Department.

Arrest of three men has triggered off tension in Kuliyapitiya on Sunday with the Police giving into the demand to release them. Violence continued with curfew being imposed in Kuliyapitiya and Dummalasuriya Police areas on Sunday night.

Continue reading ‘Muslim Community Fearful as Violence Escalates in Kurunegala District: Police Arrest Three Men in Kuliyapitiya but Cave in to Pressure and Release Them’ »

State of Governance in Sri Lanka Faces Growing Crisis in the Face of Rising Organized Anti-Muslim Violence While President Sirisena Goes off to China Cancelling Cabinet Meeting.

Concerns over state of governance were raised yesterday in political circles with President Maithripala Sirisena leaving to China on an official visit leading to the cancellation of today’s Cabinet meeting, putting off key decisions when the country is in a state of emergency post-Easter Sunday terror attacks.

Continue reading ‘State of Governance in Sri Lanka Faces Growing Crisis in the Face of Rising Organized Anti-Muslim Violence While President Sirisena Goes off to China Cancelling Cabinet Meeting.’ »

TNA Expresses Deep Concern Over Mob Attacks on Muslim Homes,Businesses and Mosques in Several Villages Reportedly Taking Place During Curfew Hours With Security Forces not Taking Effective Steps to Stop the Violence.


Text of a Press Release Issued by the Tamil National alliance on May 14th 2019 on reports of Mob violence Against Muslims in Sri Lanka )

The Tamil National Alliance is deeply concerned by reports of mobs attacking Muslim homes, businesses and Mosques in several villages over the last two days. It is particularly concerning to hear of reports of such attacks taking place during curfew, with security forces not taking effective steps to stop the violence.

Continue reading ‘TNA Expresses Deep Concern Over Mob Attacks on Muslim Homes,Businesses and Mosques in Several Villages Reportedly Taking Place During Curfew Hours With Security Forces not Taking Effective Steps to Stop the Violence.’ »

Hollywood Screen Legend Doris Day Whose Screen Partnership With Rock Hudson Was One of the Best in Romantic Movie History Dies at the age of 97.

Hollywood legend Doris Day, whose films made her one of the biggest stars of all time, has died aged 97.

The singer turned actress starred in films such as Calamity Jane and Pillow Talk and had a hit in 1956 with Que Sera, Sera (Whatever Will Be, Will Be).

Her screen partnership with Rock Hudson is one of the best-known in the history of romantic movies.

In a statement, the Doris Day Animal Foundation said she died on Monday at her home in Carmel Valley, California.

It said she had been “in excellent physical health for her age, until recently contracting a serious case of pneumonia”.

“She was surrounded by a few close friends as she passed,” the statement continued.

Continue reading ‘Hollywood Screen Legend Doris Day Whose Screen Partnership With Rock Hudson Was One of the Best in Romantic Movie History Dies at the age of 97.’ »

Actress -Singer Doris Day Will Be Remembered Forever For The Famous Song “Que Sera Sera “(Whatever Will be,Will be)She Sang on the Alfred Hitchcock Film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.


Doris Day was the fresh-faced, all-American girl who became one of the world’s most bankable film stars.

Her glittering singing career included timeless classics like Whip Crack Away, Qué Será Será and Perhaps, Perhaps, Perhaps.

On screen, the wholesome, girl-next-door never failed to find love. Off screen, she could not have had less luck: she married four times. One of them beat her and another one robbed her.

Later in life, she suffered the agony of watching her beloved only child die of an untreatable tumour. She retreated to a house in California, surrounding herself with animals and campaigning for their welfare.

‘Age is just a number’

Doris Mary Ann Von Kappelhoff came into the world in Cincinnati, Ohio – the descendant of German immigrants – in April 1922.

But for decades, she would insist she was actually born in 1924. In 2018, her birth certificate was dug out of the state Office of Vital Statistics to settle the dispute.

She was wrong, but shrugged it off.

“I’ve always said that age is just a number,” she said. “I’ve never paid much attention to birthdays.”

Continue reading ‘Actress -Singer Doris Day Will Be Remembered Forever For The Famous Song “Que Sera Sera “(Whatever Will be,Will be)She Sang on the Alfred Hitchcock Film “The Man Who Knew Too Much”.’ »

Major Bulathwatte who Commanded the Tripoli Military Intelligence Platoon Allegedly Responsible for Assassinations, Abductions and Attacks on Journalists During Rajapaksa Regime Recalled to Active Service in “Special Unit” Directly Under Army Chief Lt.Gen Mahesh Senanayake

By a Special Correspondent

The main suspect in the abduction of journalist Keith Noyahr in May 2008, Major Prabath Bulathwatte, who also led the shadowy military intelligence unit suspected to have been behind the 2009 murder of The Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, has been restored to active service, Army Commander Lt. Gen Mahesh Senanayake said.

Making the shocking revelations during a television interview aired on Saturday night, Army Chief Lt. General Mahesh Senanayake claimed that side-lining Bulathwatte had resulted in intelligence setbacks after the interviewer revealed details that the terrorist behind the Easter Sunday bombings, Mohammed Zaharan, had been on the intelligence officer’s radar.

The interviewer claimed that Bulathwatte’s services had not been availed of, since the officer had been side-lined.

“You are right. At that time, such a thing happened. Since this incident, he has been put on duty in a special team that functions directly under me,” the Army Commander replied.

Continue reading ‘Major Bulathwatte who Commanded the Tripoli Military Intelligence Platoon Allegedly Responsible for Assassinations, Abductions and Attacks on Journalists During Rajapaksa Regime Recalled to Active Service in “Special Unit” Directly Under Army Chief Lt.Gen Mahesh Senanayake’ »

All Officials and Ruling Leaders who Received Prior Information About Easter Sunday Bombings and did not Take Action must be Held Responsible for the Tragedy and Removed From Their Posts says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.

By Norman Palihawadana

All officials who received prior information about the Easter Sunday bombings but did not take any action to prevent them should be removed along with the country’s leadership, Archbishop of Colombo, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said at the Sunday mass at St. Lucia’s Cathedral, Kotahena, yesterday.

This mass was held to commemorate those killed in the Easter Sunday attacks and invoke blessings on the injured.

The prelate said that the Easter Sunday bombings had come as a shock to him and he was still grief-stricken like millions of others. Not only the officials who had not acted on an intelligence warning of terror attacks but also the rulers were responsible for the tragic incidents.

Continue reading ‘All Officials and Ruling Leaders who Received Prior Information About Easter Sunday Bombings and did not Take Action must be Held Responsible for the Tragedy and Removed From Their Posts says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.’ »

Crowd Attacks and Damages Thowheed Jamath Prayer Centre at Wattakkuliya in Chilaw Because Police Arrive Late To Investigate Their Complaint About Persons Inside; Army Disperses Mob by Firing Shots in the Air.

By Norman Palihawadana

The slow reaction by Chilaw police to disperse a crowd that had gathered near a Thowheed Jamath prayer centre in Wattakkuliya, Chilaw resulted in unrest and property damage yesterday.

Earlier a group of youth had informed the Chilaw Police that some persons were inside the prayer centre that had been abandoned some time back.

Since the police did not arrive there to investigate the complaint, the crowd had attacked the prayer centre, damaging it, an eyewitness said.

Continue reading ‘Crowd Attacks and Damages Thowheed Jamath Prayer Centre at Wattakkuliya in Chilaw Because Police Arrive Late To Investigate Their Complaint About Persons Inside; Army Disperses Mob by Firing Shots in the Air.’ »

Mobs Throw Stones at Three Mosques and Some Muslim -Owned Shops in Coastal Town of Chilaw Allegedly Provoked by Wrong Understanding of a Facebook Posting in English by a Muslim Businessman:Curfew Imposed Overnight and Lifted in Morning.

By
Shihar Aneez, Ranga Sirilal

COLOMBO (Reuters) – Several dozen people threw stones at mosques and Muslim-owned stores and a local man was beaten in the town of Chilaw on Sri Lanka’s west coast on Sunday in a dispute that started on Facebook, sources told Reuters.

Three weeks ago in Sri Lanka Islamist bombers blew themselves up in four hotels and three churches, killing more than 250 people. Since then Muslim groups say they have received dozens of complaints from across the country about people being harassed.

“A police curfew has been imposed in Chilaw Police area with immediate effect until 6 a.m. tomorrow to control the tense situation,” police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera told Reuters. The police later said the curfew would be lifted at 4 a.m.

Continue reading ‘Mobs Throw Stones at Three Mosques and Some Muslim -Owned Shops in Coastal Town of Chilaw Allegedly Provoked by Wrong Understanding of a Facebook Posting in English by a Muslim Businessman:Curfew Imposed Overnight and Lifted in Morning.’ »

Washington Exploits Terrorist Violence Crisis in Sri Lanka to Strengthen Politico-Military relations With Colombo as Part of its Preparation for the Indo-Pacific War Against China

By Rohantha De Silva

The US exploited last month’s terrorist bomb attacks in Sri Lanka to immediately dispatch Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) officials and military intelligence experts to Colombo under the pretext of assisting investigations. More than 250 people, including about 50 foreigners, died in the April 21 suicide bombings of Christian churches and upmarket Colombo hotels.

US President Donald Trump and the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo telephoned Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe offering condolences and promising assistance. The real concern of the US leaders, however, was not the killing of innocent people, but to use the crisis to boost its military and political relations with Colombo as part of its preparations in the Indo-Pacific for war against China.

A spokesman for the US embassy in Colombo told the Daily Mirror that an FBI team arrived in Sri Lanka two days after the attack and declared that “once the present investigations were over, the two sides would look at future cooperation.”

Continue reading ‘Washington Exploits Terrorist Violence Crisis in Sri Lanka to Strengthen Politico-Military relations With Colombo as Part of its Preparation for the Indo-Pacific War Against China’ »

Security Crackdown in Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday Attacks by ISIS and Thowheed Jamath Turns into an Anti-Muslim Witch – hunt

By

World Socialist Web Site Correspondents

The Sri Lankan government has unleashed a crackdown, mainly targeting Muslims, following the horrific April 21 bomb attacks on three Catholic churches and three hotels that killed more than 250 men, women and children, and injured some 500 more.

The government immediately seized upon the attack to impose draconian emergency regulations and deploy thousands of security and police officers. The opposition parties and the media have aligned themselves with the government’s campaign.

The fact that the attack was apparently carried out by the Islamic fundamentalist ISIS, in coordination with the Sri Lankan Muslim extremist group, Thowheeth Jamma’ath, is being used to whip up anti-Muslim sentiment.

President Maithripala Sirisena declared that under the emergency laws, house-to-house checks would be carried out, similar to the operations conducted during Colombo’s communal war against separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Hundreds of people have been arrested, with many later released. On Monday, police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said 73 persons had been detained and were under police interrogation.

Continue reading ‘Security Crackdown in Sri Lanka after the Easter Sunday Attacks by ISIS and Thowheed Jamath Turns into an Anti-Muslim Witch – hunt’ »

Family Networks Were Key Components of the Islamist Organization That Blasted Churches and Tourist Hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.

By Anbarasan Ethirajan

For many Sri Lankans, it was a horrific shock to learn that local Muslims could have been behind the suicide attacks that killed more than 250 people last month. How could a small group have planned such a devastating wave of bombings undetected?

The clues were there in mid-January, when Sri Lankan police stumbled upon 100kg (220lb) of explosives and 100 detonators, hidden in a coconut grove near the Wilpattu national park, which is a remote wilderness in Puttalam district on the west coast of the country.

Police were investigating attacks on statues of the Buddha by suspected Islamist radicals elsewhere in the country. Four men from a newly formed “radical Muslim group” were arrested.

Three months later, suspected Islamists blew themselves up in packed churches and hotels in Colombo, Negombo and the eastern city of Batticaloa killing more than 250 people, including 40 foreigners.

But that arms seizure in the coconut grove was not an isolated incident. It was just one of several suspicious incidents in the months leading up to the bombings that should have rung alarm bells, especially given reports that several Sri Lankans who had joined the Islamic State group in Syria were back home.

It didn’t.

We now know the carnage on Easter Sunday happened despite repeated warnings about potential attacks from intelligence services in neighbouring India and the US.

Continue reading ‘Family Networks Were Key Components of the Islamist Organization That Blasted Churches and Tourist Hotels on Easter Sunday in Sri Lanka.’ »

Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Concerned Over Reports of Muslims Being Harassed and Discriminated Against Due to ” Stereotyping, Insensitivity and Cultural Misunderstandings” After Easter Sunday Attacks.


The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) is receiving complaints from Muslims about widespread harassment tied to “cultural misunderstandings, stereotyping and insensitivities to a way of life,” said Deepika Udagama, its Chairperson, this week
.

The whole Muslim community was being branded for acts of terrorism perpetrated by a few amongst them, Dr Udagama said, adding that the harassment was mainly around the dress of women.

On April 29, the President, under the Public Security Ordinance, gazetted regulations prohibiting wearing “any garment, clothing or such other material concealing the full face which will in any manner cause any hindrance to the identification of a person” in public. “Full face” was defined as “the whole face of a person including the ears”. The niqab and the burka fall within this scope.

“We hope that full face helmets also come within the ambit of this emergency regulation,” Dr Udagama said. “We don’t see a problem with that, because during a period of heightened security concerns, people ought to be able to establish identity and the authorities need to be able to get that done quickly, without hindrance.”

Continue reading ‘Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Concerned Over Reports of Muslims Being Harassed and Discriminated Against Due to ” Stereotyping, Insensitivity and Cultural Misunderstandings” After Easter Sunday Attacks.’ »

Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry Drafts Madrasa Education Regulatory Act to set up a Board with powers of regulation, registration, supervision, control and development of education within Madrasas in Sri Lanka

By Namini Wijedasa

The Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry has presented to the Government a bill called the Madrasa Education Regulatory Act that seeks to set up a Board with powers of regulation, registration, supervision, control and development of education within Madrasas in Sri Lanka.

The Sunday Times obtained a copy of the draft which is seen as a move towards addressing a longstanding vacuum in Madrasa regulation. The Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Department said this week that there were 1,675 Quran Madrasas across 24 districts in the country.

The only district without one is Kilinochchi, which also does not have Arabic Colleges or Ahadiya (Sunday) schools. The highest number of 344 is in the Ampara district, followed by Colombo which has 161 and Batticaloa 148. Arabic colleges are also most numerous in the Ampara district, with 42, followed by Puttalam with 38 and Kandy 28.

Continue reading ‘Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs Ministry Drafts Madrasa Education Regulatory Act to set up a Board with powers of regulation, registration, supervision, control and development of education within Madrasas in Sri Lanka’ »

“The Fierce Urgency of Now”: Comparing New Zealand’s Response to Christchurch Terrorism and Sri Lanka’s Response to the Easter Sunday Attacks.

by Sanjana Hattotuwa

I posted on Facebook this week a rough comparison between New Zealand’s response to terrorism in Christchurch and Sri Lanka’s response to the Easter Sunday attacks, a month after. Fleshing this out and placing it for wider consideration amongst an older demographic, possible through this column, may help kickstart what Martin Luther King Jnr in 1963 called the ‘fierce urgency of now’ to highlight the importance of civil and basic human rights.

The country is moving rapidly, almost inexorably, to the right. The hawks are happy and the populists, salivating. Mob violence in Negombo on Monday, the true nature and extent of which wasn’t fully captured in domestic media, captures a country on edge, even though the PM proclaimed that normalcy had returned. The whole country is combustible and it is unclear what exactly may spark violence or when. A traffic accident, sporting a surgical mask, a colour worn, single sentence, intonation of a word, signboard, looking at someone, looking away from someone, beard, place of worship, patronising a shop, seeing a name, renting a room or house, altercation, a private feud, personal jealousy or hidden hatred now find a febrile, fertile context, islandwide, for digital expression, rapid expansion or kinetic escalation.

Given all this, is our response to terrorism inevitable and justified? Is there another way, an alternative model?

Continue reading ‘“The Fierce Urgency of Now”: Comparing New Zealand’s Response to Christchurch Terrorism and Sri Lanka’s Response to the Easter Sunday Attacks.’ »

Even as Politicians Shriek, Lie and Pontificate for Partisan Advantage After The Easter Sunday Attacks, the Triumph of the Human Spirit Soars Above this Ugly Cacaphony in Sri Lanka

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

With the shadow of tragedy looming over a still stunned nation in the wake of the Easter Sunday atrocities, there is a curiously stark contrast at play in Sri Lanka. Even as politicians shriek, lie and pontificate for partisan advantage, the triumph of the human spirit soars above this ugly cacaphony.

Buddhist priests in vivid yellow robes join in sweeping the debris within the precincts of the devastated Katuwapitiya Church, a mosque offers its halls for Catholics to hold prayers and in Katukelle, Kandy, the Jumma Mosque hosts monks to preach to its afflicted congregation who thereafter contribute to a fund for agonised innocents to whom horror in the shape of a young man wearing a suicide bomb came suddenly out of a clear blue morning on the holiest of days.

Meeting difficult challenges ahead of us

These are the inspiring images that Sri Lankans must resolutely keep in mind as difficult challenges arise ahead of us. With the dawning of the third week since the attacks took place, Sri Lanka’s Muslims are insidiously and sullenly withdrawing into themselves in fear, dreading racial profiling in security searches and increasing abuse leveled by zenophobists and racists.

While strong community and religious leadership is important, soothing words have their limits when the public is gripped by overriding anxious tension as to where the next bomb will explode or when the next attack will take place. The Government’s rhetoric must yeld to concrete operation of the law against protectors of islamist radicalisation, not its foot soldiers, bomb carriers and tiffin bearers.

Yet there is no end, it seems, to ingenious ‘games’ of politicians while ordinary life in Sri Lanka remains largely paralysed by fear.

Continue reading ‘Even as Politicians Shriek, Lie and Pontificate for Partisan Advantage After The Easter Sunday Attacks, the Triumph of the Human Spirit Soars Above this Ugly Cacaphony in Sri Lanka’ »

Though Presidential Secretariat Announced Banning of the National Thawheedh Jamaath and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim After Easter Attacks No Instructions Given to Govt Press Yet To Publish Gazette Proclamation

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

The Government Printer is yet to issue gazette notifications proscribing two extremist organizations responsible for the Easter Sunday carnage.

Well informed sources told The Island that the Government Press was yet to receive the go ahead in this regard.
Continue reading ‘Though Presidential Secretariat Announced Banning of the National Thawheedh Jamaath and Jamathei Millathu Ibrahim After Easter Attacks No Instructions Given to Govt Press Yet To Publish Gazette Proclamation’ »

Failure to Understand Distinctions Between Exclusivism , Extremism and Terrorism May Lead to Wrong Stereo-typing of a Whole Community and Unfairly Hold it Responsible for the Actions of Some.

By Bishop Duleep de Chickera

The worship had just reached the Anamnesis, the affirmation of God’s intervention in history, when the police arrived. The officer was courteous but firm. The service had to be terminated and the people dispersed. Beyond this he remained tight lipped.

Pictures on people’s smart phones said the rest. Unbelievable scenes of death and havoc were to change all expectations of Easter harmony for Sri Lankans.

Responsible but subdued

When it became known that an extremist Islamist group was responsible, Muslim leaders responded promptly. They dissociated the wider community from the National Thowheeth Jama’ath, and then disclosed what only a few knew. Information on the group had been divulged to state authorities, as far back as 2014.

The bombings also subdued the Muslim community. A journalist travelling through Muslim areas reported on the visible absence of Muslims throughout a six hour journey. The same is true of Colombo and its suburbs. It is as if the Muslim part of the Sri Lankan whole, has suddenly shrunk.

This is perhaps what certain nationalist elements wanted when they began to contest Muslim identity soon after the end of the war in 2009.

Beginning with objections to halal food on the shelves, the campaign spread to public incitement and sporadic attacks on mosques and prayer centres, businesses, shops and residences in different parts of the country. In spite of public outrage, very little has been done to prosecute the perpetrators. The mobs that spread carnage were at times led by men in the venerated yellow robe.

Continue reading ‘Failure to Understand Distinctions Between Exclusivism , Extremism and Terrorism May Lead to Wrong Stereo-typing of a Whole Community and Unfairly Hold it Responsible for the Actions of Some.’ »

Govt Orders all Mosques in Sri Lanka Not to Promote or Propagate Hatred and Extremism in any Form and to Submit Copies of all Sermons to Muslim Religious Cultural Affairs Ministry.


The Sri Lankan government on Friday ordered mosques to clamp down on extremists and to submit copies of sermons in new fallout from the Easter suicide bombings that left 258 dead.

The country has been on edge since the April 21 attacks by jihadist bombers who attacked three churches and three Colombo hotels which also left 500 people injured.

The Ministry of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs said mosques must not be used for radicalising congregations.

“In view of the prevailing situation in the country, the ministry directs all trustees of mosques not to engage in or permit any gathering to promote or propagate hatred or extremism in any form,” the ministry said.

Continue reading ‘Govt Orders all Mosques in Sri Lanka Not to Promote or Propagate Hatred and Extremism in any Form and to Submit Copies of all Sermons to Muslim Religious Cultural Affairs Ministry.’ »

Identities of Shangri – La Suicide Bombers to be Confirmed Through DNA Tests of Zahran Hashim’s Sister and Ibrahim Ilham’s Father and Brothers.

By
Shavini Madhara

The Colombo Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake ordered the Batticaloa Prison Authority to bring the sister of the Thawheed Jamaath Leader Zahran Mohammed Hashim to the Colombo Judicial Specialist Medical Officer to verify the DNA test to determine the identity of the Suicide bomber, who carried out the bomb blast at Shangri-la Hotel.

CID also stated that they had revealed the suicide bombing took place at Shangri-la Hotel was carried out by Zahran Mohommad Hashim and Mohommad Ibrahim Ilham Ahamed. CID stated that the sister of Zahran Hahsim, Mohommed Kaseem Madaniya is currently detained in Batticaloa prison.

Continue reading ‘Identities of Shangri – La Suicide Bombers to be Confirmed Through DNA Tests of Zahran Hashim’s Sister and Ibrahim Ilham’s Father and Brothers.’ »

ACMC Leader and Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen Issues Statement Refuting Allegations Made Against Him and Re-iterating his Innocence.

All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader and Industry and Commerce Minister, Rishad Bathiudeen said were attempts to accuse him falsely regarding his recent visit to Oman and incidents that took place recently, but that he was prepared to face them and prove his innocence.

In a statement issued to the media he said, “Various people made allegations against me saying I ran away from Sri Lanka when I went recently for official work. Some people and media made these allegations.

They made the allegations without checking the facts about this tour. With some other Ministers in Oman, we discussed about multi-billion rupee projects for Sri Lanka with Omani government officials. After I returned from Oman, they stopped the allegations. They also aimed other allegations at me and these allegation were so dangerous and insulting I had questioned certain media institutions as to why they are identifying myself with terrorists.

Continue reading ‘ACMC Leader and Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen Issues Statement Refuting Allegations Made Against Him and Re-iterating his Innocence.’ »

Court Sanctions Prosecution to Obtain DNA Report Using Blood Samples of Zahran Hashim’s Daughter to Confirm the Identity of Suicide Bomber who Targeted Shangri-La Hotel.

By

Shehan Chamika Silva

Colombo Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake today allowed the prosecution to obtain a DNA report using a blood sample obtained from Zahran Hashim’s daughter for the investigators to confirm the identity of the Shangri-La Hotel suicide bomber.

The CID also informed the Court that two suicide bombers who blasted themselves at the Shangri-La Hotel had stayed at houses in Templers Road, Mount Lavinia and Kollupitiya prior to the attack.

Continue reading ‘Court Sanctions Prosecution to Obtain DNA Report Using Blood Samples of Zahran Hashim’s Daughter to Confirm the Identity of Suicide Bomber who Targeted Shangri-La Hotel.’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells Indian Magazine “The Week” That He Will Run for President and That Him Being a Dual Citizen Wont be a Hinderance Because He Has Renounced His US Citizenship

By

Lakshmi Subramanian

AS DEFENCE SECRETARY in his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa’s government, Gotabaya Rajapaksa played a ruthless role in wiping out the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, which had waged a civil war for three decades in Sri Lanka. A few days after the terror attacks on Easter Sunday, THE WEEK met Gotabaya in his small bungalow in Nugegoda near Colombo. Putting aside the book The Future is Asian by Parag Khanna which he was reading, he spoke on the return of terrorism and on his determination to become the country’s president.

Excerpts:

Q;
What do you have to say about the Easter attacks?

A;
It is very sad and shocking. Especially so for me, as I was one of the leading personalities responsible for ending the war. I never thought Sri Lanka would witness [such] a violent incident after 2009.

Q;
Mahinda Rajapaksa said this would not have happened if he were in power.

A;
For the Rajapaksa government, the top priority was national security. Every time there was a threat, we took action to identify the threat to prevent this type of [attacks]. After ending the war in 2009, we had to act differently to identify the threat. We did that. We found there were [remnants] of the LTTE, which could regroup, reorganise and restart their campaign. Then we saw the radical Islam group as a potential threat. We worked towards preventing it. And then the next threat was drugs.

Q;
What would you have done if you were the current defence secretary?

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells Indian Magazine “The Week” That He Will Run for President and That Him Being a Dual Citizen Wont be a Hinderance Because He Has Renounced His US Citizenship’ »

Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa Relinquishes His US Citizenship With Effect From April 17th to Overcome 19th Constitutional Amendment Deterrent and be Eligible to Contest Forthcoming Presidential Elections as the SLPP Candidate

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Gotabaya Nandasena Rajapaksa has ceased to be a naturalized citizen of the United States of America (USA) according to well -informed sources .

Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The Retired Army Colonel and Former Defence and Urban Development Secretary has formally relinquished his US citizenship and has lost his Dual citizen status in Sri Lanka it is learnt

Earlier Mr.Gotabaya Rajapaksa known popularly as Gota had been both a citizen of Sri Lanka as well as of the USA.

However this situation has now changed with Gota Rajapaksa’s formal renunciation of his US citizenship.

It is learnt reliably that Mr.Gotabaya Rajapaksa appeared in person before the chief of the Consular section at the US embassy in Colombo Mr. Philip Van Horn on April 17th 2019 and signed an oath of renunciation of his US citizenship as required by US law.

Continue reading ‘Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa Relinquishes His US Citizenship With Effect From April 17th to Overcome 19th Constitutional Amendment Deterrent and be Eligible to Contest Forthcoming Presidential Elections as the SLPP Candidate’ »

State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Tells Parliament That Govt Will Investigate How Eastern Province Governor MLAM Hisbullah’s Son Got 500 Million Rupees Worth of Shares in the Proposed Saudi Arabia Financed Sharia University in Batticaloa.

By Saman Indrajith

State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene told Parliament, yesterday, that the government would hold an investigation to find out how son of Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M. Hisbullah had secured shares amounting to 500 million rupees in the proposed Sharia University in Batticaloa. The University is a gift from Saudi Arabia.

President Maithripala Sirisena in January this year appointed Hisbullah Eastern Province Governor. At the time of his latest political appointment, Hisbullah was a National List MP of the UPFA.

The State Minister said so in response to a question raised by Ratnapura District UNP MP Hesha Withanage who pointed out that obtaining shares from a fund received as a grant was dubious.

MP Withanage: The people are talking about the Sharia University under construction in Batticaloa. Eastern Province Governor Hisbullah’s son has obtained shares worth Rs 500 million from the university.

Continue reading ‘State Defence Minister Ruwan Wijewardene Tells Parliament That Govt Will Investigate How Eastern Province Governor MLAM Hisbullah’s Son Got 500 Million Rupees Worth of Shares in the Proposed Saudi Arabia Financed Sharia University in Batticaloa.’ »

SB Dissanayaka Urges President Sirisena to Arrest Minister Rishad Bathiudeen For Allegedly Having Close Contacts With National Thowheed Jamath Members and Helping Them in Destructive Activities.

By

Sandun A Jayasekera

Former Minister and joint opposition stalwart S.B.Dissanayaka continuing his verbal battle with Commerce and Industries Minister Rishad Bathiudeen yesterday said the government had ample evidence to arrest minister Bathiudeeen and a team of joint opposition members including him would urge President Maithripala Sirisena to direct law enforcement authorities to arrest him immediately.

“We have information to prove that he has had close contacts with members of the National Thawheed Jamaath (NTJ) and also that he has helped them in their destructive operations. Therefore, we would make a representation to request President Sirisena as the Minister of Defence and Law and Order to take steps arrest Minister Bathiudeen,” Mr. Dissanayaka said.

Mr. Dissanayaka pointed out that the US conspiracies against Middle Eastern countries like Syria, Iraq and Libya followed with the regime change has inspired the rise of Muslim fundamentalism entities like IS that ultimately resulted Sri Lanka becoming a target for vengeance.

Continue reading ‘SB Dissanayaka Urges President Sirisena to Arrest Minister Rishad Bathiudeen For Allegedly Having Close Contacts With National Thowheed Jamath Members and Helping Them in Destructive Activities.’ »

President Sirisena was Informed of Possible Terrorist Attacks at Least 15 times at National Security Council Meetings But Simply “Nodded” Without Taking Necessary Action Says Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.

By

Ajith Siriwardana and Yohan Perera

President Maithripala Sirisena had been informed of the recent terrorist attack at the Security Council (SC) for more than 15 times but he had nodded off the repeated warnings, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka said today.

He told parliament that those who had participated at the SC had confirmed the fact that the President was informed of the imminent disaster but he had not given any instruction and nodded it off. He said it was unreasonable to pass the buck to others after the calamity.

“It is unreasonable to remove the IGP. It is a disgrace to the uniform,” he said.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena was Informed of Possible Terrorist Attacks at Least 15 times at National Security Council Meetings But Simply “Nodded” Without Taking Necessary Action Says Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka.’ »

Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka Says He Opposed Sirisena Becoming Presidential Candidate as he Realised the Man’s Inability to Handle National Security and Blames Chandrika Kumaratunga For Bringing This “Kodivina” (Voodoo)


By Saman Indrajith

UNP MP Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, yesterday, told Parliament that he had opposed fielding Maithripala Sirisena as the common candidate against Mahinda Rajapaksa at the 2015 presidential election as he had realised Sirisena’s inability to handle national security.

“I was dead against him. It was Chandrika Bandaranaike who brought this Kodivina (voodoo). I also correctly predicted that he would assume the SLFP leadership after his winning. However, it was a collective decision and we had to work for his victory,” Field Marshal Fonseka said, participating in the two day debate on current security situation in the country.

“We still have not neutralised the danger. The politicians would not understand this.

Anyone conversant with security affairs else must be aware that the danger is still lurking. The situation is still chaotic. Terrorism is not a problem that one can be eliminated within two to three weeks. Nonchalant approach is one of the serious obstacles to resolving this crisis. The politicians capitalise on this crisis to sling mud at each other and score political points.

Continue reading ‘Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka Says He Opposed Sirisena Becoming Presidential Candidate as he Realised the Man’s Inability to Handle National Security and Blames Chandrika Kumaratunga For Bringing This “Kodivina” (Voodoo)’ »

Home Thoughts From Abroad: A True Sri Lankan Writes With Refreshing Positivity About The Island In the Sun at This Dark Hour

By

Sarah Jameel

Dear Fellow Humans,

Some of you may know Sri Lanka from the recent news, some of you may have tried our exquisite cinnamon or world-famous Ceylon tea, some of you may have visited the island on holiday, some of you may have left during the civil war, some of you may have chosen to come reside on the island and make it your home, some of you may have been born there, and for some of you this maybe the first time you’re hearing of this island nation, lying off the Southern tip of India, and aptly named the Pearl of the Indian Ocean.

I write to you all.

This is the story of my island in the sun.

The little and well known facts and figures about my home, my people, my forever paradise.

I love that my island home has more cultural heritage than any other island of its size can ever boast, because that is Sri Lanka.

I love that we have national holidays that reflect the significance for every faith (i.e. with the most number of national holidays in the world), and that we get the best of festive food from our neighbours because, that is the diversity of Sri Lanka.

I love that people will stop and help you on the road if you’ve lost your way, even when they are busy themselves, because that is the simplicity of Sri Lanka.

I love that we don’t need a reason to celebrate and have a good time from coast to coast, to the blessed hill country, because that is the feeling of Sri Lanka.

I love that we understand when one of our friends is fasting during Ramadan, one of our friends is observing Lent, one of our friends is observing “sil” in temple, and one of our friends is doing a Pooja for Maha Shivarathri, because that level of understanding and friendship, is the glory of Sri Lanka.

I love that we all have the same local remedies for a cold or cough or headache or stomach ache, and that it has Panadol and Sidhalepa balm and kothamalli as its core, because that is what it feels like when you’re having the flu in Sri Lanka.

I love that we unite against anything for a game of cricket, because 1996 will always feel like yesterday, and where Susanthika’s Olympic silver medal in 200m women’s track will always be ingrained in our memories, that is unity in Sri Lanka.

I love that we have extended families that are probably more up to date with our social lives on their CNN (curry news network) than news channels are with breaking news, because that is the comedy of Sri Lanka.

I love that we are a nation, a people, a place, where food makes everything go around, and that you won’t go hungry — not even your enemy will, if they come home, because these are the values of Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Home Thoughts From Abroad: A True Sri Lankan Writes With Refreshing Positivity About The Island In the Sun at This Dark Hour’ »

Was China the Hidden Signifier? Easter Bombings and the Weaponization of Religion as a New Cold War Looms

By
Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake

Analysis of the Easter carnage in Sri Lanka has focused on the massacre of innocents that took place in three of the island nation’s coastal churches and congregations and largely overlooked the fact that the ocean-front, super-luxury, five star, Shangri la Hotel, was the only non-Sri Lankan “asset” (to use security jargon), that was targeted in the Easter Sunday carnage.

Moreover, it appears that to make no mistake, the masterminds of the crime ensued that they used 2 bombers at the Chinese owned Shangri la Hotel, whereas the other targeted churches and luxury hotels were hit by a single suicide bomber in this carefully coordinated and minutely planned logistics operation.
That two weeks after the carnage which killed over 250 people and wounded many more, there were no reprisals against the Muslim community of Sri Lanka is a tribute to the leadership of Cardinal Malcom Ranjith and the Church leadership.

It is also a tribute to the silent majority of peaceful and long suffering people of the island who perhaps through this disaster may re-discover the value and strength of the island’s diverse religious communities and traditions at this moment of danger.

Continue reading ‘Was China the Hidden Signifier? Easter Bombings and the Weaponization of Religion as a New Cold War Looms’ »

Zahran’s Family Members Dead in Sainthamarudhu Skirmish Between Security Forces and Islamic State Terrorists

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sri Lanka’s security forces have engaged in many battles and armed confrontations during the long war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).The military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009 brought an end to the conflict. Thereafter for ten years the country has been experiencing peace and relative tranquility. The armed forces too were confined to barracks most of the time as there was no enemy to combat. The Easter Sunday suicide bomber attacks on Churches and Hotels on April 21st shattered this blissful situation. Sri Lanka was in peril and once again the sacred duty of guarding the nation beckoned to the armed forces after the guns of the tigers were silenced a decade ago.

Pic via: @raashmalhardeen

A trilateral combination comprising the Police, the Special Task Force (STF) Commandos and the Army have now commenced a series of operations to counter the threat posed by a group of Sri Lankan Muslims operating under the aegis and label of the former Islamic State of Iraq and Syria(ISIS) now re-branded as the Islamic State(IS) which is currently headed by Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi. The combined security operations have generally been of three types namely “Raid and arrest”, “Search and seize” and “Cordon off and apprehend”. In a significant departure from these activities , a section of the armed forces of Sri Lanka were called upon to engage in a firefight against armed terrorists last week. This incident in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka was perhaps the first armed confrontation to occur in the country after the wae against the tigers ended.
Continue reading ‘Zahran’s Family Members Dead in Sainthamarudhu Skirmish Between Security Forces and Islamic State Terrorists’ »

Anti – Muslim Violence Erupts in Negombo With Attacks Occurring on Sunday Night Despite Curfew Being in Force: Situation Reported Calm on Monday

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Communal violence has raised its ugly head again in the Western coastal city of Negombo 32 KM to the North of Colombo on Sunday May 5th.

pic via: @naajims

Although sections of the mainstream media have either blacked out or played down the events in Negombo as a clash between two groups of people due to a personal dispute, the ugly and inconvenient truth is that the Negombo violence was basically anti-Muslim in nature.

Although a curfew was imposed and security forces were deployed to keep the peace , there are disturbing reports that many incidents of anti-Muslim violence occurred during the night while security forces were on duty.

Continue reading ‘Anti – Muslim Violence Erupts in Negombo With Attacks Occurring on Sunday Night Despite Curfew Being in Force: Situation Reported Calm on Monday’ »

How did we create young men and women capable of such hate? What did we do or not do to make them receptive to hate mongering and delusion?

By

Radhika Coomaraswamy


(Text of Speech made by Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy at the Vigil for a United Lanka held at the Independence Square on May 4th 2019)

For people of my generation, as Sharika Thiranagama wrote in her recent article, news like the Easter Sunday blasts does not initiate a new fear, it ignites an old one. I do not feel scared or angry. There is just a complete paralysis of the self. A feeling of “We have been here before”. A trauma that has been lingering, hovering over these years of peace, has just been revived.

When I first heard the news, I was convinced that this was our violence, our people with grievances, our people who have become angry and frustrated because of our mistakes. I was sure that this was a product of the acrimony that coexists with our intimacy. Though there are external factors, this focus on the local is still a valid concern.

How did we create young men and women capable of such hate? What did we do or not do to make them receptive to hate mongering and delusion? They may have been radicalized outside our shores but why did we, as a society, not know about their terrible hate and anger?

Continue reading ‘How did we create young men and women capable of such hate? What did we do or not do to make them receptive to hate mongering and delusion?’ »

Atchchi Muhammadu Muhammadu Hasthun the Suicide Bomber who Targeted St. Sebastians Church in Negombo Had Married an Batticaloa Underage Tamil Girl Pulasthini Rajendran Alias Sarah Before the Attack Alleges Western Province Governor Azath Salley

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Western Province Governor Azath Salley yesterday alleged that Atchchi Muhammadu Muhammadu Hasthun, who blew up the Easter Sunday congregation at St. Sebastian Church, Katuwapitiya, had married an underage Tamil girl, Pulasthini Rajendran, alias Sarah from Batticaloa before the attack.

The blast caused by Hasthun claimed the lives of over 100 men, women and children. Altogether nearly 260, including about 40 foreigners perished in the blasts in Colombo, Batticaloa and Katuwapitiya.

Salley, who himself is under attack by former Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakse for promoting extremism, revealed that the girl had eloped with Hasthun some time back though they couldn’t get married as she was a minor.

Had she been a Muslim, they could have avoided legal issues, Salley said, adding that even the Maligawatte police were aware of this matter. Salley said that the girl was studying in the GCE Ordinary Level class at the time she eloped with Hasthun.

Continue reading ‘Atchchi Muhammadu Muhammadu Hasthun the Suicide Bomber who Targeted St. Sebastians Church in Negombo Had Married an Batticaloa Underage Tamil Girl Pulasthini Rajendran Alias Sarah Before the Attack Alleges Western Province Governor Azath Salley’ »

Politically Motivated Group in an Inebriated State had Come To Negombo From Another Area and Created Tensions Between Catholics and Muslims in Poruthota States Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.

BY Norman Palihawadana

Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, yesterday, said a politically motivated group had been behind last Sunday’s clashes at Poruthota, Negombo.

The Cardinal said that a group of persons in a state of inebriation had come to Negombo from another area and tried to create tension between the Catholics and Muslims who lived in harmony there and gain political advantage.
Continue reading ‘Politically Motivated Group in an Inebriated State had Come To Negombo From Another Area and Created Tensions Between Catholics and Muslims in Poruthota States Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.’ »

Dozens of Muslim -owned Shops,Homes and Vehicles Attacked in Negombo After Clashes Between Christians and Muslims: Calm Restored After Curfew;Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Visits Negombo and Appeals for Safety of “Our Muslim Brothers”.

by Amal Jayasinghe

The Roman Catholic Church appealed for calm and an alcohol ban on Monday after clashes between Christians and Muslims in a town scarred by the Easter suicide attacks.

pic via: https://twitter.com/kataclysmichaos/status/1125292155491241984?s=19

Hundreds of security forces entered Negombo to impose a curfew after dozens of Muslim-owned shops, homes and vehicles were attacked.

St. Sebastian’s church in the town 40 kilometres (25 miles) north of capital Colombo was one of three churches and three hotels hit by jihadist suicide bombers on April 21, killing 257 people.

“I appeal to all Catholic and Christian brothers and sisters not to hurt even a single Muslim person because they are our brothers, because they are part of our religious culture,” said Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Dozens of Muslim -owned Shops,Homes and Vehicles Attacked in Negombo After Clashes Between Christians and Muslims: Calm Restored After Curfew;Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Visits Negombo and Appeals for Safety of “Our Muslim Brothers”.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Says Law Enforcement Authorities Investigating the Multiple Suicide Bombings on Easter Sunday Can Inquire Into the Activities of MP’s Relating to the Probe.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya, MP, yesterday, said that law enforcement and intelligence services were free to inquire into the members of parliament in connection with the ongoing investigations into multiple suicide bombings on Easter Sunday.

Speaker Jayasuriya said so when The Island asked him what would be his response to a spate of allegations directed at some members of parliament, including UNP Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahaman by another UNPer Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakse, PC, former Justice Minister.

Asked for further clarification of his position, Speaker Jayasuriya emphasized that it wouldn’t be his responsibility to direct law enforcement and intelligence services. The Island sought an

explanation as to why investigating authorities required his prior approval to investigate lawmakers, Speaker Jayasuriya said that though he was informed, in writing of such developments, authorities could go ahead with investigations without interference.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Says Law Enforcement Authorities Investigating the Multiple Suicide Bombings on Easter Sunday Can Inquire Into the Activities of MP’s Relating to the Probe.’ »

Is the Govt by Circulating Disinformation Suggesting the US had Offered Helpful Intelligence Preparing the Ground for Revelation of a Much Larger CIA Presence in the Country Than People are Aware of?

By

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

The horror of the new reality that the Islamic State (IS) terror group has chosen Sri Lanka for its operations – for whatever purpose – is yet to fully register with many. While that is understandable against a backdrop of 10 years of peace, the government’s response to this new crisis, with its dire security dimension, shows a level of internal dysfunction that has left citizens aghast.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has sought to shift the blame to President Maithripala Sirisena while the President has pointed fingers at the former Defence Secretary and the IGP who refuses to step down (leading to speculation as to whether he has protection from some quarter). Now, both the prime minister and the president are with one voice saying that Sri Lanka ‘needs the help of foreign intelligence agencies.’ This odd concurrence of opinion needs to be examined more closely. Is there external pressure at work?

The prime minister had been reiterating the need for foreign intelligence support in his several statements from the time of the attacks. The president echoed that view on May Day, when he said he had just received the interim report of the commission he appointed to look into the causes of the tragedy. The call for assistance from foreign intel agencies needs to be seen in the light of the US and UK already having sent in teams to assist in the investigations, and Indian media reports mentioning Indian assistance in the probe. It comes at a time when Sri Lankan police and military are doing brilliant work in swiftly tracking down suspects, detecting weapons, explosives and information in almost every province. The US embassy statement said the US had sent in teams from both the FBI and the US Navy’s USINDOPACOM. One needs to ask, why is the US Indo-Pacific Command, which is part of the US military, included?

Continue reading ‘Is the Govt by Circulating Disinformation Suggesting the US had Offered Helpful Intelligence Preparing the Ground for Revelation of a Much Larger CIA Presence in the Country Than People are Aware of?’ »

Nation of Tawheed Jamath’s Deadly Leader Zahran Hashim Alias “Abu Ubaida”

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Easter Sunday is celebrated by Christians both Catholic and Protestant as the day on which the crucified Jesus Christ rose from the dead.It is a joyful day on which Christians sing jubilantly – Death, where is your sting?Grave, where is your victory?He’s alive, He’s alive, He is risen!

Pic via: FB-St. Anthony’s Shrine Colombo 13

In a cruel twist of fate , this year’s Easter on April 21 turned out to be a day of tragedy and sorrow.The destruction and carnage caused on Easter Sunday by Suicide bombers in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa shocked, rocked and deeply saddened not only Christians but the entire Sri Lankan nation.

The International “Jihadist” or Islamic militant movement known officially as “ Islamic State”(IS) has claimed responsibility for the terror and horror of “Bloody”Easter in Sri Lanka. The IS known earlier as “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”(ISIL) and “Islamic State of Iraq and Syria”(ISIS) aims to establish a Worldwide “Caliphate” or a single Islamic Worldwide Government. The current leader of the IS is Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi who is reportedly based in Syria. The IS in 2014 controlled extensive swathes of territory in Iraq and Syria. In recent times the areas held by IS has shrunk greatly thanks to the military defeats inflicted by the US led coalition of forces.
Continue reading ‘Nation of Tawheed Jamath’s Deadly Leader Zahran Hashim Alias “Abu Ubaida”’ »

Notorious Drug Trade Kingpin Makandure Madhush in Sri Lankan Police Custody “Breaks Down ” After Intensive Grilling by CID ; Ready To Squeal All Details About His Associates, Links and “Businesses”

By

Gayan Kumara Weerasinghe

Makandure Madhush, an organised criminal considered the god father of the Sri Lanka underworld detained by Dubai Police was brought down from Dubai to Sri Lanka by a special Police team yesterday.

Informed sources said the special Police team which left for Dubai last week arrested Makandure Madhush who was in Dubai Police custody and brought him down to Sri Lanka.

The Police team included two ASPs and an Inspector from the STF.

They had made preparations to bring down Madhush last Friday.

“It is true that our Police team was in Dubai. What we did was to have a surveillance on Madhush while in Dubai. It was the Dubai Police which brought Madhush to the Dubai airport to deport him. We too came to Sri Lanka in the same aircraft. We categorically state that we took charge of him only at the Bandaranaike International Airport.

Thereafter we were responsible for him,” said a high ranking official of the CID on inquiry.

Continue reading ‘Notorious Drug Trade Kingpin Makandure Madhush in Sri Lankan Police Custody “Breaks Down ” After Intensive Grilling by CID ; Ready To Squeal All Details About His Associates, Links and “Businesses”’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Denounces Govt’s Proposed Counter Terrorism Law as a Comprehensive Relief Package for Terrorists and Demands the Retention of the Prevention of Terrorism Act(1979) and Public Security Ordinance(!947) Without Changes

(Text of a Statement Issued by Former President and Leader of the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa Under the Heading “A counter terrorism law to stifle democracy and to foster terrorism”)

One of the pledges given by the present government to their foreign masters through UN Human Rights Council Resolution No: 30/1 of October 2015 was to repeal and replace the Prevention of Terrorism Act of 1979. The draft counter terrorism law that has been presented to Parliament for this purpose has encountered opposition from political and media activists on the grounds that the way it defines the term ‘terrorism’ leaves room for legitimate political and trade union action as well as the dissemination of information and protection of sources by the media to be labelled as terrorist activity.

In the aftermath of the Easter Sunday bombings, the government has been trying to sell their Counter Terrorism Bill to the public with the claim that it has provisions to prohibit Sri Lankan nationals from having links with foreign terrorist organisations.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Denounces Govt’s Proposed Counter Terrorism Law as a Comprehensive Relief Package for Terrorists and Demands the Retention of the Prevention of Terrorism Act(1979) and Public Security Ordinance(!947) Without Changes’ »

The Counter-Terror Bill Proposed by the Prime Minister That Undermines Civil Liberties in its Present Formulation will Pave the way in Future for a ‘Security State’ run by Smiling Rajapaksa Strongmen

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As Sri Lankans are besieged by daily if not hourly reports regarding the rounding up of suspected islamist jihadists in the wake of last month’s Easter Sunday atrocities, it is crucial to recognise that the terrorism of a barbaric few cannot and should not be allowed to taint an entire Muslim community. Sadly but inevitably, Muslim Sri Lankans who were as appalled at the attacks as their Sinhalese and Tamil neighbours may face random and increased hostilities from the ignorant or the racially motivated. This is a trend that must be unequivocally and roundly rejected.

Misleading arguments on the ‘insufficiency’ of law

This time around and as differentiated from conflicts over land and power which had gripped Sri Lanka in its savage toils for decades, the fight concerns an ideology that is perverse and violative of the very fundamentals of Islamic teachings. In other words, the fight is over the territories of the Sri Lankan mind or to put it more correctly, what remains of that as twisted and beaten down by ceaseless political propaganda of the most sordid kind. It is therefore of the utmost importance that the counter-narrative to a jihadist doctrine of pure hate must not be trapped in a self-defeating ‘terror mentality.’ In that context, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s claim this week that the Easter Sunday barbarities may have been prevented if the Counter Terror Bill was passed in Parliament is as disengenous as it is dangerous.

There is a wholly misleading rationale to this reasoning. As appears to be this Government’s wont, the blame is passed from an unpardonable failure of political and bureaucratic leadership to a specious argument that existing ‘law is not enough’ to deal with jihadists having links to international terror groups. As Sri Lankans wriggled in acute embarassment, this was the same excuse trotted out to international news journalists who interviewed the Prime Minister in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. But the second part of that argument is where it gets interesting. As a result of this seeming lacunae, the Counter Terror Bill now before a parliamentary oversight commitee needs to be, (apparently in the Prime Minister’s mind), passed post haste as he urges parliamentarians in uncharacteristically pithy Sinhalese to stop ‘grating coconuts’ (pol ganne nethuwa) and pass the Bill.

Continue reading ‘The Counter-Terror Bill Proposed by the Prime Minister That Undermines Civil Liberties in its Present Formulation will Pave the way in Future for a ‘Security State’ run by Smiling Rajapaksa Strongmen’ »

The president has Clearly Failed at the Cost of 250 or more Lives, as Minister of Defence, the Minister in Charge of the Police and the National Security Council.

By
Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Whilst the security operations continue, it is time for the committee set up by the president and indeed the rest of us, to consider the questions that refuse to go away and demand answers. The carnage of Easter Sunday throws up many questions, some of which have been answered albeit unconvincingly. Consequently a lot is riding on the committee appointed by the president to investigate as to how such a tragedy could have happened. Likewise, with the parliamentary committee that is proposed by MP Kiriella, for a similar purpose.

As to why in this election year and in this period of elections, Catholics should be targeted by Muslim extremists in a predominantly Buddhist country where there is no record of Muslim- Christian animosity and violence and where the most recent incidents of religious violence were perpetrated by Buddhists against Muslims, surely must raise more than a few eyebrows? The horror was meant to set minority against minority, draw the country into an international network of terror and tension and via the attacks on the tourist hotels, cripple the economy and show that the government cannot provide security for its citizens and guests. It most certainly has taken months in planning and has involved over a hundred locals in planning and execution. Whilst the Islamic State has belatedly taken responsibility for the attacks, it does beg the question as to why they did not do so earlier, given the scale of the attacks and the number of fatalities.

Continue reading ‘The president has Clearly Failed at the Cost of 250 or more Lives, as Minister of Defence, the Minister in Charge of the Police and the National Security Council.’ »

Can President Sirisena or Premier Wickremesinghe Clarify Whether the Indian Envoy in Colombo Requested Protection From Govt To Ensure The Safety of the Indian High Commission and Consulates in Sri Lanka After Indian Intelligence Got Information of Impending Attacks?

By

Don Manu

As the SUNDAY PUNCH stated last week, the Indian intelligence warned their counterparts in Colombo not once, not twice but thrice. The first warning, it is said, was given on April 4 the second the day before the attacks, the third hours before the attack. And it was thrice ignored. Indian intelligence was not a general warning. It was what is called ‘actionable intelligence. It did not merely state that there would be attacks but specifically stated that churches and the Indian High Commission would come under attack on Easter Sunday.

Is it unreasonable to assume that the top most concern and priority of the Indian intelligence service would have been the safety of its own High Commission in Colombo and its consulate in Kandy? They would, no doubt, have informed the Indian High Commission of the potential threat, they had extracted from an ISIS suspect in Indian custody.

Continue reading ‘Can President Sirisena or Premier Wickremesinghe Clarify Whether the Indian Envoy in Colombo Requested Protection From Govt To Ensure The Safety of the Indian High Commission and Consulates in Sri Lanka After Indian Intelligence Got Information of Impending Attacks?’ »

Official Statistics Reveal There Are 1669 Quran Madrasahs, 317 Arabic Colleges and 277 “Ahadiya” Muslim Education Schools Linked to Mosques in Sri Lanka.

By Namini Wijedasa

Quran Madrasas and Arabic Colleges have mushroomed in their thousands around Sri Lanka during the past decade, promoting a “pure” form of Islam imported from West Asia that is at odds with South Asian traditions.

The trend mirrors developments in other parts of this region, including Bangladesh, where strong Gulf influence has seen a proliferation of largely Saudi-funded, Arab-style mosques and educational institutions.

In the Maldives, Saudi Arabia has just pledged US$ 95mn towards a six-storey building complete with mosque, teaching centre and conference hall.

Analysis of available statistics show exponential growth of Madrasas and Arabic Colleges, facilitated by the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs which also registers Ahadiya or daham schools. These have fostered greater religiosity.

Madrasas and Arabic Colleges impart teaching — often employing foreign clerics who are granted resident visas at the Department’s behest — without independent supervision or regulation.

Those that enrol older students churn out adults unsuited to the job market and whose preferred career path is also that of religious instruction. Alienation with other local populations has well taken root.

Continue reading ‘Official Statistics Reveal There Are 1669 Quran Madrasahs, 317 Arabic Colleges and 277 “Ahadiya” Muslim Education Schools Linked to Mosques in Sri Lanka.’ »

Sri Lankan Intelligence Agencies Doubtful Whether National Thowheed Jamath Leader Zahran Hashim Really Died in the Explosion in Shangri-La Hotel as Generally Believed.


By

Wijayani Edirisinghe

Intelligence agencies are still doubtful of the death of the National Thawheed Jamaath (NTJ) leader Zahran Hashim, said to have died in the suicide bomb attack at the Shangri-La hotel on Easter Sunday.

Intelligence agencies suspect that one suicide bomber and Zahran had come to the attack, but Zahran had not committed suicide in a bomb blast.

Instead, he had fled after fixing a time bomb or detonating the bomb by remote control.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Intelligence Agencies Doubtful Whether National Thowheed Jamath Leader Zahran Hashim Really Died in the Explosion in Shangri-La Hotel as Generally Believed.’ »

Negombo St.Sebastians Church Suicide Bomber Mohommadhu Hasthun’s wife Pulasthini Rajendran Alias Sara was also Killed in the Sainthamarudhu House Explosion Says Mohammed Zahran’s Injured Wife Abdul Cader Fathima

By

Gayan Kumara Weerasinghe

The suicide bomber Zahran’s wife Abdul Cader Fathima and Katuwapitiya Church suicide bomber Mohomaddu Hasthun’s wife Pulasthini Rajendran alias Sara had bought nine sets of white clothing, nine blouses, skirts and undergarments from a shop in Giriulla on April 19.

This was disclosed by Zahran’s wife Fathima on being questioned by investigators at the Ampara Hospital, where she is being treated.

She had told that she bought nine sets of white clothing to be used by them as required.

“Sara told me that I would need them in the future, and will come to know why the clothes, garments and other accessories were purchased for,” Fathima had told police during interrogations.

Continue reading ‘Negombo St.Sebastians Church Suicide Bomber Mohommadhu Hasthun’s wife Pulasthini Rajendran Alias Sara was also Killed in the Sainthamarudhu House Explosion Says Mohammed Zahran’s Injured Wife Abdul Cader Fathima’ »

Fighting for the Soul of Islam in Sri Lanka

By Ameena Hussein

After the Easter bombings, I am struggling to understand how violent ideology has taken hold in my Muslim community.

Two days after the Easter Sunday bomb attacks in Sri Lanka, I met my greengrocer at the Colpetty market, a symbol of the cosmopolitan city that I call home. I have known Ashraff virtually all my life. He did not have his usual half-smile on his face, and when I went up to him to say goodbye, I could see he was troubled. Eventually, shaking his head in sorrow, with tears in his eyes, he told me that the day before, someone he had known for 35 years, a man from Sri Lanka’s Sinhala majority, had said he could no longer be his friend.

I understood his sorrow. The attacks on Easter Sunday have left everyone in Sri Lanka confused and bewildered. Those of us who are Muslim are also trying to understand how this violence could have come from our own community.

In the hours and days after the attacks, I sent text messages to my Christian friends, apologizing for what the attackers had done. Even though these terrorists were as far away from me in ideology as anyone could be, I felt shame. My friends responded, in true Christian spirit, that I had no need to apologize, and sent messages of concern for my safety.

Continue reading ‘Fighting for the Soul of Islam in Sri Lanka’ »

The Easter Sunday bombings are an attack on Sri Lankans as a whole — on our possibilities of plurality

By Sharika Thiranagama

On the evening of April 20, I was making Easter bread with my children at our home in California when a friend texted me, saying there had been bombings in Sri Lanka. My chest hurt. I thought, I have been there before. I grew up partly in northern Jaffna, one of the major battlefields of the Sri Lankan civil war. Over the conflict’s three decades, most Sri Lankans lost someone to death or disappearance — in my case, my mother. News like this does not initiate a new fear: It ignites an old one, based on myriad experiences of explosions and of fearing the worst. The trauma has lingered, waiting to be revived, the emotions entangling themselves with new experiences.

Over the past week, people have repeatedly asked me what it means to be a Sri Lankan Christian, and how the Easter Sunday attacks relate to Christian communities — a line of inquiry that links us not to other Sri Lankans but to other Christians around the world. I answer slowly, carefully, attempting to be precise. In Sri Lanka, I say, people are making an effort to grieve across community and ethnicity. Churches and clergy have issued statements not only condemning the violence but also warning against any retaliation against minority Muslim communities that might follow. We have already seen isolated incidents of such violence. We fear more will follow.

My interlocutors rarely find this satisfying. Just this week, an undergraduate at the university where I teach sent me an email accusing me of dismissing the existence of a global war on Christianity. She found my insistence on Sri Lankan specificity frustrating; she wanted to grieve, too. Some outside observers, including Vice President Pence, were quick to frame the attacks in these terms. But Sri Lanka’s ethnic and religious life is often fraught, sometimes violent and always intimate, in ways that defy easy answers. The attacks themselves are evidence of this: Although the bombings in the two major Catholic churches occurred during the Tamil-speaking service, many of the dead are Sinhalese. The pastor at the Zion Evangelical Church in Batticaloa, who lost his son, recalled welcoming the bomber in when he saw him: Many Muslims came to the service for healing.

Continue reading ‘The Easter Sunday bombings are an attack on Sri Lankans as a whole — on our possibilities of plurality’ »

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Closes Catholic Schools and Churches and Cancels All Church Services Throughout Sri Lanka ” Until Further Notice” Due to Receiving “Foreign Information” About Possible Fresh Attacks This week.

Sri Lanka’s Catholic cardinal has received “foreign information” that attempts would be made this week to attack a church.

According to a letter he sent to church officials that appeared on social media on Thursday, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith – archbishop of Colombo – said he was closing churches and Catholic schools throughout Sri Lanka and cancelling public congregations for mass “until further notice”.

“For your own good, we have decided to close down those institutions,” wrote Ranjith, who is also an outspoken critic of the Sri Lankan government’s apparent failure to act on Indian government intelligence in advance of the Easter attacks.

Continue reading ‘Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Closes Catholic Schools and Churches and Cancels All Church Services Throughout Sri Lanka ” Until Further Notice” Due to Receiving “Foreign Information” About Possible Fresh Attacks This week.’ »

Cabinet Spokesman Dr.Rajitha Senaratne Alleges that Four Military Intelligence Officials Coordinated the Killing of Two Sinhala and Tamil Police Officers Through National Thowheed Jamath Members at Vavunatheevu Checkpoint in Batticaloa Last November.


A top government minister revealed shocking details of alleged Sri Lanka military involvement with suspected pro ISIS militants who massacred hundreds in a series of deadly bombings.

Quoting from a confidential intelligence report, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne said that both Islamist and Buddhist extremist groups were initially bankrolled by the former government led by Mahinda Rajapaksa.

His brother, the top defence official at the time, Gotabaya Rajapaksa directed the operation.

“Thowheed Jamath Secretary Abdul Razik Rafiqudeen was an army intelligence member,” Minister Senaratne told journalists in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Spokesman Dr.Rajitha Senaratne Alleges that Four Military Intelligence Officials Coordinated the Killing of Two Sinhala and Tamil Police Officers Through National Thowheed Jamath Members at Vavunatheevu Checkpoint in Batticaloa Last November.’ »

Easter Attack Ringleader Zahran’s Younger Sister Madaniya Arrested in Kattankudi With Two Million Rupees Cash Given to her by Elder Brother Zahran.


The younger sister of Mohamed Hashim Mohamed Zahran, the mastermind behind the Easter SUnday attacks was arrested by Batticaloa Police yesterday (May 01) in Kattankudy.

Continue reading ‘Easter Attack Ringleader Zahran’s Younger Sister Madaniya Arrested in Kattankudi With Two Million Rupees Cash Given to her by Elder Brother Zahran.’ »

Easter Atrocity Happened Because of Sri Lanka’s Politicians. The President and the Prime Minister owe this Country an Explanation Beyond Their Asinine ‘I did not know’ Stories.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

There is a special kind of atavistic horror when terrorists attack places of worship. These strikes aim at decimating not only the life and limb of innocents but also destroying a community’s faith and spirituality, the very qualities that distinguish human beings from barbarians. As bombs ripped through churches and top end hotels on Easter Sunday and small children were killed while saying their prayers, Sri Lankans entered into their own interpretation of living hell. Christians could only echo the anguished words of Jesus Christ when he said, ‘forgive them for they know not what they do…’

A treacherous quicksand of political lies

But let us step back apace. Forgiveness aside, this nation is not comprised of idiots to accept this ‘I did not know’ explanations proffered unblushingly by the President, the Prime Minister and Ministers.

The great efficacy with which the police and intelligence services acted in the wake of the Easter Sunday attacks suggests that there was no intelligence failure as touted. It was simply that political pressure coupled with stupidity held preventive concrete action criminally in abeyance.

Put bluntly, this atrocity happened because of Sri Lanka’s politicians, no more and no less. Clueless, bumbling and grossly ignorant, they stumbled their way into a treacherous quicksand of lies, prevarication and infamy. Each manifest absurdity suceeded another.

Continue reading ‘Easter Atrocity Happened Because of Sri Lanka’s Politicians. The President and the Prime Minister owe this Country an Explanation Beyond Their Asinine ‘I did not know’ Stories.’ »

CID Takes Steps Under Money Laundering and Terrorist Funding Preventive Laws to to Freeze Assets of Nine Easter Sunday Suicide Bombers Identified by Police.

Police yesterday released the identities of the nine suicide bombers involved in the Easter Sunday attacks, and said that the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) was taking steps to freeze the assets of those identified as being involved.

According to the Police, the two Shangri-La Hotel suicide bombers were identified as Mohamad Cassim Mohammad Zaharan (Kudaikaran Lane, Muhideen Mosque Road, Kaththankudy 3) and his wife and child survived the clashes in Kalmunai last Friday, but his father and two brothers were killed. The other attacker was Mohammad Ibrahim Illham Ahmed (Mahawila Gardens Baseline Road, Dematagoda). The Cinnamon Grand Hotel bomber was his brother Mohammad Ibrahim Inshaf Ahmed (Mahawila Gardens, Baseline Road, Dematagoda).

Illham and Inshaf were brothers, and their father Mohamad Yusuf Mohamad Ibrahim and two brothers have been arrested. Inshaf’s wife has also been arrested.

Continue reading ‘CID Takes Steps Under Money Laundering and Terrorist Funding Preventive Laws to to Freeze Assets of Nine Easter Sunday Suicide Bombers Identified by Police.’ »

Police Release Details of Nine Terrorist Suspects Killed in Explosions at Eight Locations on April 21st 2019

The Police has released the photographs and details of the suspects involved in the Easter Sunday attack to media.

Accordingly the Police has revealed information on the terrorists who died during the 9 explosions that occurred in 8 locations on 21 April.

However, Police Media Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara stated that DNA tests are being conducted to confirm the identity of the suspects.Police has also arrested the brothers and wives of the suspects.

Continue reading ‘Police Release Details of Nine Terrorist Suspects Killed in Explosions at Eight Locations on April 21st 2019’ »

Dr. Rajitha Senaratne Alleges That Several Groups Such as the National Thowheed Jamath and Bodu Bala Sena Were Initially Funded by a “Defence Ministry Secret Fund” When Gotabaya Rajapaksa Was Defence Secretary; “26 National Thowheed Jamath Members Were on Defence Ministry Payroll” Says the Cabinet Spokesman.

Intelligence agencies in the country have identified eight Government ministers who are under threat, issuing instructions to restrict movements and beef up security for the individuals as the authorities crack down on the Easter Sunday attackers.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne claimed that intelligence services have asked eight ministers in the Government to restrict their movements during the week due to possible suicide attacks.

“My MSD told me that I have been identified as one of them and I was told to stay at home especially yesterday,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Dr. Rajitha Senaratne Alleges That Several Groups Such as the National Thowheed Jamath and Bodu Bala Sena Were Initially Funded by a “Defence Ministry Secret Fund” When Gotabaya Rajapaksa Was Defence Secretary; “26 National Thowheed Jamath Members Were on Defence Ministry Payroll” Says the Cabinet Spokesman.’ »

Islamic State Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Appears on Video for First Time in 5 Years Saying “Battle for Baghous is Over” and that the April Easter Attacks in Sri Lanka were “Vengeance for their Brothers (Killed) in Baghous”.

The Islamic State group’s elusive chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has purportedly appeared for the first time in five years in a propaganda video released Monday by the jihadist organisation.

It is unclear when the footage was filmed, but the man said to be Baghdadi referred to last week’s deadly attack in Sri Lanka and to the months-long fight for IS’s final bastion Baghouz, which ended in March.

“The battle for Baghouz is over,” he said, sitting cross-legged on a cushion and addressing three men whose faces have been blurred.

“God ordered us to wage ‘jihad.’ He did not order us to win,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Islamic State Chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi Appears on Video for First Time in 5 Years Saying “Battle for Baghous is Over” and that the April Easter Attacks in Sri Lanka were “Vengeance for their Brothers (Killed) in Baghous”.’ »

“If Parliamentarians and politicians were behind these attacks – directly or indirectly – people expect them to be arrested, questioned and punished if they have any connections” Says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

by Norman Palihawadana and Rex Clementine

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith the Archbishop of Colombo flayed the government for its lackadaisical attitude and not doing enough to bring those responsible for the Easter Sunday bombings to justice.

Addressing the media, yesterday, in Colombo, the prelate said: “I am not happy with the security measures that have been taken since the attack. I see neither any direction nor any coordination in the efforts that have been taken. Security forces tend to go to places on tip-offs but much more needs to be done I feel.”

The Cardinal revealed that the original target of the Dehiwala suicide attack had been St. Mary’s Church in Dehiwala while the original target of the attack in Batticaloa had been St. Mary’s Cathedral, adjoining St. Michael’s College, Batticaloa.

“The entire Negombo area needs to be searched to prevent further disasters. When the authorities question some people and release them, they can flee the country. At least, their passports should be impounded,” the 71-year-old Cardinal said.

Continue reading ‘“If Parliamentarians and politicians were behind these attacks – directly or indirectly – people expect them to be arrested, questioned and punished if they have any connections” Says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’ »

The Banning of “Face Veils” Under Emergency Laws by President Sirisena Gives Rise to Concerns Within Muslim Civil Society in Sri Lanka.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka has banned veils citing “security” reasons following Easter attacks, but the decision has sparked a host of concerns within the Muslim community.

President Maithripala Sirisena said that the ban, being brought under emergency law, was in the interest of national security and public safety, so that individuals were easily identifiable.

In this instance, “face veils”, Sri Lankan activists note, imply burqas that some Sri Lankan Muslim women wear, though the official announcement doesn’t name the attire specifically.

The announcement comes a week after serial explosions, attributed to radical Islamist groups and targeting churches and hotels, shook the country.

Continue reading ‘The Banning of “Face Veils” Under Emergency Laws by President Sirisena Gives Rise to Concerns Within Muslim Civil Society in Sri Lanka.’ »

Persecuted Ahamadia Muslims and Christians From Pakistan and Afghanistan Who Sought Refuge and Asylum in Sri Lanka Face Violence and Threats Due to Backlash After Easter Day Attacks.

(Text of Statement Released by the New York Based Human Rights Watch)

The Sri Lankan government should take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of South Asian refugees and asylum seekers from violence. Since the April 21, 2019 Easter Sunday bombings by alleged Islamist militants on churches and hotels that killed more than 250 people, angry crowds have threatened and assaulted primarily Muslim South Asian migrants.

Sri Lankan authorities, as part of broader measures to protect Muslims and other minorities from local reprisals, should ensure the safety of at-risk refugees and asylum seekers, Human Rights Watch said. This includes providing adequate protection to mosques, police stations, and other locations where refugees are staying, transferring them to safer areas, and working closely with humanitarian agencies providing assistance.

Continue reading ‘Persecuted Ahamadia Muslims and Christians From Pakistan and Afghanistan Who Sought Refuge and Asylum in Sri Lanka Face Violence and Threats Due to Backlash After Easter Day Attacks.’ »