18 Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers Deported From Australia Were Arested Upon Arrival, Produced in Courts For Leaving the Country Illegally and Released on Bail.

A Sri Lankan deported by Australia even though his partner had refugee status there was charged upon his return with illegally leaving his home country.

Thileepan Gnaneswaran, who was separated from his wife and 11-month-old daughter, arrived in Colombo Tuesday along with another 17 who had also their asylum applications rejected by Australia.

“They were taken before a magistrate and released on personal bail,” a senior police official told AFP.

“They were charged under the immigration law for leaving the country from a place other than an approved port.”

Continue reading ‘18 Sri Lankan Asylum Seekers Deported From Australia Were Arested Upon Arrival, Produced in Courts For Leaving the Country Illegally and Released on Bail.’ »

TNA Leader Sampanthan Remains “Silent” While Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Continues With Controversial Utterances and Action.

By

P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lanka’s Tamil leaders are pulling in different directions on crucial issues of common concern to the Tamils of the island.

The Chief Minister of the Tamil majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, is stubbornly adhering to his position that a political solution of the Tamil question should precede economic development.

Giving priority to economic development schemes while going slow on the search for a political solution is like putting the cart before the horse, he says.

Wigneswaran recently wrote to President Maithripala Sirisena saying that he does not want to be part of the Task Force on Economic Development of the North and East, because the Committee is packed with Central government officials and ministers. Local elected representatives, barring himself, have been kept out.

Wigneswaran slammed the Cental government for drawing up economic development schemes without prior consultations with the provincial administration and elected representatives.

But the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) led by R.Sampanthan has been silent on the actions and utterances of the Northern Chief Minister though he is part of the TNA.

Continue reading ‘TNA Leader Sampanthan Remains “Silent” While Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Continues With Controversial Utterances and Action.’ »

Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s “Davena Vihagun” (Burning Birds) is an Authentically Realistic Film

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Filmmaker Sanjeewa Pushpakumara is a bright star in the cinematic firmament of Sri Lanka. His second feature film ‘Davena Vihagun’ (Burning Birds) is currently being screened in Sri Lanka. The film completed in 2016 has been shown at several international film festivals over the past two years.

Just like Pushpakumara’s first film ‘Igillenna Maaluwo’ (Flying Fish), his second feature film too has earned much kudos internationally. The jewel in the crown was the Grand Prix award for Best Film at the 15th International Film Festival and Forum on Human rights (FIFDH) in Geneva.
Continue reading ‘Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s “Davena Vihagun” (Burning Birds) is an Authentically Realistic Film’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Refutes Alleged “Fake News” Being Circulated Over Social Media That He had been Appointed Presidential Candidate by Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Debunking what seems to be fake news circulating in social media, former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had not issued any statement on the Joint Opposition’s Presidential candidate for 2020.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Refutes Alleged “Fake News” Being Circulated Over Social Media That He had been Appointed Presidential Candidate by Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Issues Clarification Stating That His Sinhala Newspaper Interview About Capital Punishment Had Been Mistranslated in English and That He Like Pope Francis Opposes The Death Penalty

Amidst continuing controversy over the proposed implementation of capital punishment to curb the narcotic trade, the Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith has said that the resumption of judicial execution should be the last option, if at all.

The Sri Lankan Church Leader said that the Holy Father Pope Francis has not accepted the death penalty which is also his own position invariably.


The following is the full text of the statement:

CLARIFICATION

My attention has been drawn to reports and comments appearing in the print and social media concerning an interview I have given on the decision by His Excellency the President and the Cabinet, to introduce a limited application of the death penalty to certain types of prisoners, whose activities are detrimental to national security, safety and the concerns of the future generations.

Unfortunately, especially in the English language media, the interview given in the Sinhala language and which appeared in the Lankadeepa newspaper of 13th July 2018 has not been correctly studied and presented and thus the public seems to have thought that I am in favour of the death penalty in general.

Continue reading ‘Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Issues Clarification Stating That His Sinhala Newspaper Interview About Capital Punishment Had Been Mistranslated in English and That He Like Pope Francis Opposes The Death Penalty’ »

British MP Ian Paisley who Received Two Family Holidays Funded by Sri Lanka Under Pressure to do the “Honourable Thing” and Resign from Parliament.

A Democratic Unionist MP in the UK is facing calls to quit after a watchdog recommended his suspension from the House of Commons for failing to register two family holidays funded by the Sri Lankan government.

Ian Paisley had already apologised for what he said was his “unintentional failure” to register the hospitality, which he estimated was worth £50,000.

Politicians from across the political divide in Northern Ireland have called on the high-profile MP to stand down.

The 30-day suspension recommended by a parliamentary watchdog on Wednesday could force Paisley to face a by-election.

Members who are suspended from the Commons for more than 10 days are open to a recall petition.

A by-election would be triggered if 10% of the electorate in Paisley’s North Antrim constituency sign that petition.

If rubber stamped by Parliament, the suspension will also mean Prime Minister Theresa May will be shorn of one of the 10 DUP MPs propping up her minority government during a period that could see a number of crucial Brexit votes in the House of Commons.

Sinn Fein president Mary Lou McDonald said Paisley should do the “honourable thing” and quit.

“I think the charges made against him and findings against him are very serious,” she said.

“I would imagine his constituents in North Antrim, and certainly public opinion across Ireland, would expect that having been sanctioned in the way he’s been sanctioned then he should do the honourable thing and step down.”

The SDLP said Mr Paisley’s position was “untenable”.

Party Assembly member Colin McGrath said a 30-day suspension was not enough.

“The SDLP will be seeking a recall petition to dismiss Paisley from Westminster, and should this trigger a by-election in North Antrim, Paisley should not challenge the seat again,” he said.

Alliance Assembly member Paula Bradshaw also urged Mr Paisley to consider his position.

“Mr Paisley has let both himself and his constituents down, calling into question his personal integrity and the ability of voters to trust him,” she said.

Leader of the Traditional Unionist Voice party Jim Allister called on Paisley to refund the Sri Lankan government the money it spent on hosting him, accusing the MP of “serious and shameful” breaches of Parliament’s code of conduct.

The sanction was outlined by the House of Commons Standards Committee following receipt of the findings of an investigation by the Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards.

The committee said Paisley, son of late DUP founder the Rev Ian Paisley, had committed “serious misconduct” and his actions “were of a nature to bring the House of Commons into disrepute”.

The report, which said the cost of the hospitality may have been “significantly more” than Mr Paisley’s £50,000 estimate, said the Sri Lankan holidays in 2013 included business-class air travel, accommodation at first-class hotels, helicopter trips and visits to tourist attractions for the North Antrim MP and his wider family.

The trips also included meeting with Sri Lankan governmental figures.

The threshold for registering such hospitality in 2013 was around £660.

In March 2014, Paisley wrote to the then prime minister David Cameron to lobby against a proposed United Nations resolution setting up an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

The committee noted that in his letter, the MP did not declare the financial benefits he and his family had received from the Sri Lankan government during the previous 12 months.

Amnesty International Northern Ireland director Patrick Corrigan said: “The real outrage at the heart of this scandal is an MP attempting to have the United Kingdom government oppose a United Nations investigation into the horrific war crimes committed in Sri Lanka.”

The watchdog also recommended that Mr Paisley should now register the holidays with the parliamentary authorities.

The recommendations will need to be approved by the House of Commons before being confirmed.

Mr Paisley is due to address the House on Thursday.

The story was first reported by The Daily Telegraph in September 2017, in a report which estimated the cost of the hospitality at £100,000.

A statement issued by Mr Paisley’s lawyer on Thursday said: “My client has apologised unreservedly at the outset for his unintentional failure to register the hospitality he received.

“While accepting the decision of the House Standards Committee, he nonetheless continues to take issue with the sensationalised report in the Daily Telegraph.

“Legal proceedings are being considered.

“No further comment will be made until Mr Paisley has addressed the House on Thursday.”

A DUP spokesman said: “The party has noted the House of Commons Standards Committee’s report on Ian Paisley MP. These matters will now be considered by the party officers.”


Courtesy:Asian Mirror

Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan Tells Visiting Belgian Delegation that a New Constitution Must be Adopted if Country is to Move Forward in Every Aspect.

(Text of a Press Release issued by the Media office of the Tamil National Alliance)

The Visiting Belgium-Sri Lanka Parliamentary Friendship Group met with the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance today at the office of the Leader of the opposition in parliament.

Briefing the delegation MrSampanthan highlighted that the present Sri Lankan Constitution is not enacted based on consensus. The processes of enacting a new Constitution which recognizes the multi-ethnicity and pluralistic nature of this country has begun and the draft Constitution will be placed before the steering committee on this Wednesday.

Continue reading ‘Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan Tells Visiting Belgian Delegation that a New Constitution Must be Adopted if Country is to Move Forward in Every Aspect.’ »

Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley Jr Suspended for 30 Sittings of British House of Commons Due to Receiving Luxury Holiday Trip From Rajapaksa Regime in Exchange for Support at UN Human rights Council.

A British legislator faced suspension Wednesday for failing to disclose free luxury holidays he and his family received from the then government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa in exchange for backing Colombo at the human rights council.

Ian Paisley Jr of the Democratic Unionist Party was suspended from 30 sittings of the House of Commons, or for nearly two months, in a move that further reduced Prime Minister Theresa May’s majority at a critical time for her shaky government.

He was found guilty of breaking Westminster rules over luxury trips worth over 100,000 pounds (22 million rupees) at the cost of Sri Lankan tax payers in 2013.

Continue reading ‘Democratic Unionist Party MP Ian Paisley Jr Suspended for 30 Sittings of British House of Commons Due to Receiving Luxury Holiday Trip From Rajapaksa Regime in Exchange for Support at UN Human rights Council.’ »

Court of Appeal Reserves Judgement for August 8th in Contempt of Court Case Concerning Bodu Bala Sena Gen – Secy Ven.Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero


By S .S. Selvanayagam

The Court of Appeal yesterday reserved for 8 August its judgment on the alleged offence of Contempt of Court against Ven. Gnanasara Thero.

The Bench comprised Justices P. Padman Surasena (President/CA) and Arjuna Obeysekera.

Senior Counsel Manohara de Silva with Anusha Perusinghe appeared for Ven. Gnanasara Thero. Deputy Solicitor General Rohantha Abeysuriya appeared for the Attorney General as Amicus Curiae.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal Reserves Judgement for August 8th in Contempt of Court Case Concerning Bodu Bala Sena Gen – Secy Ven.Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Has not Yet Officially Selected Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as Presidential Candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Party States Ex-President’s Media Secretary

(Text of a media releae issued on behalf of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa by his media secretary Rohan Welivita on July 18th 2018 under the heading “Alert regarding false Media Release”)

It has come to our notice that a forged document purporting to be a media release issued by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa has been circulated in the social media yesterday, ie., the 17th July 2018.

This forged media release purports to announce that President Mahinda Rajapaksa has officially selected Mr. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to be the presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Has not Yet Officially Selected Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as Presidential Candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Party States Ex-President’s Media Secretary’ »

In a Future Fascistic Dispensation Cabinet Will Be Dominated by Ultra- Nationalist Ex-Military Officers While Civilian Democratic Politicians Including Mahinda Rajapaksa Will be Reduced To Figureheads and Hostages


By
Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The recent ‘Friday Forum’ statement signed by distinguished scholars and retired civil servants, condemns “…a personal attack by retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara on Dr. Deepika Udagama, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL)…Weerasekara denounced Dr. Udagama as an LTTE supporter and a traitor to this country, with the battle cry ‘death to traitors’. …The recent denunciation of Dr. Udagama as an apologist for the LTTE, is symptomatic of this vicious culture of denigration.”

A similar statement signed by 54 university academics gives more detail:

“…It has been many months now since a certain group of individuals, led by ex-military personnel, had proclaimed before the media that individuals who were supportive of a new Constitution ought to be considered as ‘traitors’ acting against the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sri Lanka. Such individuals, it was further stated, ought to be held accountable for their ‘traitorous’ acts in a court of law and punished with death and that action will be taken against them at a future date when a new political leadership assumes power…”
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A weekly Sinhala newspaper of June 29, 2018 carried a page 1 lead story with the headline “Traitors Should be Given the Death Penalty under a Patriotic Government”. The story, illustrated with photographs of two senior ex-military officers, opens as follows:

‘Under a patriotic government [he shall] call for those who engaged in all treacherous deeds to be given the death penalty, said Dr. Weerasekara. He was speaking yesterday, June 28, at a media briefing in Rajagiriya organized by the Federation of National Organizations. Sarath Weerasekara went on to add…“A woman called Deepika Udagama functions as the head of the Human Rights Commission. She is a person who gets together with NGOs and speaks on behalf of the Tigers.”

Sometime last year, on a private TV channel, Sarath Weerasekara threatened fellow panellist Jehan Perera with the death penalty for treason. At a Viyath Maga seminar in Gampaha, a senior ex-Army officer elaborated the death threat more widely, specifically recommending the JVP’s restricted funeral rites of the 80’s Terror.

Their preferred Presidential candidate had spoken on the occasion but had left when this was said. At the same venue, an entrepreneurial heiress called for “guns to be stuck in the mouths of traitors and discharged”. The Sinhala Alt-Right has abandoned all sense of civility.

Continue reading ‘In a Future Fascistic Dispensation Cabinet Will Be Dominated by Ultra- Nationalist Ex-Military Officers While Civilian Democratic Politicians Including Mahinda Rajapaksa Will be Reduced To Figureheads and Hostages’ »

Sri Lankan Police Arrest Father who Shared a Bottle of Beer with his One Year old Son along with Three Others who Filmed and Posted the “Feeding” on Face Book.

Sri Lanka’s police Tuesday arrested a man for sharing a bottle of beer with his one-year-old son and detained three others for filming what police consider to be cruelty to a child and releasing it on Facebook.

Spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said police carried out investigations following the viral video made at the village of Meehalewa in the Anuradhapura district on Monday showing the child being given beer while others watched.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Police Arrest Father who Shared a Bottle of Beer with his One Year old Son along with Three Others who Filmed and Posted the “Feeding” on Face Book.’ »

Anglican Bishops of Colombo and Kurunegala Disagree with Govt Decision to Resume Judicial Executions of Drug Dealers While Pointing out that “Sprats” and Not “Sharks” in Drug Trade are Getting caught

by Cyril Wimalasurendre

The Anglican Church of Ceylon has taken exception to the government’s decision to resume judicial executions of repeat drug offenders.

A joint statement issued by the Bishop of Colombo Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey and the Bishop of Kurnegala Rt. Rev. Keerthi Fernando says, ‘The Church of Ceylon (Anglican Church) cannot, in any way, agree with the move as it has been a rushed decision without proper reflection against the backdrop of criticism and public disquiet about the spate of gang related murders and shootings in the recent days.

Full text of the statement by the Rt. Rev. Bishops is as follows:

Continue reading ‘Anglican Bishops of Colombo and Kurunegala Disagree with Govt Decision to Resume Judicial Executions of Drug Dealers While Pointing out that “Sprats” and Not “Sharks” in Drug Trade are Getting caught’ »

“Sinhala Fascism Cannot be Defeated by Frontally Opposing Sinhala Buddhism or Sinhala nationalism.Sinhala Buddhist– nationalism Must be Internally Reworked to Fairly and Justly Accommodate Pluralism”

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Dr. Deepika Udagama’s father, Dr. Premadasa Udagama, and my uncle, Prof Ebert Fernando, were not only neighbors but much more importantly, the core members of the pro-SLFP, pro-Left caucus of academics at Peradeniya in the run-up to the 1970s elections. Dr. Udagama, an educationist, became the Secretary to the Ministry of Education during the Prime Ministership of Madam Bandaranaike and piloted the controversial policies of standardization (of which I was critical even at the time), while my uncle (my father’s step-sister Lalitha’s husband) became the Vice-Chancellor of Peradeniya and the official translator of the 1972 Republican Constitution.

Wishing Deepika well as she left home for Berkeley, I would have been unsurprised to learn that she would be Head of Law at Peradeniya and a worthy Chairperson of Sri Lanka’s Human Rights Commission –and here I write as a former (elected) Vice–President of the UN Human Rights Council. But I would have been shocked to know that she would be publicly threatened with legalized execution by a stalwart of a probable Presidential candidate of the anti-UNP Opposition; a candidate from a leading SLFP family.

While it is good that two statements appeared, that of the Friday Forum and the 54 University academics, exposing and denouncing the lethal threat, it is bitterly ironic that neither statement denouncing this murderous, fascistic threat, nor an adding up of the signatories to the two statements, contains as many signatures of academics and civil society activists as did the statement to the Parliamentary High Posts Committee calling for the withdrawal of my nomination as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Russia! That itself shows the abysmal and pathetic character of today’s liberal academic and civil society intelligentsia. However, my parents did not bring me up to gloat over the blunders of my critics and opponents, petty and venal (not mention downright ungrateful) as those opponents might be, but to stand against that which is wrong, and be counted to do the right thing—in short, to be a gentleman.

Continue reading ‘“Sinhala Fascism Cannot be Defeated by Frontally Opposing Sinhala Buddhism or Sinhala nationalism.Sinhala Buddhist– nationalism Must be Internally Reworked to Fairly and Justly Accommodate Pluralism”’ »

“Nadigaiyar Thilagam” Savitri: Biographical Movie About The Rise and Fall of a “Mahanati” (Great Actress)

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Filmstars often act in the roles of real persons in what are known as “Biopics” or biographical movies. Biopics are usually about illustrious and interesting historical figures. Actors and actresses enacting such roles get praised if their performances are brilliant enough to project those historical figures in a realistic manner on screen. While artistes acting in biographical movies about noteworthy people is an established norm, it is very seldom that a real life film actor is considered worthy enough to be portrayed in a biopic on screen. One such film made about a great actress who sparkled brightly in the South Indian film firmament decades ago had a world -wide release a few days ago.

The film “Mahanati” made in the Telugu language hit the screens on May 9th. Its Tamil version”Nadigaiyar Thilagam” was released on May 11th. The film is about yesteryear actress K.Savitri who was known as Savitri Ganesh after she married Tamil romantic actor Gemini Ganesan also known as R. Ganesh and Gemini Ganesh. Savitri in an acting career of more than three decades acted in 258 films in five languages. The breakdown was – Telugu- 146;Tamil -90; Kannada -09;Hindi -07 and Malayalam -06. Savitri ruled the roost in Telugu and Tamil filmdom for nearly 15 years in the fifties and sixties of the last century. She was hailed as the finest actress of her time and earned the laudatory sobriquets “Mahanati” (Great Actress) in Telugu and “Nadigaiyar Thilagam ( Doyenne of Actresses)” in Tamil. The film makers have most suitably used those titles Mahanati and Nadigaiyar Thilagam for the Telugu and Tamil films respectively.
Continue reading ‘“Nadigaiyar Thilagam” Savitri: Biographical Movie About The Rise and Fall of a “Mahanati” (Great Actress)’ »

37 Organizations and 170 Individuals Issue Statement Condemning Rear Admiral(Retd) Sarath Weerasekera’s “hate Speech”against Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission Head Dr.Deepika Udagama.

Thirty-seven civil society organisations and 170 individuals yesterday released a statement condemning the threats against Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka Chairperson Dr. Deepika Udagama.

Given below is the full statement:

We are appalled at statements akin to death threats, violence and hate speech against the Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL), Dr. Deepika Udagama, a highly respected scholar and human rights advocate. We express grave concern and alarm at these statements and extend our solidarity and support to Dr. Udagama.

We take this opportunity to welcome the independent, substantive and transparent policy interventions made by the HRCSL under Dr. Udagama’s leadership. We also welcome the Commission’s proactive investigations into individual cases and the consultative processes and mechanisms it has put in place including with government and non-government entities. Among the Commission’s work has been the independent vetting process undertaken in relation to the deployment of military personnel for UN peacekeeping operations, which has led to these recent threats. We reiterate that this is part of the mandate of the HRCSL and applaud its commitment to continue despite threats. We welcome the HRCSL‟s transparency in clarifying the process of this work in response to misleading and false information published by some media.

Continue reading ‘37 Organizations and 170 Individuals Issue Statement Condemning Rear Admiral(Retd) Sarath Weerasekera’s “hate Speech”against Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission Head Dr.Deepika Udagama.’ »

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Expresses Regret and Apologizes for Inadvertent References to Members of Lions and Rotary and Religious Organizations in Making Comments About Drug Dealers.

(Text of a press release issued by Finance and Media minister Mangala Samaraweera)

In response to a question on the restoration of Capital Punishment for drug dealers at a press conference last week, while reiterating my opposition to Capital Punishment, I said that certain individuals connected to the drug trade try to cover their sins by being benefactors of society, holding high positions in various organizations or as philanthropists in religious organizations.

Inadvertently, I also mentioned Rotarians and Lions Clubs, which I deeply regret.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Expresses Regret and Apologizes for Inadvertent References to Members of Lions and Rotary and Religious Organizations in Making Comments About Drug Dealers.’ »

My Father Lakshman Kadirgamar Was Possibly One of The Most Prolific Networkers in Sri Lankan History.

By Ajita Kadirgamar

Long before the advent of the internet, social media and professional networking sites such as LinkedIn, Sri Lankans were masters of the networking game. Networking, whether social or professional is basically, ‘the exchange of information and ideas among individuals or groups that share a common interest’. It has evolved into an art, a delicate mix of give and take; you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. It’s also a sense of ‘alone we can do so little; together we can do so much’.

Lakshman Kadirgamar (April 12, 1932 – August 12, 2005)

Perhaps Sri Lankans are good at networking because we are a small island where everyone knows someone who’s someone. And let’s face it, our people excel at making everybody’s business their business.

Master networker

My father Lakshman Kadirgamar was possibly one of the most prolific networkers, dare I say in Sri Lankan history. From nursery school at Ladies College to Trinity College, Kandy, to the University of Peradeniya, Baliol College, the Oxford Union, the UN (ILO, WIPO) and during his years in politics, he tapped into his prolific network. At a personal level, he used his network to help young people with their education and jobs, support charitable projects and of course he was ever willing to rally the troops to support his beloved alma mater Trinity.

Continue reading ‘My Father Lakshman Kadirgamar Was Possibly One of The Most Prolific Networkers in Sri Lankan History.’ »

Can President Sirisena Actually Implement Capital Punishment Even Though He Announces That He wants To Do So?

By Gangani Weerakoon

President Maithripala Sirisena, last week, said that he would sign required orders to execute capital punishment for convicted drug traffickers who carry out large scale drug smuggling operations while in detention. The President’s office quoted the President as saying that although there are certain opinions regarding capital punishment in a Buddhist society, if large number of criminal acts spread in such a society despite religious sermons, it will be necessary to take some timely actions to control crime.

Cabinet Spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne had said the death penalty is to be initially implemented on 19 large scale drug offence convicts.

He said that Cabinet approval had been obtained to implement the death penalty on repeat offenders related to large scale drug offences.

The move, as expected came under attack by many civil factions on the grounds that the world in the modern era is increasingly looking at ways of deviating from ‘barbaric’ methods of punishing criminals. Interestingly, many religious leaders, mainly chief Buddhist monks representing both Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters and Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith who vehemently opposed Government’s attempt to partially legalize abortions, praised President Sirisena and his Government for the ‘brave’ step to be taken.

Continue reading ‘Can President Sirisena Actually Implement Capital Punishment Even Though He Announces That He wants To Do So?’ »

After Decades of Conflict An Already Brutalised Society Would be Further Brutalised by the Grisly Spectacle of Individuals Being Intentionally Killed by the State,


By
Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s prison authorities will soon call for applications to fill a long-time vacancy — they need two hangmen. The requirement arose after President Maithripala Sirisena recently said he might sign orders on the execution of convicted drug peddlers currently in prison.

Though Sri Lankan courts continue to impose the death penalty under several statutes, the last time anyone was executed was in 1976. Ever since, the death penalty has often been commuted to life sentence.
“I proposed to the Cabinet that I will sign [orders] for the execution of prisoners who are already convicted of drug trafficking and [are] still doing the business from prison,” Mr. Sirisena said last week. His announcement came days after the Narcotics Bureau seized over 100 kg of heroin, worth about $7.5 million, in one of the biggest drug hauls in the island nation. According to Commissioner of Prisons H.M.T.N. Upuldeniya, as many as 373 persons in Sri Lankan prisons are on death row. “Of those, 18 were convicted for trafficking drugs,” he told The Hindu.

Continue reading ‘After Decades of Conflict An Already Brutalised Society Would be Further Brutalised by the Grisly Spectacle of Individuals Being Intentionally Killed by the State,’ »

Capital Punishment:What Moral-Right Has Any Man to Decide if Another Should Live or Die!

By Sharmini Serasinghe

President, Maithripala Sirisena dropped a bombshell out of the blues last week, sans all ‘maître’ (loving-kindness) when he launched a coup de mainon drug offenders. He threatened to use his powers to place his signature to execute the death sentence on those sentenced for drug offenses.

Drug trafficking carries the death penalty in Sri Lanka, but since 1976 it has not been implemented. Though J R Jayewardene retained the death penalty in the 1978 Constitution, he never signed the death warrant but commuted it to life imprisonment. Since then, all those who held the position of the President of Sri Lanka followed this precedent and commuted all death sentences issued by the courts to life sentences.

But one solitary courageous and humane man with a conscience and common sense; Minister MangalaSamaraweera openly voiced his dissent. He said, “I have always been against the Death Penalty and my stance has not changed. Even within the Cabinet, I voiced my opinion but the majority was for it. What is needed is, to take action against the main culprits responsible for running the drug cartels in the country. The ones that are in the prison are not the ring leaders; they are just peddlers and second level dealers. The big ones are hidden behind charity work, affluent social work organisations and religious organisations — we need a system to catch them by enforcing law and order in full force.”

Minister Samaraweera correctly points out that there is no evidence of crime rates falling in the presence of the Death Penalty in countries which had enforced it; and the best course of action instead is to enforce the law to the letter.

Continue reading ‘Capital Punishment:What Moral-Right Has Any Man to Decide if Another Should Live or Die!’ »

Sri Lankan Politicians of all Parties Seem Content to Continue with the Present Unregulated System of Election Campaign Financing


By

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

While much ink has already been spilled over The New York Times’ recent piece on Chinese bribes allegedly given to the Rajapaksa camp ahead of the 2015 presidential election, some interesting questions remain to be addressed.

Setting aside, for now, the report’s inaccuracies (such as describing the Port City project as a ‘terminal’ in Colombo port, built by China Harbour, which held 50 acres of land over which Sri Lanka had no sovereignty, leaving officials with ‘little real control’ when a Chinese submarine called in 2014), among the questions that need to be asked are: Why China? And why now? What’s the rationale for America’s ‘newspaper of record’ taking the trouble to resurrect, at this point in time, a three-year-old report from Sri Lanka’s state-run Daily News about a corruption investigation that led nowhere?

From a news point of view, there are two main elements in the story that would be grist to the mill of any newspaper. One is the aspect of corruption in high places, and the other is that of meddling in other peoples’ elections. NYT chose to write about alleged Chinese meddling in Sri Lanka’s election while ignoring reports that RAW (Research & Analysis Wing) the spy agency of US’s strategic ally India, allegedly influenced the outcome by facilitating defections from the SLFP so that a former SLFP minister could run as the common candidate in a UNP-led campaign. The strategy succeeded in bringing about regime-change by wresting a sufficient number of Sinhala-majority votes from the SLFP to tilt the numbers, in combination with the traditionally UNP-friendly minority vote. The UNP-led campaign was peppered with anti-China rhetoric.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Politicians of all Parties Seem Content to Continue with the Present Unregulated System of Election Campaign Financing’ »

Professionals National Front(PNF)Strongly Criticises National Trade Policy Formulated by Malik Samarawickrema and the Sri Lanka -Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

by C.A.Chandraprema

Last Thursday, the Professionals’ National Front (PNF) which brings together professionals from the medical, engineering, banking, IT, architectural, and many other spheres held a seminar to a packed audience at the Sri Sambuddhathwa Jayanthi Mandiraya in Thunmulla on the SL-Singapore Free Trade Agreement ahead of the debate in parliament on the same matter scheduled for the afternoon of July 17. The PNF is a body that took shape through agitation against the attempt by the present government to expand the free trade agreement with India to include the trade in services. One of the main demands by the PNF from its very inception is that Sri Lanka should have a national trade policy on the lines of which any free trade agreement should be entered into.

Since the government was dragging its feet in the matter of formulating a national trade policy, the PNF took the initiative to appoint a people’s commission to make recommendations for the formation of such a policy. In the meantime, a document styled ‘New Trade Policy’ appeared last year on the website of the Ministry of Strategic Development and International Trade purporting to be Sri Lanka’s national trade policy. It was supposed to be in accordance with this policy that the SL-Singapore FTA had been entered into. Speaker after speaker at last Thursday’s event bitterly criticized both the so called National Trade Policy formulated by Minister Malik Samarawickrema and the SL-Singapore FTA that the government entered into. One of the main criticisms made by the PNF against the purported national trade policy of the present government is that nobody had been consulted in its preparation and that it was only ‘an essay’ written by an expatriate Sri Lankan.

When the Indian government updated its Foreign Trade Policy last year, they got all stakeholders including exporters, trade associations, state governments, and even foreign missions involved in the process. But Sri Lanka’s New Trade Policy seems to have been formulated without any such process and had appeared suddenly on Malik Samarawickrema’s ministry website. This was tantamount to a deliberate insult to the professional organizations that had been agitating for a properly formulated national trade policy. In the midst of all this, the government entered into the SL-Singapore FTA without any consultation or discussion with stakeholders. In fact very few people were even aware that such a thing was on the cards until it was suddenly sprung on all of us. Even though a parliamentary debate is to be held next Tuesday on the SL-Singapore FTA, it’s being held after the FTA has been signed and the Customs Dept. instructed to adhere to its provisions. It was this FTA that for the first time opened up virtually the entire Sri Lankan services sector to competition from Singapore. To say that the professional associations have reached boiling point is an understatement.

Continue reading ‘Professionals National Front(PNF)Strongly Criticises National Trade Policy Formulated by Malik Samarawickrema and the Sri Lanka -Singapore Free Trade Agreement.’ »

Great ‘Gamperaliya’: A Great Novel Made Into a Great Film By a Great Director

by
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Cinematic journey of maestro Lester James Peries – Part 2

‘Gamperaliya’ (Changes in the Village/Changement au Village) was the third feature film made by ace director Lester James Peries. It was released on 20 December 1963.The film was based on the famous novel of the same name written by the doyen of Sinhala writers, Martin Wickramasinghe. The moviehailed as a milepost in the evolution of Sinhala cinema remains an outstanding example of how a great novel could be made into a great film by a great director.

Gamperaliya placed Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon on the global cinema map by winning gold at two international film festivals. The film won the ‘Golden Peacock’ award for Best Film at the third International Film Festival of India(IFFI) held from 8 to 20 January 1964 in New Delhi. It also won the Golden Head of Palanque award in 1965 at the Mexico International Film festival held in Acapulco. Gamperaliya won silver at the 1967 Cork Film festival in Ireland. Prior to its public release, ‘Gamperaliya’also competedat the third Moscow International Film Festival in July 1963 and won a Merit certificate.


Continue reading ‘Great ‘Gamperaliya’: A Great Novel Made Into a Great Film By a Great Director’ »

Seizure of “Tiger” Arsenal in Oddusuddaan Revives Fears of Another LTTE Revival Attempt

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The 21 km long Puthukkudiyiruppu – Oddusuddaan road progressing through the hinterland of North – Eastern Mullaitheevu district, links Puthukkudiyiruppu on the A- 35 Paranthan – Mullaitheevu highway and Oddusuddaan on the A -34 Mankulam – Mullaitheevu highway. It was along this road that a trusted deputy of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran was killed by the deep penetration squad of the Sri Lankan armed forces on September 26th 2001. Vaithilingam Sornalingam alias “Col”Shankar the founder-chief of the tiger air wing was killed by a claymore mine hung on a tree as he was driving his two-seater four wheeler pick up vehicle alone. The killing caused shock waves amidst LTTE circles as it demonstrated the fact that the armed forces were capable of infiltrating the heartland of tiger – controlled territory and inflicting lethal damage.

The time was around 4.45 am on Friday June 22nd 2018 when a three-wheeler proceeded northwards along the 21 km Puthukkudiyiruppu-Oddusuddaan road towards the direction of Puthukkudiyiruppu. The blue three-wheeler bearing the No NP JY 8007 was signalled to stop at the Paeraaru Junction by four Policemen attached to the Oddusuddaan police station. They were Sgt Niranjan and Constables Ekanayake, Thinesh and Ratnayake.It was simply a random check to ascertain whether the driver had proper identification and authorisation documents. Initially the vehicle drove up speedily as if it intended defying the Police signal. However it suddenly screeched to a stop.
Continue reading ‘Seizure of “Tiger” Arsenal in Oddusuddaan Revives Fears of Another LTTE Revival Attempt’ »

Why Dont Those Who Advocate The Return of the Rajapaksas As The Only Solution Check Their facts First?

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara


“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed — and thus clamorous to be led to safety — by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

H.L. Mencken (In Defence of Women).

Julampitiye Amare is now a forgotten man. Not so just six years ago, when he burst on to the national stage in a hail of bullets.

On June 5, 2012, a JVP pocket-meeting in Katuwana was attacked. Ten men arrived on motor cycles and opened fire on the small crowd (which included the current JVP parliamentarian Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa). Two were killed, many injured. The attack reportedly lasted for around 20 minutes. The police were called but arrived only after the attackers were gone. Even as the desultory investigation was beginning, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Media Centre for National Security claimed that the attack was an outcome of the rivalry between the JVP and its latest breakaway, the FSP.

The victims knew the attackers, especially their leader. Julampitiye Amare was a well-known figure in the area. He was a man of many crimes, including murder and rape. Despite many eyewitness accounts, the police made no move to arrest or even question Julampitiye Amare who continued to strut about dressed in military fatigues and brandishing a T56. He was arrested only when he came to the High Court for another case. The presiding judge ordered him to be remanded. The police later claimed that they failed to arrest Julampitiya Amare because they didn’t know what he looked like.

Less than a fortnight before the Katuwana attack, in May 2012, the JVP’s paper Lanka had carried an investigative piece claiming that Julampitiye Amare’s immunity from arrest came from his closeness to the then first family, the Rajapaksas. i

That was how law and order was maintained under the strong leadership of the Rajapaksas.

Sometimes memory is an eel. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government has forgotten its solemn promises to the electorate – the inane plan to build a third airport in Polonnaruwa being the latest case in point. Perhaps in tandem, the electorate has forgotten what life was like under the Rajapaksas. The case of Julampitiye Amare, who remained a free man despite the existence of more than 100 arrest warrants against him, was symbolic of the rampant crime and rampant immunity that was characteristic of the times.

Continue reading ‘Why Dont Those Who Advocate The Return of the Rajapaksas As The Only Solution Check Their facts First?’ »

“The Big Drug Businessmen of Sri Lanka are in Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs and Buddhist Organizations.They are the ones who Should be Arrested”Says Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.


Sri Lanka’s top drug dealers are not languishing in jails, but holding high posts in social services organisations such as Lions, Rotary and some Buddhist charities, Finance minister Mangala Samaraweera said.

The outspoken minister noted corruption involving law enforcement as well as the criminal justice system and said what was needed was better enforcement of laws to deal with the drug problem.

Continue reading ‘“The Big Drug Businessmen of Sri Lanka are in Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs and Buddhist Organizations.They are the ones who Should be Arrested”Says Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera.’ »

CID Commences Investigation Into “New York Times” Allegation Chinese Company Paying US 4 7.6 Million Through Standard Chartered Bank To Mahinda rajapaksa’s Election campaign

(Excerpted From the “Sunday Times” Political Column)

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has started investigations into allegations in The New York Times report that China’s state owned China Harbour Engineering Company paid at least US$ 7.6 million from its account at the Standard Chartered Bank to affiliates of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidential election campaign. The focus, it is learnt, is on the funding of the former President’s campaign.

The NYT report cited a document from an active internal government investigation. “The document details China Harbour’s bank account number — ownership of which, it said, was verified — and intelligence gleaned from questioning of the people to whom the cheques were made out. The report added: “With 10 days to go before polls opened, around US$ 3.7 million was distributed in cheques: $678,000 to print campaign T-shirts and other promotional material and $297,000 to buy supporters gifts, including women’s saris. Another $38,000 was paid to a popular Buddhist monk who was supporting Mr. Rajapaksa’s electoral bid, while two checks totalling $1.7 million were delivered by volunteers to Temple Trees, his official residence. Most of the payments were from a sub-account controlled by China Harbour, named “HPDP Phase 2,” shorthand for Hambantota Port Development Project.”

Continue reading ‘CID Commences Investigation Into “New York Times” Allegation Chinese Company Paying US 4 7.6 Million Through Standard Chartered Bank To Mahinda rajapaksa’s Election campaign’ »

Links of Politicians to the Drug Mafia and Underworld is an Accepted Fact


By

Kishali Pinto Jayewardene

Curiously, each time that Sri Lanka announces that it would put an end to the country’s more than thirty years moratorium on implementation of the death penalty, an immediate practical problem surfaces for the administration of Colombo’s Welikada Prisons.


The grisly realities of the job

This is the insuperable difficulty of finding a competent hangman in order to carry out the task. On the last occasion a few years ago that this flurry of excitement was evidenced, the individual who had been taken on for this purpose abruptly left the post citing ‘stress’ as a reason. His potential successors also absconded, presumably for the same reason. Given that persons serving in this position had only been engaging in the comforting chores of administrative duties so far, the notion of actually being called upon to tie the hangman’s noose around another human being would have been unsettling. Empathy therefore naturally arises for the squeamish (to put it mildly) who would desist from such an exercise.

But it is an interesting aside that, in a country where conflict had led to extrajudicial executions of unfortunate human beings of all ethnicities throughout the past decades, recruiting an official hangman has proved to be so arduous. Perhaps that by itself, is telling as to the grisly realities that need to be confronted if capital punishment is to be carried out, which is very different indeed from casual conversations carried out on a political platform.

Continue reading ‘Links of Politicians to the Drug Mafia and Underworld is an Accepted Fact’ »

From “Eliya” (Light) to “Andura” (Darkness) and on to a “Vipath Maga”(Road to Disaster)

By

THE FRIDAY FORUM

The recent public statements by Rev Vendaruwe Upali Thero, Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter at a celebration of Mr Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s birthday, Ms Vijayakala Maheswaran, former State minister at a public meeting in Jaffna, and a personal attack by retired Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara on Dr Deepika Udagama, Chairperson of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) deserve articulate public condemnation by us all.

Rev Upali exhorted Mr Rajapaksa to give leadership for good governance, even if he has to be “a Hitler” to do this. Some weeks later Mr Weerasekara denounced Dr Udagama as an LTTE supporter and a traitor to this country, with the battle cry “death to traitors”. Ms Vijayakala Maheswaran called for a return of the LTTE to ensure the security protection and progress of the people of the North, and especially their women and children. These statements have a common link. Delivered on public platforms, they encourage support for authoritarian and dictatorial governance as a legitimate and acceptable form of good governance. They also spread messages that directly or indirectly advocate the worst forms of violence, intolerance and hate.

Such statements seek support for the establishment of a Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian State and a minority Tamil Eelam respectively, in a land that has since antiquity been home to a diverse population of many communities and that has also experienced the horrors of armed conflict, in the name of restoring ethnic and religious identity. Ms Maheswaran’s statement denies a reality that the whole country and the world knows: a dictatorial and authoritarian LTTE regime brought violence, destruction and suffering to the Tamil community and all our people. These spoken and published exhortations seek to trample and eliminate the core values of a religion that the Buddha taught should be based on non-violence and sensitivity to human anguish.

Continue reading ‘From “Eliya” (Light) to “Andura” (Darkness) and on to a “Vipath Maga”(Road to Disaster)’ »

Is Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Going Against Pope Francis By Supporting President Sirisena’s Proposal to Re-introduce the Death Penalty?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

There are new employment opportunities opening in the country – for hangmen.

The prison authorities are already calling for applications for two hangmen. Why stop at two? There are so many persons involved in drug trafficking in our prisons, engaged in a fruitful business from within those walls. Why not many more hangmen, (and even “hangwomen”), to make it gender equal? It will give a big boost to President Sirisena’s hangman’s noose thinking, and a new Janapathi Mara Thondu strategy.

What we have today from presidential quarters is largely copycat policy making. President Sirisena could not have missed the news of the seven murderers, members of the Aum Shinkriyo Cult, recently executed in Japan, who killed 13 and injured thousands in the Tokyo subway attacks in 1995. That office would also have of the Indian Supreme Court confirming the death sentence on the four rapist/killers of the Indian student Nirbhaya in 2012, which led to huge Indian protests and call for tougher action against rape.

So, it is time for Sri Lanka to catch up. It will be possible to make people forget, or get their minds away from all the broken promises of the Sirisena common candidate – and get interested in the Hangman’s Noose. This is the Mara Thonduva in politics today.

Continue reading ‘Is Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Going Against Pope Francis By Supporting President Sirisena’s Proposal to Re-introduce the Death Penalty?’ »

“Therefore, if I could not adjust myself to politics because I am not a politician and inconvenienced him (President Sirisena) I regret”- Ex-Presidential Secretary Austin Fernando

By

Austin Fernando

Born on 12th June 1942, having had my primary education at Hikkaduwa Sinhala School, post-primary education at Richmond College, Galle, I was admitted to University of Ceylon, Peradeniya in July 1960. As a young graduate I entered the teaching profession in May 1963 and joined the Ceylon Administrative Service (CAS) in October 1967.

Starting my CAS career in Batticaloa District, I had an extremely eventful and memorable stint in the public service. I was appointed a Secretary of a Ministry, at a comparative young age of 44, after holding several responsible positions. Although many public servants may envy this, they will not be jealous for what I faced later.

I experienced abruptly departurefrom public service in August 1996 at an unripe age of 54. When I did depart the service in 1996, it was due to upholding unwavering principles of integrity and transparency. But this experience was also for the best. Due to my employment in the private sector I was able to fund my daughter’s education in Pakistan, which I was finding difficult to do as a government employee. Today when I see her carrying out her post graduate education at the University of Oxford, I reflect that being removed from government service also brings comfort. Also, today I leave the public service with the conviction that everything happens for the best!

In 1996 I left government service keeping my uncontested integrity strongly intact. This time in 2018 my departure may also seem abrupt to you. For sure many may interpret it in different ways. During the past few days social media have been discussing it thus. But my departure was discussed with His Excellency the President on 22nd of May 2018 at his office and decided. I leave today at the mature age of 76. At 76, the world is a philosophical place!

Continue reading ‘“Therefore, if I could not adjust myself to politics because I am not a politician and inconvenienced him (President Sirisena) I regret”- Ex-Presidential Secretary Austin Fernando’ »

Colombo Chief Magistrate Directs Official Languages Dept to Provide Sinhala and Tamil Transcripts of Ex-State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s Controversial LTTE Resurgence Speech Video Footage.

By
Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday issued an order directing the Department of Official Languages to provide the Sinhala and Tamil transcripts of the video footage pertaining to the alleged offensive statement made by former State Minister Vijayakala Maheshwaran regarding the resurgence of the LTTE at a public gathering held in Jaffna.

Chief Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake made this order pursuant to a request made by the Organised Crimes Prevention Division.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Chief Magistrate Directs Official Languages Dept to Provide Sinhala and Tamil Transcripts of Ex-State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s Controversial LTTE Resurgence Speech Video Footage.’ »

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Launches Scathing Attack on Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa For Misleading the Public on Fuel Price Rise Without Acknowledging all the Facts.

By Charumini de Silva

* Dismisses allegations made by former President and Finance Minister on fuel pricing formula and Govt. revenue

*Reiterates economy progressive and despite latest revision fuel prices still lower than MR era

*Recalls how Rajapaksa exercised executive powers to disregard SC ruling for lowering fuel prices

*Challenges MR to a public debate

*Exposes Rs. 10.2 b loss to Govt. via infamous oil hedging deal

*Promises to expose findings of investigation on ex-CB Chief Cabraal

*Eran emphasises pricing formula is best mechanism and most transparent


***************

Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera yesterday levelled a scathing criticism against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa for misleading the public on the new fuel price formula, claiming his conduct was “unbecoming of a senior politician of the country”.

“The former President who was also Finance Minister is trying to influence the general public without fully acknowledging the facts. I would like to remind him that the fuel prices with the latest revision under this Government are still lower than what it was during his tenure,” Samaraweera told journalists.

Denying all allegations levelled against him, the Minister challenged the former President again to a public debate to “clear all the facts”.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Launches Scathing Attack on Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa For Misleading the Public on Fuel Price Rise Without Acknowledging all the Facts.’ »

Colombo International Container Terminal Ltd Says It Donated US $150,000 Dollars In Good Faith to the Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation To Construct Houses for the Less Privileged


Colombo International Container Terminals Limited (CICT), in a statement issued yesterday said that Rs.19,410,000/- (equivalent to US$150,000) had been donated in 2012 to the Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation, in good faith, for the construction of houses for the less privileged.

The statement was issued in the wake of New York Times allegations that President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election campaign received USD 7.6 mn from China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) in the run up to 2015 January presidential polls.

Pushpa Rajapaksa is the wife of the then Economic Affairs Minister Basil Rajapaksa.

The following is the full text of the statement:

Continue reading ‘Colombo International Container Terminal Ltd Says It Donated US $150,000 Dollars In Good Faith to the Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation To Construct Houses for the Less Privileged’ »

Ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa Says His Govt Sold Petrol in 2008 at Rs 120 and Diesel at Rs 70 When World Price was US $97 per Barrel but Present Govt Selling Petrol at 145 Rs &Diesel at 118 Rs Even Though World Price had Dropped to US$74 Per Barrel.

(Text of Press release issued by Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa under the heading “Fleecing the public through fuel price manipulation”)

Fuel prices have been increased yet again within a period of about eight weeks – a situation we have never experienced earlier. Now the price of petrol is Rs. 145 and diesel Rs. 118 while today’s price of crude oil in the world market is around USD 74 per barrel. In 2008, when Sri Lanka was buying crude oil at the much higher rate of USD 97 a barrel, petrol was sold at Rs. 120 and diesel at Rs 70. During the nine years in which we ruled the country, world crude oil prices were always high.

Continue reading ‘Ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa Says His Govt Sold Petrol in 2008 at Rs 120 and Diesel at Rs 70 When World Price was US $97 per Barrel but Present Govt Selling Petrol at 145 Rs &Diesel at 118 Rs Even Though World Price had Dropped to US$74 Per Barrel.’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Opts Out of Presidential Task Force on North -Eastern Economic Development saying Political Solution is Necessary Before Economic Development.

The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, has opted out of the Presidential Task Force on economic development of the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces, saying that the Tamils need a political solution for their long-standing problems before they embark on economic development.

In a letter to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dated July 9, Wigneswaran said that the Task Force is useless also because it does not include the elected representative of the people or ministers of the Provincial Administration barring the Chief Minister.

Putting economic development before a political settlement is like putting the cart before the horse, and so, the development plan will be non-starter, Wigneswaran said.

He added that with the government in Colombo being wedded to the ‘top down’ approach to development work, his participation in the Task Force is meaningless. He hoped that by year end, political power will be devolved to the provinces and that he and the President can sit around a table to discuss development as equals.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Opts Out of Presidential Task Force on North -Eastern Economic Development saying Political Solution is Necessary Before Economic Development.’ »

“Rear Admiral Weerasekara is Not Merely a Sinhala Buddhist Ultra-nationalist.He and His Co-thinkers Are Quite Simply, Dangerous Fascists” – Dayan Jayatilleka

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara writes that “After the 2015 Presidential elections, for reasons better known to DJ, he approached GR and joined Viyath Maga.” That’s a blatant lie. As Dullas Alahapperuma and Matale mayor Mohammed Hilmy will attest, “After the 2015 presidential election” I met ex-President Rajapaksa at Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa’s residence of January 10th and rolled out a recovery strategy centered on Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament. Furthermore, as Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dullas Alahapperuma, Udaya Gammanpila MP and Wimal Weerawansa would attest, I spent weeks meeting them at my home and that of others, working out the revival of the Opposition. It was at such a working dinner that the idea of the Nugegoda meeting was arrived at. I still recall Wimal looking up from his plate and saying “kavuru nokarath ehnang mama oya rasveema sanvidhanaya karanava!” Admiral Weerasekara must understand why I was invited to read out President Rajapaksa’s message at Nugegoda on Feb 18th 2015.

There was no Viyath Maga at the time. I had not met Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at the time except during the Kurunegala campaign, and he was maintaining a low profile. Dr. Nalaka Godahewa and I were among a small group that worked on the August 2015 parliamentary election manifesto with the approval of ex-President Rajapaksa who I was meeting regularly. We later combined our efforts with another group of young academics close to Mr. Basil Rajapaksa. There was no Viyath Maga anywhere in sight at the time.

As far as I know Viyath Maga and Viyath Handa were two organizations of professionals that were together at one moment, broke up at another and reunited down the road. I was invited to a dinner meeting at the 80 Club by some professionals and academics with whom we had worked in the 2015 campaign, and Viyath Handa invited me to speak at a seminar or two, which I did. I never joined either Viyath Maga or Viyath Handa. Indeed I declined to attend the opening of the Viyath Maga office for the reason that I gave the friend who brought the invitation. I explained to her that the ideology and profile of Viyath Maga were too traditionalist, Sinhala nationalist and neoconservative not of a sort I could be associated with.

Continue reading ‘“Rear Admiral Weerasekara is Not Merely a Sinhala Buddhist Ultra-nationalist.He and His Co-thinkers Are Quite Simply, Dangerous Fascists” – Dayan Jayatilleka’ »

“The Very Fact That People Like Dayan Jayatilleka Are Living in Luxury in Colombo Without Any Fear, is Ample Evidence That There Are No Sinhala Buddhist Extremists In This Country”-Sarath Weerasekera

by

Rear Admiral (Retd) Dr Sarath Weerasekera VSV RWP USP

There was a swollen headed Brahmin called “Akkosha Bharadvaja” who, after studying a few Vedic stanzas and theories, thought that he was the only brilliant intellect in the country. This man, festered with venom and ill will, once unleashed his wrath on the Buddha. Buddha smiled and asked him “ Bharadvaja, if you give some food to a person and if that person refused to accept it, what would you do ? “Bharadvaja said” I will eat it myself”. Then Buddha said “ I refuse to partake of all what you said about me”. Bharadvaja felt ashamed and vanished. Going by the moral of that story, when Dayan Jayathilaka (DJ) called me a “notorious hawk” and a “mad dog” (Daily Mirror July 4, page 10) all what I say to him is ,“ I refuse to take it”. So it is up to DJ now either to keep it or gulp it.

DJ in the above article , referring to a picture of mine with Gotabhaya Rajapaksha (GR) says, that I am an aggressively anti-13A agitator and a Sinhalese Buddhist ultra nationalist. Let us take 13A first. After the 2015 Presidential elections, for reasons better known to DJ, he approached GR and joined Viyath Maga. When it became evident that his sole purpose of getting closer was to push GR towards 13A, naturally there were objections from others. I was of course one of the main speakers/writers against 13A. When DJ realized that he could not achieve his objective he left GR even without informing him. It is natural for a man to get utterly frustrated when he had miserably failed to date, to push the rulers of the country towards full implementation of 13A.

The hardcore federalists such as DJ who argue that 13A is the only answer, should be reminded as to how it was forced on us by India. India intervened and saved Prabhakaran and LTTE in 1987 when it was about to be crushed by our forces at Vadamarachchi. Then they forced JR to accept the 13A which was drafted in New Delhi! So the 13A is made in India, introduced to please the Tamil Nadu voters and separatist Tamil diaspora/politicians. Our country never wanted it.

Continue reading ‘“The Very Fact That People Like Dayan Jayatilleka Are Living in Luxury in Colombo Without Any Fear, is Ample Evidence That There Are No Sinhala Buddhist Extremists In This Country”-Sarath Weerasekera’ »

Reactions To Vijayakala Maheswaran Show That Even to Make Absurd and Outlandish Political Statements and to Get Away With Them, One’s Ethnicity Truly Matters.

By Sasanka Perera


Reading Ms Vijayakala Maheswaran’s statement at a public meeting in Jaffna on 2nd July 2018 reminded me of two popular aphorisms on history and the past. They deal with humanity’s propensity to not learn from the past. In the first of these, Margaret MacMillan observes, “we can learn from history, but we can also deceive ourselves when we selectively take evidence from the past to justify what we have already made up our minds to do.” The second, often attributed to George Santayana notes, “those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

In the relevant section of her speech, Ms Maheswaran noted, “now we remember how we lived before May 18, 2009. In the present conditions our main intention is to bring back the LTTE. If we want to live, if we want to walk freely, if we need our children to attend schools and return back.” As to be expected, there were shrill debates from the noisy and belligerent chambers of parliament to the cluttered spaces of the print and electronic media. In trying to understand what Ms Maheswaran is actually promoting, one also has to understand her position in the present government as well as at least something of her personal biography. Until she put her foot in her mouth in Jaffna, she was the State Minister of Child Affairs, and was speaking at an event known in Sinhala as ‘Janapathi Nila Mehewara,’ which translates into ‘Official Mission of the President.’ It seems to have been a thamasha designed to sing odes to the great things the president has done for the north after the end of war. Instead, Ms Maheshwaran in a Trumpian flip, went off the script and started to sing praises of the LTTE, among other things.

Continue reading ‘Reactions To Vijayakala Maheswaran Show That Even to Make Absurd and Outlandish Political Statements and to Get Away With Them, One’s Ethnicity Truly Matters.’ »

If Notorious Hawk Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara (retd) Were in the US Military His Washington Nickname Would Probably Be “Mad Dog”.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

‘Every Picture Tells a Story’ was the title of the best Rod Stewart album!

The landmark Viyath Maga event at the Shangri-La Hotel opened with the image in the very first slide, which showed Gotabaya Rajapaksa with only one other person in the frame, leaning over the shoulder of the seated GR.


That was Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara (Retd.), a notorious hawk, aggressively anti-13A agitator and Sinhala-Buddhist ultra-nationalist, rejected by the Sinhala voters of Digamadulla in the Eastern Province in favour of the non-racist progressive from the JO, Wimalaweera Dissanayake (who, it was revealed in Parliament, criticized Weerasekara’s demagoguery in Ampara during the local government election campaign).

If he were in the US military, Weerasekara’s Washington nickname would be “Mad Dog.” So what’s the Viyath Maga extravaganza’s opening photo-image emblematic of? What does it reveal and symbolize? What narrative does it illustrate?

It is not, as a senior professor pontificated recently, that the next election may see a choice between a “weak democracy” and a “hard authoritarianism,” but rather, what kind of “hard authoritarianism” it is likely to be and why. This is not hair-splitting. Between one variety of hard authoritarianism and another, lies not a distinction, but a world of difference.

Continue reading ‘If Notorious Hawk Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekara (retd) Were in the US Military His Washington Nickname Would Probably Be “Mad Dog”.’ »

Most Significant Aspect of Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s “Burning Birds” Film is the Director’s Fearless Depiction of State-sponsored Violence Which Prevailed in our Country

By Prof. Carlo Fonseka

In 1989, the year in which the events portrayed in this film took place in Sri Lanka, the country became literally the bloodiest place on earth. Its estimated murder rate was over 100 per 100,000 of its population. The rage for murder was generated and fueled by several interrelated conflicts. There were conflicts between ethnic groups; between haves and have-nots and between political rival groups. Involvement of paramilitary groups contributed to the mayhem. The film Burning Birds depict events that occurred in a small village in Eastern Sri Lanka, in 1989. The events add up not so much to a human story, but as a horrifying episode of real history. What redeems the film from oppressive gloom is the heroic struggle for survival of a 37-year-old mother of eight minor children, after her husband had been summarily abducted, tortured and executed by a paramilitary group. The role of the heroic mother, Kusum’s, played with a disciplined emotional power by Anoma Janadari an award-winning actress. She dominates the film and sustains the story. The suspicion that state-sponsored extrajudicial violence was operative in regard to the fate of her husband is hard to avoid.

Director Sanjeewa Pushpakumara

As it happened, the Director of the film Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s first feature film called Flying Fish had premiered at the International Film Festival at Rotterdam and attracted critical attention. In 2012, he was invited to Paris by Cinefondation of cannes Film Festival to its Residence program and commission to develop his second feature film namely, “Burning Birds” (Devena Vihangun). It is this film which emerged as the Best Film at the 15th International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva.

Continue reading ‘Most Significant Aspect of Sanjeewa Pushpakumara’s “Burning Birds” Film is the Director’s Fearless Depiction of State-sponsored Violence Which Prevailed in our Country’ »

State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s LTTE Speech Has Generated Two Contrasting Reactions


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

State Minister for Women and Children’s Affairs, Vijayakala Maheswaran has called for the resurrection of the LTTE to give dignity and order to Tamils.

“All of you know how our people lived before 2009-05-19. When comparing with today’s situation, it seems the LTTE should be revived. If our children and women are to come home safely, an LTTE administration is again necessary. What this government has done for the last three years is only returning the lands which were acquired. We thank the government for that. But beyond that the government has done nothing.

“A six-year-old girl was raped and killed. Our girls who are receiving no support from anyone have only one choice – to commit suicide. What are we to do? Is it for this that a President was appointed by us after so much toil? The situation is so bad that our children cannot go to school and return home safely,” she has said in a speech delivered at the 8th Presidential Public Service programme titled ‘Nila Mehewera for Northern Province’ held on July 3 at the Veerasingham Hall in Jaffna. Several government ministers and Northern Chief Minister C.V. Vigneswaran were also in attendance.

She later resigned from her portfolio on the request of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The UNP has launched an inquiry into her remarks.

Continue reading ‘State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s LTTE Speech Has Generated Two Contrasting Reactions’ »

Rise of Inter- Religious Tensions In the Multi-Ethnic eastern Province of Sri Lanka.

By

Meera Srinivasan

After Sinhalese mobs carried out a spate of attacks targeting Muslim eateries and shops in Ampara in the Eastern province, in February, Kandy in the Central province saw violence too. A vandalised mosque in Digana, located between Kandy and Teldeniya.

After Sinhalese mobs carried out a spate of attacks targeting Muslim eateries and shops in Ampara in the Eastern province, in February, Kandy in the Central province saw violence too. A vandalised mosque in Digana, located between Kandy and Teldeniya. | Photo Credit: Getty Images

The Eastern province sees a divide as sections of the Tamil community object to Muslim women embracing the abaya, a full-length, gown-like dress of Arab origin. Meera Srinivasan reports on the widening fault lines in the island nation’s ethnically most diverse region

The arch above the school gate looks like a crown over the pillars that support it on either side. It bears the name ‘Sri Shanmuga Hindu Ladies’ College’, painted in a turquoise blue that must have been vibrant once but looks faded now. Beyond the arch, a couple of two-storied pink buildings face each other. Their proximity amplifies the commotion that erupts when the bell rings. It is break time.

This school, many in Sri Lanka’s eastern port city of Trincomalee will tell you, is for girls who study well. It was founded in 1923 by Thangamma Shanmugampillai, a local advocate of women’s education. Shanmuga ‘College’, as many secondary schools in Sri Lanka are called, steadily built its reputation and has preserved it for nearly a century.

However, when the school made headlines in late April, it was not for an academic feat.

Continue reading ‘Rise of Inter- Religious Tensions In the Multi-Ethnic eastern Province of Sri Lanka.’ »

Army Chief Mahesh Senanayake Bans Persons Espousing Racism and Promoting Inter-ethnic Enmity Including Retired Defence Personnel,Politicians and Civil Sociery Activists From Entering Military Installations and Interacting With Serving Soldiers.

Army commander Mahesh Senanayake has ordered his troops not to allow any individual, including retired officers, who are actively engaged in sabotaging the country’s ethnic reconciliation efforts.

In a directive to all units of the Sri Lanka army, Lieutenant General Senanayake said the military condemned attempts to obstruct ongoing moves to build bridges between different communities since the end of the war in May 2009.

“Some politicians, retired military officers, civil society activists have been criticizing the reconciliation efforts while appreciating the work of terrorists. They are trying to damage the relations between the people in the north and the east the military,” Senanayake said.

“They are giving lectures that seek to damage the trust people have in the military and create a war fear psychosis.”

He did not name the individuals the military believes are harming inter-communal relations, but said they have already been identified by the media.

Continue reading ‘Army Chief Mahesh Senanayake Bans Persons Espousing Racism and Promoting Inter-ethnic Enmity Including Retired Defence Personnel,Politicians and Civil Sociery Activists From Entering Military Installations and Interacting With Serving Soldiers.’ »

The Same State Minister Who Is Now Emotional Over Rape in Jaffna Earlier Took Steps To Get the Main Accused Released in the Rape/Murder of Schoolgirl Vithya Sivaloganathan


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

When mad dogs bark at the moon, the wise would probably advocate just a shrug and a sigh.

However in a country where those who have lost their senses to all intents and purposes capture the public space so belligerently, shrugging and sighing may not suffice. The tide of insanity is so high that we not only have a senior member of the Buddhist clergy calling for ‘even a Hitler’ to rule this country to bring it back ‘onto the right path’ (never mind the stupendously oxymoronic nature of that injunction) but also a northern state minister calling for a ‘revival of the LTTE’ if children and women of the North and East are to come home safely without being raped and hurt.


Derangement and despairing ironies

Perchance and by themselves, these voices are solitary signs of derangement. While the ‘even Hitler’ call marks the zenith of imbecility, the northern state minister and those who support her may be questioned as to how this new found emotion in regard to girls being raped in the North had been so lacking on her/their part in the past, as for example when schoolgirl Vithya Sivaloganathan was brutally abused and killed in a gang killing with links to the police and Northern political underworld.

Indeed in what can only be a despairing irony, the trial-at-bar at the Jaffna High Court at the time had found this same state minister responsible for taking steps to secure the release of the main accused in that case. So when the state minister laments about the breakdown of law and order in the North, is that (seemingly) distraught) outrage only to be evidenced when state officers are implicated in rapes and killings of girls and women?

Continue reading ‘The Same State Minister Who Is Now Emotional Over Rape in Jaffna Earlier Took Steps To Get the Main Accused Released in the Rape/Murder of Schoolgirl Vithya Sivaloganathan’ »

Political Storm Created By Vijayakala Maheswaran’s Ill-timed Statement About LTTE Return.

By Gagani Weerakoon

Barely two weeks into Oddusudan Police arresting two suspects with a pressure mine, two remote control devices and some other weapons, a uniform, a flag, bombs and several military types of equipment belonging to the LTTE while they were being transported in a three-wheeler at Peraru Junction, Oddusudan, Mullaitivu, an ill-timed, misjudged gallery talk by State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran took Sri Lankan politics by storm.

Maheswaran, speaking to a gathering at a State event, the Janapathi Nila Mehewara, in Jaffna on 2 July, which was attended by Ministers Vajira Abeywardena and Tilak Marapana, had stated that the aim was to rebuild the LTTE and that they should remerge and be strengthened in the North and the East if the residents of those areas wished to remain alive, free of fear and suspicion and for their children to return home safely after attending school. She spoke in reference to the situation that had arisen in some areas as exemplified by the recent sexual abuse and murder of a six-year-old girl.

Continue reading ‘Political Storm Created By Vijayakala Maheswaran’s Ill-timed Statement About LTTE Return.’ »

Anuruddha Jayasinghe’s Film”The Frozen Fire” Based on JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera’s Life Becomes First Sri Lankan Film to Enter Best Picture Category Competition in 2019 Oscars.

Over the past two decades Sri Lanka has proffered a mere two films to the Academy Awards. In the hopes of getting a prestigious Oscar nomination, The Road from Elephant Pass (2008) and Mansion By The Lake (2002) were submitted to the Best Foreign Language Film Category. Ten years later, Sri Lanka makes a daring comeback. Making history, ‘The Frozen Fire’ becomes the first Sri Lankan film to enter the mainstream category for‘Best Picture’, Oscars 2019.

The film itself, ‘The Frozen Fire’, directed by Anuruddha Jayasinghe, outlines the historic yet controversial re-telling of Wijeweera’s life and death, the founding leader of the JVP – both rebel and politician. The film encompasses Wijeweera’s release from jail and the conflicted twelve years that follow, allowing the audience to view the film from multiple viewpoints including that of his family and close associates. Ariyawansha Dhammage, scriptwriter, includes a tumultuous recount of the events, emphasizing on how their personal and political lives entwined to end only in anguish – to both themselves and those around them.

Continue reading ‘Anuruddha Jayasinghe’s Film”The Frozen Fire” Based on JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera’s Life Becomes First Sri Lankan Film to Enter Best Picture Category Competition in 2019 Oscars.’ »

Lanka -born Michael Ondaatje Wins Golden Booker Award for Novel “The English Patient” as the Best Among Booker Award Winers for the Past Fifty Years.


By

Alison Flood

Twenty six years ago, the panel of judges were so unsure who should win the Man Booker in 1992 that they ended up with a tie: Michael Ondaatje and Barry Unsworth. But on Sunday evening Ondaatje edged ahead, with his bestselling novel The English Patient being named the best winner of the Booker prize of the last 50 years, in a public vote.

The Golden Booker was held this year to mark a half-century of the prize. A panel of judges read all 52 former winners of the award, with each assigned a decade from the Booker’s history. The Observer’s Robert McCrum, taking on the 1970s, chose VS Naipaul’s In a Free State; poet Lemn Sissay, reading the titles from the 1980s, went for Penelope Lively’s Moon Tiger; The English Patient was novelist Kamila Shamsie’s selection from the 1990s; Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall was nominated as the best of the 2000s by broadcaster Simon Mayo, and George Saunders’ Lincoln in the Bardo topped poet Hollie McNish’s reading of the 2010s Booker winners. The five books were then put to a public vote.

Speaking at the close of the Man Booker 50 festival in the Southbank Centre, London, on Sunday, Ondaatje said he had not reread The English Patient, which moves between a nurse tending a horribly burned man in an Italian villa at the end of the second world war and a tragic love affair from his past, since 1992.

Continue reading ‘Lanka -born Michael Ondaatje Wins Golden Booker Award for Novel “The English Patient” as the Best Among Booker Award Winers for the Past Fifty Years.’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake Revives Issue of Chinese Company Allegedly Paying 19.41 Million Rupees by HSBC Cheque No 594691 to Pushpa Rajapaksa Trust.

By the “Sunday Observer”News Desk

Allegations have resurfaced regarding large payouts to the former ruling family by another Chinese ports company, after Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake, who is becoming a lone crusader against corruption, revealed a copy of a cheque to the tune of Rs. 19.41 million made out to the Pushpa Rajapaksa Foundation in 2012.

The transaction has been previously reported, with a B report filed in the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court, but Ramanayake’s exposes has brought new documents about the payment into public domain for the first time.

Pushpa Rajapaksa is the wife of then Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa and the sister-in-law of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake Revives Issue of Chinese Company Allegedly Paying 19.41 Million Rupees by HSBC Cheque No 594691 to Pushpa Rajapaksa Trust.’ »

Rajapaksas Should Recall That the “New York Times” Once Defied the US President and Executive by Publishing “The Pentagon Papers” in a Landmark Achivement in Journalism.

By

Sarath de Alwis

The phrase ‘Cough up a Port’ held the essence of the New York Times story. It compacted the global perception of the Magampura Mahinda Rajapaksa Port and its progression to date, into the finite space of the simple phrase – Sri Lanka coughed up a port to China.

The ‘cough’ metaphor made Mahinda Rajapaksa acolytes puke an unbelievable quantity of vitriol and venom at two Sri Lankan journalists who professionally assisted the NYT journalist to carry out her assignment in the form of logistical support and background material.

Reasonable minds are baffled by the incendiary indignation and obsessional opprobrium manufactured and vented out by the former President and his substantial support base.

The Rajapaksa corporate megalith has no patience with a vibrant Free Press. Brother Gotabaya demonstrated how the press can be tamed. He took The Sunday Leader to court. The litigation dragged on until the publisher was forced to sell the outfit that was being sued for billions in damages. The buyer, of Wickrematunge’s staunchly anti-Government newspaper was a close associate of the former ruling family. Following a telephone altercation with the former Defence Secretary over the air transport of a puppy, the editor of the same newspaper at the time, was forced into exile.

The reader should remember that in those days, the law was applied either swiftly or slowly. It depended on which side of the Rajapaksa corporate megalith you stood.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksas Should Recall That the “New York Times” Once Defied the US President and Executive by Publishing “The Pentagon Papers” in a Landmark Achivement in Journalism.’ »

New Right-wing Buddhist Clerical Movement Desires a Hitler-type, Militaristic Person as the Ideal “Dharmika (righteous) Ruler” for Sri Lanka.

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

There are two new developments in Sri Lanka’s contemporary politics which is getting crystalized and clearer these days. They are: (a) the consolidation of a hard right-wing alternative to a weak and shaky democratic regime option, and (b) the projection of an ex-military officer as the embodiment of the new right-wing agenda. At the core of the first are groups of Buddhist monks, and retired military and navy officers who took part in the final phase of the war against the LTTE.

This essay comments on the first of the two right-wing political formations, the new movement of Buddhist monks, that has openly expressed its desire to see a ‘Hitler’ type military ruler winning Sri Lanka’s next presidential election due in late 2019.

The new right-wing Buddhist clerical movement has so far revealed the following key characteristics:

* It is a post-democratic political formation.

* It does not follow political parties. Rather, it wants political parties to follow its agenda

* It has selected its own lay political leader, who is an ex-military person, as an ideal dharmika or ‘righteous ruler (dehemipalakaya)

* It has conceptualized the concept of ‘dharmika ruler’ within a post-democratic paradigm of political thought

In the rest of this essay, I will discuss the following two features of this neo-right wing movement of the Buddhist Sangha: (a) the emerging paradigm of the ideal of dharmika ruler, and (b) its post-democratic character. I will also reflect, though briefly, on the political consequences of (a) and (b).

That discussion will also offer a brief account of the conceptual evolution of the notion of dharmika ruler.

Continue reading ‘New Right-wing Buddhist Clerical Movement Desires a Hitler-type, Militaristic Person as the Ideal “Dharmika (righteous) Ruler” for Sri Lanka.’ »

Let’s All Hail Vijayakala Who Is Not Merely the Heroine of the Day But the Queen of the Season.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Let’s all Hail Vijayakala”, shouted the Pohottuva Team in the current political circus.

“Come on, don’t you think it must be Hail Gota, our own Dahami Sinhala Hitler?” asked some members.

“No. No. Hail Vijayakala… just think of what she has done to help Mahinda Mama. She has pushed the New York Times to the background” said a Pohottuva Team leader.

“You must also understand that she may soon get special recognition from China, possibly a Chinese Red Dragon Award, for helping change the debate on Chinese funding of our elections”.

“I’m sure the Chinese Embassy must be working on that. They certainly wouldn’t like to be associated with Perpetual Treasuries on the funding of election campaigns – even for the former president’.

“Are you saying that Vijayakala is the heroine of the day?’

Continue reading ‘Let’s All Hail Vijayakala Who Is Not Merely the Heroine of the Day But the Queen of the Season.’ »

Vijayakala Has Raised Questions About the Success of the Yahapalana Policies in Bringing about Post-war Reconciliation Which Should Worry both President and Prime Minister

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The threat of fascism has taken a new twist with UNP State Minister for Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran taking the focus away from the religious and pious advise to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to live up to the Hitler name that he is associated with. It has also pushed aside to some extent the troubles faced by Mahinda Rajapaksa and the SLPP over the report in the New York Times about Chinese funding for the MR Presidential race in January 2015. It is the new spin of politics in the country, which is raising major issues for both the Government and the Opposition, drawing both influential foreign forces and the divisions of internal politics into the conundrum of governance in Sri Lanka.

The news of the resignation of Austin Fernando from the office of Secretary to the President, turns another light to the many controversial issues of governance that has dominated public interest in the past few months; with the revelations from the Bond Scam moving beyond what was expected from that probe. They are not confined to the UNP, Arjuna Mahendran and related conflicts of interest, but extending the recipients of perpetually crooked generosity, embracing both the UNP and SLFP, and certainly many others in elevated quarters of governance.

Vijayakala has gleefully waded into the politics of hatred with her call for the renewal of the LTTE. It could hardly be a ‘slip of the tongue’ as she says, but a deliberate thought on what she, and possibly others in Tamil politics too, think of the status of ethnic politics in the country. In fact, although not stated so directly, the Northern Province Chief Minister Vigneswaran has also made several public statements that held high the role of the LTTE in the cause of Tamil people and politics. What has now happened, is that a Minister of State of the UNP-led Government, praising the LTTE terrorist leader, and looking for the return for those Prabhakaran Tamil Tiger decades to serve the needs of the Tamil people. The attack is certainly directed against the UNP, and in the current political context it is hardly the stuff that Ranil Wickremesinghe would want to face.

Continue reading ‘Vijayakala Has Raised Questions About the Success of the Yahapalana Policies in Bringing about Post-war Reconciliation Which Should Worry both President and Prime Minister’ »

An English Translation of State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s Controversial Tamil Speech Calling for an LTTE Revival on July 2nd 2018

(The full text of an English Translation of the speech made in Tamil by State minister for women and children’s affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran at Veerasingham Hall Jaffna on 2018-07-02 is Reproduced here)

”The presence of home affairs minister Vajira Abeywardena at this event is highly appreciated by me and I thank him on behalf of the Jaffna people. I wish to tell the two ministers who are here that we are most hurt over the dismal situation prevailing here with no aid being provided.

The sufferings of a woman can be understood only by another woman and not by a man. A six years old girl was raped and killed. Our girls who are receiving no support from anyone have only one choice – commit suicide. What are we to do? Is it for this a president was appointed by us after so much toil? The situation is so bad that our children cannot go to school and return home safely.

Continue reading ‘An English Translation of State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran’s Controversial Tamil Speech Calling for an LTTE Revival on July 2nd 2018’ »

Cabinet Minister Mano Ganesan Urges Focus on Increasing Lawlessness in North and Forget about the “Immature, Emotional” Speech of Vijayakala Maheswaran.

Dismissing the controversial statement made by State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran as emotional and immature, National Integration, Reconciliation and Official Languages Minister Mano Ganesan yesterday urged focus on the real issue of the increasing lawlessness in the North.

“What we should be doing now is not discussing Vijayakala Maheswaran’s statement but the total breakdown of law and order in Jaffna,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Minister Mano Ganesan Urges Focus on Increasing Lawlessness in North and Forget about the “Immature, Emotional” Speech of Vijayakala Maheswaran.’ »

There Must be an Unequivocal Statement From the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Camp Dissociating From the Anunayake’s Inapt and Inept “Hitler” Statement.

By Susirith Mendis

The common story on the death of Hitler is that, on 30 April 1945, he killed himself with his own gun while biting on a cyanide capsule, in his Führerbunker in Berlin. In accordance with Hitler’s prior written and verbal instructions, that afternoon his remains and those of Eva Braun were carried through the bunker’s emergency exit, doused in petrol, and set alight in the Reich Chancellery garden outside the bunker. Records in the Soviet archives show that their burnt remains were recovered and interred in successive locations until 1970, when they were again exhumed, cremated, and the ashes scattered.

But doubts remained. The chief of the U.S. trial counsel at Nuremberg, Thomas J. Dodd had said that “No one can say he is dead”. The theory that Hitler did not commit suicide, but instead escaped with his wife was announced by Marshall Georgy Zhukov at a press conference on 9 June 1945 – said to be on orders from Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. When US President Harry Truman asked Stalin at the Potsdam Conference in August 1945 whether or not Hitler was dead, Stalin had replied bluntly, “No”. Declassified FBI documents contain a number of alleged sightings of Hitler to give substance to ‘Hitler-survival stories’. The book ‘Grey Wolf: The Escape of Adolf Hitler’ by British authors Simon Dunstan and Gerrard Williams, suggest that Hitler and Braun did not commit suicide, but actually escaped to Argentina. Having lived there in a comfortable Bavarian-styled mansion, says the book, Hitler died only in 1962.

With Hitler’s death in 1945 in doubt, and the myths circulating thereof, is it all that surprising that Hitler has been reincarnated in Sri Lanka in 2018?

This great revival of Hitler was triggered after the Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, Venduruwe Upali sermonising Gotabhaya Rajapakse (GR) says: “As the clergy, we feel the country needs a religious leader… Some people have described you as a Hitler. Be a Hitler. Go with the military and take the leadership of this country” – or something to that effect.

This kind of politically explosive profanity is usually uttered by politicians themselves – the not uncommon ‘foot-in-mouth’ disease amongst their kind. Not by erudite Buddhist priests during sermons to would-be leaders of the nation – even in the privacy of their homes.

Continue reading ‘There Must be an Unequivocal Statement From the Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Camp Dissociating From the Anunayake’s Inapt and Inept “Hitler” Statement.’ »

Outgoing US Envoy Atul Keshap Tells Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan that the Sri Lankan Govt’s Positive Image On the International Stage Should Not Be Taken for Granted.

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

The outgoing United States Ambassador His Excellency Atul Keshap paid a courtesy call on the Leader of the Opposition and the Tamil National Alliance Mr Sampanthan today at the office of the Leader of the Opposition in Colombo.

Via: @USAmbKeshap
“In a farewell call today, I told Honorable Leader of the Opposition Mr. Sampanthan what an honor it has been to benefit from his wisdom. I share his positive vision of a unified, peaceful, reconciled, democratic #SriLanka with equal rights and opportunity for all of its citizens.”

Expressing his views on the current state of affairs Mr.Sampanthan pointed out that the Government is yet to accomplish most of its commitments to the International community. The expectations of the international community in the best interest of the people of Sri Lanka has not been fulfilled by the Government of Sri Lanka said MrSampanthan.

Highlighting the commitments made by the Sri Lankan Government in the cosponsored resolution adopted at the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2015, Mr.Sampanthan said “the Office of the Missing Persons was established after a long delay, the Reparations bill is not yet passed, there had been no steps taken to address the Accountability issues, the commission on Truth Justice Reconciliation and non-Recurrence has not been constituted, the Constitutional process took a positive start but there seems to be delay in taking it forward”.
Continue reading ‘Outgoing US Envoy Atul Keshap Tells Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan that the Sri Lankan Govt’s Positive Image On the International Stage Should Not Be Taken for Granted.’ »

UNP State Minister of Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran Submits Resignation Letters to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

by Zacki Jabbar

State Minister of Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheshwaran yesterday quit her portfolio, pending government and UNP inquiries into her remarks praising the LTTE , during a Presidential Mobile Service event in Jaffna on Monday,

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, at meeting with Vijayakala, on Wednesday, had called for her explanation, saying that the government would not permit a revival of the LTTE, UNP sources said.

Continue reading ‘UNP State Minister of Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran Submits Resignation Letters to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Addl Sol-Gen Yasantha Kodagoda Tells Court That Perpetual Treasuries Subsidiary WM Mendis&Co Paid 5 Million Rupees in 2017 to Company Owned by Former MinisterRavi Karunanayake

By A.J. Abeynayake

Additional Solicitor General Yasantha Kodagoda yesterday told the Fort Magistrate court that Perpetual Treasuries subsidiary, W. M. Mendis and Company had paid Rs. 5mn to a company owned by UNP MP Ravi Karunanayake in 2017.

Making submissions before Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne on behalf of the Attorney General, Kodagoda said that a cheque issued by W. M. Mendis and Company had been encashed by Sunil Anderson Perera, an employee of Certis Lanka courier service and the money handed over to Brian Sinniah, Chief Financial Officer of Global Transportation and Logistics private Limited.

Continue reading ‘Addl Sol-Gen Yasantha Kodagoda Tells Court That Perpetual Treasuries Subsidiary WM Mendis&Co Paid 5 Million Rupees in 2017 to Company Owned by Former MinisterRavi Karunanayake’ »

There is a Large pro-LTTE Constituency in the North Regarding Prabhakaran as a Hero and Leader Which Means There is a Large Fascist or Neo-fascist Sentiment in the North


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?’

– WB Yeats, The Second Coming

Though that may change, this island has so far produced only one movement which qualifies as Fascist by international standards. When the LTTE was decisively defeated in May 2009, the prestigious journal The Economist (London) described it as “almost classically fascist”. This was not a journalistic flourish. In his 1999 book ‘The New Terrorism’, Emeritus Professor Walter Laqueur wrote that “in terms of its ruthlessness and fanaticism the only parallels for the Tamil Tigers I can think of are the European fascist movements of the 1920s and ’30s.” This of course meant Mussolini and Hitler. Prof Laqueur knew what he was talking about. When I was an undergraduate, the Penguin/Pelican Reader on Fascism was required reading. It was edited by Walter Laqueur.

Now that the New York Times is all the rage in Sri Lanka, it is worth recalling that John F Burns, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, wrote in the NYT that Prabhakaran was “South Asia’s Pol Pot”.

So, Vijayakala Maheswaran has just called for a revival of a separatist movement, a terrorist movement and a totalitarian fascist movement. She is a member of the United National Party. She is a Minister of State. She was speaking at an official function. She is not a rehabilitated member of the LTTE Women’s Wing. The statement was not made in the Jaffna university canteen or in an off-campus boarding house after the shades of dusk had fallen. This was as open as it gets and Ms. Maheswaran is as mainstream as you get. Which tells us something about the Northern mainstream. As the late Izeth Hussein, literary critic and diplomat used to say, what do you do when the mainstream is a sewer?

Continue reading ‘There is a Large pro-LTTE Constituency in the North Regarding Prabhakaran as a Hero and Leader Which Means There is a Large Fascist or Neo-fascist Sentiment in the North’ »

Appeal Court Stays Proceedings in Magistrates Court Against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Over Avant Garde Issue Until Tevision Application Filed by Him is Heard and Determined by Superior Court.

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Court of Appeal yesterday stayed the proceedings in the Magistrate Court against petitioner, Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, in respect of the Avant Garde issue until the revision application filed by him is heard and finally determined by the superior court.

The Court of Appeal issued notice on the respondents the Bribery Commission and Connected Authorities.

Senior state counsel Janaka Bandara conceded that both the Magistrate and the High Court Judge had referred to non-existing provisions of the Bribery Law.

Continue reading ‘Appeal Court Stays Proceedings in Magistrates Court Against Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Over Avant Garde Issue Until Tevision Application Filed by Him is Heard and Determined by Superior Court.’ »

Vijayakala Maheswaran To Resign Her State Minister Post Voluntarily To Pre-empt Removal by President and Prime Minister Pending Inquiry.

Child Affairs State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran says she has decided to resign from her ministerial position.

This comes in the wake of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe requesting President Maithripala Sirisena to remove Maheswaran from the ministerial position pending investigations.

Continue reading ‘Vijayakala Maheswaran To Resign Her State Minister Post Voluntarily To Pre-empt Removal by President and Prime Minister Pending Inquiry.’ »

Govt has Decided To Take Action Against State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran States Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana

The Government had already decided on the action that was to be taken against State Minister Vijeyakala Maheswaran, who had called for the resurgence of LTTE, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

“The belief of the Government is that LTTE, which is an organization that is banned internationally, should not re-emerge and that the national issue should be resolved with the consent of all ethnic groups.

“If someone in the Government had spoken contrary to this, action should be taken. We have therefore decided on the action that has to be taken against Mrs Maheswaran,” the Prime Minister said.

Continue reading ‘Govt has Decided To Take Action Against State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran States Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.’ »

Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran and Northern Provincial Council Chairman C.V.K.Sivagnanam Defend State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran Saying There Was Nothing wrong In Her Comments About Insecurity in the North.

The leadership of the northern provincial council has come to the defence of state minister Vijayakala Maheswaran who is under fire for having said that the province was more secure and free during LTTE control, according to radiogagana.com.

The chairman and the chief minister of the NPC say what Maheswaran has said is true.

North is insecure today

CM C.V. Vigneswaran has told the media in Jaffna that there was nothing wrong to comment on the prevailing insecurity of the northern people.

Continue reading ‘Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran and Northern Provincial Council Chairman C.V.K.Sivagnanam Defend State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran Saying There Was Nothing wrong In Her Comments About Insecurity in the North.’ »

TNA’s Sumanthiran MP To Move Adjournment Motion Urging Repeal of Provincial Councils (Amendment) Act No. 17 of 2017 Immediately to Ensure Holding Of Provincial Council Polls Without Postponement.

(Text of a Press Release Issued by the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Media office on July 4th 2018 regarding an Adjournment Motion To be moved by Hon M A Sumanthiran MP on 06/07/ 2018)

Adjournment Motion – To be moved by Hon M A Sumanthiran on 06/07/ 2018

Whereas the terms of office of 3 Provincial Councils came to an end in October 2017.

And whereas no election to the said three councils have been conducted to date owing to the fact that the Provincial Council Elections Act was amended in order to introduce reforms to the electoral process.

And whereas three more Provincial Councils will end their respective terms of office by October 2018.

Continue reading ‘TNA’s Sumanthiran MP To Move Adjournment Motion Urging Repeal of Provincial Councils (Amendment) Act No. 17 of 2017 Immediately to Ensure Holding Of Provincial Council Polls Without Postponement.’ »

Vijayakala Mheswaran Tells Ranjan Ramanayake She Got Excited and Made a Slip of the Tongue about Wanting the LTTE Back; Alleges She Refused Mahinda Rajapaksa Offer of One Billion Rupees and Cabinet Portfolio.

By

Chaturanga Samarawickrama


State Minister of Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran said she had not made any statement with the intention of bringing the LTTE back to life and said that it was a slip of the tongue.

She expressed these views during a telephone conversation with the Social Empowerment Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayaka who called her during a media briefing in Colombo today.

During the conversation, she explained that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had promised to give her Rs. one billion in cash and a Cabinet portfolio at the time of the previous regime.

The telephone conversation went as follows:

Continue reading ‘Vijayakala Mheswaran Tells Ranjan Ramanayake She Got Excited and Made a Slip of the Tongue about Wanting the LTTE Back; Alleges She Refused Mahinda Rajapaksa Offer of One Billion Rupees and Cabinet Portfolio.’ »

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Seeks Attorney -General’s Legal Advice Over Jaffna District MP Vijayakala Maheswaran’s Controversial Speech Before Contemplating Appropriate Action.

By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana

Speaker Karu Jayasuriya has asked the Attorney General whether State Minister Vijayakala Mahsewaran’s controversial statement calling for the resurgence of the LTTE violates the Constitution or any other laws of the country and if so to take appropriate action against her.

“A question has arisen as to the type of action to be taken against Ms. Maheswaran after the sentiments expressed by MPs in the House today. The MPs stressed the need to take action against Ms. Maheswaran.

Continue reading ‘Speaker Karu Jayasuriya Seeks Attorney -General’s Legal Advice Over Jaffna District MP Vijayakala Maheswaran’s Controversial Speech Before Contemplating Appropriate Action.’ »

Rising Crime Toll In North Makes UP State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran Lose Control Of Herself and Publicly Call For Return of LTTE Leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran.

Rising crime in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, ranging from armed robbery to rape and murder, coupled with a perceived unwillingness or inability of the police and the military to act, made Vijayakala Maheswaran, the Sri Lankan State Minister of Women and Child Affairs, call for the return of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The LTTE known for its brutal ways and separatism as well as its puritanism and zero tolerance of crime, was annihilated by the Sri Lankan armed forces after a 30 year war in May 2009.

While Vijayakala’s statement in Jaffna found resonance in the local Tamil population which has had to put up with unbridled crime in the past few monts, political parties in the Sinhalese-majority South Sri Lanka have called for stern action her for seeking the revival of a banned organization.

On Tuesday, issued rocked the Sri Lankan parliament. It had to be adjourned with the opposition vociferously demanding action against the Tamil minister. To mollify the agitated MPs, Speaker Karu Jayasuriya promised to seek the advice of the Attorney General on what action could be taken against the minister. Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he would talk to Vijayakala to find out what made her go hyperbolic on the issue.

Although Vijayakala did not make a public statement herself, whether reiterating or retracting her remarks, she told cabinet minister Akhila Viraj Kariyawasam, that as State Minister of Woman and Child Welfare, she was so perturbed by the rape and murder of a six year old child by an uncle of hers and the rape and murder of a 60 year old woman in front of her husband ,that she lost control.

Continue reading ‘Rising Crime Toll In North Makes UP State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran Lose Control Of Herself and Publicly Call For Return of LTTE Leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran.’ »

In the Absence of Mahinda, Sri Lanka’s Closest Equivalent to Mexico’s Lopez Obrador Example Would Be the Nomination of Ex-Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as Joint Opposition Presidential Candidate.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Mexico is an important country. It is not only the neighbor of the USA, it is a large and populous nation with a political history that has had an impact on the whole of Latin America. Just as the Right was cheering the receding of the “Pink Tide” that had swept Latin America, and the jailing of its iconic figure ex-President Lula of Brazil, comes the revival of the democratic, populist left in one of the most significant countries of Latin America. A few days ago, a veteran left populist leader Lopez Obrador swept the presidential election in Mexico in what was reported in the world’s media as a “populist landslide”.

Lopez Obrador is a veteran politician which is an important point to note in a global and Lankan context in which rightwing nationalist populism denounces politicians and celebrates being outside the democratic system. Lopez Obrador was Mayor of Mexico City before he made his first run for the Presidency in 2006 and was deprived of victory by electronic rigging. He is thus a highly experienced politician at both municipal and national levels.

The term ‘Populism’ was coined primarily in relation to Latin America. The paradigmatic populist was Juan Peron of Argentina. But there is populism and there is populism. There is a populism of the Left, the Center and the Right. Lopez Obrador is not a doctrinaire leftist. He is a left populist. He emphasizes the state sector, the social community, and the small peasantry—unlike the populists of the Radical Right from the US to Sri Lanka who emphasize none of these and instead fetishize the nation, religion, language and technological fixes.

Left populism stresses what unites the people, such as social justice and material welfare. New right populism stresses what divides people, such as race, religion and ethnocentric culture and tradition. Left populism looks forward. It is therefore classified correctly as progressive. Right populism looks backward at some glorious age. It is restorationist and reactionary.

The victory of Lopez Obrador also brings out the issue of nationalism. Lopez Obrador is a nationalist but not in the sense that President Trump is a nationalist. Left Populism doesn’t try to instill fear and anger. It is not a narrow nationalism, emphasizing race and religion. Left populism is nationalist but not nativist. It is a progressive nationalism, not an exclusivist or hegemonistic one. Left Populism is a nationalism that unites from below. In the nationalism /populism mix, left populism is more populist than nationalist while Right populism is more nationalist than populist.

Continue reading ‘In the Absence of Mahinda, Sri Lanka’s Closest Equivalent to Mexico’s Lopez Obrador Example Would Be the Nomination of Ex-Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as Joint Opposition Presidential Candidate.’ »

After Asgiriya Anunayake Called For Dictatorial Hitler Type Rule, Jaffna MP and State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran Wants Return of Authoritarian LTTE Leader Veluppilaai Prabhakaran.

A legislator in Sri Lanka has reportedly expressed a preference for feared Tamil Tiger leader Vellupillai Pirabharan who ruled a part of northern Sri Lanka by the gun, shortly after a southern monk called for rule by Hitler, in the latest twist in a country where authoritarianism is worshipped by sections of society.

Vijayakala Maheswaran, a legislator from the Northern Jaffna province had told a public ceremony that the Tamil Tiger leader was needed to make sure that children returned safely from school, after a 6-year old child was found brutally raped and killed, media reports said.

Continue reading ‘After Asgiriya Anunayake Called For Dictatorial Hitler Type Rule, Jaffna MP and State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran Wants Return of Authoritarian LTTE Leader Veluppilaai Prabhakaran.’ »

UNP State Minister In Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Coalition Govt Vijayakala Maheswaran Calls for Revival of LTTE “if the Tamils in the North and East Were To Live Without Fear”

The LTTE had to be revived if the Tamils in the North and East were to live without fear, State Minister of Child Affairs, Vijayakala Maheswaran said, yesterday at the 8th Presidential Public Service programme held at the Weerasingham Hall, Jaffna.

“A lot of Northern women face grave difficulties now. A six-year-old girl was killed recently in Jaffna. If the LTTE had been around still with us this would not have happened,” she said.

Continue reading ‘UNP State Minister In Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Coalition Govt Vijayakala Maheswaran Calls for Revival of LTTE “if the Tamils in the North and East Were To Live Without Fear”’ »

“We Remember How We Lived Before May 18, 2009.Our Main Intention is to Bring Back the LTTE if We Want To Live” says Child Affairs State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran.


By

Romesh Madushanka

It is seen that there is a huge need of reorganization of the LTTE in the North and East, State Minister of Child Affairs Vijayakala Maheswaran claimed today addressing the ‘Janapathi Nila Mehewara’ event at the Weerasingham Hall in Jaffna.

She said that reports relating to traces of LTTE reorganizing are heard regularly as a result of the people in the North and the East not willing to discard the LTTE from their hearts.

“Now we remember how we lived before May 18, 2009. In the present conditions our main intention is to bring back the LTTE If we want to live, if we want to walk freely, if we need our children to attend schools and return back.,” she said.

Continue reading ‘“We Remember How We Lived Before May 18, 2009.Our Main Intention is to Bring Back the LTTE if We Want To Live” says Child Affairs State Minister Vijayakala Maheswaran.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s US Citizenship and Presidential Ambition

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap will conclude his three year term in Colombo this August.He will be succeded by Alaina B. Teplitz the current US Ambassador to Nepal. Both Keshap and Teplitz were appointed envoys to Sri Lanka and Nepal respectively by former US president Barack Obama in March 2015. Both however are US foreign service career officers and not political appointees of President Obama

Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

Ambassador Keshap is currently winding up his duties in Sri Lanka gradually and bidding “Gihila Ennang/Poaittu Vaaraen”. He has been making a number of courtesy calls to prominent Sri Lankan leaders and dignitaries to bid au revoir. Very few of these farewell meetings – seen as a routine matter – were publicised in the Sri Lankan media. One such meeting however received wide publicity last week.This was when Atul Keshap paid a courtesy call to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his Wijerama Mawatte residence on Sunday June 10th. The main reason for this was a newspaper report stating that the proposed presidential candidacy of ex -defence secretary and Mahinda’s sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa figured prominently at the one to one talks.

Ambassador Atul Keshap

Interestingly enough the story about the Mahinda-Atul meeting was not broken by any newspaper published in Colombo. It was the Jaffna based Tamil Daily “Kaalaikkathir” (Morning Ray) of June 12th 2018 which scooped the story.The “Kaalaikkathir” in an exclusive report by a “special political correspondent” published as the lead story revealed details of the meeting between Rajapaksa and Keshap. The newspaper cited “Miha miha nambikkaiyaana vattaarangal” (very very trustworthy circles) as the source of the news story.
Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s US Citizenship and Presidential Ambition’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Refutes Allegations in “New York Times” Article About China Harbour Company Giving Funds to his 2015 Election Campaign.

(Text of a Media Release Issued By Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa Refuting Allegations made by the New York Times)

The New York Times published an article titled “How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port” on Monday June 25, 2018 and our political opponents have made quite a carnival of it, marching to the FCID to make complaints, holding press conferences and calling for presidential commissions of inquiry. However the main allegation in this article – that 7.6 million USD had been given to me as campaign contributions by China Harbor Co during the 2015 presidential elections, is based on a Reuters report that appeared three years ago in July 2015. At that time the new yahapalana government had suspended all Chinese funded projects and all Chinese firms including China Harbour Co which was building the Colombo Port City, were being investigated. More than a year later, this government cleared China Harbour Co of any wrongdoing and the Port City project was handed back to them.

No contribution was made by China Harbour Co to my 2015 presidential election campaign. While claiming that my ‘affiliates’ and ‘campaign aides’ had got the money and that ‘volunteers’ had delivered the cheques to Temple Trees, the writer of the New York Times article has been intentionally vague about who had given this money and who had received it. This seems to be a way of carrying out a smear campaign without incurring any liability. The Prime Minister himself has gone on record describing the Colombo Port City as the premier project on which his government has placed its hopes. If any election campaign contributions had been made to me by China Harbour Co, the Port City contract would not have been restored to them and neither would they have been allowed to bid for the lease of the Hambantota harbour.

The NYT writer has stated that they had obtained some of the details in that article from a Sri Lankan ‘government investigation’. Every Sri Lankan knows that the main preoccupation of this government since it came into power has been to sling mud at the opposition.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Refutes Allegations in “New York Times” Article About China Harbour Company Giving Funds to his 2015 Election Campaign.’ »

Upali Thera’s Anusasana to Gota Was Basically This – “Some people have described you as Hitler. Be a Hitler. Go with the military and take the leadership of this country.”


By
Neville de Silva

Monks, like others, are not all learned men. While all of them may know the dhamma (though not all of them practise the Buddha’s teaching), their knowledge of history and world affairs, among others, needs to be refreshed. That, of course, is if they had learnt and imbibed such worldly knowledge in their reading and discourse.

To err, said Pope (Alexander that is), is human, to forgive divine. Not being divine and not seeking divine intervention those who sought to condemn the conduct of some recalcitrant members of the sangha or their questionable notions on politics and society had perforce to rely on their own resources — at some risk to self and kith and kin.

In recent years, the aggressive public conduct of some bhikkhus has come in for condemnation. For instance, the behaviour of Galagodaatthe Gnanasara Thera who was recently released on bail shortly after receiving a six-month prison sentence, some monks who attacked a safe house for Rohingya refugees in Mount Lavinia and other acts of ethnic and religious hate have raised concerns, if not the anger, of other monks and the laity at the desecration of the Buddha’s teaching by those who have vowed to uphold and spread them.

While such unBuddhist-like public conduct was widely condemned even they were overshadowed in the more thinking and articulate circles by recent remarks made in the course of an anusasana at a dana offered to monks by Gotabaya Rajapaksa on his 69th birthday.

Continue reading ‘Upali Thera’s Anusasana to Gota Was Basically This – “Some people have described you as Hitler. Be a Hitler. Go with the military and take the leadership of this country.”’ »

Buddhist Hitler,Nazi Nirvana and the Saffron – Khaki Collaborative Effort to Set up a Patrimonial Garrison State.

By

Sarath de Alwis


“If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
Adolf Hitler

Shine as they may, there are no kings, adorned with jewellry and pearls, that shine as does a man restrained, adorned with virtue’s ornament. – Visuddhimagga

The two quotes – one from Dear Adolf’s ‘Mein Kampf’ and the other from Buddhagosha’s ‘Visuddhimagga’ – path to purification, demonstrate the incongruity of the dhamma that emanate from the Monastic monopoly, that holds hostage our national consciousness.

The Anunayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter Ven. Vendaruwe Upali thero has told us not to politicise or misinterpret his references to the words ‘Hitler’ and ‘Military’ used in his 30-minute long ‘Anushasanawa’.

He has advised us to consider it in the correct context. The objective of this exercise is to place his references to ‘Hitler’ and ‘Military’ in the correct and appropriate context. Obviously, it must be the Sinhala Buddhist context.

Now, the disciple, devotee and direct recipient of the advice and ‘Anushasana’ of the venerable Anunayaka thero has weighed in. The sermon including the reference to Hitler was advice tendered to him and he was puzzled by the excitement it has caused. According to him, the Buddha has advised the Sangha to preach only to the wise. Now that, dear reader, Vintage Gotabaya Rajapaksa is doing what he knows best- Bana Talking- his specialty.

A more learned label ‘would be fetishization of Buddhism.

Continue reading ‘Buddhist Hitler,Nazi Nirvana and the Saffron – Khaki Collaborative Effort to Set up a Patrimonial Garrison State.’ »

Sri Lankan Police Re-Launch Investigation Into Alleged Funding of Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Election Campaign By China Harbour Engineering Company.

Police has been asked to revive an investigation into alleged Chinese funding of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s re-election bid following a foreign newspaper report that $7.6 million was paid through the Standard Chartered Bank.

Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment Ranjan Ramanayake lodged a complaint with the Financial Crimes Investigation Division on Friday after the New York Times (NYT) last week said that the China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) paid the money days before the January 2015 election.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Police Re-Launch Investigation Into Alleged Funding of Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Election Campaign By China Harbour Engineering Company.’ »

Though Done With The Best of Intentions Asgiriya Chapter Anunayake’s Birthday Blessings have Erected a Barrier Between Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the Presidency.

By

Don Manu

Twenty Twenty presidential hopeful, birthday boy Gotabaya Rajapaksa may have felt somewhat uncomfortable when a monk, no less a personage than the Anunayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter the Venerable Vendaruwe Upali, whom he had invited along with a retinue of other senior monks to his residence for an alms-giving ceremony to celebrate his 69th birthday on the 21st of June, unwittingly stamped his forehead with Hitler’s anti clockwise Swastika and bade him take over power with the aid of the military.

It was a birthday blessing Gotabaya Rajapakse could well have done without. For when the venerable monk, perhaps, with the best of intentions, said in his sermon televised nationwide that night that: “You are known as a Hitler and you should use the military and take power,” Gotabaya would have immediately surmised the immense damage that would be caused to his bid or Lanka’s top job.

As he said on Tuesday to the gathered media, after emerging from the FCID office where he had been questioned for two hours over the alleged misuse of public finance to erect a memorial to his late father, that he understood the full import of the monk’s blessings, and that only lesser mortals who did not possess ‘pragna’ or true understating would have failed to grasp it meanings, he would have realised that the ‘Hitler’ slur cast even with good faith would indeed have long-term consequences which would serve to darken the promise of his bloom even before the flower’s dawn.

He already faced two hurdles before he could step foot in the river Rubicon. The first concerned his dual citizenship which he had to renounce before being able to contest the Presidency of Lanka as the 19th Amendment to the Lankan Constitution dictated. Even though willin’ to do so, the hitch was whether the United States Government would allow him to do so. As stated in the Sunday Punch two weeks ago, renunciation was no unilateral matter but a two-way street. Unless Uncle Sam wished to dance the tango with him and agreed to free him from US bondage to pursue his quest to win the Lankan presidency without the legal encumbrance that prevents him now, it remained in the American Government’s hands to delay the procedure beyond 2020 and thus buckle his presidential bid.

The second hurdle was that the Pohottuwa has still not chosen him as the presidential candidate for the twenty twenty presidential election. The blessings lay in his elder brother former president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s hands. And he had still not made his choice.

Continue reading ‘Though Done With The Best of Intentions Asgiriya Chapter Anunayake’s Birthday Blessings have Erected a Barrier Between Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the Presidency.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Southern Naval Headquarters Will Be Moved From Galle Harbour to Hambantota Port Leased to Chinese Firm Announces Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Sri Lanka will move its southern naval headquarters to the Hambantota port which is leased to a state-run Chinese firm under a billion-dollar deal, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s office said.

Wickremesinghe has made it clear in his talks with Chinese leaders that Hambantota port will not be allowed to be used for any military purposes, his office said in a statement dispelling reports that Beijing could get a military foothold there.

“The Sri Lanka navy is moving its Southern Command to Hambantota,” the statement said. “There is no need to be frightened as security of the port will be under the control of the Sri Lanka Navy.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Southern Naval Headquarters Will Be Moved From Galle Harbour to Hambantota Port Leased to Chinese Firm Announces Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Where The Government Fail To Govern Summary Justice Will Become The Order of The Day



By
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Competing for top billing for the most ghastly news headlines this week has been public outrage over rampant robberies and murders by notorious underworld gangs along with feverish speculation over the (possibly apocryphal) list of politicians who accepted money from tainted financier Arjun Aloysius and a fracas over Chinese funding of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s election campaign.

And as always, the tussle is on who is to blame rather than contributing to a concerted national effort to address key failures of the Rule of Law.

Human tragedies trodden underfoot

But it is uplifting to remember that even despite horrific violence which has now become the norm in Sri Lanka, acts of incredible bravery occur every day. Last Friday, as a jewellery shop was robbed at gun point by underworld gangsters, a policeman who tried to stop them was shot at immediately after which, three civilians rushed forward to help him even in the midst the murder and the mayhem.

Here were two outstanding examples of courage (literally) under fire which cannot fail to touch our hearts over and above the mundane irritants of everyday life. Police constable (later promoted to Sergeant) Suranga Pradeep Weerasinghe died later in hospital, leaving behind a young family who said that they did not want a police hero but only wanted their father back alive.
These are human tragedies that are trodden underfoot in the rush of politicians seeking to capitalize on such happenings. Those in the group of the former President hold forth in hypocritical floods regarding the breakdown in law and order while ruling parliamentarians point delightedly to the nurturing of the South’s feared criminals and underworld gang members by the Rajapaksa Presidency at the time.


The criminalization of Sri Lanka’s communities

But this passing of blame does not really help anguished and unfortunate citizens. Putting aside the vexed question of corrupt politicians and monitoring campaign finance for the moment, the fact remains that the country’s law enforcement process remains crippled by politicization, corruption, inefficiency and sheer idiocy, that last rider being compelled by the preposterous direction to the police by its chief, the Inspector General of Police to compulsorily engage in meditation.

In the midst of such chaos and with the police service generally being reviled rather than commended, one can only feel a considerable measure of pity for brave policemen such as Suranga Pradeep Weerasinghe who died in the course of carrying out his duty. But this has in fact, been the lot of any honourable officer who chooses to serve in the police service. Bereft of institutional discipline and the sense of pride that should be the backbone of a functional law enforcement agency, the Sri Lanka police is in a dolorous state. The ugly underbelly of the nexus between organized criminal gangs and some individuals within law enforcement has been exposed for quite some time. Even as Government politicians state that the underworld would be dealt with in terms of the law, the hollowness of those reassurances is plain to see.

If law enforcement had been the priority of the Unity Government during the past three years, what we face now would be vastly different. Given the spate of arrests that has taken place, including family members of the underworld suspects, it is not difficult to see the extent to which the criminalization of communities has occurred. The underworld members who were imprisoned had been welcomed and feted with gusto by other inhabitants within the prison walls. All this speaks to the overall impunity that prevails.

Notion of summary justice

That being said, the shooting of one of the main suspects in the Matara robbery by the police while he was being taken in police custody to recover a hidden clothes bag, even as we hear that familiar story that he was killed while trying to lobby a grenade, is not reassuring. The fact that this was a person wanted for a number of murders and robberies has been offered by the police as an assumed justification for the killing.

But if one subscribes to this theory, we are leaning perilously close to the doctrine of Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte who has issued ‘shoot on sight’ orders for drug traffickers. Resulting in death tolls that has included innocent civilians labeled as “collateral damage”, the lethal force employed has been more a political ploy rather than yielding actual results. Duterte has also famously said that he would have his son killed if drug trafficking allegations against him were borne out and that he would ensure non prosecution of the police officers who carry out the killing. These are astounding statements coming from an elected leader but have gained him enormous support from Philippine citizens terrorized by drug violence.
Is this the savage state that we want for this country? That is a good question to be asked from those who applaud police killings of suspects in custody and go to the extent of calling for a return of the white vans in this country, without any appreciation of the dangers in this reasoning. This too is a facet of the breakdown of the Rule of Law as much as the dastardly acts of underworld gangs.

No quick solutions are possible

However it is inescapably true that where the Government fails to govern, summary justice will become the order of the day. We saw this to a large extent during the Rajapaksa Presidency. And it is wholly ironic if not worrying that these happenings continue without apparent consequences under the ‘yahapalanaya’ administration. That must be stopped. It is this failure that ties into public demand for a political ‘strong man’ to lead the country, which has attracted support in some constituencies. The best way to undermine that support is to show concrete results in terms of leadership, without quarreling over who is to blame in regard to what.

Importantly there must be a concerted effort to roll back the criminalization of Sri Lanka’s communities and a strengthening of law enforcement which cannot be accomplished through renaming the Department of the Police or giving its officers, shiny new uniforms. The reform must come from within the institutional structures and must be a laboured and carefully thought out process. No quick solutions are possible at this stage.

Absent that effort, we may resign ourselves to living in a land where summary justice reigns and will almost inevitably, in the nature of all things, come to our own doorstep.

Courtesy:Sunday Times

Would Asgiriya Chapter Anunayake Thera’s Birthday Anusasana Advice to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Bring About the Emergence of an “Arya Sinhala Hitler” in Sri Lanka?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa arriving at the FCID on Monday. Picture by Rukmal Gamage
Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa arriving at the FCID on Monday. Picture by Rukmal Gamage
The twists and turns of politics are moving into fresh confrontations both within the government, and between the government and opposition. The call for a local Hitler by a senior member of the Maha Sangha continues to hold the interest in the political debate, while Mahinda Rajapaksa and the Joint Opposition will certainly have to face questions about Chinese funding for MR’s election in the Presidential Poll in January 2015, and Mahinda Rajapaksa is offering to be a political courier to bring his cousin Udayanga Weeratunga for investigations on corruption.

The birthday anusasana where Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was asked to follow the Hitler tradition of using the army to rebuild what was seen as a fast declining country, continues to echo in the discourse on politics, with Gotabhaya himself stating the reverend monk’s counsel was for him, which he clearly understood, while those who did not understand it are making a big noise about it.

It is interesting to know what exactly is understood by anyone, listening to an important anusasana or advisory sermon by one learned in religion, who reminds a former officer of the Sri Lanka Army, who as Secretary of Defence, is said to have been known as a Hitler, and is a likely candidate for the next Executive Presidency, to follow the example of the German Nazi leader, and give leadership to the Army to face what is seen as the noticeable decline in the country.

Continue reading ‘Would Asgiriya Chapter Anunayake Thera’s Birthday Anusasana Advice to Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Bring About the Emergence of an “Arya Sinhala Hitler” in Sri Lanka?’ »

“New York Times” Article About Hambantota Port and Growing Influence of China in the Sri Lanka is a US Warning Bell Regarding the Possible Return of a Pro-Beijing Govt in Colombo.

By Wasantha Rupasinghe

On June 25, the New York Times published a lengthy front page article entitled “How China Got Sri Lanka to Cough Up a Port.” The more than 3,800-word piece repeats the usual allegations manufactured by the Times, and other media conduits for Washington’s foreign policy propaganda, about growing Chinese influence in Sri Lanka.

The tone and timing of the piece is aimed at sending a clear message to Colombo: ‘US imperialism is watching you closely, do not attempt to divert from our military-strategic preparations for war against China.’

The US and its international allies have long put pressure on Sri Lanka, which is strategically located close to major Indian Ocean sea lanes straddling Asia and Africa. As a result, the island-nation has been dragged into the maelstrom of global geo-political tensions, mainly between the US and China, and Washington’s concerted economic and military offensive to undermine Beijing’s influence throughout the Indo-Pacific region.

According to the Times, China is using loans and aid “to gain influence around the world” and is willing to “play hardball to collect.” To prove this claim, the newspaper comments on China securing a majority share of Sri Lanka’s southern port of Hambantota. The facility was built during former President Mahinda Rajapakse’s rule.

Continue reading ‘“New York Times” Article About Hambantota Port and Growing Influence of China in the Sri Lanka is a US Warning Bell Regarding the Possible Return of a Pro-Beijing Govt in Colombo.’ »

19 Year Old Loyola College BA(French) Student From Tamil Nadu Anukeerthi Vas Crowned India’s Beauty Queen at Femina Miss India 2018 Pageant.

Anukreethy Vas from Tamil Nadu was declared the winner of the 55th edition of Femina Miss India 2018 pageant held at Dome, NSCI Stadium whereas Miss Meenakshi Chaudhary from Haryana and Miss Shreya Rao from Andhra Pradesh bagged the first and second runner up positions respectively.

The winners were crowned by the previous year winners, Miss World 2017, Manushi Chillar, Miss United Continents 2017, Sana Dua and Miss Intercontinental 2017, Priyanka Kumari for the respective titles to the end of the event.

Continue reading ‘19 Year Old Loyola College BA(French) Student From Tamil Nadu Anukeerthi Vas Crowned India’s Beauty Queen at Femina Miss India 2018 Pageant.’ »

Does Financial Discipline Mean Letting the Sri Lankan Rupee Slide Downwards According to International Monetary Fund Dictates?

By Dr. Ranil Senanayake

It is with a sense of foreboding that I pen this, returning from Ecuador, to find the rupee tumbling at pace that was once familiar to me back in 1994 in Ecuador. At that time the IMF was giving them the same advice that they are providing us today: “The International Monetary Fund urged Sri Lanka Wednesday to let its rupee keep sliding and not intervene further to bolster the ailing currency as it fell to historic lows “(23-08-18). My first arrival in Ecuador it was 1994 and their currency the Sucre, was about 2000 to a dollar but every month it seemed to fall a little further. An inquiry, revealed that the IMF had urged the government not to bolster the ailing currency which was 25 per USD by 1970 and 1990 stood at around 800 per USD. As the currency sank to 3000 Sucre to a dollar in 1995, the impact on the population especially the poor became serious, but that time, the fall was unstoppable and relentless, by the end of 1999 it stood at 25,000 Sucre to the dollar and on March 2000, President Noboa signed a law passed by Congress, replacing the Sucre with the United States dollar at an official exchange rate of 25,000 Sucres per US$1.

Does this scenario sound familiar? Does the relentless downward slide of our currency, reflect compliance with the dictates on the IMF? Why do our politicians, having borrowed for useless white elephants, insist on borrowing even more to pay the interest on these extractive loans? Has the public ever considered the consequences of this stupid profligacy, when we have to pay increasingly more for the weekly groceries? It is reported that a former finance minister recently commented that, they need to take loans because “A new government can’t just stop loans. It’s a relay; you need to take them until economic discipline is introduced.” Is the IMF’s idea of financial discipline ‘letting the rupee slide?

Continue reading ‘Does Financial Discipline Mean Letting the Sri Lankan Rupee Slide Downwards According to International Monetary Fund Dictates?’ »

JVP Founder-Leader Rohana Wijeweera’s Wife Srimathi Chithranganie Wijeweera Files Habeas Corpus Writ In Appeal Court Seeking Court Order to Produce her Husband Who Was Arrested on November 13th 1969.


By Chitra Weerarathne

Srimathi Chithranganie Wijeweera, the wife of the founder of the JVP yesterday filed a Habeas Corpus application in the Court of Appeal requesting the court to issue a mandatory order on the Defence Authorities and the Attorney General to produce Wijeweera before the court.

The application also requests the court to order the release of Wijeweera from detention custody.

The petitioner says that her husband has disappeared since his arrest on November 13, 1989. His whereabouts are not known. Whether he is dead is not known to the family.

Continue reading ‘JVP Founder-Leader Rohana Wijeweera’s Wife Srimathi Chithranganie Wijeweera Files Habeas Corpus Writ In Appeal Court Seeking Court Order to Produce her Husband Who Was Arrested on November 13th 1969.’ »

Centre for Policy Alternatives Urges Swift Action in Adherence to the Rule of Law to Address Increase in Violence

29th June 2018, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is alarmed by the recent spate of violence in Sri Lanka, including the custodial death this weekend, the death of a police constable and the inability of the authorities to contain the violence and bring perpetrators to justice. These incidents are evocative of a time when excessive force and extrajudicial practices was commonplace, with a complete disregard towards the guarantees provided in the Constitution of Sri Lanka and procedural safeguards. In the absence of swift action where the rule of law is upheld, we fear a slide back towards a society engulfed in violence with a thriving culture of impunity.

The most recent custodial death occurred when the victim/accused, under police custody, attempted to throw a hand grenade and was reportedly shot by the police. This incident is a reminder of several such unsolved incidents of custodial deaths in the past, some dating for over a decade, with similar reports of victims either attempting to attack or escape and being shot at in the process. As reported in the joint civil society submission for Sri Lanka’s Universal Periodic Review in 2017 and other reports, incidents of extrajudicial killings, while reduced from the previous regime, still continue with much work to be done to bring perpetrators to justice.

Continue reading ‘Centre for Policy Alternatives Urges Swift Action in Adherence to the Rule of Law to Address Increase in Violence’ »

Akila Viraj Kariyawasam Challenges Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Prove He is a True Patriot By Revoking His US Citizenship Regardless of Whether He Contests the Sri Lankan Presidential Election or Not.


The Minister of Education yesterday challenged former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to revoke his American citizenship regardless of whether the latter would contest in a Sri Lankan election.

“A true patriot will have no problem revoking the citizenship of another country,” Minister of Education and UNP General Secretary Akila Viraj Kariyawasam said.

Minister Kariyawasam made these remarks while addressing a press conference yesterday at the UNP Headquarters in Kotte.

Continue reading ‘Akila Viraj Kariyawasam Challenges Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Prove He is a True Patriot By Revoking His US Citizenship Regardless of Whether He Contests the Sri Lankan Presidential Election or Not.’ »

Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy Refutes Allegations Made By Ex-Minister Ravi Karunanayake Against Senior Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe.

Central Bank Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy yesterday defended one of the institutions top officials against former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, insisting his record as an economist remains outstanding.

The short statement released by the Central Bank is given in full below.

Continue reading ‘Central Bank Governor Indrajit Coomaraswamy Refutes Allegations Made By Ex-Minister Ravi Karunanayake Against Senior Deputy Governor Nandalal Weerasinghe.’ »

Ranjan Ramanayake Complains to FCID About Mahinda Rajapaksa Receiving Funds From Chinese Company for his Presidential Election Campaign as Reported in New York Times.

By Skandha Gunasekara

Social Empowerment Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake yesterday lodged a complaint at the Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) against former President Mahinda Rajapaksa regarding reports that the latter received campaign funding over $ 7 million from a prominent Chinese company.

Referring to a recent New York Times article on the issue, Deputy Minister Ramanayake said that the report claims that Rajapaksa had received $ 7.6 million in a single payment for his 2015 Presidential election campaign.

Ramanayake said that he lodged a complaint with the FCID last morning to ensure justice was meted out.

Continue reading ‘Ranjan Ramanayake Complains to FCID About Mahinda Rajapaksa Receiving Funds From Chinese Company for his Presidential Election Campaign as Reported in New York Times.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Has Not Been Bold Enough To Categorically Condemn Upali Thera’s “Hitler” Comments Though He Had The Opportunity To do So

By
Lakdev Liyanagama

The shadow of former Defence Secretary and Rajapaksa sibling Gotabhaya Rajapaksa looms large these days over the Sri Lankan political firmament. Not yet officially nominated as a candidate for the 2020 presidential elections, he appears to have assumed that role by default. Still, Rajapaksa found out last week that the publicity he generated made not be the type that furthers his cause.

The controversy began at an alms-giving conducted to mark Rajapaksa’s 69th birthday. All the politically active Rajapaksa siblings, Chamal, Mahinda and Basil were also in attendance. It is also noteworthy that some parliamentarians from the ‘group of sixteen’ who recently left President Maithripala Sirisena’s government- notably John Seneviratne, Dayasiri Jayasekara and Thilanga Sumathipala- were present on the occasion.

The Rajapaksas being always adept at courting the support of Buddhist monks, the anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, Wendaruwe Upali Thera was at hand to deliver a sermon. It was this sermon that raised eyebrows.

“We need a leadership that is tied to the Sinhalese and Buddhists. However, we see that the dhamma is not functioning in the country. As a result, there is a crime wave. Therefore, the Maha Sangha feels the need for a just ruler. You have been called a Hitler. You must mend this country even if it means becoming a Hitler. Conduct a military rule if necessary and mend this country,” Upali Thera said in his sermon, with Gotabhaya Rajapaksa seated in front of him.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Has Not Been Bold Enough To Categorically Condemn Upali Thera’s “Hitler” Comments Though He Had The Opportunity To do So’ »

China Funded Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2015 Election Campaign Through Cheques Amounting to US $ 7.6 Million and $ 3.7 M Dollars Issued Via Two Standard Chartered Bank Accounts Operated By Hambantota Port Development Project -NYT

By Maria Abi-Habib


HAMBANTOTA, Sri Lanka
— Every time Sri Lanka’s president, Mahinda Rajapaksa, turned to his Chinese allies for loans and assistance with an ambitious port project, the answer was yes.

Yes, though feasibility studies said the port wouldn’t work. Yes, though other frequent lenders like India had refused. Yes, though Sri Lanka’s debt was ballooning rapidly under Mr. Rajapaksa.

Over years of construction and renegotiation with China Harbor Engineering Company, one of Beijing’s largest state-owned enterprises, the Hambantota Port Development Project distinguished itself mostly by failing, as predicted. With tens of thousands of ships passing by along one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, the port drew only 34 ships in 2012.

And then the port became China’s.

Mr. Rajapaksa was voted out of office in 2015, but Sri Lanka’s new government struggled to make payments on the debt he had taken on. Under heavy pressure and after months of negotiations with the Chinese, the government handed over the port and 15,000 acres of land around it for 99 years in December.

The transfer gave China control of territory just a few hundred miles off the shores of a rival, India, and a strategic foothold along a critical commercial and military waterway.

The case is one of the most vivid examples of China’s ambitious use of loans and aid to gain influence around the world — and of its willingness to play hardball to collect.

The debt deal also intensified some of the harshest accusations about President Xi Jinping’s signature Belt and Road Initiative: that the global investment and lending program amounts to a debt trap for vulnerable countries around the world, fueling corruption and autocratic behavior in struggling democracies.

Months of interviews with Sri Lankan, Indian, Chinese and Western officials and analysis of documents and agreements stemming from the port project present a stark illustration of how China and the companies under its control ensured their interests in a small country hungry for financing.


During the 2015 Sri Lankan elections, large payments from the Chinese port construction fund flowed directly to campaign aides and activities for Mr. Rajapaksa, who had agreed to Chinese terms at every turn and was seen as an important ally in China’s efforts to tilt influence away from India in South Asia. The payments were confirmed by documents and cash checks detailed in a government investigation seen by The New York Times.

Continue reading ‘China Funded Mahinda Rajapaksa’s 2015 Election Campaign Through Cheques Amounting to US $ 7.6 Million and $ 3.7 M Dollars Issued Via Two Standard Chartered Bank Accounts Operated By Hambantota Port Development Project -NYT’ »

Hitler the Architect of the Jewish Holocaust Killed Six Million Jews as Part of his Depraved “Final Solution”

By

Sasanka Perera

Ven. Endaruwe Upali, Deputy Chief Priest of the Asgiriya Chapter in the Buddhist ecclesiastical order, is in the news. But it is not for his knowledge of the Dhamma or for the erudite delivery of a sermon worthy of Buddhism’s timeless appeal or for his strict adherence to vinaya, the set of disciplinary rules, which is expected to embellish the moral and ethical character of the Buddhist clergy. In fact, he is in the news for all the wrong reasons.

At an offering of alms to mark the 69th birthday of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa a few days ago at his residence in Mirihana and in the presence of many luminaries supportive of Rajapaksa’s presidential ambitions, the monk had observed in a sermon, “as the clergy, we feel the country needs a religious leader … Some people have described you as a Hitler. Be a Hitler. Go with the military and take the leadership of this country.” The news has been reported slightly differently in different news portals. Even so, the basic thrust of the Reverend’s argument is what I have quoted above. Today, I will not deal with Rajapaksa’s presidential campaign or his suitability for the country’s top job. My interest is merely with the Hitlerite analogy or metaphor the monk had drawn in blessing Rajapaksa and his politics. And this has been done by no ordinary man off the street. He is one of the most high-ranking members of the country’s Buddhist clergy. And the primary example he used in his sermon is not merely any man lost to the mists of history, but the architect of the Jewish holocaust, which killed six million Jews as part of his depraved ‘final solution.’

As I grew up, my parents and teachers in school did not ever bring up the character of Hitler as something that we should emulate, but as the ultimate example of pure evil no one should contemplate even in one’s worst nightmare. In the 1980s, in the midst of graduate studies, I remember buying Hitler’s Mein Kampf for US$ 1.00 and bringing it to Colombo in the mid 1980s on a rare vacation. Both my parents reprimanded me for reading such ‘dangerous’ stuff, and admonished me not to leave the book lying around. That was because a somewhat politically unhinged neighbour had been accosting me regularly those days to try and borrow the book to translate it into Sinhala. He thought Hitler’s ‘final solution’ had much to contribute to Sri Lankan politics with regard to what he called the ‘Tamil problem.’

Continue reading ‘Hitler the Architect of the Jewish Holocaust Killed Six Million Jews as Part of his Depraved “Final Solution”’ »

Concern Expressed Over Probation Department and National Child Protection Agency (NCPA) Pushing Victimised Children Back Into the Hands of Abusers

Text of Statement Released on June 26th 2018 Expressing Concern Over Probation Department and National Child Protection Agency CPA Pushing Victimised Children Back Into the Hands of Abusers and list of signatories)


Probation Department and NCPA pushing children back into the hands of abusers

We the undersigned members of civil society condemn the actions of the Probation Department and the National Child Protection Authority (NCPA) for attempting to send children back to Darun Nusra, a children’s home where sexual abuses of children have taken place. We also condemn the State institutions for their inaction in finding suitable government schools for the affected children to continue their education

In June 2017, an anonymous phone call was made to the NCPA that sexual abuses were being committed on the children residing in Darun Nusra. During the police investigations it was revealed that a male staff of this home was allegedly committing these offences and both the Matron and the Coordinator of Al-Muslimaath the charity managing Darun Nusra were reported about these incidents but did not take action.
Despite ongoing investigations into the allegations of abuse, which not only include the alleged abuser but also the matron and the Coordinator of Al-Muslimaath, the Probation Department has vehemently opposed calls by activists for the children to be transferred out of Darun Nusra for their own safety.

Officers from the Probation Department have consistently engaged in victim blaming in Court by portraying the two main victims of abuse as mentally unsound. One of the first children to be transferred out of Darun Nusra due to Court orders was sent by the Probation Department to a home which the Probation Officers themselves later admitted in Court as unsanitary, lacking in running water, and unsuitable for children.

Continue reading ‘Concern Expressed Over Probation Department and National Child Protection Agency (NCPA) Pushing Victimised Children Back Into the Hands of Abusers’ »

What Will Happen If Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Comes to Power Like Hitler and Establishes Military Rule ?

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa has skeletons though, may not be in his closet, but wherever white vans had dumped victims during his abduction prone tenure as the Defence Secretary. But, not even by a long shot did he go any close to Hitler.

Last week, when a high priest publicly urged him to become a Hitler, it was not clear whether the aspiring presidential candidate took it as a compliment or as a personal affront.

The Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, Ven Vedaruvey Upali Thera has reportedly told Mr. Rajapaksa: “if they call you Hitler, even become a Hitler and establish the military rule and develop the country.”

Those were unusual birthday blessings reportedly delivered at an alms-giving to mark the 69th birthday of Mr. Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘What Will Happen If Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Comes to Power Like Hitler and Establishes Military Rule ?’ »

As a Sri Lankan, a Buddhist and a Sinhalese, I find this Man Gnanasara Utterly and Completely Reprehensible, Offensive, and Disgusting!


By Sharmini Serasinghe

When it comes to the likes of pseudo religious figures viz,Gnanasara, I refuse to dignify such with revered titles; ‘Thera’, ‘Reverend’ or ‘Venerable’ as others do. To do so, would be a downright insult to all those who are genuinely worthy of it.

As a Sri Lankan, a Buddhist and a Sinhalese, I find this man utterly and completely reprehensible, offensive, an acute source of embarrassment and an irritation; in short, disgusting!

This ‘monk’ has, single handedly denigrated the image of the few authentic and revered Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka, both past and present, and turned the mantra “Sri Lanka is a Buddhist country” into a joke.

Shaving one’s head and donning a saffron robe does not make one a Buddhist monk. Any Tom, Dick and Harry can do that and call himself Ven. Bla BlaBla Thero. This man is nothing but a charlatan in robes and desecrating it in every way possible.

Continue reading ‘As a Sri Lankan, a Buddhist and a Sinhalese, I find this Man Gnanasara Utterly and Completely Reprehensible, Offensive, and Disgusting!’ »

Wigneswaran Wont Be the TNA/ITAK Chief Minister Candidate at Next NPC Poll But Sampanthan Will Keep Ex-Judges Hopes Alive By Not Telling Him So Now.


By

P.K.Balachandran

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), of which the Ilankai Tamil ArasuKatchi (ITAK) is the single largest constituent, appears to be heading for a split, with the Sampanthan and Wigneswaran factions failing to find a common ground to work together.

A likely outcome is the emergence of two new groupings, with the ITAK and its adjuncts being on one side and a conglomerate or congeries of groups headed by the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran being on the other side.

The two factions have been on the verge of a split several times before but have stayed together in an uneasy relationship either because there was no alternative path in sight; or because there was no immediate need to part ways; or because of pressure from an external force which, both sides believed, could not be alienated.

Just prior to the August 2015 parliamentary elections, there was a move in the TNA to oust Wigneswaran from the Chief Ministerial post because he had declared that he would remain neutral and not campaign for the TNA or any other party.

When challenged on the grounds that he owed his election and position of Chief Minister to the TNA/ITAK, Wigneswaran declared that people had voted for “him” as an individual and not as a candidate of the TNA or the ITAK.

Continue reading ‘Wigneswaran Wont Be the TNA/ITAK Chief Minister Candidate at Next NPC Poll But Sampanthan Will Keep Ex-Judges Hopes Alive By Not Telling Him So Now.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Says He Understood Everything In The Sermon With References to Hitler Made By Asgiriya Chapter Anunayake and Asks Why Others Who Did Not Understand Should Make Statements About The Comparison To Hitler.

Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Monday announced heeding the counsel of a top Asgiriya chapter monk who urged him to be like a Hitler and form a military dictatorship in the country.

Speaking to reporters after making a statement to the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), Rajapaksa said he was surprised by the media attention to Venerable Vendaruwe Upali thera’s sermon and said it was a “private” matter at his home.

“It is a private sermon…It is a counsel of the monk to me , why should others make such statements (critical of the Hitler comparison),” Rajapaksa asked.

“As far as I know, the Buddha said ‘preach to people who have the wisdom to understand’. I have understood everything in that sermon. Those who issue statements are those who don’t understand what the monk said.”

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Says He Understood Everything In The Sermon With References to Hitler Made By Asgiriya Chapter Anunayake and Asks Why Others Who Did Not Understand Should Make Statements About The Comparison To Hitler.’ »

US Will Not Give Up Its Strategic Objectives In Sri Lanka Despite Leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council


By

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

The US quit the UN Human Rights Council on Tuesday (June 19) with rhetoric intended to assert the moral high-ground, slamming the council and selectively ‘naming and shaming’ council members outside its charmed circle of ‘friends.’ While the statements of US Ambassador to UN Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington reeked of imperial arrogance, the irony of this grandstanding by one of the worst human rights offenders on the planet would not have been lost on many in the global South, who have been at the receiving end of its worst depredations over time.

Haley accused the council of being “a protector of human rights abusers and a cesspool of political bias.” The US’s own glaring lack of even-handedness in branding its detractors as ‘rights abusers’ while at the same time propping up its strategic allies militarily and economically, no matter how authoritarian or oppressive their conduct, may have escaped Haley. But not those in the majority world who have been forcibly ‘democratised’ by the US at the cost of their dignity and sovereignty, or have become targets of colonization one way or another, through US efforts to maintain global hegemony in the course of history. Even as the US envoy preached human rights, accusing others of ‘hypocrisy,’ her own government was implementing a harsh new immigrant policy of separating children from parents at the US border with Mexico, causing outrage within the US’s own rights community among others.

Continue reading ‘US Will Not Give Up Its Strategic Objectives In Sri Lanka Despite Leaving the United Nations Human Rights Council’ »

Why The Indian Govt As Well As The Tamil National Alliance Object To The Chinese Housing Project in the North and East of Sri Lanka

India and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) have told the Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe that his government’s decision to award to a Chinese company a contract to build 40,000 houses for war-displaced people in the Tamil-speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces is flawed, impractical and unsuited to the climate and culture of the area.

Sources in the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said that they had been told about India’s objections by Prime Minister Wickremesinghe himself.
The contract was given by the Ministry of Rehabilitation which is under Minister D.M.Swaminathan who belongs to Prime Minister’s United National Party (UNP) and is a loyal follower of Wickremesinghe’s to boot.

The TNA shares the government of India’s views on the unsuitability and untenability of the contract, party sources added.

Continue reading ‘Why The Indian Govt As Well As The Tamil National Alliance Object To The Chinese Housing Project in the North and East of Sri Lanka’ »

Over 100 Individuals and a Dozen Organizations Send Petition to High Posts Committee Protesting Nomination of Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Designate to Moscow

Civil society representatives and several rights organisations asked President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday to withdraw his controversial nomination of Dayan Jayatilleka as ambassador to Moscow and protect the country’s international image.

Nearly 100 individuals and over a dozen organisations signed a petition to the High Posts Committee of parliament arguing that they must reject Jayatilleka’s nomination given his record of defending the extra judicial killings of the former regime.

Jayatilleka was also a key figure in Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s election platform known as “viyath maga” whose speakers have openly advocated the killing of anyone supporting constitutional reforms undertaken by the current government.

Continue reading ‘Over 100 Individuals and a Dozen Organizations Send Petition to High Posts Committee Protesting Nomination of Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador Designate to Moscow’ »

India Expresse Concern Over Chinese Company Being Awarded Contract Without Tenders Being Called For 40,000 Pre-fabricated Housing Project in North-East Sri Lanka.

By Namini Wijedasa

India has raised concern at the highest levels of the Sri Lankan Government about the manner in which a contract to build 40,000 houses in the North and East was recently awarded without tender to a Chinese company that has no history of building houses in the country.

The Resettlement Ministry last month secured Cabinet approval for China Railway Beijing Engineering Group Co Ltd and its country representative Yapka Construction (Pvt) Ltd to construct 40,000 prefabricated concrete houses for the war-affected in the North and East. They are the same parties selected by the Disaster Management Ministry to build 10,000 houses for landslide victims.

However, the Sunday Times learns that the Indian Government has questioned the decision to give the hefty tender–which is likely to see Chinese labour spread across the North and East–to a company that has “not even built one house yet in Sri Lanka”. It has also been queried how a company which is unfamiliar with conditions in those areas, including that of the soil and weather, could be given the contract without a comprehensive study.

Continue reading ‘India Expresse Concern Over Chinese Company Being Awarded Contract Without Tenders Being Called For 40,000 Pre-fabricated Housing Project in North-East Sri Lanka.’ »

Real Threat Posed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the Replacement of the Present Weak Democratic Regime by a Hard Authoritarian Regime, with Popular Support

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

Is Sri Lanka ready for an elected dictator? This is the latest question to enter the country’s current political debate. Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s preparations to contest the next presidential election in 2019 have already precipitated a potentially explosive controversy that can last weeks and months. An admirer of Gotabaya Rajapaksa has echoed as a positive political desire, what his detractors have been suggesting indirectly for the past few months. A Buddhist prelate representing Sri Lanka’s most conservative Sangha establishment has said it in a few words: “Let Gotabaya Rajapaksa prove his critics right by becoming a real Hitler.”

Ven. Wendaruwe Upali, deputy chief priest of the Asgiriya Chapter in Kandy, made his rather unusual plea to Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the latter’s birthday alms giving just a few days ago. In the crowd listening to the monk were former strongman President Mahinda Rajapaksa and ex-liberal democrat G. L. Peiris, who happens to be the nominal leader of the newly formed Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPP). The latter is a political outfit created as a vehicle for the political ambitions of various members belonging to two generations of the Rajapaksa family.

Viyath Maga

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has begun to build his own presidential campaign outside the SLPP through a new organization called Viyath Maga (“Path of the Learned’), which is a non-party entity. It is a loose association of ex-military officers, some relatively new, to use Dayan Jayatilleka’s phrase, business tycoons, and a few layers of the Colombo-based professionals and academics with high personal ambitions. Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Viyath Maga have already given some key signals about their political project. Two of them can be stated as follows:

Continue reading ‘Real Threat Posed by Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the Replacement of the Present Weak Democratic Regime by a Hard Authoritarian Regime, with Popular Support’ »

“Rekava”: Cinematic Journey Of Maestro Lester James Peries – 1.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Rekava” (Line of Destiny) in 1956 Revolutionized Sinhala Cinema

Lester James Peries

The doyen of Sri Lankan cinema, Lester James Peries, has breathed his last. It has been my firm opinion that the master movie maker was Sri Lanka’s greatest film director.

When I began the ‘Spotlight’ column focusing on films, film personalities and film-related matters, my first article in this newspaper was about Lester and his maiden venture ‘Rekava’. Choosing to write about the maestro’s maiden feature film in my maiden article was my way of acknowledging the foremost director of Sinhala cinema.

Maestro Lester James Peries has directed 20 feature films in 50 years starting from ‘Rekava’ (Line of Destiny) in 1956 to ‘Amma Warune’ (An Elegy for a Mother) in 2006. The greatness of Lester cannot be measured by the quantity of his output. It is the qualitative nature of his films that elevated him to commendable heights.


Continue reading ‘“Rekava”: Cinematic Journey Of Maestro Lester James Peries – 1.’ »

No Other Religious Order in This Country or the World Would Have Tolerated the Outrages Committed by This Monk Gnanasara Thero

by C.A.Chandraprema

The monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara who was serving a six month sentence handed down by the Homagama Magistrate’s court for threatening and intimidating a witness in the court premises has now been released on bail pending his appeal. The reason why he is in this sorry situation today is because of the inability of the bhikku Nikayas in this country to enforce discipline among their monks. In the recent past, there was an attempt to confer legal status on the Kathikawath or rules governing the various Nikayas so that a monk expelled by a nikaya could be made to disrobe through the intervention of the organs of the state including the judiciary. However this fell by the wayside because some senior monks opposed this proposed law on the grounds that when legal status is conferred on the Kathikawath of the various Nikayas, that will have the effect of solidifying and once again bringing to the fore the various differences among the various Nikayas.

They pointed out that in the decades since Independence, the differences between the various Nikayas had progressively diminished to the point where to outsiders such differences would almost be imperceptible. The end result of this is that there is no mechanism at all to expel and disrobe monks who behave in a manner unbecoming of a monk. Even if a bhikku had been expelled by his Nikaya and his name struck off the register of bhikkus maintained by the Commissioner of Buddhist Affairs, there was still no legal mechanism by which he could be disrobed. Senior monks have told this writer that there are several instances where monks who had been expelled by their Nikayas and whose names have been struck off the register of bhikkus have continued to wear robes.

One version of a proposed amendment to the Buddhist Temporalities Ordinance had a Section numbered as 43(4)(a) which specified that if a person whose name has been struck off the register of bhikkus, continues to be in robes, the Commissioner General of Buddhist Affairs can bring it to the notice of the Magistrate’s court of the area and after due inquiries, the Magistrate has the power to order that individual to appear before him in the clothes of a layman. Such a system of giving practical effect to the disrobing of an expelled monk would have solved a major problem faced by the Buddhist dispensation in this country. Because no mechanism exists to expel and disrobe monks who behave in a manner unbecoming of a monk, Gnanasara who should long since have been expelled from bhikkuhood and disrobed, is now a convict who has been enlarged on bail.

Continue reading ‘No Other Religious Order in This Country or the World Would Have Tolerated the Outrages Committed by This Monk Gnanasara Thero’ »

Asgiriya Chapter Anunanayake Says His References To “Hitler” and “Military” Were Misinterpreted and Cites Lord Buddha’s Preaching In His Defence.

Ven Vendaruwe Upali Thera, the Anunayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, yesterday urged critics not to politicise or misinterpret his Anushasanawa (sermon) given at the almsgiving to mark the 69th birthday of former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

In a statement, the Anunayake said it was regrettable that the words ‘Hitler’ and ‘military’ used in his 30-minute long Anushasanwa were being misinterpreted. He said what he said should be taken in the right context.

Continue reading ‘Asgiriya Chapter Anunanayake Says His References To “Hitler” and “Military” Were Misinterpreted and Cites Lord Buddha’s Preaching In His Defence.’ »

Celebration Over “Sri Lanka Being Let Off The Hook” in Geneva Due To The US Pull-out from UNHRC May Be Premature Because Of Lanka’s Obligations Under the 30/1 UN Resolution

By the “Sunday Observer” Political Editor

Last week’s decision by the United States to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council created ripples in Sri Lanka where the parting words of America’s top diplomat that the Council was a “cesspool of political bias” resonated strongly with politicians and bureaucrats aligned with former President Mahinda Rajapaksa who waged pitched battles in Geneva from 2009-2014, claiming victimisation and similar partisan bias by member states.

For ruling party politicians, the US pull out seemed to indicate that the Government could be ‘off the hook’ with regard to further interventions on its human rights record in Geneva. Claims are being made that Sri Lanka should abandon the resolution it co-sponsored at the UNHRC in 2015 and 2017, since a main sponsor of the resolution and the protagonist of moves to hold Sri Lanka to account at the Council since 2012 had quit the proceedings.

Yet, celebration about being let off in Geneva may be premature, even though the dynamics at the UNHRC will be undeniably altered when Sri Lanka faces its next big reporting session on its rights record in 2019, and progress is measured on the country’s implementation of UNHRC Resolution 30/1 which was adopted by consensus in September 2015. The resolution calls on the Government of Sri Lanka to implement its transitional justice programs, including an Office of Missing Persons, a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, an Office of Reparations and a special court to investigate and prosecute allegations of gross human rights violations occurring during the war.

Continue reading ‘Celebration Over “Sri Lanka Being Let Off The Hook” in Geneva Due To The US Pull-out from UNHRC May Be Premature Because Of Lanka’s Obligations Under the 30/1 UN Resolution’ »

“If Someone Said “Be Like Hitler” In My Presence I would Have Condemned The Statement Then and There” Says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday joined in the criticism against remarks by a senior member of the Buddhist Clergy, calling on former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to “be like Hitler”, saying he would have condemned the statement immediately if it had been made in his presence.

“There is no way Buddhism and Hitler’s brutality can be reconciled,” said the Premier addressing crowds at an event in Matara yesterday, “as Buddhists such a thing is against our dhamma.”

“Buddhists cannot tell someone to be like Idi Amin or Hitler or Pol-Pot, it goes against the Buddha’s teachings,” he added.

Democratic rule is about gathering peacefully, discussing matters peacefully and dispersing peacefully, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe said. The Premier said that if such a remark had been made in his presence, the media would have ripped him apart. “They would have attacked me from morning till night,” he said with a chuckle. “I am shocked that this didn’t happen. Only one newspaper even carried the story. Electronic media carried the story only once. In print, editorials and news stories went missing. If this is how the media behaves now, imagine what would happen to the media if ‘Hitler’ was in power?” the Premier quipped.

Continue reading ‘“If Someone Said “Be Like Hitler” In My Presence I would Have Condemned The Statement Then and There” Says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.’ »

Sandya Ekneligoda Has Been Facing Harassment and Intimidation After Her Tormentor in Court Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero Was Sentenced to 6 Months Rigorous Imprisonment.

By

Indunil Usgoda Arachchi

After the sentencing of Galagodaththe Gnansara Thera to six months rigorous imprisonment for criminal intimidation earlier this month, his victim Sandya Ekneligoda, the wife of missing journalist, Prageeth Ekneligoda has been facing harassment and intimidation, largely via social media networks.

Speaking to the Sunday Observer, Sandya Ekneligoda complained about receiving continuous death threats and daily abuse through Facebook messages.

“Without knowing the real situation or the facts of the case, people are mentally tormenting me and my children,” said the mother of two, who has been struggling to find the whereabouts of her husband since January 2010. Sandya says Facebook messages from unknown users have been pouring in since judgment was given on the criminal intimidation case this month.

Continue reading ‘Sandya Ekneligoda Has Been Facing Harassment and Intimidation After Her Tormentor in Court Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero Was Sentenced to 6 Months Rigorous Imprisonment.’ »

Without Determined Leadership It Is Uncertain Whether Sri Lanka Will Survive, Even in its Flawed Republic- State

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

On a visit to Myanmar last year, reputed Buddhist lay leaders who disapproved of incendiary anti-minority rhetoric engaged in by nationalist monk U Wirathu, were emphatic in their conversations with me that, ‘making him a martyr of the State’ would be the best possible media boost that he could get.

‘Marginalising him is a far better way to dilute the messages of hate that he preaches’ they opined. That was just prior to Myanmar’s State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee prohibiting him from speaking for one year after determining that his statements had the potential to cause hatred and riots in the country.


Dangers of rabble-rousing rhetoric

That ban had little effect however as the monk continued his tirades, speaking of ‘marauding” Muslims even as the Rakhine people fled the country in what is now ranked as among the worst humanitarian crises of the decade. Surrounded by young men dressed in white and speaking softly in an odd contrast to the dark menace of what was articulated, he went on to label his critics as “terrorists”, openly mocking attempts to rein him in. Earlier this year, the one year ban lapsed but his followers had increased.

Where rabble-rousing religious rhetoric is concerned, some aspects of Myanmar’s turbulence are evidenced in Sri Lanka though there are noticeable departures. Up to this point at least, the Buddhist populace in Sri Lanka has kept both its good sense and its maturity by rejecting inflammatory outbursts of mischief makers. It is hoped that the same equanimity would prevail in regard to the antics of the Bodu Bala Sena outside the Homagama Magistrate’s Court.

Continue reading ‘Without Determined Leadership It Is Uncertain Whether Sri Lanka Will Survive, Even in its Flawed Republic- State’ »

Asgiriya Anunayake Thero’ Comparing Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Adolf Hitler Has Seriously Undermined Ex -Def Secy’s Bid To Become President of Sri Lanka.

A senior Buddhist monk counselling former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to emulate Hitler and establish a military dictatorship may have seriously hurt his bid for the presidency, according to close associates.

A chief priest of the Asgiriya chapter, Vendaruwe Upali, blessed Rajapaksa on his 69th birthday Wednesday by urging him to follow the German dictator Hitler and take over the country even if it means establishing military rule.

The monk, delivering a sermon at the private home of Rajapaksa, prayed that the youngest among the Rajapaksa siblings should be the next leader of Sri Lanka as the country needed a “Sinhala Buddhist leader.”

Continue reading ‘Asgiriya Anunayake Thero’ Comparing Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Adolf Hitler Has Seriously Undermined Ex -Def Secy’s Bid To Become President of Sri Lanka.’ »