Tamil Nadu Police Kill 11 Persons Including “Revolutionary Youth Front”Leader Thamizharasan in Pre-planned Firing at Three Places On Demonstrators Protesting Against Environment Polluting “Sterling”Plant in Thoothukudi.

By

Kavitha Muralidharan

Thoothukudi: In an unprecedented turn of events, at least 11 protesters were killed on May 22 in Thoothukudi after police opened fire at the protest rally demanding the closure of the Sterlite unit in the town. The protest by the people of Thoothukudi against Sterlite, which they have claimed is polluting the town and resulted in a higher incidence of cancer, had reached its 100th day on May 22.

This is the first time the Tamil Nadu government has responded to the protests.

Activists allege that three rounds of firing at different places by the police were only an attempt to “dilute the protests”. “There was an even bigger protest on March 24 in Tuticorin against Sterlite. But it was peaceful,” says Henry Tiphagne, the executive director of People’s Watch; he was present on the spot. “It is unfortunate that the state has failed to gauge the public mood. The people were angry but not violent. Certainly they were not angry against the government.”

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Police Kill 11 Persons Including “Revolutionary Youth Front”Leader Thamizharasan in Pre-planned Firing at Three Places On Demonstrators Protesting Against Environment Polluting “Sterling”Plant in Thoothukudi.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Vision and Political Mission

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Viyathmaga”(Erudite Path) is an organization that claims to be dedicated to the goal of “an Intellectually inspired Sri Lanka”. It is said to possess an elitist membership comprising top level professionals, academics and entrepreneurs of Sri Lanka. The Viyathmaga website describes the organization in the following manner -“The Professionals for a Better Future (VIYATHMAGA) is a network of Academics, Professionals, and Entrepreneurs who love the country and wish to contribute actively towards the development of a prosperous Sri Lanka where all citizens can live in peace and harmony. VIYATHMAGA is not a political organisation. It is a civil society movement, wishing to contribute towards the betterment of the country”.

Pic via: facebook.com/gotabayar/

Viyathmaga articulates its vision as seeking to ” mobilize the nascent potential of the professionals, academics and entrepreneurs to effectively influence the moral and material development of Sri Lanka in par with the other developed countries where all citizens live in an environment of equity and fair play, with equal opportunities in the advancement of these ideals”.
Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Vision and Political Mission’ »

“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)’ »

First Draft of Proposed New Constitution will Be Presented To the Constitutional Assembly Steering Committee on May 24th 2018 says M.A. Sumanthiran MP.

by Manjula Fernando

The first draft of the new Constitution will be presented to the Steering Committee on Thursday, May 24, after much interruption, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP, M. A. Sumanthiran told the Sunday Observer in an exclusive interview.

The presentation will take place after the expert panel, advising the steering committee, concludes and finalises the draft during its meeting due to be held tomorrow.

“It will not be the final draft, because yet there are areas we need to reach full consensus. The contentious points are the Executive Presidency and the electoral system,” Sumanthiran said.

Continue reading ‘First Draft of Proposed New Constitution will Be Presented To the Constitutional Assembly Steering Committee on May 24th 2018 says M.A. Sumanthiran MP.’ »

Gotabhaya’s 2030 Economic Vision Endorses the 2025 Economic Plan and Vision of the Yahapalanaya Govt says Cabinet Minister Malik Samarawickrama

Development Strategies and International Trade minister Malik Samarawickrama made a scathing attack on former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa saying it is apparent that a coordinated campaign is underway to give undue prominence to his carefully choreographed speech given at the Shangri La Hotel last week.

The event organisers should be commended for garnering prior publicity for the event, and for using social media and electronic media to create the illusion of substance where there was none, he said.

In a statement issued this week, the former UNP chairman says “After peeling back all the pomp and theatricality, what is left is nothing new. The takeaway is Gotabaya Rajapaksa has spent the last three years developing a deep admiration and appreciation for the economic policies and vision of the Yahapalanaya government. Simply put, his is a strong argument for why this government should have another five years to implement its 2025 Economic Plan and Vision.

“The former Defence Secretary has said that China, India and Japan will be economic giants in the coming decade and Asia will be the economic powerhouse. He should be congratulated for realising this, albeit belatedly. This is exactly why we are negotiating an agreement with China and a comprehensive economic and technology agreement with India. We have signed an agreement with Singapore and hope to do so with the Asian economies as well. Focussing attention on Asia, our aim is to make Sri Lanka the hub of Asia and reap the benefits of Asian economic growth.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya’s 2030 Economic Vision Endorses the 2025 Economic Plan and Vision of the Yahapalanaya Govt says Cabinet Minister Malik Samarawickrama’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Economic Model Aims At Economic Growth With Law and Order But Neglects Issues Like Poverty Reduction, Inequity, Social Justice,Social Upliftment, Peasantry and Landlessness,

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

When a future historian writes the political history of the most obtuse and inept government in postcolonial Sri Lanka, he or she will doubtless identify its most myopic move as the Constitutional prevention of Mahinda Rajapaksa running for President again, thereby opening the door for the fulfilment of the worst fear of the neoliberal cosmopolitan democrats, namely a Gotabhaya candidacy.

A pivotal moment will be identified as May 18, 2018, when TV audiences watched the quasi-martial ‘Pongu Thamil’ optics from Mullivaikkal (black uniforms, motorcycle parade with red and black flags, school flags at half mast, mobilized school-kids) and heard Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s resolution declaring ‘Tamil Genocide Day’. The real meaning of Mullivaikkal 2018 was translated for us by the country’s highest qualified academic, Prof. Ratnajeevan S. Hoole:
“…LTTE supporters had taken it over, and played Eelamist songs. People we could not see for the crowds gave hysterical speeches about the day that their dreams of Eelam were snuffed out”.(‘Mullivaikkal: A Burgeoning Movement’,CT, May 20, 2018)

Tiger separatists are back in our face while the State is in retreat, nine years after we won the war. In 2015 the Tamils and Muslims voted as blocs. In 2019 it may be the Sinhalese.Thus, the ‘Gotabhayan moment’ may be arriving.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Economic Model Aims At Economic Growth With Law and Order But Neglects Issues Like Poverty Reduction, Inequity, Social Justice,Social Upliftment, Peasantry and Landlessness,’ »

Johann Peiris Becomes First Sri Lankan Male To Climb Mt.Everest By Reaching the Peak at 5.55 am Nepal Time on May 22nd 2018

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Johann Peiris became the second Sri Lankan to conquer the highest peak in the world when he successfully summited Mount Everest at 5.55 a.m. Nepal time yesterday (22).

Johann was a part of the expedition that helped Jayanthi Kuru Uthumpala to become the first Sri Lankan to conquer Mount Everest back in 2016 but was unable to reach the summit as his oxygen tank malfunctioned and he had to turn back an agonizing 440m short of the peak.

Continue reading ‘Johann Peiris Becomes First Sri Lankan Male To Climb Mt.Everest By Reaching the Peak at 5.55 am Nepal Time on May 22nd 2018’ »

Johann Peiris Becomes Second Sri Lankan To Climb Mt.Everest After Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpola Became the First on May 21st 2017.

By

Walter Wuthmann

Johann Peries became the second Sri Lankan to summit Mount Everest on Tuesday. Peries reached the almost 8,850-meter peak at 5:50 a.m. Nepal time, according to a release from the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry.

“Our best wishes to you for a safe descent and journey home to (Sri Lanka),” the Ministry said. Peries is a hair designer who owns salons in Colombo and London. He has summited several peaks before Everest, including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and Island Peak in Nepal.

Continue reading ‘Johann Peiris Becomes Second Sri Lankan To Climb Mt.Everest After Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpola Became the First on May 21st 2017.’ »

“Mangala Samaraweera is Spreading False Propaganda Against Me Because The Minister is Aware of my Ability’ Says Gotabhaya Rajapaksa


By

(Lahiru Pothmulla

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa on Sunday said Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera was spreading false propaganda against him because the minister was aware of his ability.

He recalled how Minister Samaraweera posted posters against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe during the time of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

“Recently, Minister Samaraweera said he knew Mr. Wickremesinghe could perform well and that was why he posted posters against Mr.Wickremesinghe. Similarly, he has initiated a false propaganda against me and I can say this is because he knows I can,” Mr. Rajapaksa told an event organised by the Federation of National Organisations in Badulla.

Continue reading ‘“Mangala Samaraweera is Spreading False Propaganda Against Me Because The Minister is Aware of my Ability’ Says Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’ »

Maithripala Sirisena Tries to Emulate Rajapaksas By Climbing Sinhala Nationalist Bandwagon and Talking About “War Heroes”.

Sri Lanka’s President appeared to hitch his political fortunes to nationalism an d reflected glory from the military victory over separatists as he commemorated the annihilation of the Tamil Tigers.

Addressing a military ceremony marking the ninth anniversary of defeating Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), President Maithripala Sirisena criticised his own state-run media for insufficient adoration of troops.

He ticked off government-run media outlets for not singing hosannas in praise of “rana viruvas” (war heroes). He also accused private media institutions of ignoring the government’s welfare measures for war veterans.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena Tries to Emulate Rajapaksas By Climbing Sinhala Nationalist Bandwagon and Talking About “War Heroes”.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa The Most Corrupt and Dangerous Public Officer to be Ever Appointed in this Country is Engaged in Effort to Throw Country Into “Vipathmaga”(Destructive Path) -Mangala Samaraweera

(Text of Special communique by the Finance and Media Minister,Hon. Mangala Samaraweera on May 20th 2018)

01. Former President and Kurunegala District MP, Mahindra Rajapaksa who is responsible for ruining this country by allowing his family relatives and cronies to plunder the country’s economy and, his siblings, former defense secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who unleashed terror through the white van culture that isolated the country internationally now seem to be engaged in an untiring effort to throw the country again into “Vipath Maga”, the destructive path.

02. Mr.Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who invented white van terror in Sri Lanka that attracted world attention has said recently that the rulers and the public officials should be free of corruption. Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who could be considered as the most corrupted and dangerous public officer ever appointed in this country, is now talking like a child after rebirth. Several cases being heard in Courts and investigated by Police against him at the moment:


• The corrupt MIG deal
• Plundering public money to constructmemorial museums and name them after his parents
• Unleashing assault on journalists and enforced disappearance some of them
• Instigating corruption and terror and
• Maintaining illegal armory thereby depriving the Government of its due income, are some of them.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa The Most Corrupt and Dangerous Public Officer to be Ever Appointed in this Country is Engaged in Effort to Throw Country Into “Vipathmaga”(Destructive Path) -Mangala Samaraweera’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Versatility in Managing Terror That Made Him The Most Feared Man Under His Brother’s Presidency.

By

Sarath de Alwis

Nationalism: the love of tribal fictions inspired by the hatred of social realities.”

– Author unknown

The Viyath Maga National Conference at the Shangri-La placed the former Defence Secretary positively and undoubtedly in the presidential race in 2019. It did something else as well. He demonstrated that he was different from other conventional alternatives. His braggadocio has no competition.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa is different. He lives in an Orwellian world. He is hell bent on setting himself as the ‘big brother’ – the character George Orwell created in his novel ‘1984’ – the classic literary unravel of ‘tyranny’. To him war is peace. Efficiency is control. Chauvinist insanity is the opiate that he relies on to build consensus.

The kingpins of the corporate world who adorned the front rows send out a pathetic signal to students of 20th century history. Their presence is evidence of the man’s mesmeric hold on the propertied class and the establishment. Gotabaya has delivered an oracular assault on the party that by tradition claimed a prescriptive right on the loyalty of the capitalist class. Seen from the demeanor of the doyens of commerce and industry it was a clear signal of their anticipatory acquiescence and obedience to the ‘strongman’ and his agenda.

Packing a huge hall, especially, in the newest six-star hotel was no big deal. The claim that it was the largest single gathering of professionals, academics and entrepreneurs is a journey into exaggeration beyond reason.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Versatility in Managing Terror That Made Him The Most Feared Man Under His Brother’s Presidency.’ »

Democracy can be Undermined and Negated from Within in a far more Terminal way, if Gotabhaya Rajapaksa wins the Presidency.

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Everywhere under the vast Heaven

There is no land that is not the king’s.

To the borders of those lands,

There are none who are not the king’s servants.”

Shijing (The Book of Odes – believed to have been compiled by Confucius)

Lankan democracy is facing a terminal crisis, caught between the Scylla of the IMF and the Charybdis of China. The IMF and China are very different animals. But the sum total of their lending practices could existentially undermine Lankan democracy by enabling the return of the Rajapaksa rule in its most virulent form, a Gotabhaya presidency.

The devastating societal consequences of the recent sharp hike in fuel prices need no belabouring. The knock-on-effects will pile up over the coming months, hurting the already fragile living conditions of ordinary Lankans. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration’s inability to learn any meaningful lessons from its crushing defeat at the February LG polls is evident in the in-your-face-manner in which the oil price increase was implemented. A price increase was inevitable given the sudden hike in global crude oil prices. But this could have been done in stages to minimise the direct and indirect effects on the more vulnerable segments of the populace.

If the government had wanted to see the deleterious effects of a massive oil price hike, it could have studied the Rajapaksa experience of 2012. The Rajapaksa regime implemented a massive oil price hike in February 2012, causing an across-the-board increase in the prices of consumer essentials. Fishermen carried out protests against the steep increase in kerosene oil prices. On February 14, 2012, the police opened fire on a peaceful demonstration in Negambo, killing Anthony Fernando, a young fisherman.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration has announced its intention of ‘adjusting’ oil prices every two months, in accordance with global crude prices. Thanks to the policies of President Donald Trump, global oil prices are likely to go up in the coming months. Taking the US out of the Iran nuclear deal, shifting American embassy to Jerusalem and giving Israel and Saudi Arabia carte blanche do deal with their politico-religious enemies cannot but further destabilise an already volatile region. The electoral outcomes in Iran and Lebanon, the undeclared war in Yemen and the massacre of unarmed Palestinian demonstrators by Israel forces in Gaza will be fodder to the political and sectarian fires consuming the Middle East (some commentators are even talking about the possibility of a shooting war between Iran and Israel). Given this context, global crude prices are likely to increase rather than decrease in the foreseeable future.

Continue reading ‘Democracy can be Undermined and Negated from Within in a far more Terminal way, if Gotabhaya Rajapaksa wins the Presidency.’ »

Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka’s Claim that the JVP Could Not be Compared With the LTTE Betrays the Racist Tendencies of the Speaker if not Crass Idiocy.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Somewhere, someone remarked to me this week that patriotism is at its most virulent when stalking the minds and intellects of human beings rather than when it cloaks itself in the deceptively heroic guise of (most always) men waging war against each other on the battlefield.

Patriots parading their stuff

That remark may well be true. Is it overstating the case to say that nine years after fighting between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the state military ended in the Wanni, Sri Lanka’s ethnic communities are no closer to each other than they were in the propaganda-driven triumphalist Rajapaksa post-war years? All the signs point to this. Hatred and distrust drives the national debate with voices of reason and moderation being few.

Despite the absence of fighting, the bruising rhetoric of ethnicity and communalism rides high by ‘patriots’ parading their stuff in the uncontrolled domains of the social media, most probably living overseas rather than in this country. Unhappily, the month of May each year has become a trigger for vitriol rather than a time of pensive reflection and remembrance. Menacing games are played out in public while politicians (and others) on either side of the divide are unsurprisingly quick to reap the dividends of flawed contestations of victimhood.

Sinhala nationalists insist on deifying a supremely ridiculous notion of a brutal war being fought without casualties and without atrocities by agents of the state. Tamil nationalists refuse to accept that the Tamil community has not been the only victims of conflict in this country or indeed, to recognize the savage character of those lauded as liberators of the Tamil nation.

Continue reading ‘Megapolis Minister Champika Ranawaka’s Claim that the JVP Could Not be Compared With the LTTE Betrays the Racist Tendencies of the Speaker if not Crass Idiocy.’ »

Infamous Mullivaaikkaal Massacre of Nine Years Ago Remembered With Horror by Millions of Sinhala,Tamil and Muslim Workers in Sri Lanka- WSWS

By K. Nesan and V. Gnana

Thousands of people around the world are gathering today to mark the anniversary of one of the most infamous massacres of the 21st century. After 26 years of a bloody civil war, the Sri Lankan army cornered over 40,000 Tamils, including the surviving leadership of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), on Sri Lanka’s north-eastern Indian Ocean coast at Mullivaikal. Without giving any warning, it launched a furious artillery barrage to murder everyone trapped there.

No one at Mullivaikal escaped the carnage. The military indiscriminately shelled homes, hospitals and civilians as well as bunkers where children, pregnant women and the elderly had tried to take refuge. Nearly a decade later, the Sri Lankan army is still sealing off the area, barring families of the victims from returning to grieve for their loved ones.

In a gruesome ceremony broadcast live on television to terrorize the population, the Sri Lankan government brought in two LTTE turncoats to identify LTTE leader Velupillai Prabakharan’s remains. After they confirmed before the television cameras that the body lying in the mud was indeed Prabakharan, the army burned the corpse.

Continue reading ‘Infamous Mullivaaikkaal Massacre of Nine Years Ago Remembered With Horror by Millions of Sinhala,Tamil and Muslim Workers in Sri Lanka- WSWS’ »

Cabinet Approves Draft Bill to Set up Office of Reparations to Enable Payment of Compensation to all Sri Lankan Victims and Familes of Affected Persons Including Police and Defence Personnel in all Parts of the Island.

Reparations Bill ready, compensation for war-affected people
Details of draft kept secret till RTI was put to use
View(s): 94

The Cabinet approved the draft Reparations Bill setting up the Office of Reparations is now in the final stages of drafting.

The proposed law will enable all Sri Lankan citizens, including families of Police and Security Forces, civilians in what were known as ‘border villages’, and the north and east and elsewhere in the country to submit claims for compensation if they were affected by the three decade long northern insurgency.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Approves Draft Bill to Set up Office of Reparations to Enable Payment of Compensation to all Sri Lankan Victims and Familes of Affected Persons Including Police and Defence Personnel in all Parts of the Island.’ »

Shindig at Shangri- La was a Dazzling Demonstration of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Mastery in Managing “Terror”.

By

Sarath de Alwis


“I saw the Emperor – this soul of the world – go out from the city to survey his reign; it is a truly a wonderful sensation to see such an individual, who, concentrating on one point while seated on a horse, stretches over the world and dominates it.”

Such was the reaction of the great Philosopher Hegel when he contemplated Napoleon Bonaparte astride his white stallion at Jena. That was the end of philosophy wrote a 20th century philosopher Alexandre Kojève who wrote a critique on the work of the master.

I saw Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the lectern at the Shangri-La. I pray that it is not the end of our democracy. Men of action are a menace to humankind.

This is about the shindig at the Shangri la. This is about that great event, where Gotabaya Rajapaksa announced that he is not a politician. That he is the outstanding alternative to the miserable alternatives we are presently saddled with.

“By the year 2030, China’s economy would expand and become twice the size of the economy of the US relegating it to second place. India’s economy will become the third largest followed by Japan and Indonesia. We Sri Lankans, cannot seize the opportunity to develop the country if we are not ready by the year 2030.”

That is wonderfully illuminating if only he told us how he proposes to make us ready for 2030. Is it by electing him President in 2020?

Continue reading ‘Shindig at Shangri- La was a Dazzling Demonstration of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Mastery in Managing “Terror”.’ »

Official Websites of Sri Lanka Tourism Ministry and Consulate in India’s Kerala State Hacked by Group Calling Itself “Tamil Eelam Cyber Force”.

By

Chaturanga Samarawickrama

The Sinhalese version of the official website of the Ministry of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs and the website of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Honorary Consulate in Kerala were reportedly hacked this evening by an organisation calling itself the ‘Tamil Eelam Cyber Force’.

The website displayed a long message from the Tamil Eelam Cyber Force and also a rolling news feed message which said ‘Hacked By Tamil Eelam Cyber Force’.

Continue reading ‘Official Websites of Sri Lanka Tourism Ministry and Consulate in India’s Kerala State Hacked by Group Calling Itself “Tamil Eelam Cyber Force”.’ »

Will Mahinda Rajapaksa Emulate Mahathir Mohammed and Return To Power With The Support of Minorities?

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

With 2018 just about reaching its halfway mark, three of Sri Lanka’s major political players have already begun preparations for the 2020 presidential elections.

Although President Maithripala Sirisena announced last week he would not retire from politics, he has not openly stated he would not contest in the polls. However, seniors and ministers belonging to his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), have made no bones about who their candidate would be. In fact they have maintained right along that Sirisena would be their presidential candidate.

People are also under no illusion that Sirisena would not seek any political office in the future and confine himself to public work. There is no doubt he would like to remain in power.
Sirisena, who became President in January 2015 on the promise that he would abolish the executive presidency and a solemn declaration that he would not run for the post again, doesn’t touch on these two subjects any longer.

Continue reading ‘Will Mahinda Rajapaksa Emulate Mahathir Mohammed and Return To Power With The Support of Minorities?’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants Sri Lankan Tamils To Observe “Tamil Genocide Day” on May 18th Every Year.


Sri Lankan Tamils should observe May 18 every year as “Tamil Genocide Day”, said the Northern Province Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran on Friday.

He was speaking on the fourth annual remembrance day at Mullivaikkal, the scene of killings in the last stages of the war against Tamil Tiger separatists in 2009.

In his emotionally charged and hard hitting oration, Wigneswaran called upon the International Community to directly intervene to secure justice for the Tamils and restore their “sovereignty”.

He endorsed the suggestion of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights that ‘Universal Jurisdiction” should be extended to Sri Lanka to force Colombo to carry out its promises to the international community.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran Wants Sri Lankan Tamils To Observe “Tamil Genocide Day” on May 18th Every Year.’ »

State Counsel Tells Mt.Lavinia Courts that CID Is Probing Whether Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Was Involved in Abduction and Assault of Senior Journalist Keith Noyahr.

By

Yoshitha Perera

State Counsel Udara Karunatilake appearing on behalf of the Attorney General (AG) today informed Mount Lavinia Magistrate’s Court that the CID had started an investigation on whether, Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka was involved in the abduction and assault of Journalist Keith Noyahr in 2008.

He informed Court that earlier the CID had recorded a statement from Minister Sarath Fonseka regarding the matter.

According to the CID investigations, Noyahr was abducted from his home in Dehiwela and moved to a Military Intelligence Safe-house in Dompe in a white van by a gang led by the first suspect of the case, Major Prabath Bulathwatte.

Continue reading ‘State Counsel Tells Mt.Lavinia Courts that CID Is Probing Whether Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Was Involved in Abduction and Assault of Senior Journalist Keith Noyahr.’ »

LTTE Leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran Inspired A Generation of Young Leaders From Almost All Political Parties With the Idea of an Independent Tamil Nadu.


By

Col. R.Hariharan

THOUGH Uttarakhand had 21,966 protests, the highest number in the year 2016, it was Tamil Nadu with a score of 20,450 protests – at the rate of 47 protests a day- that caught the national attention. The reason was simple: the protests in Tamil Nadu were massive, prolonged and in many cases spontaneous. Of course, one way of looking at it was – as vibrant democracy in action, though the cynical public would laugh it off because political agitations and protests are the way we do things in this country. Major protests in Tamil Nadu were an expression of Tamil angst, against injustice meted out to the people. Spontaneous protests like the Jallikattu agitation in 2017 that paralysed the state for nearly a week were outpouring of such an expression, which has not been fully understood by New Delhi and rest of India.

The people of Tamil Nadu, the home of over six -and -a-half crore people, take great pride in their distinct identity, ancient language and culture. They are quick to take offense at any threat to their distinct language and identity. The public outrage against the imposition of Hindi in Tamil Nadu (then Madras State) in 1960s that brought the state to a halt is a telling example. It forced the Centre to rethink its policy of compulsory use of Hindi and include English as a functional option.

Continue reading ‘LTTE Leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran Inspired A Generation of Young Leaders From Almost All Political Parties With the Idea of an Independent Tamil Nadu.’ »

“This Govt has Borrowed US $ 19.5 Billion in Foreign Currency Loans and Over Six Trillion Rupee Loans Since January 2015” – Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Text Of Media Release Issued by Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 16 May 2018 Under the heading “Increase in fuel prices and economic mismanagement”)

Following the recent increase in fuel prices, transport costs and the prices of goods and services have started rising. Fishermen are up in arms against the sudden increase in the price of kerosene by more than double the earlier price and the creation of a coupon system to distribute subsidized kerosene. In the midst the agitation and unrest resulting from this fuel price increase, members of the government have been trying to justify it by saying that fuel costs were higher during the Rajapaksa government.

Today the price of a barrel of crude oil is around 70 USD. When I assumed office as President back in November 2005, it was around USD 73. It reached the highest point of USD 160 in June 2008 and even as late as August 2014, the price was over USD 103. It was only in the last three months of 2014 that oil prices started declining and by the time the government changed in January 2015, it had gone down to USD 51 per barrel.

Continue reading ‘“This Govt has Borrowed US $ 19.5 Billion in Foreign Currency Loans and Over Six Trillion Rupee Loans Since January 2015” – Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Probe Underway Into Deaths of Two British Rugby Players Who Died of Alleged Ingestion of “Brown Sugar” Heroin After They Visited “Cleopatra Night Club” In the Colpetty Liberty Plaza Building.

Two British rugby players who died after what is suspected to be a drug overdose had visited a night club in Sri Lanka’s capital Colombo, shortly before they developed respiratory problems, investigators said Tuesday.

Police sources said the two players identified as Thomas Howard, 25, and Tom Baty, 26, had serious breathing difficulties on Sunday morning and admitted to the Colombo National Hospital where one of them was pronounced dead.

Baty was transferred to the private Nawaloka hospital where he too died on Tuesday afternoon despite intensive care, officials said .

Continue reading ‘Probe Underway Into Deaths of Two British Rugby Players Who Died of Alleged Ingestion of “Brown Sugar” Heroin After They Visited “Cleopatra Night Club” In the Colpetty Liberty Plaza Building.’ »

Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Launches Unofficial Bid to Contest the Next Presidential Elections.

Former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has unofficially launched his bid to run for the presidency at the 2019 elections with a ceremony at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.

Political sources said Rajapaksa had invited his three politically active brothers as guests of what he called the launch his 2030 vision for Sri Lanka.

In a 25-minute address in Sinhala, the former defence chief spoke of Sri Lanka needing a “socialist, market-economy” while protecting the sovereignty and the culture of the island.

Continue reading ‘Ex -Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Launches Unofficial Bid to Contest the Next Presidential Elections.’ »

Acclaimed Tamil Writer Balakumaran Who Served as Link Between Serious and Populist Writing Passes Away in Chennai at 71 Years of Age


By

B.Kolappan.

Acclaimed writer Balakumaran, whose works were a link between serious and populist writing in Tamil, died on Tuesday. He was 71 and is survived by two wives, a son and a daughter.

Balakumaran took pride in his writing style. He once told an interviewer from the now-defunct magazine Subamangala, “I have even surpassed T. Janakiraman when it comes to style. I will be read for another 200 years.”

He created strong women characters, probably cast in the mould of his mother, whom he adored. Balakumaran was known for portraying liberated women in his works. He had a strained relationship with his father.

“Few writers have succeeded in making men understand what lies at the bottom of the heart of women as him,” said poet Magudeswaran.

Continue reading ‘Acclaimed Tamil Writer Balakumaran Who Served as Link Between Serious and Populist Writing Passes Away in Chennai at 71 Years of Age’ »

The IT/BPM Industry Has Grown in 15 Years To Become a Billion Dollar Industry Employing 80,000 People with Per Capita Income Between 15,000 to 20,000 Dollars

By

Mano Sekaram

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Mr. Gotabaya Rajapaksa, members of the clergy , distinguish invitees and friends

This invitation to me to speak at the conference signifies the organization’s inclusiveness and respect for diversity, I am honored and privileged to say a few words.

My subject today is about‘digital and knowledge’ economy and its ramifications for usSri Lankans.

Definition

First, for the purpose of clarity, let me define both the Digital and Knowledge economy.

The “digital economy” is economic activities performed based on digital technologies such as the internet and Mobile networks to deliver e-commerce.

Knowledge Economy is where intellectually driven activities in production of good and services.

Continue reading ‘The IT/BPM Industry Has Grown in 15 Years To Become a Billion Dollar Industry Employing 80,000 People with Per Capita Income Between 15,000 to 20,000 Dollars’ »

Cowardly Response to Jathika Vidvath Sangha Sabha’s Opposition to Proposed 20th Amendment Exposes Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s Bogus Posturing Over abolishing the Executive Presidency.


By Vijith Samarasinghe

A Sri Lankan opposition party, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), is currently agitating for the abolition of the country’s executive presidency via a 20th amendment (20A) to the constitution. The campaign is a political fraud.

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake told the party’s May Day meeting on May 7 that the 20A proposal would be presented to the parliament later this month. (The party did not hold a May 1 meeting in Colombo, following a government ban on May Day celebrations during the Wesak religious festival, in response to a “request” by the Buddhist hierarchy.)

Posturing as a defender of democratic rights, Dissanayake told the meeting the JVP would “create a broad dialogue” and “try to win” support for its amendment. He assured the party’s Sinhala chauvinist base, however, that the JVP would not do “anything detrimental to the country” and promised to discuss its proposals with the “Maha Sanghas [Buddhist prelates] and intellectuals.”

Continue reading ‘Cowardly Response to Jathika Vidvath Sangha Sabha’s Opposition to Proposed 20th Amendment Exposes Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna’s Bogus Posturing Over abolishing the Executive Presidency.’ »

Police TID Records Statement From Joint Opposition MP Dilum Amunugama Regadig Allegations of Inciting,Aiding and Abetting Anti-Muslim Violence in Kandy.

By Hemantha Randunu

The Terrorism Investigations Division (TID) yesterday obtained a statement from Joint Opposition (JO) MP, Dilum Amunugama over allegations that he had assisted violent elements responsible for communal riots in March.

Communal riots in some areas of Kandy commenced after protesters had attacked several shops in Digana on March 04 and 05 following the funeral of a lorry driver, who succumbed to his injuries after being beaten by several Muslim youth on Feb. 22, at a fuel filling station in Teldeniya. Protesters attacked several shops, owned by Muslims, in Moragahamula, near Teldeniya that night. Police and the STF were deployed in Teldeniya, Udispattuwa, Meda Mahanuwara and Ambala. According to reports 465 properties including 231 houses were destroyed and three persons killed during the riots. The most affected area had been the Kundasale Divisional Secretariat division.

Continue reading ‘Police TID Records Statement From Joint Opposition MP Dilum Amunugama Regadig Allegations of Inciting,Aiding and Abetting Anti-Muslim Violence in Kandy.’ »

Northern Provincial Council Is Mourning The Defeat of the “Almost Classically Fascist” LTTE and Its “Hitlerian” Leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

So the Northern Provincial Council and some civil society activists are reportedly gearing up to mourn May 18-19th and the week leading up to it as Genocide Week. May 18/19th marks the days the Long War ended, and Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims stopped dying in large numbers.

It is the moment that ushered in peace, however flawed, after thirty years. Far from being ‘genocidal’,

it is also the week that the world saw on TV, hundreds of thousands of Tamil civilians being rescued from the LTTE’s clutches by the Sri Lankan military at considerable cost to itself, and treated humanely (as noted by Thamilini).

What then is the Northern Provincial Council really mourning? The death of the man—Prabhakaran– and the leadership, and the crushing defeat of the militia that suicide-bombed the father of the Northern Provincial Council, namely Rajiv Gandhi, and waged war on the Indian Peace-Keeping Force.

Furthermore, the NPC is mourning the death and defeat of the entity that killed the greatest number of educated Tamil political personalities, including leaders of the TNA and activists of liberation organizations (there should be free public screenings of Jude Ratnam’s ‘Demons in Paradise’ on May 18th).

It is unthinkable for Germans to mourn the day that World War II ended with the death of Hitler, the defeat of Nazi Germany, many cities fire-bombed by the Allies, and the red flag flying over the Reichstag building courtesy of the Soviet Red Army. If any group of Germans were to do so they would be considered neo-Nazis and would be arrested.

Similarly, the mood in the North to publicly mourn the day the war ended and was lost by the “almost classically fascist” LTTE (The Economist, UK) resulting in the death of its Hitlerian leader Prabhakaran, tells us about the political tradition, political behavior, political culture and collective psychological make-up of Tamil nationalism and the Tamil nationalists.

Continue reading ‘Northern Provincial Council Is Mourning The Defeat of the “Almost Classically Fascist” LTTE and Its “Hitlerian” Leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Unveils His “VIsion 2030″For Sri Lanka at “Viyathmaga” Forum Held in Shangri-La Hotel with Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Among 2000 Attendees.

By Nisthar Cassim and Shanika Sriyananda

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who is widely speculated to be a 2019 presidential candidate, yesterday unveiled his vision 2030 for Sri Lanka, promising to transform the economy with futuristic policies and measures but more importantly with the right people and execution.

He told a packed and audience of over 2,000 professionals, business leaders, diplomats, clergy and politicians at the Shangri-La Hotel, Colombo that the future window of opportunity for Sri Lanka for faster economic growth hinges on an intellectually and technology competent society via a social open economic policy.

Gotabaya was emphatic when he said the foremost priority was economic growth which is the foundation and the cure for all ills of Sri Lanka. He also emphasised that economic growth and law and order went hand in hand.

At the forum, which was attended by former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, Gotabaya said:”An economy is not built merely through policies, programs, products, capital inflows and exports. It is driven by the humans who power it in many different capacities.”

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Unveils His “VIsion 2030″For Sri Lanka at “Viyathmaga” Forum Held in Shangri-La Hotel with Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Among 2000 Attendees.’ »

Dehiwela Zoo in Sri Lanka Sends Six Anaconda Snakes to Mysuru Zoo in India In Return for Blackbucks and Four Nilghais.

By

Meera Srinivasan

It may take about a month for the anacondas, taken recently from Colombo to Karnataka, to adjust to their new environment. They will be quarantined until that time, as authorities at the Mysuru zoo prepare to display them.

The two green anacondas, one male and one female, will soon be joined by four more snakes from the well-known Dehiwala zoo in Colombo, while, in return, four of the protected species of blackbuck and four nilgais will make their way from Mysuru to Colombo.

Apart from conventional animal diplomacy, where governments, as a goodwill gesture, gift each other animals that are endemic to their countries, zoos across the world network quite actively to add more diversity to the animals that they display for visitors. Sri Lanka has been part of ‘animal exchange programmes’ for many years, going by what is called a “surplus list” and a “wanted list” of animals, circulated internationally by different zoos.

Continue reading ‘Dehiwela Zoo in Sri Lanka Sends Six Anaconda Snakes to Mysuru Zoo in India In Return for Blackbucks and Four Nilghais.’ »

The “Naattukoothu (Folk Dance/Theatre) Performances of Batticaloa Relied Mainly on the Stories from “Mahabharatha” and “Ramayana”.


By

B.Nimal Veerasingham

When we were children my paternal grandmother ‘Sellamma’ (Appamma) would love to take us to events in the close vicinity of ‘Puliyantheevu’ – the principal islet of the Batticaloa town, that amused and entertained us to say the least. She was a Universalist – nothing prevented her from attending any religious or cultural groups’ events – never compartmentalized nor restricted her views into narrow realms.

She lived up to the principles of Astronomer sage of the Sangam age, ‘Kanian Pungundranar’ – ‘To us, all towns are one, all men are our kin’. The verse, being inscribed in the UN Headquarters in New York, it’s a humble rejoinder on my grandmother’s simple philosophy of life. A woman of extreme warmth and accommodation with an ever-widened smile on a perfect round face.

Every other year, per my memory, at the very end of ‘Mudaliyar Street’ in Puliyantheevu, where it winds down before meeting the Batticaloa lagoon, elders from the area organize a folk-dance performance called ‘Naatukoothu’, that starts after dusk and continues throughout the night till the following early morning hours. Things were different 50 years ago – when there were no Wi-Fi, cell phones or satellite TV. Hence performances like these entertained the crowds who looked forward such annual extravaganzas with great anticipation.

My ‘Koothu’ memories are vivid like the luminous waters of the Batticaloa lagoon that contains phosphorus laced microorganisms, allowing it to glow in the night at a certain season. As kids, our carefree world was not only glowing over the waters; but glittering under the spell of the magical stars – both on the open sky, and at the elevated circular ‘Koothu’ stage surrounded by people. Among the crowd – straddling closer to our ‘Appamma’, lying comfortably on the bedsheets placed on the long-grass mats – we are in another world.

Continue reading ‘The “Naattukoothu (Folk Dance/Theatre) Performances of Batticaloa Relied Mainly on the Stories from “Mahabharatha” and “Ramayana”.’ »

“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.’ »

TNA May Launch Non-Violent Protest Campaign Against Govt Soon

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Coalition Government of President Maithripala Sirisena and Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe may soon be facing a political challenge from an unexpected quarter namely the Tamil National Alliance(TNA). The TNA regarded as the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamil people is becoming increasingly frustrated at what it perceives as the slow pace and tardy progress of the Constitution making process. Therefore the TNA is planning to launch a non – violent protest campaign against the UNP- SLFP coalition Govt if it continues to procrastinate and dilly-dally on this issue. If and when matters do reach a point where a political confrontation becomes inevitable, the TNA proposes to embark upon a huge non – violent protest campaign to pressurise the Govt to expedite the making of a new Constitution.

ITAK – Party newspaper launching event

The TNA currently comprises the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK), Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization(TELO) and Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil eelam (PLOTE). Another constituent the Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Libertion Front (EPRLF) has dropped out of the TNA due to alleged political differences. The TNA contested the August 2015 Parliamentary polls under the house symbol of its chief constituent the ITAK (Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi) which is referred to in English as the FP (Federal Party). The TNA contesting as ITAK won sixteen seats consisting of fourteen elected and two National list MP’s in the last election. After the EPRLF pull -out the number has dropped to 15 from 16 MP’s.
Continue reading ‘TNA May Launch Non-Violent Protest Campaign Against Govt Soon’ »

Person Claiming To Be Ex-LTTE Fighter Joseph Pillai Issues Death Threat to Indian National K.P.Nagaraj For Helping Authorities To Arrest President sirisena’s chief of Staff Mahanama for Alleged Bribery.

By Namini Wijedasa

The investors behind the arrest of President’s Chief-of-Staff I H K Mahanama and State Timber Corporation Chairman P Dissanayake on bribery charges has written to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe asking him to “at least now” release the Kantale sugar factory infrastructure so their project can go ahead.

Their letter makes it clear that the Prime Minister knew as far back as September 2017 of attempts to elicit bribes from the investors.

M G Sugars Lanka (Pvt) Ltd has said that, despite all Dr Mahanama’s efforts to frustrate or thwart the initiative, they have remained committed and already invested millions of dollars into the project. They have requested the Prime Minister’s intervention to have all land and infrastructure released to proceed without further delay.

Continue reading ‘Person Claiming To Be Ex-LTTE Fighter Joseph Pillai Issues Death Threat to Indian National K.P.Nagaraj For Helping Authorities To Arrest President sirisena’s chief of Staff Mahanama for Alleged Bribery.’ »

The “Simple” Executive Presidency Introduced By JR Jayewardene Was Turned Into a “Complex Autocratic Monarchy” By Mahinda Rajapaksa

By

Sarath de Alwis

History repeats, because we don’t listen the first time. Those who wanted genuine change, now pin their hopes on the 20th Amendment which would abolish the Executive Presidency and restore parliamentary rule.

The Mahinda Rajapaksa presidency in the years 2010-2015 is remarkable for its successes and excesses. If he planned to perpetuate his rule, he did so for a good reason.

Kingship is an ancient office. Mahinda’s second term was a modern ‘kingship’. That explains the vociferous opposition to the proposed abolition of the executive presidency. When the powerful Executive President ended a war and became the unifier of the land and redeemer of his tribe, he became the anointed ruler of the tribe.

The abolition of the executive presidency will not impugn the unitary form of the Republic. That is balderdash by a segment of the Opposition that is itching for a strong man to rescue the land from democratic chaos and restore the discipline of the despot.

The executive presidency of Mahinda Rajapaksa is far more complex than what was designed by President J.R. Jayewardene.

Continue reading ‘The “Simple” Executive Presidency Introduced By JR Jayewardene Was Turned Into a “Complex Autocratic Monarchy” By Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

How Many “Roguish” Lawyers Involved In Fraudulent Land Transactions Have Been Brought To Book?



By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Chants of the Joint Opposition and its enthusiasts that anarchy has been let loose upon the land as a result of foibles of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Government bear an uncanny resemblance to the ancient cackling of ‘double, double toil and trouble, parties burn and nonsense bubble’ by Shakespeare’s three witches immortalized in Macbeth.

The political nonsense that bubbles

Politically correct critics may well object to this ancient rendering of witches as evil. Quite rightly chroniclers must be blamed for ascribing the downfall of kings, princes and generals to temptresses rather than acknowledging that their own follies, power and greed were to blame rather than any other external temptations. But the modern-day incarnations of doomsday voices at least in Sri Lanka are certainly not of the feminine gender though the Joint Opposition’s portents of impending chaos do sound unkindly like the shrill squawking of those witches of old.

Let us separate the wheat from the chaff and see if anarchy really stalks the country. True, it must be said that the ‘nonsense that bubbles’ on the part of those in power has led to far more confusion than what is warranted. It is inconceivable for one that appointments such as the President’s Chief of Staff could have taken place without thorough vetting of the credentials of the selected persons.

Continue reading ‘How Many “Roguish” Lawyers Involved In Fraudulent Land Transactions Have Been Brought To Book?’ »

Cauvery (Kaavaeri) River On Its Death Bed With Riverine Ecosystem Facing Terminal Decline


By

Vidya Venkat

The Sangam-era Tamil poetic work Pattinappaalai describes the Cauvery as an eternal river. “Vaan poithinam thaan poiyya malai kalaya kadarkaaveri ponal parandhu pon kolikkum” goes a line. Loosely translated, it means that even in the hot summer months, when the rain gods do not shower their mercy, the Cauvery, emerging from the hills of Coorg (Kodagu), continues to flow, helping to harvest gold from the land.

But today, anyone touring the land from Tiruchi to Poompuhar in Tamil Nadu, where an ancient Tamil civilisation flourished, will find that the river is now a sea of sand, with rocks and bushes dotting the dry river bed. It is only during the monsoon season that any water can be seen flowing. Ask any farmer in the Cauvery delta in Tamil Nadu and he will tell you that the river has water only three to four months in a year.

For the thousands of tourists and pilgrims climbing the 300 steps to the hilltop at Talacauvery, the Cauvery’s source in Kodagu, Karnataka, no mystical spout awaits. It is here that the river is believed to emerge as a perennial fount, and is worshipped as Kaveriamma by the Kodavas. But on top of the Brahmagiri Hills in Kodagu, only mud and stones greet the eye. In the temple at the bottom of the hill, the priest says that it is only during October, after the monsoon is over, that you get to see a water spout under the rocks.

Continue reading ‘Cauvery (Kaavaeri) River On Its Death Bed With Riverine Ecosystem Facing Terminal Decline’ »

Army Chief Lt.Gen Mahesh Senanayake Tells Foreign Correspondents That Northern Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran is his “Best Friend” but Northern Council has Done Very Little

The Sri Lanka army has set up a “Directorate of Overseas Operations” dedicated to preparing material to defend itself against war crimes charges made in the international arena. This was stated by the Army Commander, Lt.Gen.Mahesh Senanayake, at a meeting with the Foreign Correspondents’ Association of Sri Lanka here on Thursday.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had passed several resolutions accusing the Lankan Army of breaching International Humanitarian Law which could be deemed “war crimes.”

The UNHRC and the West-based human rights lobby have called for an international judicial mechanism to investigate and bring the guilty to book. The former UN High Commissioner of Human Rights Prince Zeid had even suggested the extension of Universal Jurisdiction to Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Army Chief Lt.Gen Mahesh Senanayake Tells Foreign Correspondents That Northern Chief Minister C.V.Wigneswaran is his “Best Friend” but Northern Council has Done Very Little’ »

Doubtful Whether This “Unity”Govt Will Last Till 2020 as “Yahapalanaya” Shelf Life is Now Over.


By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

President Maithripala Sirisena in his speeches at two separate occasions early this week made two politicallly important pronouncements. Addressing the May Day rally of his Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and its ally United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) in the Eastern town of Chengalady near Batticaloa last Monday (7) he declared that he would not retire from politics in 2020 when his current term of office ended, that he had a mission and a vision for the people and the country beyond 2020, and would retire only after accomplishing them successfully. Next day while delivering his policy statement during the ceremonial inauguration of the Second session of the Eighth Parliament, the President said that the National Unity Government had failed to attain political maturity since it was appointed three years ago, resulting in discord being sowed between the parties in the ruling coalition. He further said that the two main political parties in the government had yet to reach a common consensus to sustain the national government to govern the country and that consensual political culture had provided the base for many states in modern day politics; but it seemed that it was still very much alien to Sri Lankans.

It is important to note that the President’s pronouncements came at a time when his National Unity government is nearing the tail end of its five year term. We cannot find fault with anybody who would interpret his speeches as a confession of his failure to deliver on his promise of good governance during the last three years of his administration.

Continue reading ‘Doubtful Whether This “Unity”Govt Will Last Till 2020 as “Yahapalanaya” Shelf Life is Now Over.’ »

Parliament Passes Law with 119 – 52 Votes to Set Up Special Courts To Fast Track Cases Concerning Alleged Corruption During Rajapaksa Regime With Mahinda Loyalist MP’s Voting Against.

Sri Lanka’s parliament Wednesday voted to set up special courts to try multi-billion dollar graft cases under former president Mahinda Rajapakse.

The move aims to accelerate several high-profile cases following criticism over the slow pace of justice since President Maithripala Sirisena came to power in 2015 promising to stamp out corruption.

Parliament voted 119-52 to create high courts to take up white collar crimes and reduce the backlog of cases.

Continue reading ‘Parliament Passes Law with 119 – 52 Votes to Set Up Special Courts To Fast Track Cases Concerning Alleged Corruption During Rajapaksa Regime With Mahinda Loyalist MP’s Voting Against.’ »

“Whistleblower” Indian National Whose Cooperation Helped Officials Arrest President Sirisena’s Chief of Staff for Alleged Bribery Complains to Police About Receiving Hand Delivered Letter with Death Threat

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The Indian investor who complained that President Maithripala Sirisena’s Chief of Staff, I. K. Mahanama and Chairman of State Timber Corporation P. Dissanayake, had allegedly taken a bribe from him, has informed the Cinnamon Gardens Police that he has been receiving death threats.

Continue reading ‘“Whistleblower” Indian National Whose Cooperation Helped Officials Arrest President Sirisena’s Chief of Staff for Alleged Bribery Complains to Police About Receiving Hand Delivered Letter with Death Threat’ »

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Tenders Apology At Cabinet Meeting to Maithripala Sirisena For Launching Verbal Attack on President at UNP May DayRally

By Kushan Subasinghe and Ajith Alahakoon

Sustainable Development, Wildlife and Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, yesterday, apologised to President Maithripala Sirisena for publicly having criticised the latter, recently.
Continue reading ‘Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Tenders Apology At Cabinet Meeting to Maithripala Sirisena For Launching Verbal Attack on President at UNP May DayRally’ »

Namal Rajapaksa wants Action Taken Against Railway Employee Allegedly responsible for racist and Sexual Harassment of Tamil Woman on Colombo-Jaffna Train.

Joint Opposition MP Namal Rajapaksa yesterday condemned the alleged harassment of a Tamil woman on a Colombo-Jaffna train by a train attendant on Tuesday. He called for necessary action.

The incident which had been recorded by a person on the train was widely circulated in social media.

Continue reading ‘Namal Rajapaksa wants Action Taken Against Railway Employee Allegedly responsible for racist and Sexual Harassment of Tamil Woman on Colombo-Jaffna Train.’ »

P.B.Sreenivas-S.Janaki: Evergreen Film Songs Of An Endearing Singer Duo

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Tamil film music has been enriched over the years by the immense contribution of non-Tamil music composers and playback singers of South Indian origin.

Some of the notable non-Tamil music composers are M.S. Viswanathan, S.M. Subbiah Nayudu, T.G. Lingappa, S. Dakshinamurthi, S. Rajeswara Rao, T. Chalapathy Rao, P. Adinarayana Rao, V. Kumar, R. Vidyasagar and M.M. Keeravani. Some of the renowned singers are T.M. Soundararajan, P. Susheela, V. Ghantasala, A.M. Rajah, Jikki, S. Janaki, P.B. Sreenivas, P. Leela, Jamuna Rani, R. Balasaraswathidevi, Chitra, Sujatha, S.P. Balasubramanyam and K.J. Yesuthas.
Continue reading ‘P.B.Sreenivas-S.Janaki: Evergreen Film Songs Of An Endearing Singer Duo’ »

“Myanmar:- The Rohingya Refugee Crisis, The Roots of Conflict and Future Possibilities” – Text Of Lecture By Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy.


(Text of Lecture by Dr. Radhika Coomaraswamy on ‘Myanmar: The Rohingya Refugee Crisis, Roots of the Conflict and Possibilities for the Future’ at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relations and Strategic Studies (LKI) on Thursday, 3 May 2018)

INTRODUCTION

I want to thank Dinusha and the Kadirgamar Institute for inviting me to speak today. This is going to be a somewhat long talk since Myanmar is one of my passions. I encourage you to sit back and relax. You are most welcome to fall asleep if you feel it is too tiresome.

Let me begin immediately by saying I am not going to focus in detail on the state of inquiries undertaken by the United Nations Fact Finding mission on Myanmar. I will speak only from open source material.My purpose today is more to give you a background in which the events under consideration may be better understood.I will deal with incidents under consideration by the Fact Finding Mission but as presented in our March 2018 Interim report.


As an aside I would like to point outthat the military junta that ruled Burma changed its name to Myanmar in 1989 after it had ruthlessly suppressed the democracy movement. Today, however, the name Myanmar has been accepted by all including the democracy movement.

I have been an avid follower of developments in Myanmar after I visited Myanmar in 2007 and 2011 as The United Nations Special Representative on Children and Armed conflict and now as a member of the United Nations Human Rights Council Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar- though in the latter capacity we have not been granted access to the country. Myanmar is a enticing country with a rich tapestry which makes the violence and abuse both intriguing and incomprehensible.

I will begin by giving a short history of the peopling of Myanmarwhere there is a consensus among historians especially on areas that have relevance to the topic. I will also focus on General Aung San, the founder of the country, and Aung San Suu Kyi, the daughter of Aung San, the Nobel Laureate and the architect of Myanmar’s democratic movement. I will attempt to comment on the Myanmarese security forces, the Tatmadaw, and its dominance even today of post independence Myanmar. I will also try to look at Buddhist radicalization that has changed the landscape of Myanmar politics in recent times and has specific significance for the Rohingya population.

I will also attempt to give in simplified form the long history of conflict between the Tatmadaw and ethnic minorities, other than the Rohingyas, so as to give you a sense of the attitude of the armed forces to ethnic minorities in general, an attitude somewhat different from General Aung San and his daughter. The long history of conflict sets a pattern that has relevance to the events that have taken place in Rakhine state.

I will then turn to the contested history of western Rakhine state, once called Arakan state, where ethnic Buddhists and Muslim Rohingyas used to co-exist. and where narratives rather than facts prevail. The ethnic Buddhist Rakhine who live primarily in the South were about 70% of the population and the Muslim Rohingyas who used to live in Northern Rakhine were about 25% of the population. There are running historical battles on the history of the Rakhine state, even the use of the term Rohingyas, their modern history and the body of legislation from independence that discriminates against them. This very contested history sets the stage for deeply held feelings and grievances that have eventually erupted in terrible violence.

Finally, there will be a short reflection on the future of the Rohingya refugees and the options that currently exist and also what can we expect from Myanmar democracy in light of all these developments.

Continue reading ‘“Myanmar:- The Rohingya Refugee Crisis, The Roots of Conflict and Future Possibilities” – Text Of Lecture By Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy.’ »

Trincomalee Shanmuga Hindu Ladies College Administration Forbidding Female Muslim Teachers From Coming To School Dressed In “Abaya” is Chauvinistically Anti-Muslim and Cannot be Justified on Any Grounds.

By Mahendran Thiruvarangan

The recent demonstrations by the Tamil teachers, alumni and members of the larger Tamil community, in Trincomalee town, against the Muslim teachers at Sri Shanmuga Hindu Ladies’ College who came to school in the abaya, speak of a larger problem that bedevils our educational system and the state. Hot on the heels of the anti-Muslim violence which parts of the Eastern and Central provinces witnessed in March this year, and in light of the growing tensions between Tamils and Muslims in the East, the anti-Muslim positions taken by a dominant section within the Shanmuga Hindu Ladies’ College community are deeply worrying and alarming.

The racist slogans on the placards held by the Tamil protestors targeted not just the female Muslim teachers and what they wore but also a ‘non-standard’ version of the Tamil language which the protestors, in an essentialising fashion, claimed the Muslim teachers and other Muslims spoke. The protests drive home the point that anti-Muslim sentiments are rife among the educated classes within Tamil society and that it is high time we woke up from our delusional slumber of victimhood and confronted head-on the chauvinisms that have taken root amongst us.

There are many questionable assumptions about culture, religion and gender that are at work in the manner in which the female Muslim teachers are treated by the Tamil-Hindu administration of Shanmuga Hindu Ladies’ College and the larger community connected with that institution. The protestors have woven a narrative about the place of history in the life of the College in their desperate attempts to give legitimacy to their chauvinistic action. All these suppositions and the manner in which history has been brought in to deny the female Muslim teachers their right to wear the abaya to their workplace need to be unpacked and challenged. Before scrutinizing these assumptions, looking at the school system in Sri Lanka and the ways in which schools continue remain aligned with cultures, ethnicities and religions, despite nationalization, may help us contextualize the crisis at Shanmuga Hindu Ladies’ College in the larger histories of secondary education in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Trincomalee Shanmuga Hindu Ladies College Administration Forbidding Female Muslim Teachers From Coming To School Dressed In “Abaya” is Chauvinistically Anti-Muslim and Cannot be Justified on Any Grounds.’ »

If UNP Tries To Field a “Duplicate Mahinda” at Presidential Poll To Defeat the Rajapaksa Juggernaut It will Definitely Fall Flat

By
Vishwamithra 1984

“Be yourself, because an original is worth more than a copy”
– Unknown quotes
In order to defeat the Mahinda Rajapaksa juggernaut, there is one thing the United National Party (UNP) should not do – field a ‘Duplicate Mahinda.’ What is the Mahinda Rajapaksa-candidature looking like?

In an election campaign, the one thing one must pay most attention to is the basic brand of the candidature. How does the voter look at the brand? Is there an identifiable brand? Did the planners of the campaign, or the politico-experts, originally plan to brand the Rajapaksa-candidature or did the advertisers do so?

Sometimes a brand gets built up without any effort being made to build it. Unlike professional marketing of branded products, like Sunlight for soap or Astra for margarine, political marketing, prior to early 1990s, there was no sophisticated campaign planning. Yet, the 1956 campaign of S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) seemed to have been a coordinated effort without which such a sweeping victory would have been possible.

Bandaranaike, with that campaign in ’56, gave a fantastic brand to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), ‘common man’s party’ and a brand which is valid and applicable even in today’s context of a more sophisticated and tech-savvy public relations environment. That ‘common man’s party’ brand has outlasted its creator’s own assassination, it’s domination by a feudal tyranny such as Sirimavo and Felix Dias Bandaranaike, it’s being decimated by the Rajapaksa clan and its seemingly obliteration under the current leader of the party.
Continue reading ‘If UNP Tries To Field a “Duplicate Mahinda” at Presidential Poll To Defeat the Rajapaksa Juggernaut It will Definitely Fall Flat’ »

Nothing Is More Certain To Bury The UNP Electorally Than the Agitation For a New Constitution By The TNA

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

What happens when the protracted crisis of a political party which is in government, coincides with a dramatically mounting economic crisis? The UNP is the country’s second oldest political party. Never in its 70 year history has it been away from the apex of power and the top post in the country for as long as it has been during this stretch: a quarter century. The other main contender for power, the SLFP has never been out of the top spot for that long.

The UNP has had lean stretches before in its long history, but even in defeat it has been led by personalities who were popular. This is manifestly not the case today. During this entire period of almost a quarter century out of the top spot, the UNP has been led by one man. Today there is open dissent against his leadership; dissent that makes it to the TV news every single day.

Earlier, when the UNP was in office, it had impressive marches on May Day, culminating in a huge rally on Galle Face Green. Today’s UNP, devoid of the capacity to mobilize a march, penned itself into the Sugathadasa Indoor Stadium. The UNP has no powerful Jathika Sevaka Sangamaya to organize a May Day parade.

What we are witnessing is the shrinking, cracking and crumbling of the UNP. It has been beaten into second place by the Pohottuwa. Though its strategists are counting on the abolition of the executive presidency, projections show that even at a parliamentary election the UNP would clock only 60 seats while the JO-Pohottuwa would clock 120 i.e. double that number.
Ranjith Aluvihare, MP and descendant of a clan of UNP stalwarts in Matale, said on TV news that,“the UNP has a problem as to its presidential candidacy in 2019… It will lose the Provincial Council elections… [It] has already lost its base in the villages.”
I have never seen the UNP in as bad a shape as it is now. If its leadership remains unchanged, the UNP will plunge to its lowest ever percentage at the next nationwide election. In short, 2019 will see the worst defeat in UNP history.

Continue reading ‘Nothing Is More Certain To Bury The UNP Electorally Than the Agitation For a New Constitution By The TNA’ »

President Sirisena Identifies the Need to Recognize “Equal Rights Based Aspirations of the Tamil People ” in his Address While Inaugurating new Session of Parliament on May 8.

(Text of speech made by President Maithripala Sirisena at the inauguration of the new session of the Parliament on May 8, 2018)

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Members of parliament,

As the President and Head of the Government of the people of Sri Lanka, I greet all of you at the opening of the Second Session of the 8th Parliament of Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka.

You are aware that in accordance of the powers entrusted to me under the Clause 70 of the Constitution of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka I have issued the Extraordinary Gazette Notification on April 12, 2018 proroguing the First Session of the 8th Parliament. I wish to inform that the Second Session of the 8th Parliament commences today in accordance with the Clause 70 and Clauses 32 and 33 of the Constitution. This is in fact closing of one session and commencing another session of the Parliament in accordance with the Parliamentary traditions of our country.

I wish to make this Statement as an extension of the Statement presented by me at the commencement of the First Session of the 8th Parliament.

I believe that you will, despite some criticism, acknowledge that the task of restoring the Sri Lankan Society as a democratic, humane, and accountable society has been completed successfully during the last three and a half years, which was the main request of the people of this country who gave the verdict to this government.

I gratefully recall the cooperation extended to me by the 7th Parliament and the 8th Parliament since I was elected by the people of this country as President on January 8, 2015 for fulfilling the above mentioned democratic aspirations of the people.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Identifies the Need to Recognize “Equal Rights Based Aspirations of the Tamil People ” in his Address While Inaugurating new Session of Parliament on May 8.’ »

“Some ask whether I am retiring in 2020.I am not retiring in 2020. There are so many things to be done” – President Maithripala Sirisena at May day rally In Batticaloa

(Text of speech made by the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Chairman President Maithripala Sirisena at the SLFP May Day rally at the Mawadiwembu Ground, Chenkaladi in Batticaloa 2018-05-07)

I am very pleased about this opportunity to hold this successful SLFP May Day rally in Batticaloa. Today we join to honour the working class of our country as well as in the world. Specially, I recall the assistance given by our trade unions to make this event a success.

May Day is dedicated for all working people around the globe, especially to remember them, their rights and benefits as well as to get everyone’s attention to ensure their rights. Always the SLFP governments have ensured the rights and privileges of the working people.

Similarly, during the last three-and-a-half years, our government has granted prominent rights, including increasing their allowances, to the working people of the country. In all the labour struggles occurred in every country in the world, echoes the voice, ‘Let us unite’. Even though May 01 is the International Workers’ Day, all of you know the reason why we choose today to celebrate this day. In the process of the building the national harmony the working class of this country and the trade unions can play a pivotal role. The working class and the trade unions can play a pivotal role in building the national reconciliation. As you know all of us faced a nearly three decade long, brutal war and in that conflict, irrespective of ethnicity, the lives of Sinhalese, Tamil and Muslims were lost, leaders belong to every community died.

Similarly, a large number of persons who belongs to our security forces, the Tri- forces, the police and the Civil Defense Force have died. The responsibility of all of us is to prevent the recurrence of such kind of brutal war. In that process the trade unions and the working class have a great responsibility to fulfill. I must mention here that when building national harmony, especially when building peace and friendliness among the different communities the labour movements and trade unions can fulfill an enormous work towards this.

Continue reading ‘“Some ask whether I am retiring in 2020.I am not retiring in 2020. There are so many things to be done” – President Maithripala Sirisena at May day rally In Batticaloa’ »

President Sirisena Declares Publicly That He Will Not Retire From Politics in 2020 and that he Will Form Govt Without “Murderers” or “Robbers”.

President Maithripala Sirisena on Monday ended all speculation about his political future saying he will not retire in 2020 when his current term ends and wants to form a government without “murderers.”

He quashed what he called rumours on social media that he intends to retire in 2020.

“There are many who ask if I will retire in 2020,” he said in Batticaloa while addressing a May Day rally. ” I will not retire. There is so much work to be done.”

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Declares Publicly That He Will Not Retire From Politics in 2020 and that he Will Form Govt Without “Murderers” or “Robbers”.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Political Camp Split in Two Over Choice of Next Presidential Candidate With “leftist” Tendency Preferring “Aiya” Chamal Rajapaksa and the “Gotabhaya Kalliya”Faction Supporting the “Malli” Ex Defence Secretary.


By Anurangi Singh and Uditha Kumarasinghe

Hotly contested debates are underway in the pro-Rajapaksa Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna/Joint Opposition faction as to which member of the former ruling family should contest the presidential election due in 2019, highly placed sources told the Sunday Observer.

UPFA MP and New Left Front Leader, Vasudeva Nanayakkara, who is a JO frontliner in Parliament told the Sunday Observer, that it was the preference of Left groups within the Joint Opposition to nominate former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa as the presidential contender from the Rajapaksa camp.

“I frankly propose Chamal Rajapakse as a candidate that the JO should choose. That is because his performance and his function as the speaker of the house was excellent and his character is very soft and open to any group for negotiations.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Political Camp Split in Two Over Choice of Next Presidential Candidate With “leftist” Tendency Preferring “Aiya” Chamal Rajapaksa and the “Gotabhaya Kalliya”Faction Supporting the “Malli” Ex Defence Secretary.’ »

President Sirisena Announces SLFP May Day Rally in Chenkalladdi That He Will Not “Retire” From Politics and that he will Continue to Serve the People Beyond 2020.

By

Sandun A Jayasekera reporting from Chenkalady, Batticaloa

President Maithripala Sirisena today declared that he would not retire from politics in 2020 as he had to complete his mission to serve the people and the country beyond 2020.

Addressing the SLFP May Day rally at the Chenkalady Sports Grounds in Batticaloa this afternoon, President Sirisena went on to say that the media and many others kept asking him whether he would quit politics in 2020.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Announces SLFP May Day Rally in Chenkalladdi That He Will Not “Retire” From Politics and that he will Continue to Serve the People Beyond 2020.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Greatest Film Director Lester James Peries Was Creative Pioneer of Authentic Sinhala Cinema.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

It is with great sorrow that I write of the death of Sri Lanka’s greatest film director Lester James Peries!

Lester James Peries

The doyen of Sinhala cinema who celebrated his 99th birthday on April 5th passed away at a private hospital in Colombo on Sunday April 29th 2018.

The nonagenarian filmmaker had been ailing for several weeks since his 99th birthday celebration. Though the news was known to a few it was kept quiet on the advice of the doctors who felt he should not have visitors in his condition. Lester’s wife of 54 years, Sumitra Giunewardene Peries a renowned filmmaker in her own right attended to him till the very end

Lester James Peries

Their last collaborative venture “Vaishnavee” a film directed by Sumitra on a story written by Lester was released on April 5th to denote Lester’s birthday.

Those of us who were aware of Lester’s health condition were hoping against hope that the pioneering filmmaker would survive the current ordeal and celebrate his 100th birthday next year

Destiny however ruled otherwise.

Funeral arrangements are to be notified later.

My heartfelt condolences to his soulmate and partner Sumitra who herself is an octogenarian

Some years ago in an article about Lester James Peries I wrote thus – ” If I were to pose the question “Mirror, mirror on the wall, who is the best Lankan filmmaker of them all?” to my personal magic mirror, the answer would be in three words – Lester James Peries!

Though Sri Lanka has produced many brilliant film directors over the years – and I do enjoy their movies – I have always been of the firm opinion that the greatest director of Sinhala cinema is Lester James Peries. There was a time when my friends used to have fun at my expense by belittling Lester’s films as second-rate mediocre stuff. I would retort angrily and they would laugh gleefully.

I have written many articles about Lester and his films and will continue to do so. This article however is a tribute to a man who is to me the greatest pioneeering director of Sinhala cinema.

In a film making career spanning more than five decades Lester James Peries has made 20 feature films inclusive of ‘Pinhamy’ in 1980.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Greatest Film Director Lester James Peries Was Creative Pioneer of Authentic Sinhala Cinema.’ »

President Sirisena Could Not Believe His Trusted Chief of Staff Was Caught Taking a Bribe and Repeatedly Asked “May Apey Mahanama?( This is Our Mahanama?)

The arrest of the President’s Chief of Staff while allegedly accepting a 20 million bribe may have seriously damaged Maithripala Sirisena ’s image and weakened his position within the tenuous coalition.

Sirisena was reportedly visibly shaken when a senior aide told him on Thursday that his Chief of Staff I. H. M. Mahanama had been caught a few minutes earlier while counting 20 million rupees at the Taj Samudra car park given by an Indian investor in the Kantale Sugar factory which has been put up for privatistion.

“May ape Mahanama?! (Our Mahanama?)” the president reportedly asked twice, not believing that his trusted aide had been arrested following a sting operation four weeks in the making.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Could Not Believe His Trusted Chief of Staff Was Caught Taking a Bribe and Repeatedly Asked “May Apey Mahanama?( This is Our Mahanama?)’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa Re-defined the Power Dynamics of Mahinda Rajapaksa With a “Triad” of Image Engineers.

By

Sarath de Alwis


“Madness is something rare in individuals — but in groups, parties, peoples, and ages, it is the rule.”

Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

Make no mistake. This government has failed to deliver. It must be brought to its senses. If not, we must fashion something better. But, we must not allow the monster to return.

As I write this column, I read that the President’s Chief of Staff has been arrested by officials of the Bribery Commission in the act of accepting a bribe of a vast sum of money.

Ven Sobitha from whatever heavenly abode he presently inhabits would no doubt approve. Let us be real. This would not have happened under Mahinda Rajapaksa. His Chief of Staff alleged to have amassed prohibitively priceless wealth continues to roam freely three years after the fall of the Rajapaksa regime.

So, all said and done, we are in a quiet crawl towards sanity. We are not there yet. But we shall get there. This government appears more dysfunctional than it really is. Comparison with the regime it replaced is neither rational nor logical. Mahinda Rajapaksa presided over an unabashedly authoritarian regime during his second term.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa Re-defined the Power Dynamics of Mahinda Rajapaksa With a “Triad” of Image Engineers.’ »

How the Bribe-taking Presidential Chief of Staff and Timber Corporation Chairman Were Caught In the Act Of Counting the Ill-gotten Cash in a Car Park.

by Manjula Fernando and Anurangi Singh

On February 22 this year, a foreign national walked in to the Investigation Office of the Bribery Commission, to make a formal complaint. It was not the type of complaint the Bribery officials confront on any regular day.

Speaking with a strong Indian accent, the businessman dropped a bombshell on the Chief Investigation Officer of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, ASP Ruwan Kumara. The complainant mentioned two high profile names, one of them from the highest Government office in the country.

The Indian businessman told the Commission officials that he had been wooed and harassed by the two officials to pay a stupendous bribe to get a long delayed investment project off the ground.

At first, Bribery Commission sleuths were cautious to act on the Indian businessman’s complaint. The Commission needed solid proof of an attempt to solicit a bribe before they could tail a suspect or put high profile officials under surveillance. One wrong step and things could have gone wrong – badly.

In his complaint to the Bribery Commission the businessman said his company had been awarded a contract to revive the Kantale Sugar Factory in 2015 that had been closed for 25 years. The Cabinet of Ministers granted the approval which was carried out under the auspices of the Board of Investment in Sri Lanka (BOI).

Continue reading ‘How the Bribe-taking Presidential Chief of Staff and Timber Corporation Chairman Were Caught In the Act Of Counting the Ill-gotten Cash in a Car Park.’ »

Sri Lankan Political Parties Are Not What They Were Decades Ago and are Being Re-shaped Politically in Nature,Culture and Dynamics

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

For a student of political institutions in Sri Lanka, things happening within political parties are great material for reflection and analysis.

It appears that our political parties today are not what used to be a few decades ago. The presidential system, the system of proportional representation, changes in value framework in society, shifting class bases of political power, and persistence of coalition politics seem to have contributed to what one may call reshaping of the nature, dynamics, and cultures of political parties as institutions of democracy.

Party Indiscipline

The question of party discipline /indiscipline provides a window to an understanding of some of the changing dynamics of Sri Lanka’s political party system at present.

When we look at what we might call internal crises of both, the UNP and SLFP during the past two-to-three years, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that these two parties are no longer governed by the old cultures of ‘inner party discipline’ and ‘party loyalty.’ Indiscipline and weak loyalty with impunity seem to be a culture of party governance tolerated with indifference within both the UNP and SLFP.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Political Parties Are Not What They Were Decades Ago and are Being Re-shaped Politically in Nature,Culture and Dynamics’ »

JVP “Thozhargal” Who Conducted “May Day” In Jaffna This Year Are Making Positive Progress Among Marginalised Sections Of Society In North.

by Maneshka Borham

JAFFNA: On May 1, the residents of Jaffna carried on as usual, the town brimming with day to day activity. Nothing appeared to be out of the ordinary since the Government had ‘postponed’ May Day, as the globally recognized workers’ day had clashed with the Buddhist festival of Vesak.

Only the red cloth flags lining the streets of Jaffna town from the Chundikuli ground to the Municipal Council ground, where a decorated stage had been set up the night before by a group of industrious workers provided a reminder that it was May Day.

These preparations were for the town’s only International Workers’ Day rally organized by the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP). The JVP was among several political parties and trade unions that decided to defy the government’s request to refrain from holding May Day rallies as it coincided with Vesak week.

Continue reading ‘JVP “Thozhargal” Who Conducted “May Day” In Jaffna This Year Are Making Positive Progress Among Marginalised Sections Of Society In North.’ »

Why was Dr.Mahanama Appointed As President Sirisena’s Chief of Staff Despite Two Allegations of Suspected Corruption Being Raised Against Him Earlier?

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Two civil society organisations, yesterday, said the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration owed an explanation to the general public as to why Dr. T. H. K. Mahanama had been appointed the Chief of Staff of President Maithripala Sirisena, in spite of a serious allegation against him that he deliberately delayed a USD 100 mn project to establish a new sugar factory and interfered in the Cabinet approved sale of discarded machinery and scrap iron belonging to the Kantale Sugar factory.

The Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) arrested Mahanama, on Thursday, at a leading hotel in Colombo. The senior administrator received the appointment about a month ago. The CIABOC also took into custody the Chairman of the State Timber Corporation Piyasena Dissanayake.

Continue reading ‘Why was Dr.Mahanama Appointed As President Sirisena’s Chief of Staff Despite Two Allegations of Suspected Corruption Being Raised Against Him Earlier?’ »

President Sirisena to Take Back Office Of Missing Persons From Mano Ganesan as Requested by the Cabinet Minister Himself.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is set to take back from Minister Mano Ganeshan, the Office of Missing Persons (OMP) at Ganeshan’s request.

A Gazette to this effect is expected soon, Minister Ganeshan told this correspondent on Saturday.

Ganeshan said that he had requested the President to take back the OMP allotted to him in the recent reshuffle of cabinet portfolios.

He also desired that the Office for National Unity and Reconciliation (ONUR) be taken over by the President.

Before the reshuffle, President Sirisena was Minister of National Reconciliation, and as such, had with him the Office of Missing Persons.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena to Take Back Office Of Missing Persons From Mano Ganesan as Requested by the Cabinet Minister Himself.’ »

Gold-plated Replica of Golden Peacock Award Stolen From the Home of Lester James Peries On The Day of his Funeral Found in Bus on Colombo-Kaduwela Route

Sri Lankan police on Saturday recovered the stolen replica of the Golden Peacock trophy which the late Sri Lankan film maker Lester James Peries had won at the New Delhi International Film Festival in 1965.

The gold-plated replica, which was stolen from his house on Wednesday, the day of his funeral, was recovered from the overhead luggage rack of public bus No:177 plying between Kollupitiya in Colombo to Kaduwela, a suburb.

It was apparently spotted by the cleaner and driver of the bus and handed over to the police.

The wide media coverage that the theft got, enabled its recovery.

The man or women who stole it had used the short span of time when the mourners’attention was diverted to the coffin as it was being closed at the end of the Roman Catholic service. But he may have panicked when the theft was on radio, television and the print media that evening and the next day, and dropped it off in a public bus.

Continue reading ‘Gold-plated Replica of Golden Peacock Award Stolen From the Home of Lester James Peries On The Day of his Funeral Found in Bus on Colombo-Kaduwela Route’ »

President Sirisena’s Chief of Staff I.H.K.Mahanama and State Timber Corporation Chairman P.Dissanayake Arrested For Allegedly Procuring Rs 20 Million Bribe Regarding Kanthalai Sugar Factory From Indian National

By Skandha Gunasekara

* Suspects accept bribe from Indian investor to reduce prices in the sale of Kantale Sugar Factory machinery

* Chief of Staff suspended, President orders unhindered legal action against suspects
President Sirisena informed prior to arrest

*
Secretary to the President commends arrest

*
Joint Opposition hails efforts of CIABOC


T
he Chief of Staff of President Maithripala Sirisena was arrested yesterday by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) for accepting a bribe of Rs. 20 million, CIABOC Director General Sarath Jayamanne told the Daily FT.

The Director General revealed that the President’s Chief of Staff, I.H.K. Mahanama, along with State Timber Corporation Chairman Piyadasa Dissanayake were arrested by CIABOC officials after accepting a bribe of Rs. 20 million. According to informed sources, the investigation into the two suspects’ actions had been ongoing for several weeks prior to yesterday’s arrest.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Chief of Staff I.H.K.Mahanama and State Timber Corporation Chairman P.Dissanayake Arrested For Allegedly Procuring Rs 20 Million Bribe Regarding Kanthalai Sugar Factory From Indian National’ »

President Sirisena Orders Suspension of Services of Senior Presidential Secretariat Official and Timber Corporation Head Allegedly Involved in Bribe Taking

By

Chaturanga Samarawickrama

President Maithripala Sirisena today instructed officials to suspend the services of a senior official attached to the Presidential Secretariat and the Chairman of the State Timber Corporation (STC) who were facing bribery allegations and advised the authorities to strictly enforce the law against the two offenders.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Orders Suspension of Services of Senior Presidential Secretariat Official and Timber Corporation Head Allegedly Involved in Bribe Taking’ »

Mt.Lavinia Magistrate Lochana Abeywickrema Directs CID To Record Statement from Ex – Army Chief Sarath Fonseka Over Inquiry Into Abduction o Former “Nation” Associate Editor Keith Noyahr.

By A.J. Abeynayake

Mount Lavinia Magistrate Lochana Abeywickrema, yesterday, directed the CID to record a statement from former Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka in respect of the inquiry into the abduction of Deputy Editor of The Nation Keith Noyahr on May 22, 2008.

Magistrate Abeywickrema said so in response to representations made by lawyers representing the accused in the high profile case.

Continue reading ‘Mt.Lavinia Magistrate Lochana Abeywickrema Directs CID To Record Statement from Ex – Army Chief Sarath Fonseka Over Inquiry Into Abduction o Former “Nation” Associate Editor Keith Noyahr.’ »

“It Seems That One Needs to Engage in Corrupt Activities to Obtain a Powerful Ministerial Position” Says Social Empowerment Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake

by Rathindra Kuruwita

It seemed that one needed to engage in corrupt activities to obtain a powerful ministerial position, Deputy Minister of Social Empowerment, Ranjan Ramanayake said yesterday commenting on the latest reshuffle of state and deputy ministers, in which some of his subjects were removed.

Continue reading ‘“It Seems That One Needs to Engage in Corrupt Activities to Obtain a Powerful Ministerial Position” Says Social Empowerment Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake’ »

Gold -plated Replica of “golden Peacock”Award won By Lester James Peries for “Gamperaliya” at New Delhi Film Festival Stolen From Directors Home on The Day of His Funeral

A gold plated replica of the Golden Peacock trophy which the late Sri Lankan film maker Lester James Peries had won at the New Delhi International Film Festival in 1965, was stolen from his house on Wednesday, the day of his funeral.

The Golden Peacock was the first ever international award that Peries got in his 50 year remarkable career as a film maker.

The replica had been kept by the side of the coffin during the Catholic funeral service in his house between 10.30 and 11.00 am. As the coffin was being closed at the end of the service it was noticed that the replica kept beside it was missing.

Continue reading ‘Gold -plated Replica of “golden Peacock”Award won By Lester James Peries for “Gamperaliya” at New Delhi Film Festival Stolen From Directors Home on The Day of His Funeral’ »

“Dostoevsky once said we all came out of Gogol’s Overcoat.In the same Way we All came Out Of Mr.Peries’s Rekava”- Sinhala film Director Asoka Handagama.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Renowned Sri Lankan film maker and a national icon Lester James Peiris, credited with revolutionalising Sinhala cinema in the 1950s with a strong local flavour and indigenous style, passed away in Colombo on Sunday. He was 99.

A contemporary of Satyajit Ray, Peiris is regarded the “father of Sinhala cinema”. He won critical acclaim in the island and outside for his work that spanned five decades. His debut Rekava (Line of Destiny), made in 1956, is considered path breaking for its realistic portrayal of the ethos of the rural Sinhalese, in a newly-independent Ceylon.

Continue reading ‘“Dostoevsky once said we all came out of Gogol’s Overcoat.In the same Way we All came Out Of Mr.Peries’s Rekava”- Sinhala film Director Asoka Handagama.’ »

UNP Backbenchers Boycott Parliamentary Group Meetings Protesting Party Reforms Being Turned Into an “Eyewash” says Hirunika Premachandra.

By Rathindra Kuruwita

UNP backbenchers have decided to boycott parliamentary group meetings indefinitely as they believe party reforms have been complete eyewash, MP Hirunika Premachandra says. Fewer than 35 MPS attended yesterday’s UNP group meeting, as backbenchers and a number of state and deputy ministers boycotted it.

MP Premachandra said: “We decided against attending these meetings because we feel that we have been taken for a ride again. We supported Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, when a no-faith motion was moved against him, because we believed that he would fulfil his pledge to carry out party reforms. But we are disappointed.”

Continue reading ‘UNP Backbenchers Boycott Parliamentary Group Meetings Protesting Party Reforms Being Turned Into an “Eyewash” says Hirunika Premachandra.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Cracks a Joke About New Wild Life Minister Sarath Fonseka By saying Deer and Sambhur in the Jungles Have Started Fleeing After New Change in te Wildlife Ministry.

By

Nalaka Sanjeewa Dahanayake

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa quipped yesterday that in the reshuffle of the Cabinet, the only Ministry that underwent a scientific transformation was the Wildlife Ministry.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Cracks a Joke About New Wild Life Minister Sarath Fonseka By saying Deer and Sambhur in the Jungles Have Started Fleeing After New Change in te Wildlife Ministry.’ »

President Sirisena Continues His “Scientific Re-shuffle ” By Appointing 8 State and 10 Deputy Ministers With Re-allocated Portfolios.

Sri Lanka’s President Maithripala Sirisena has appointed new state and deputy ministers in a cabinet re-shuffle promised after setbacks in local government polls earlier this year.

The move follows the appointment of several new cabinet ministers on Tuesday, 01 May by President Maithripala Sirisena who had promised a more ‘scientific’ allocation of portfolios when elected in 2015.

On May 02 following appointments were announced.

H. M. M. Harees: Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise and Kandy Development.

Seyed Ali Zahir Moulana: Deputy Minister of National Integration, Reconciliation and Official Languages.

Muthu Sivalingam: Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs and Wayamba Development.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Continues His “Scientific Re-shuffle ” By Appointing 8 State and 10 Deputy Ministers With Re-allocated Portfolios.’ »

Though Premier Ranil Wanted Ravi Karunanayake To be Tourism Minister,President Maithripala Did Not want Ex-minister re-instated.

Former justice minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe who was sacked for criticising the government was reinstated Tuesday, but the former finance minister Ravi Karunanayake appeared to have been left out in a last minute development.

Rajapakshe was kicked out in August last year after he accused the government of a sell out to China by leasing the Hambantota port to China in a $1.1 billion deal. He was also accused of delaying prosecutions of over 100 members of the former regime accused of murder and corruption. When he left the government, he declared that he was ashamed to have been in the “yahapalana” (good governance) cabinet.

Continue reading ‘Though Premier Ranil Wanted Ravi Karunanayake To be Tourism Minister,President Maithripala Did Not want Ex-minister re-instated.’ »

Portfolios Re-distributed in a More Rational Basis in the New “Scientific Re-shuffle” of Cabinet Ministers By President Sirisena

:The cabinet reshuffle which Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena effected on Tuesday, shows a rational distribution of portfolios which was not the case earlier. For example, Mano Ganeshan, who had National Co-existence but not Reconciliation earlier, has got it now.

But there has been no major change in the line up, other than the re-induction of Wijedasa Rajapakse, the former Justice Minister who had resigned under controversial circumstances.

Earlier, the distribution of portfolios did not form a definite pattern, which confused ministers, officials, the public as well as foreign embassies and investors. Ministers felt helpless with some of their functions being handled by other ministries.

Continue reading ‘Portfolios Re-distributed in a More Rational Basis in the New “Scientific Re-shuffle” of Cabinet Ministers By President Sirisena’ »

Eighteen Ministers Sworn In Before President Maithripala Sirisena in Re-shuffle of Cabinet Ministers

Sri Lankan President, Maithripala Sirisena, on Tuesday reshuffled his unity government following months of political unrest between the two main coalition partners, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party led by Sirisena and the ruling United National Party led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The ministers were sworn in at a simple ceremony at the Presidential Secretariat in Capital Colombo.

Some of the notable changes included UNP Member of Parliament, Wijedasa Rajapakse, who was the former Justice Minister but was sacked by President Sirisena in August last year, to be sworn in as the new Minister of Higher Education and Cultural Affairs and Faizer Mustapha, to be sworn in as the Minister of Sports.

Continue reading ‘Eighteen Ministers Sworn In Before President Maithripala Sirisena in Re-shuffle of Cabinet Ministers’ »

Ravi Karunanayake Who Resigned Minister Post Following Probe Into Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam Is Likely To Return To Cabinet As Tourism Minister.

Sri Lanka’s former minister of finance minister Ravi Karunanayake who fell from grace after being implicated in the bond scam, is likely to be brought back to the cabinet, official source said.

Unless there is a last minute change of heart, Karunanayake, 55, is tipped as the new minister of tourism under the minor reshuffle on Tuesday, the sources said.

President Maithripala Sirisena is expected to take over the Buddhist affairs ministry.

Karunanayake was forced to resign in August last year after the presidential inquiry into the central bank bond scam was told that the rent for his super luxury apartment at Monarch had been paid by a bond dealer who is now in remand custody.

Continue reading ‘Ravi Karunanayake Who Resigned Minister Post Following Probe Into Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam Is Likely To Return To Cabinet As Tourism Minister.’ »

Minister Opposing Efforts To Eradicate Illegal Structures In Coastal Areas With Spurious Arguments Can Be Advised To Return To His Law Books And Re-educate Himself

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

It is somewhat amusing (to put the matter mildly) that there is confusion as to whether Rs 200 million or Rs 1 billion has been allocated for repairs of Sri Lanka’s august parliament complex, deemed as ‘urgent’ for its maintenance.

Misery for some, luxuries for others

Regardless of the amusing aspects thereof, this is a queer state of affairs. A Minister has castigated the allocation of Rs 1 billion for the same as amounting to a ‘national crime’, pointing out that the colossal sum will suffice to build 2,000 houses for the poor (Daily News, April 24,2018). Hot on the heels of that report, the sum has been downgraded to a measly Rs 200 million according to a statement issued by the Parliament.

The grand indifference shown by the public as to whether the House and its environs deserves repair or not notwithstanding, what is a few hundred million in our greatly devalued currency between ‘friends’, one might wryly question. But there are inequities in question. Earlier, super luxury cars were approved for parliamentarians with nary the pretense of protest by the Opposition. Of course, at least where the Mahinda Rajapaksa led self-styled Joint Opposition is concerned, there would be no reason to protest by those who were onetime shameless robbers of the nation’s public purse.

But the point is that public funds are allocated with panache to afford luxuries for those engaging in the solemn task of legislating (or not as the case may be). Scores of citizens are forced to stomach taxes being thrust down their throats with little rhyme or reason by this Government, including the retired dependent on their pensions. Shrill voices in ruling ranks plead that the new tax regime will result in the increase in direct taxes and decrease in indirect taxes. These assurances however need to be taken with far more than the proverbial pinch of salt.

Continue reading ‘Minister Opposing Efforts To Eradicate Illegal Structures In Coastal Areas With Spurious Arguments Can Be Advised To Return To His Law Books And Re-educate Himself’ »

Upsurge in Violence Against Foreign Tourists Particularly Women By Politically Connected Perpetrators Has Focused Global Spotlight On The Ugly Side Of Sri Lanka.

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Each time a horrific crime hits the headlines, ministers and police top brass make solemn avowals that stringent action would be taken against the perpetrators and that effective deterrent measures would be instituted to ensure such crimes are not repeated and law and order prevails in the country. But like all promises, these are also shoved behind a back burner, until another serious crime occurs. Then these promises are brushed up and renewed, only for the cycle to be repeated again, and again.

After Maithripala Sirisean came to power in the 2015 presidential election, the disruption of law and order, violence and criminal activities appeared to have considerably subsided all over the country. But that seems to have changed in the past few month with the sudden upsurge in violent incidents and serious crimes.

And the violent incidents that range for gun fights to murder and underworld gang rivalry, is not limited to the South. Even in the North and East, which weredevastated by the three decades of civil war and is struggling to come back to normalcy, serious crimes including murder, sexual violence and robbery have been rampant. In the Jaffna peninsula, sword-wielding gangs most of whom are in their twenties are running amok despite the prevalence of heavy army and police security. Sexual crimes are also reported as relatively high in the peninsula and residents are at a loss to understand how these gang members are able to move freely with dangerous weapons, even in broad daylight, and engage in criminal activities, without being detected by the law enforcement authorities.

Continue reading ‘Upsurge in Violence Against Foreign Tourists Particularly Women By Politically Connected Perpetrators Has Focused Global Spotlight On The Ugly Side Of Sri Lanka.’ »

Lester James Peries was a “Nidhanaya” (treasure) Whom Sri Lankan Presidents, Governments and Authorities Did Not Treasure Enough!

By Bandula Jayasekara

Political vultures are circling round the late Maestro Lester James Peries after his death. They have instructed to ‘honour’ him with a state funeral at the expenses of the state. I saw a photograph of President Sirisena handing over a cheque to Lester on his 99th birthday on 5th April this year. The cheque was to cover his medical expenses. I was saddened by it. The incumbent President and his predecessors could have done better and more for Lester. Why the pathetic public display I thought. Why didn’t they do it earlier? Why at 99? Disgusting. Isn’t it? Lester was a treasure. A treasure, Sri Lankan authorities didn’t treasure enough.

Long ago, Lester told me how sad had been when our mutual friend the late Ajith Samaranayake criticised him for appearing in an advertisement endorsing a popular Video Recorder. “It took me more than a year to direct Yuganthaya and I was paid Rs. 40,000. For this advertisement which was shot in my garden and took only one hour, I got paid Rs. 40,000. They also gave me a video recorder to watch movies. What is wrong with that?” Lester asked. I told Ajith what Lester told me and also told him what I thought about it. Later, Ajith understood why Lester had agreed to appear in the advertisement and both of them continued to be good friends until Ajith’s untimely death. We all know Lester and Sumithra Peries never made money and lived in a rented house. Whatever they earned they invested in films.

Continue reading ‘Lester James Peries was a “Nidhanaya” (treasure) Whom Sri Lankan Presidents, Governments and Authorities Did Not Treasure Enough!’ »

“Lester James Peries The Lodestar Of Sri Lankan Cinema Has Faded Away” – The Island

(Text of an editorial appearing in “The Island” of May 1st 2018 Under the Heading “The Lodestar fades away”)

The country is grieving the loss of one of her greatest sons. The Lodestar of the Sri Lankan cinema has faded away. Dr. Lester James Peries had the rare distinction of being loved and respected by one and all. It looks as though even the Grim Reaper had been reluctant to lay his icy cold fingers on the genial doyen of the Sri Lankan cinema, prematurely. The Vesak moon was bathing the city, which the maestro belonged to, in a sliver light, at the time of his demise, as if to pay him a glowing tribute.

The peerless, gentleman film-maker, who did Sri Lanka proud, was lucky that he had been able to live life to the fullest; he accomplished his mission and died, with his boots on, for all practical purposes. Nevertheless, his demise has left us diminished beyond measure. Towards the latter stages of Lester’s illustrious life, he had a dream, which was to see the latest film, Vaishnavee, by his wife, Sumithra, screened. Based on his storyline and made under his guidance, the film is now showing at major movie theatres. His biographer cum personal friend, Kumar de Silva, tells us, in an article, published on this page today, how the great man willed his spirit to prevail over his frail, mortal coil till Vaishnavee premiered. He waited five long years—a long wait for a man, in his nineties.

Continue reading ‘“Lester James Peries The Lodestar Of Sri Lankan Cinema Has Faded Away” – The Island’ »

Sri Lankan Women Groups and Activists Write to Indian Envoy in Colombo Expressing Concern Over the Alleged Torture,Gangrape and Murder of 8 Year old girl Asifa in a Temple in Kashmir.

Several Women’s groups and individual activists in Sri Lanka have together expressed concern over a horrible incident in India where an eight year old girl Asifa was allegedly tortured and gang-raped over a period of four days in a temple at Rasana in the Kathua district of Kashmir and killed by strangulation. In a letter sent collectively to the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo Taranjit Singh Sandhu the concerned organizations and individuals have stated they were “deeply disturbed by the recent events” and said ” As members of the regional community we raise our voice in protest for particular reasons that make this case more horrific than others that have taken place in our region in the last year or two”

The full text of the letter and list of signatories are posted below –

25th April 2018
H.E. Taranjit Singh Sandhu
High Commissioner
High Commission of India
Colombo 3.


Your Excellency,

The Rape and Murder of Asifa: Women’s Groups and Activists Express Concern

We are deeply disturbed by the recent events in Rasana, in the Kathua district of Kashmir and shocked by the fact that a young eight year old was tortured and gang raped in a temple over a four-day period before she was strangled and killed. Let us begin by saying that we welcome the response of the average Indian citizen whose outrage and mobilization is an inspiration to other societies faced with similar atrocities.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Women Groups and Activists Write to Indian Envoy in Colombo Expressing Concern Over the Alleged Torture,Gangrape and Murder of 8 Year old girl Asifa in a Temple in Kashmir.’ »

When The Jayewardene Govt Brought a No Confidence Motion Against Opposition Leader Amirthalingam

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Hell hath no fury as an opposition thwarted in its bid to pass a no confidence motion against a Prime Minister!

Sri Lanka’s self -styled joint opposition led unofficially by Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa and officially by Colombo district parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardena is still smarting from the defeat encountered while attempting to pass a no confidence motion (NCM) against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The ill-advised move failed miserably. Furthermore instead of toppling the prime minister as intended, the NCM has only strengthened United National party(UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe politically – at least for the time being.Moreover the impact of the NCM has resulted in the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) fragmenting into three factions and facing the dismal prospect of a permanent division in the future.

Unable and unwilling at this juncture to blame or confront President Maithripala Sirisena for the NCM failure the joint opposition has found a scapegoat in the form of the premier Sri Lankan Tamil political configuration known as the Tamil National Alliance(TNA). The joint opposition is training its guns on the TNA parliamentary group leader and leader of the opposition Rajavarothayam Sampanthan.The octogenarian Tamil leader was elected to Parliament from the Trincomalee district.
Continue reading ‘When The Jayewardene Govt Brought a No Confidence Motion Against Opposition Leader Amirthalingam’ »

“Capo De Tutti Capi” (Leader Of All Leaders) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Was The Undisputed Head Of All State Agencies Handling Military and Civil Intelligence.

By

Sarath de Alwis

“He who protests is an enemy; he who opposes is a corpse.”
– Pol Pot

In a rebuttal of a newspaper report on the investigation into the murder of Lasantha Wickremetunge, the former Defence Secretary and 2020 Presidential hopeful, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is at pains to explain that then Commander of the Army- Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka was in charge of army intelligence and he was above the brawl and broil. That he was and is lily white in his dealings in the shadowy world of intelligence.

“The Directorate of Military Intelligence of the Army is a branch within the Army command structure and is set out clearly in the Army’s approved organizational structure. It operates under the Director General, General Staff at Army Headquarters, and reports directly to the Army Commander. Its roles and tasks are also clearly defined. During the period of the murder of Wickrematunge, the post of DMI was held by General Amal Karunasekera, and not Retd Gen Kapila Hendavitharana, while the Army Commander was today’s Cabinet Minister of Regional Development in the present Government, Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka. [Police, military personnel under pressure to implicate me falsely – Former Defence Secretary’s response The Island, February 26, 2018]

This statement of Gotabaya Rajapaksa is false. Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the undisputed head of all state agencies handling military and civil intelligence. Every agency reported to him. His control was arbitrary and unrestrained.

We have Gotabaya Rajapaksa himself declaring that he was the boss of all bosses dealing with state intelligence agencies. As the mafia bosses used to say he was the ‘capo de tutti capi’ – the leader of all leaders. He was the country’s ‘God Father’.

Continue reading ‘“Capo De Tutti Capi” (Leader Of All Leaders) Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Was The Undisputed Head Of All State Agencies Handling Military and Civil Intelligence.’ »

While “Gotabhaya Kalliya” Group Supporting Gota Rajapaksa In UPFA/JO Masterminded No Confidence Motion Against PM,Basil Rajapaksa Master Plan Is To Force Early Election And Form Govt

By

Dharisha Bastians

Reams have been written about the existential crises facing the country’s two main parties, the United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, coincidentally, currently led by the two leaders at the helm of a fractured coalition Government.

But a lesser known crisis is also unfolding within the fledgling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, a party backed by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, his siblings and sons. The SLPP had unprecedented electoral success in the February 10 local government election. Entering as a ‘third force’ it captured a majority of local authorities contested at the polls, out-performing both main parties in most parts of the island.

Since that election, the coalition that captured power in 2015 has been in disarray. Nearly three months later, it is still trying to find its footing, with another major cabinet reshuffle on the cards and whispers of a fresh working arrangement to be reached between President Maithripala Sirisena and his Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

In the political headwinds that followed the local government poll in February, the quiet crisis unfolding within the SLPP has gone largely unnoticed but this week, Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa – still a member of the SLFP for all intents and purposes – took to the social media network Twitter to express his displeasure about the alliance between the SLPP and the SLFP to capture power in the Hambantota Municipal Council. The infamous pistol-toting former Mayor of Hambantota, Eraj Fernando, contesting on the UPFA ticket, is back in the mayoral seat. In 2014, Fernando exploded into the national political scene, when he charged at then opposition MPs Harsha De Silva, Eran Wickremaratne, Ajith Perera and Co who were on an inspection tour of the Hambantota Port and Mattala Airport, brandishing a pistol. The UNP won the Hambantota Municipal Council, but was helpless last week when the SLFP and SLPP closed ranks to defeat its candidate and instal Fernando as Mayor. Namal Rajapaksa’s criticism stemmed from the fact that he had previously made public pronouncements that the SLPP would never join forces with the SLFP in Hambantota to defeat the UNP, despite the slim majority the winning party held in the Council.

Continue reading ‘While “Gotabhaya Kalliya” Group Supporting Gota Rajapaksa In UPFA/JO Masterminded No Confidence Motion Against PM,Basil Rajapaksa Master Plan Is To Force Early Election And Form Govt’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Intervenes Hastily To End Verbal Duel Between Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake at UNP’s New Politbureau Meeting


(Excerpts From The “Sunday Times” Political Column of April 29th 2018)

Meanwhile, nowhere has party reform generated so much controversy than in the UNP. Just three weeks after his party backers convincingly defeated a vote of no confidence, Premier Wickremesinghe announced changes. It came at a meeting of the so-called newly picked politburo which met at Temple Trees on Wednesday. Its members are Akila Viraj Kariyawasam, Navin Dissanayake, Harin Fernando, Ranjith Maddduma Bandara, Mangala Samaraweera, Ajith P Perera, Eran Wickramaratne, J C Alawathuwela, Ruwan Wijewardene, Gayantha Karunatilleke, Nalin Bandara and Asoka Priyantha.

The UNP, which identifies itself as a secular party, however, has no members of the Tamil or Muslim community in this politburo. Nor has the party, which has often espoused women’s causes including amendments to local government laws to enhance women’s representation, appointed any female member to the politburo. UNP Deputy Leader Sajith Premadasa and Assistant Leader Ravi Karunanayake, ex officio members, too were present. Also present in addition were former Chairman Malik Samarawickrema and former General Secretary Kabir Hashim.

In his introductory speech, Wickremesinghe said that the party’s General Secretary Kabir Hashim has resigned. When he was offered the post once again, Hashim had refused to accept it. Hence he was naming Kurunegala District parliamentarian and Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam as the new General Secretary of the UNP. He praised him for the contribution he has made to the party and declared he was most suitable. The Premier said Kabir Hashim would be the Chairman whilst Harsha de Silva was named as Treasurer. Named as National Organiser was Nuwara Eliya District parliamentarian and Minister Navin Dissanayake. The position of National Organiser was created when onetime SLFP Minister S.B. Dissanayake crossed over to the UNP in 2001 with eight other People’s Alliance members. The position was thereafter held by Digamadulla District parliamentarian and Minister Daya Gamage. Both complained during their terms that they were not entrusted with any responsibility in that position. Known for his caustic comments, S.B. Dissanayake then told a party colleague “Mata kisima kehel malakwath thibun nehe” or somewhat sarcastically “I did not have even a banana flower” when he was National Organiser.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Intervenes Hastily To End Verbal Duel Between Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake at UNP’s New Politbureau Meeting’ »

Hitler Had His ” Brown Shirts” While Gotabaya Has The Equivalent In The “Saffron Cohorts”, Its Lay Fellow-travelers And The ” Rana Viru” Myrmidons.

By

Anura Gunasekara

That is our parliamentary crucible; toads, newts, adders and scorpions being stirred in a poisoned chalice and strained through a kurakkan satakaya. The Diyawanna script is written in Medamulana and offered to the nation, along with Atapirikara and jasmine flowers and couched in sonorous, mock-pious statements, delivered from diverse friendly Aramayas, with open approval from a compliant, complicit and adulatory Sangha.

Whilst the most prominent casualty of the unsuccessful no confidence motion was President Sirisena, the outcome has enabled Ranil Wickremesinghe to reunite, perhaps momentarily, a gradually disintegrating UNP and, though he may not acknowledge it publicly, to realistically re-evaluate his own leadership strategy and a possible future direction for himself and the party. He is obtuse but not too dense to learn something, to take away a minor positive, from the near-catastrophe.

Sirisena has emasculated himself politically with his own hand. The conduct of the SLFP parliamentarians in the no-confidence motion affair, reinforced the painful lesson that the local elections should have taught him – but from which he did not obviously learn – that he has little support in the SLFP. The latter no longer exists as a political party but has a flickering, unstable, half-life as a pathetic adjunct to the SLPP which, itself, is not quite a political party but a genie conjured by the Mahinda Rajapaksa magic.

Having done much to both publicly, and privately, undermine the UNP and its leader for many months previously, Sirisena cannot expect any further support from the UNP, except in matters related to the coalition’s governance of the country, if the coalition can last the regular term. And having no dependable political power or support base personally, not even in Polonnaruwa, his home electorate which the SLFP lost, he stands totally isolated.

Continue reading ‘Hitler Had His ” Brown Shirts” While Gotabaya Has The Equivalent In The “Saffron Cohorts”, Its Lay Fellow-travelers And The ” Rana Viru” Myrmidons.’ »

Who was Responsible For The Triple Blunder Of Issuing Three Gazette Notifications Within Two weeks Over The Proroguing of Parliament.

by Gagani Weerakoon

Proroguing Parliament sessions is certainly not a new thing in Sri Lanka’s history, but issuing three Gazette Notifications in a space of two weeks to summon the new session, due to previous two being incomplete or faulty indeed could be a record.

In the President’s proclamation issued on 12 April proroguing Parliament, 8 May was fixed as the date for the start of the new Parliamentary session but it failed to give a time for the sittings to commence.

Continue reading ‘Who was Responsible For The Triple Blunder Of Issuing Three Gazette Notifications Within Two weeks Over The Proroguing of Parliament.’ »

Ravi Karunanayake The Master of Penthouse Occupancy on Perpetual Funding Remains a Free Man in our Increasingly Crooked Society


By
Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Ranil sways and Ravi stays. That seems to be the R – R Rhythm, the swing and sway of reorganized politics or management of the UNP.

Ranil Wickremesinghe certainly defeated the No Confidence Motion against him in parliament, where most charges were about corruption involving the Central Bank Bond Scam. But that has not taken him and the UNP leadership any distance from the stuff of corruption.

The new Politbureau of the UNP has approved Ravi Karunanayake’s position as the Assistant Leader of the Party, and endorsed by the Working Committee. With such a decision by the Politbureau, it is clear that corruption is certainly the stuff of politics of the UNP today. It is much more a pattern of Bond Scam corruption, and nothing to do with Clean Government, which is the fading theme song of Yahapalanaya or Good Government.

Continue reading ‘Ravi Karunanayake The Master of Penthouse Occupancy on Perpetual Funding Remains a Free Man in our Increasingly Crooked Society’ »

Sri Lanka Born Canadian Citizen From Horana Renuka Amarasinghe Identified as One of the Victims In Toronto Tragedy Where 10 Were Killed and 15 Injured by Van Driver.

By

K. Buddhika Kumarasiri

Renuka Amarasinghe

A 46-year-old Sri Lankan born woman with Canadian citizenship is among the identified victims killed in the Toronto incident where 10 people were killed and at least 15 were injured when a van ploughed down a crowded side-walk in Toronto, Canada on Monday.

The deceased was identified as Beatrice Renuka Amarasinghe (46), a mother of one from Horana and she had been a citizen of Canada by registration.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Born Canadian Citizen From Horana Renuka Amarasinghe Identified as One of the Victims In Toronto Tragedy Where 10 Were Killed and 15 Injured by Van Driver.’ »

Popular Tamil Film Playback Singer M.S.Rajeswari Known For Her “Voice of a Child” Songs Passes Away In Chennai at 87.

Popular south Indian playback singer MS Rajeswari passed away in Chennai on Wednesday. She was 87 years old.

MS Rajeswari is well known for her child-like renditions in songs like Sundalikum Sundalikum Thirumanamam (Kaidhi Kanaiyiram) and Chittu Kuruvi Chittu Kuruvi Sedhi Theriyuma (Town Bus). The soulful Ammavum Neeye Appavum Neeye from Kamal Haasan’s debut film Kalathur Kannama was one of her popular numbers.

Continue reading ‘Popular Tamil Film Playback Singer M.S.Rajeswari Known For Her “Voice of a Child” Songs Passes Away In Chennai at 87.’ »

Is The 20th Constitutional Amendment Proposed By The JVP To Abolish The Executive Presidency a Political “Trojan Horse”?

By C. A. Chandraprema

The JVP has stated that they will be presenting the motion to abolish the executive presidency as a private member’s Bill next month. Even though they have said that they will agree to electoral reform, too, if that is deemed to be a prerequisite for the abolition of the executive presidency, they have not given any indication that they will be including provisions for electoral reform as well in their draft 20th Amendment. Hence it appears that the 20th Amendment is being drafted solely for the purpose of abolishing the executive presidency while leaving the provisions in the present Constitution in relation to the election of members of parliament through the proportional representation and preference vote based system intact. What this means is that Articles 96, 97, 98, 99 and 99A of the Constitution which deal with the election of members of parliament will remain unchanged. This will be a recipe for disaster and nobody in his right mind will be able to agree to such an amendment.

In the past thirty years in which the proportional representation and preferential vote based system of electing members of Parliament has been in existence, there have been only two instances when the party that won a parliamentary election got a clear majority. That was after the parliamentary elections of 1989 and 2010. At all other parliamentary elections held under the present Constitution, the winning party did not get a clear majority in parliament and a coalition had to be cobbled together after the election. Hence in the past thirty years, the government has really hinged on the executive president. If the JVP brings forward a motion to abolish the executive presidency without any changes to the system of electing members of parliament so as to ensure a stable government, then some people are going to say that the JVP is trying to achieve through a Constitutional amendment what they failed to achieve in the late 1980s through the barrel of a gun. In the late 1980s, the JVP shot dead hundreds of petty government officials and set fire to rural government buildings in an attempt to bring the functioning of the government to a halt.

This time they have managed to achieve a comparable result at the local government level by persuading this clueless government to pass reforms to the local government elections law in August last year. Now, elections have been held under the JVP promoted system and what we have are chronically unstable local government institutions in most parts of the country. The JVP (and other smaller parties working together) managed to get this government to ram through similar reforms to the provincial councils law as well last October and if the PC elections are held according to that system, what we will have will be unstable provincial councils as well. After having seen how the new local government elections system worked, the people and politicians of this country are now openly hostile to any suggestion that the yahapalana electoral system be extended to the parliamentary system as well. In fact if the results of the system advocated by the JVP had been apparent when the PC elections system was changed, no party other than the JVP would have voted for it. After the local government elections fiasco there are already calls from parties across the political spectrum demanding that the next PC elections be held according to the old PR and preference vote based system since that was much better than the system that was hurriedly introduced last year.

Continue reading ‘Is The 20th Constitutional Amendment Proposed By The JVP To Abolish The Executive Presidency a Political “Trojan Horse”?’ »

Tourism Industry In Sri Lanka Will Be Drastically Affected Unless Urgent Remedial Measures Are Taken To Salvage The Situation

By

Camelia Nathaniel and Priyan de Silva

The recent incidents that took place in Mirissa where a group of Dutch tourists were assaulted and sexually harassed and another group of Israeli tourists were assaulted at the Midigama beach have brought to light the issues facing the tourism industry. Despite the government efforts to promote tourism as a key source of revenue to the country, the question arises as to whether we are heading in the right direction to market Sri Lanka as a safe tourist destination.
The Mirissa incident is not the first, while previously a British tourist Khuram Shaikh was stabbed and then shot to death and his Russian girlfriend raped at a tourist resort in Tangalle on Christmas Day in 2011. Seven years later such incidents are still happening. Hence, how safe are Sri Lanka’s beaches and tourist resorts for tourists?

Many in the tourist industry down south allege that the beach boys are the main cause of such incidents. The Dutch tourists too were recently said to have been attacked brutally by these beach boys, who seem to be under the influence of liquor and drugs. According to the Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs, John Amaratunga, the main problem for such incidents is that there are many unlicensed bars and illegal liquor and drugs that are being distributed in the area. He said the Excise Department should be held responsible for not having taken measures to raid such illegal establishments and maintain proper standards.

However, according to Weligama Urban Council Chairman Rehan Wijeratne Jayawickrama, this is an isolated incident and it does not suggest that the Mirissa beaches are unsafe for tourists. “These sort of incidents do not occur frequently. An action was taken within 48 hours to address the problem. We intend to organise awareness programmes in collaboration with NGOs and the tourism ministry to educate these beach boys on the importance of respecting women and on their behaviour and approach.”

He also blamed the police for failing to notify the LG authorities about the incident, of which they knew only through media reports.

Speaking to the Daily News about the issues facing the tourist hotels and operators in the country, the owner of Calamander Unawatuna Beach Paloma Scott said she too has a business in Unawatuna with the same type of setting up as Mirissa with bars restaurants etc. But she said in Unawatuna there isn’t much of a problem with beach boys as in Mirissa. But, she noted that generally, it is the attitude of the locals towards foreign women is where the problem lies.

Continue reading ‘Tourism Industry In Sri Lanka Will Be Drastically Affected Unless Urgent Remedial Measures Are Taken To Salvage The Situation’ »

“Ordinary UNP’er Does Not Want Ravi Karunanayake Who Has Damaged The Party Enough To Be Appointed UNP Assistant Leader says Joseph Michael Perera.

By
Zahrah Imtiaz

The UNP Working Committee, which met yesterday morning, confirmed the recommendations made by the Politburo to the senior posts of the party.

Accordingly, Akila Viraj Kariyawasam will take on the post of General Secretary, Kabir Hashim the post of Chairman, Ruwan Wijewardene as Deputy General Secretary, Dr Harsha de Silva, the post of Treasurer, Navin Dissanayake as National Organizer, Ajith P. Perera as Trade Union Secretary and Harin Fernando as Communications Secretary.

Sajith Premadasa and Ravi Karunanayake, in the meantime, retained their previous posts as Deputy Leader and Assistant Leader respectively.

Soon after the appointments, the Prime Minister’s official twitter account tweeted,

“I congratulate all the new appointees in the UNP leadership team. I look forward to working together to make the United National Party even stronger”.

Continue reading ‘“Ordinary UNP’er Does Not Want Ravi Karunanayake Who Has Damaged The Party Enough To Be Appointed UNP Assistant Leader says Joseph Michael Perera.’ »

Former Cabinet Minister and Ex-Speaker Joseph Michael Perera Resigns From UNP Working Committee In Protest Over Ravi Karunanayake Being Apppointed as Party Assistant Leader.

By Norman Palihawadana and Rathindra Kuruwita

Former Speaker Joseph Michael Perera resigned from the UNP Working Committee, yesterday, expressing his displeasure at the appointment of Ravi Karunanayake as the party’s Assistant Leader.

Perera stormed out of the Party Headquarters yesterday morning, in the middle of a Working Committee meeting.

Meanwhile Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayaka stated that Karunanayake should have been given a party position only after allegations against him had been cleared. “I have nothing personal against Karunanayake. In fact, he is a close personal friend but the allegations against him are grave and we have promised the people that we will not give prominent positions to those with corruption charges.”

Continue reading ‘Former Cabinet Minister and Ex-Speaker Joseph Michael Perera Resigns From UNP Working Committee In Protest Over Ravi Karunanayake Being Apppointed as Party Assistant Leader.’ »

“I Do Not Wish It Nor Exult Over It But I Can See That An Explosion Is Almost Certainly On The Way In Sri Lanka”

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

An explosion is not always a good thing. But it is not always preventable. Sometimes an explosion cannot be predicted but sometimes it can. Often an explosion is not inevitable but that does not mean it isn’t likely or even probable.

In any country, these factors would cause a social upheaval. In Sri Lanka, a country of much unrest and violence, an explosion is almost certainly on the way. I do not wish it, nor will I exult over it, but I can see that it is on the way.

It will be a social explosion caused by economic crisis and public frustration, but made probable by political factors. Those political factors will not be to do with the Opposition but entirely with the government.

The coming social explosion will be caused by the economic meltdown combined with the mismatch between the economic crisis and the political response to that crisis.

We are talking politics when we should be talking economics. Just look at the facts. The rupee is at its lowest ever in relation to the dollar. The economic growth rate is the lowest in 16 years (back when Ranil was PM in 2002). The stock market has flat-lined.

Dreadful as these are they are only signs and symptom of a terminal economic illness that has set in under this government. Each of these factors will breed secondary ailments. The concatenation of these fundamental factors will set off a chain reaction that blows a hole in the very foundations of the economy and below the waterline of the government.

Continue reading ‘“I Do Not Wish It Nor Exult Over It But I Can See That An Explosion Is Almost Certainly On The Way In Sri Lanka”’ »

Fractured Relationship Between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Will Result in Sri Lanka Drifting Politically Like a Rudderless Ship.

President Maithripala Sirisena’s failure to dislodge Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe could have damaged their relationship permanently with devastating consequences for the national unity government.

With most protagonists acknowledging that the failed April 4 no-confidence motion (NCM) was fuelled by Sirisena, a fractured United National Party (UNP) has rallied to support Wickremesinghe despite his lacklustre leadership.

The Economynext political correspondent weighs the prospects for both Sirisena and the man who propelled him to power — Ranil Wickremesinghe — as the country heads for the next president election amid uncertainty.

Continue reading ‘Fractured Relationship Between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Will Result in Sri Lanka Drifting Politically Like a Rudderless Ship.’ »

Unity,Positive Approach,Trust In India Are the Three Requirements For Sri Lankan Tamils To Gain Equality With Maximum Devolution in a United Sri Lanka States TNA and Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan.

The leader of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), R.Sampanthan, told Tamils on Tuesday what they should do secure their rights within a united Sri Lanka.

Launching a Tamil language book “Or Inapprachanaiyum Ou Oppandhamum” (An Ethnic Question and An Accord) on the India-Sri Lanka Accord of 1987 written by T.Ramakrishnan Associate Editor of The Hindu, Sampanthan appealed to the Tamils to eschew skepticism and see past and current efforts to find a political solution in a positive light and as being part of a continuum.

He urged the Tamils to work cohesively for the attainment of the goal of securing maximum devolution of power and to repose faith in the helping hand extended by India and the international community.

Sampanthan appealed to the audience at the Tamil Sangam to realize that the present juncture is ideal for securing the Tamils’ rights, given the hold that the Tamils have on the government and the sympathy and support their struggle is getting from the international community.

Continue reading ‘Unity,Positive Approach,Trust In India Are the Three Requirements For Sri Lankan Tamils To Gain Equality With Maximum Devolution in a United Sri Lanka States TNA and Opposition Leader R.Sampanthan.’ »

In The Eyes Of The Public The Only Party That Had The Motive To Silence Lasantha Wickramatunga Was The Regime Of The Rajapaksas.

By

Vishwamithra 1984

“All faults may be forgiven of him who has perfect candour”

~Walt Whitman

In the questionable days of the Rajapaksa regime, the most dreadful sound, amongst many a sound of shooting in Rathupaswela, Katunayake and post-war Jaffna, was the one that you did not hear: A white van parked outside your home.

How many men and women were forcibly shoved into the van and taken away and threatened, their bones smashed, and spirit drained, one may never know.

Among those countless shrieks and screams and unbridled impunity to those who hurt innocent men and women who happened to hold a different view from that of those in power, their broken noses and shattered bones might yet be bleeding.

Those who wrote a different story, different from the garbage thrown out by the State-owned media and sycophants of the regime garbed in officials’ dress, had vanished.

The heart-wrenching saga of a wife going from one Government desk to another is still being written in many a newspaper page, yet she doesn’t seem to get any plausible answer.

Prageeth Eknaligoda was no ordinary journalist who happened to write the Rajapaksa-fed flattering stories about the glories of the First Family’s far-fetched and exaggerated triumphs.

Continue reading ‘In The Eyes Of The Public The Only Party That Had The Motive To Silence Lasantha Wickramatunga Was The Regime Of The Rajapaksas.’ »

Joint Opposition and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Must Vote “NO”At Any Referendum On Constitutional Reform in the Future..

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka


“Ecrasez l’infame!”—“Crush the loathsome thing!”

– Voltaire

Neoliberalism is almost dead in Sri Lanka, and its Government is dying. The choice that is before us is which type/variety of Populism:Right, Left, Centre or Centre-Left?

Even if the JVP’s 20th amendment is supported by the UNP, TNA and misguided/manipulated SLPP pundits, the people will defeat it at a Referendum because (i) they are looking for a chance to reject the Government and the Establishment (ii) the mood is for a strong state, not a weakened one (iii) the ‘NO’ campaign will be led by a neo-nationalist network, as was Brexit (iv) anti-UNP voters (the mainstay of the JO-Pohottuwa) will stay home rather than vote with the UNP-TNA on anything and (v) at a Referendum, the voters do not vote on party lines, therefore party-based arithmetic is superseded by the national mood, and that mood is bitterly antagonistic to the 2015 Establishment. The 20th amendment move will only strengthen the Sinhala Alt-Right backlash and place it at the head of the agenda for regime change,just as ‘Sinhala Only’ did in 1955.

The people have figured out the arithmetic of the minority factor too, and were reminded of it during the live telecast of the vote on the motion of no-confidence, when the leader who appointed Arjuna Mahendran was propped up by his UNP and the‘16 seater’ TNA Fake Opposition (Mr. Sampanthan is merely masquerading as the Opposition Leader) with Mangala Samaraweera promising to expedite a new Constitution and ‘Transitional Justice’. The majority of the citizens know that this time around they will have to vote in such numbers that the combined weight of the structurally pro-UNP/ pro-Right minority vote will be utterly overwhelmed by a pan-Sinhala electoral tsunami.

If you put together the historically lowest point the Sri Lankan rupee has plunged to, the lowest economic growth rate the country has had in sixteen years,the massive slew of new taxes, the projected rise in fuel prices, the discontent at the UNP grassroots and the rebellion in the SLFP parliamentary mainstream, then you recognize that the Government’s defeat is a ‘known known’—something we know that we already know.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Must Vote “NO”At Any Referendum On Constitutional Reform in the Future..’ »

Real Perpetrators Involved Killing of 27 Prisoners at Welikade in 2012 Should Be arrested Immediately States Colombo addl Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake.

By

Shavini Madhara

Colombo additional Magistrate Ranga Dissanayaka yesterday observed that the real perpetrators involved in the killing of 27 prisoners at Welikada in 2012, should be arrested immediately.

He said the inquiry into the deaths suggested that inmates had died after being shot in their heads and chests. The Additional Magistrate said it was revealed through the post-mortem reports that the victims had died after being shot in their heads and chests.

The Additional Magistrate made this remark in response to a request made by aggrieved party lawyer Senaka Perera.He queried as to who had ordered the security forces to enter the Welikada prison.

Counsel Senaka Perera informed court that the security forces had entered the prison without obtaining a search warrant and the CID should conduct an inquiry as to who had influenced them to do so.

The Magistrate observed that counsel for the aggrieved party was making a request in terms of Section 124 of the Criminal Procedure Code and ordered the CID to investigate regarding the persons who conspired to commit the alleged offence.

Continue reading ‘Real Perpetrators Involved Killing of 27 Prisoners at Welikade in 2012 Should Be arrested Immediately States Colombo addl Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake.’ »

The “Yahapalana” Strategists Hope to Tempt Mahinda Rajapaksa into Supporting Abolition Of Executive Presidency and then Double-cross him in the Final Reel.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

It’s the arithmetic, stupid! A no-confidence motion against the Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Sampanthan, is logical and legitimate, neither because he is a Tamil nationalist nor because he propped up Ranil in the no-faith motion on the bond scam, but because he, unlike his TULF predecessor in the same post, Mr. Amirthalingam, by no means commands the largest number of seats in the Opposition benches, while Mahinda Rajapaksa does.

Talk to anybody on the street. Listen to anybody in the agora, the public space/s. Citizens talk to me because they recognize me from my fortnightly Sinhala language TV show on Sirasa and my interviews in the Sinhala newspapers. They are sick to the pit of their stomach. They are disgusted, frustrated, and mad as hell; gritting their teeth, clenching their fists and waiting for the chance to end it.

They feel they were swindled in 2015. The mood among the majority of the citizens is radical, militant. It is radical in a populist sense. I find myself trying to defend the ‘SLFP Sixteen’ from youngsters who respond “did it take all this time for them to figure out that this government was bad?” What there is, is a mounting intolerance of the 2015 political Establishment and power elite.

The SLFP’s CBK faction is busy stitching itself up as the shortened tail of the UNP elephant. The only ‘new look’ the dying ‘Unity’ government will sport is that of embalming.

Continue reading ‘The “Yahapalana” Strategists Hope to Tempt Mahinda Rajapaksa into Supporting Abolition Of Executive Presidency and then Double-cross him in the Final Reel.’ »

The History and Politics of “Muslimphobia” and Anti-Muslim Violence In Sri Lanka.


By Tisaranee Gunasekara

A few days after Kandy District in central Sri Lanka experienced a spate of violent incidents targeting Muslims, resulting in deaths, injury and destruction of property, the country’s election commissioner made a startling observation. “The claim that a majority of Sinhalese were against the recent attacks on Muslims is wrong,” Mahinda Deshapriya said at a workshop on ethnic harmony; “Most Sinhalese are happy about the riots.” He then drew a parallel between this and the majoritarian reaction to Black July: “A majority of Sinhalese were happy to see the Tamils too being attacked in 1983, only to regret it a few years later.” He also spoke of an increasingly visible trend towards cultural insularity on the part of some Lankan Muslims, arguing that this was worsening the problem of communal distrust.

In the absence of credible opinion polling, it is not possible to make a scientific evaluation of Mr. Deshapriya’s claim. The only available yardsticks are what happened and didn’t happen when mobs started roaming freely, attacking and burning Muslim-owned shops, homes and mosques. When the violence was finally brought under control, including through the imposition of a national emergency, curfew and deployment of forces, at least two persons had been killed and 465 houses, business establishments and vehicles were destroyed or damaged by the violence according to official estimates.

What happened in response, was, in the main, silence and inaction, denoting indifference, approbation or a combination thereof. The government was caught napping. Even when a curfew was imposed, it was not enforced.

Only a few politicians and public figures condemned the violence outright; unequivocal statements from non-Muslim religious leaders were even rarer. Most of those who spoke preferred to hide behind the myth of a Sinhala-Muslim clash, even though what happened was an attack on Muslims by Sinhalese with the connivance of members of the elite paramilitary unit, the Special Task Force of the Sri Lankan police.

What didn’t happen was a public outpouring of anger against the violence, or sympathy for the victims. What didn’t happen was an informed discussion or debate about the riots in the media and other public spaces. What didn’t happen was a societal effort to help the victims. The army undertook to rebuild the destroyed properties, but there were no offers of assistance from the larger society.

Continue reading ‘The History and Politics of “Muslimphobia” and Anti-Muslim Violence In Sri Lanka.’ »

Was Richmond College-Galle Or Methodist Central College – Batticaloa , The First English School In Ceylon/Sri Lanka?


By
Shirley Somanader


[Recently there has been a controversy on this subject. Here, in this essay, The claims of both schools are set out here impartially for the rational reader to decide]

THE CASE FOR METHODIST CENTRAL COLLEGE, BATTICALOA:


1. Methodist Central College, Batticaloa is specifically mentioned as an English School from August 1814as a separate institution apart from any Vernacular school.

Rev William Ault arrived in Batticaloa on the 12thof August 1814.* He died on April 01st 1815. He laboured in Batticaloa for just seven months. *But in his first of his two letters to his mother after arriving, he writes that he has established an English school, I quote from his letter, “ On my arrival here I found in this place a Tamil school containing about thirty boys. That school is now under my superintendence. We have established another, which now contains thirty, besides the English school, which I teach myself.

2. Specific mention of the No: on Roll and identity of the pupils in Ault’s initial English School

*There were five pupils at first. Three of them were the orphan sons of British soldiers who died during the fever epidemic, which was prevailing at the time of Ault’s arrival. The fourth was Somanader, who afterwards came to be known as Rajakaria Daniel Somanader, Modlier of the Batticaloa Kachcheri. It is not known who the fifth boy was.”*

Continue reading ‘Was Richmond College-Galle Or Methodist Central College – Batticaloa , The First English School In Ceylon/Sri Lanka?’ »

How And Why The TNA Helped Defeat The No Confidence Motion Against Premier Wickremesinghe

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

In the seven decade long history of Independent Sri Lanka’s legislature there have been two no confidence motions and related debates that are unprecedented and unparalleled. The first was in 1981 when members of the then United National Party (UNP) Govt brought and passed a no confidence motion against the former leader of opposition Appapillai Amirthalingam. The No Confidence Motion (NCM)brought against the late Tamil United Liberation front(TULF) leader was farcically unique in the sense that members of the ruling party were sponsoring a no faith motion against the leader of the opposition.

The second such controversial no confidence motion was the recent NCM brought against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and his Govt by members of the opposition and sections of the same government headed by the PM. The tragi-comic aspect of this NCM was the fact that ministers were supporting a NCM against Wickremesinghe and Govt while serving in the same Govt under the Prime Minister.It was indeed amusingly saddening to witness the covert moves by President Sirisena to undermine and topple his own govt of which Wickremesighe was premier. Now the situation has been made even more facetious by the ministers who voted against the Prime minister stubbbornly clinging to their ministerial portfolios without having the basic self-respect or decency of resigning their posts
Continue reading ‘How And Why The TNA Helped Defeat The No Confidence Motion Against Premier Wickremesinghe’ »

Ranil Instructs UNP Not To Criticise 16 SLFP’ers Who Voted For NCM After Malik,Mangala and Vajira Ministerial Trio Holds “Peace”Talks With Maithripala

By

The “Sunday Times”Political Editor

A lesser known fact among most politically literate Sri Lankans was a directive Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe issued to all parliamentarians of his United National Front (UNF) ahead of the National New Year. On Monday April 9 he told them to refrain from criticising the 16 Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) MPs who had voted in favour of the no-confidence motion against him. That comprised six Ministers, the Deputy Speaker, four State Ministers and five Deputy Ministers.

The backdrop to Wickremesinghe’s directive, also lesser known, was a meeting a three-member United National Party (UNP) delegation had with President Sirisena, leader of the SLFP, on Sunday April 8. It comprised Ministers Malik Samarawickrema, Mangala Samaraweera and Vajira Abeywardena. Their talks were centred on wide-ranging issues over intra-party relations and how the coalition partners should move forward together. Thus it covered the role played by the 16 SLFP MPs, too.

Though he is loathed by sections in the UNP, Minister Samarawickrema to his credit has won the confidence of Sirisena both for himself and his party. During talks with Wickremesinghe on Thursday April 12, it was the President who told the Premier that he would like to see Malik hold the post of Minister of Social Empowerment (Samurdhi), Welfare and Kandyan Heritage even temporarily. This week he was even acting for Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera who was with the President in London. Samarawickrema has also emerged as a sort of ‘Man of the Match’ after the no-confidence motion against the Premier. He lobbied intensely in Wickremesinghe’s favour. His style of diplomacy paid off and all in the UNF voted against the motion.

The trio reported back to their party leadership that their discussion was “very cordial and Sirisena gave them a favourable hearing.” According to them, he had even concurred with the representations made on behalf of the UNP that the rebellious 16 have ceded their right to remain in the Cabinet. That was expressly on the grounds that they had voiced their no confidence in the Prime Minister and thus their inability to work with him. The delegation left convinced Sirisena would act on their representations. This singular development ahead of the National New Year appears to have augured well for both Sirisena and Wickremesinghe, at least for the time being.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Instructs UNP Not To Criticise 16 SLFP’ers Who Voted For NCM After Malik,Mangala and Vajira Ministerial Trio Holds “Peace”Talks With Maithripala’ »

Attacks on Israeli and Dutch Tourists in Midigama and Mirissa Are Rule of Law Breakdown Issues and Not Mere “Tourism” Matters

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

At the height of the impunity that prevailed during the Rajapaksa Presidency, it was questioned in these column spaces as to whether one needed to be a foreigner in order to claim the protection of the law in Sri Lanka?


The ugliness that Sri Lanka descended to

This question was specifically raised at the time in relation to the assault and murder of British aid worker Khurram Shaikh and the rape of his female companion by politically connected thugs at a tourist resort in Tangalle.

That bland reference did little to convey the horrific nature of the attack, with Shaikh being ‘beaten, repeatedly stabbed, slashed across the face and neck and shot in the head with an assault rifle,’ as was recounted during an inquest into the killing. Criminal investigations were repeatedly thwarted due to ties that the resort owner cum local politician had to the Rajapaksas. It was only due to sustained international pressure that the case was concluded in court with the sentencing of the local politician and his thugs two years after the incident.

In the meantime, rapes and murders of Sri Lankans continued with impunity elsewhere, in the war-torn North East and in remote villages in other parts such as Deraniyagala where a local politician had ‘rape centres’ in the village under his domain. To what ugliness did Sri Lanka descend to then? And to what extent did the law fail ordinary Sri Lankans?

Continue reading ‘Attacks on Israeli and Dutch Tourists in Midigama and Mirissa Are Rule of Law Breakdown Issues and Not Mere “Tourism” Matters’ »

SLFP Faces The Risk Of Reducing Itself To The Status of a Small Party.

By

Dr.Jayadeva Uyangoda

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has been at a crucial turning point in its political career for some time. Its unending crisis has consequences for Sri Lankan democracy as well. As a political party, and with all its shortcomings and failures, the SLFP has contributed to institutionalizing Sri Lanka’s parliamentary democracy and consolidating the country’s political party system. But, it is now facing an existential crisis.

If the outcome of the recent No Confidence Motion (NCM) against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe enabled the United National Party (UNP) to temporarily ride over the party’s internal crisis, the SLFP has not been so lucky. President Sirisena and his SLFP team of Ministers in the Government appeared to have acted out a script written for them by the two Rajapaksa brothers, Mahinda and Basil. The Rajapaksas are leading a rival faction of the SLFP and Basil is organizing a breakaway party, Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). They are the primary beneficiaries of the SLFP’s unresolved crisis.

Simmering split

In the immediate aftermath of the NCM, the SLFP began to show signs of a new split. There are two groups within President Sirisena’s camp of the SLFP with competing political agendas. One group consists of MPs and ex-Ministers who seem to be more comfortable with the option of joining the Rajapaksas. The other group consists of Ministers who want to continue with the coalition government with the UNP. The former voted against the Prime Minister, who is the UNP leader, at the no-confidence motion. The latter chose to be absent from the voting and ensured indirectly and tactically that the NCM was defeated.

Meanwhile, most of the pro-Rajapaksa SLFP MPs are very likely to join, when the appropriate time comes, the SLPP, the unofficial leader of which is Mahinda Rajapaksa. Judging by the way the things are developing now, the SLPP is most likely to marginalize the Sirisena-led SLFP as an electoral force at the next Provincial Council, Presidential and Parliamentary elections. The Provincial elections are to be held before the end of this year.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Faces The Risk Of Reducing Itself To The Status of a Small Party.’ »

Sirisena -Wickremesinghe Govt Can Redeem Itself To Some Extent By Abolishing the Executive Presidency At Least.

By

Sarath de Alwis

“End and Goal: Not every end is a goal. The end of a melody is not its goal; but nonetheless, if the melody had not reached its end it would not have reached its goal either. A parable.”
– Friedrich Nietzsche

There is a saying: Everybody is great until you get to know them. Now, we know most of them. More specifically, we know President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

In the next 18 months, we will know how to define these times. We must finish what we started. The danger we have to avert is to make sure that it does not turn out to be something different from what we intended.

On January 8, 2015 a change occurred. It was sudden and surprising. It was sudden, because we did not dare think of a time when we would not feel the weight of the Mahinda Rajapaksa monolith. It was a monolith that nearly perpetuated itself. A monolith is a large, powerful organization that is not willing to change, and that does not seem interested in individual people.

Continue reading ‘Sirisena -Wickremesinghe Govt Can Redeem Itself To Some Extent By Abolishing the Executive Presidency At Least.’ »

President Sirisena Tells London Party Branch That He is Optimistic About Contesting 2020 Presidential Election as the Candidate of a Re-structured SLFP


by Sujeeva Nivunhella in London

President Maithripala Sirisena expressed optimism of contesting the presidential election in 2020 as the leader of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), which, he said, will be restructured with some significant changes.

“There will be some tangible changes with reforms in the SLFP on the cards in June this year”, the President told members of the SLFP UK branch in London on Friday.

President Sirisena, who was attending Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting (CHOGM) in London, met with SLFP UK branch president, Lasantha Perera and members at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, to discuss the future programme of the party. Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva was also present.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Tells London Party Branch That He is Optimistic About Contesting 2020 Presidential Election as the Candidate of a Re-structured SLFP’ »

New Tamil Film “Komaali Kings” Reveals Seven Things About Realities Within The Sri Lankan Tamil Community At Home And Abroad

By
David Jeyaselvan

King Ratnam’s ‘Komaali Kings’ is a recently released Sri Lankan Tamil movie filled with humour. The movie pleasantly surprised many, as 50 days later, it continues to be screened in theatres.

A man’s mundane life in Sri Lanka, takes a bizarre turn when a distant relative and his family decide to stay with him to attend a family wedding.


Based in Colombo, the movie dialogues are relatable to the Colombo Tamil who uses the type of slang and grammar spoken by the characters, with sentences mixed with Sinhalese, creating a distinctive style of communication.

The movie also highlights the lifestyle of the average Sri Lankan Tamil family who’ve migrated to the Western world.
Continue reading ‘New Tamil Film “Komaali Kings” Reveals Seven Things About Realities Within The Sri Lankan Tamil Community At Home And Abroad’ »