If Ranil is Ousted as Prime Minister Through this No Confidence Motion, He Will not be Able to Retain Control of the UNP Any Longer.

by C.A. Chandraprema

The no confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has taken the political centrestage. In normal circumstances, this no confidence motion need not have been taken seriously at all. The UNP has 106 MPs and their allies the TNA has 17 and that alone would have sufficed to render the no confidence motion redundant even before it was taken up for debate. But this no confidence motion was not presented in parliament under normal circumstances. The Joint Opposition which submitted the motion has only 52 MPs. The SLFP group in the government which may support it, another 44, bringing the total number of those who may vote for the motion to a maximum of 96. It is certain that not all in the SLFP group will vote for this no confidence motion even if President Sirisena asks them to vote for it. There is a very strong possibility that up to ten SLFP members may vote against the no confidence motion.

Going by those numbers, this motion should be dead in the water from the moment it was handed in but it is not. The reason why it has become a major issue is the ever increasing possibility of a revolt within the UNP itself. This revolt is not necessarily due to the due to the inherent merits of the no confidence motion but due to a long standing need within the UNP to get rid of their leader. The Joint Opposition realising that this is the most effective sales pitch for the no confidence motion, has been plumbing that line for all they are worth. Some of the posts that appeared during the past few days on facebook pages sympathetic to the JO went as follows:

“This is not against the government. It’s against Ranil.”

“If you keep Ranil on as leader you will have to field an outsider as presidential candidate again. Are you going to remove Ranil and have a proper UNP candidate contesting the presidency the next time at least? The choice is yours!”

“Ranil has been your leader since 1994 and you have been defeated 30 times. He used Sirisena and managed to win once, but then Sirisena used and deceived you. If you don’t get rid of Ranil at least this time, your party will have no future until he dies”.

“Are you going to have Ranil as the party leader until he dies or are you going to get rid of him while you have the chance to do so? It’s up to the UNP to decide”.

“Even though you thought Ranil was a master brain (molaya), you now realize he is just a potato (alaya) incapable of doing anything. He has destroyed the economy, the country and your party as well and created a situation where people retch at the mention of the UNP. At least now shall we see whether he can be removed, and the party leadership given to some capable person?”

Continue reading ‘If Ranil is Ousted as Prime Minister Through this No Confidence Motion, He Will not be Able to Retain Control of the UNP Any Longer.’ »

Wimal Weeawansa Tells Karu Jayasuriya “You can win a Sweep Ticket Through This” When Copy of No Confidence Motion Against PM was handed Over by Joint Opposition To The Speaker.

(Excerpts from “Sunday Times” Political Column)

Obathumaatath mekeng sweep ekak vedenna puluwang or you also can win a sweep ticket through this, remarked ‘Joint Opposition’ parliamentarian Wimal Weerawansa as Dinesh Gunawardena handed a copy of the No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya.

Jayasuriya was not too pleased with the remark that hinted that he could become Prime Minister ousting Wickremesinghe. Mama oya sweep ticket walata kadera nehe or I am not greedy for those sweep tickets, he extorted.

Gunawardena, leader in Parliament of the ‘Joint Opposition’, handed over the motion signed by 55 MPs, four of them from the SLFP, on Wednesday afternoon. Present to grace the occasion was the de facto leader of the ‘JO,’ former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and a group of parliamentarians who are his supporters.

“We are confident of having the motion passed in Parliament,” Gunawardena told the Sunday Times. He said the motion, the contents of which were revealed in these columns last week, has received wider support.

“Though I did not sign for it expressly at the request of the party, I propose to vote for the motion. In the past, I have not done so in respect of any other similar motion in Parliament,“ Mahinda Rajapaksa told the Sunday Times. Yet, there are growing indications, despite optimism amongst select SLFP Ministers, the motion is doomed to fail. How enthusiastic Rajapaksa himself was on this motion being filed is also a matter of speculation. Finger pointing on responsibility for such an imminent debacle has begun.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weeawansa Tells Karu Jayasuriya “You can win a Sweep Ticket Through This” When Copy of No Confidence Motion Against PM was handed Over by Joint Opposition To The Speaker.’ »

Ranil’s “Man Friday” of 33 Years Sudath Chandrasekara in Backstabbing Move Resigns Special Assistant Post After Releasing 7 Page Letter Attacking Wickremesinghe While PM Faces No Confidence Crisis.

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s “Special Assistant” has quit after launching a savage attack ahead of next month’s no-confidence motion.

The once powerful Sudath Chandrasekara announced the resignation after 33 years of service in a seven-page letter tearing into Wickremesinghe and making a series of allegations ranging from arrogance, indifference, cronyism and incompetence.

Continue reading ‘Ranil’s “Man Friday” of 33 Years Sudath Chandrasekara in Backstabbing Move Resigns Special Assistant Post After Releasing 7 Page Letter Attacking Wickremesinghe While PM Faces No Confidence Crisis.’ »

Rauff Hakeem Warns UNP Not To Betray The Muslim Congress By Forming Alliances with Other Parties To Gain Power In Local Authorities


By Gagani Weerakoon

In what appears like rubbing salt on the wound the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress indicated it is running out of patience with the coalition partner United National Party (UNP) of which, leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is facing a threat of losing party reins due to increasing demand within the party for him to step down in addition to being threatened with a No-faith Motion in Parliament challenging his Premiership,.

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader, Minister of City Planning and Water Supply, Rauff Hakeem, after swearing in Local Government members elected from his Party at the Party’s Headquarters Darussalam on Friday evening (23) has said that he will be compelled to respond in a serious manner if the UNP continue to breach agreements reached before Local Government (LG) polls.

Continue reading ‘Rauff Hakeem Warns UNP Not To Betray The Muslim Congress By Forming Alliances with Other Parties To Gain Power In Local Authorities’ »

Despite Buddhist Monks Spewing Race Hatred as Captured on TV Cameras and recordings There is Little Action Taken by the Senior Clergy Other than the Belated Issuing of Statements.

By
Kishali Pinto jayawardene

There is a cheery though dangerously complacent view articulated by senior Muslim politicians, (and echoed by others),that the recent communal violence in Ampara and Kandy was perpetrated through organised attacks by ‘outsiders’ on Muslim residents of those areas.

Only part of the truth

As is often the case, this explanation is only part of the truth. Certainly thugs masquerading as monks and racist organisations wrapping the banner of ‘Sinhala Buddhist militants’ around them, (surely an oxymoron if there ever was one) engaged in illegal hate speech and were responsible for bringing organized mobs to attack innocent people. The Government has assured that the ringleaders have been arrested but more needs to be seen than mere arrests.

The legal system must be allowed to work unhindered and at its fullest strength. Convictions must ensue for hate speech and for incitement to violence as well as the committal of violence on persons and property under existing laws that are more than sufficient for the purpose. As importantly, members of the police and the Special Task Force (STF) complicit in the violence either though acts of omission or commission need to be severely dealt with in terms of the criminal law. That needs to be yet seen.

Continue reading ‘Despite Buddhist Monks Spewing Race Hatred as Captured on TV Cameras and recordings There is Little Action Taken by the Senior Clergy Other than the Belated Issuing of Statements.’ »

Unfolding Power Struggle Between Three Groups of the Sinhala Political Class Led By President Maithripala sirisena, Premier Ranil wickremesinghe and Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Respectively.

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

One fascinating dimension of the current political developments in Sri Lanka is the maturing power struggle between three groups of the Sinhalese political class. They are led by three prominent political personalities, President Maithripala Sirisena, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The last local government election, held a few weeks ago, marked the first occasion presented to these three groups to compete with each other in the public arena for popular support. The post-election days saw the intensification of their contradictions. Developments around the no-confidence motion against the Prime Minister, proposed by the Joint Opposition in Parliament, will be crucial to understand the emerging trajectories of this three-cornered power struggle. The forthcoming provincial, presidential, and parliamentary elections beginning the end of next year, might lead to some sort of resolution of it. We still cannot speculate its shape and consequences. Nevertheless, Sri Lankan politics is obviously heading for some interesting times.

This essay seeks to shed some light on the sociology and political economy of this intra-elite power struggle currently unfolding in the country. Before that, some preliminaries are in order.

Continue reading ‘Unfolding Power Struggle Between Three Groups of the Sinhala Political Class Led By President Maithripala sirisena, Premier Ranil wickremesinghe and Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Respectively.’ »

“Ours has always been a very united family. We have never had any falling out among ourselves” – Mahinda Rajapaksa About His Brothers Gotabhaya and Basil in Interview with “Indian Express”

by Arun Janardhanan

Three years after he was swept out of office, Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former President, thinks he is in with a chance to return to power. Last month, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the party loyal to him, made a stunning comeback with a massive win in local body polls. And early this month, Rajapaksa’s rival and successor President Maithripala Sirisena had to declare a state of emergency for more than a week after Buddhist-Muslim clashes left the island-nation reeling.

Although elections are not due in Sri Lanka until 2020, these developments have prompted Rajapaksa to press for early elections. In an interview to The Indian Express, Rajapaksa spoke on the possibility of his return to power, his role in the next presidential polls, the economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the Chinese debt trap.


Excerpts from the interview:


You had a massive victory in the local body polls. What does this mean for the party loyal to you?

It is quite clear that people of Sri Lanka want to see us return to power. They want to see an end to the chaos that has reigned in this country since January 2015.


Have you started talks with potential allies? Are new political equations emerging? How do you hope to reassure your critics such as civil society and human rights groups?

We have been approached by some ministers and MPs from the ruling coalition. Some crossovers may take place in future. You referred to civil society groups and human rights groups. In Sri Lanka, most of these so-called civil society groups are not real civil society groups but NGOs funded by Western nations. Such groups support only those who promote the agenda of their paymasters. In India, I believe things are very different.

Continue reading ‘“Ours has always been a very united family. We have never had any falling out among ourselves” – Mahinda Rajapaksa About His Brothers Gotabhaya and Basil in Interview with “Indian Express”’ »

Joint Opposition Sponsored No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Unlikely to Succeed as UNP Led UNF Goct Extends Near Total Support to Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The No Confidence Motion (NCM) submitted by the Joint Opposition (JO) against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe appears to be doomed to failure because Wickremesinghe’s party and alliance, namely, the United National Party (UNP) and the United National Front (UNF), are almost fully with him.

And the UNP-led UNF is the single largest grouping in parliament with 106 out of a total House of 225 members.

Over 80 MPs out of the 106 UNF members signed a motion expressing confidence in Wickremesinghe at a meeting here on Thursday.

Parliament is to debate the NCM on April 4.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition Sponsored No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Unlikely to Succeed as UNP Led UNF Goct Extends Near Total Support to Ranil Wickremesinghe.’ »

Why Did Piyasiri Wijenayake Accused of Alleged Corruption in PRECIFAC report Accompany President Sirisena as Part of Official Delegation to Japan? Asks the JVP.

By Saman Indrajith

The JVP yesterday demanded to know how a person accused of corruption by a Presidential Commission of Inquiry had been to Japan as a member of President Maithripala Sirisena’s entourage.

JVP MP Bimal Rathnayake said his erstwhile colleague Piyasiri Wijenayake, accused of corruption as per the PRECIFAC report,had accompanied President Sirisena during the latter’s state visit to Japan.

Continue reading ‘Why Did Piyasiri Wijenayake Accused of Alleged Corruption in PRECIFAC report Accompany President Sirisena as Part of Official Delegation to Japan? Asks the JVP.’ »

President Sirisena Orders Deployment of Police and Special Task Force To Prevent Massive Scale Environmental Destruction of Muthurajawela Wetlands Sanctuary By Private Construction Company.

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday directed IGP Pujith Jayasundera to immediately deploy the Special Task Force (STF) to prevent the destruction of Muthurajawela marsh and sanctuary.

President Sirisena also directed that police road blocks be established at entry and exit points as part of measures to stop what he called environmental destruction.

A spokesperson for the presidential secretariat told The Island that President Sirisena had issued directives to the police and other relevant authorities following an on-site visit yesterday morning in the wake of media disclosure of large scale destruction there.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Orders Deployment of Police and Special Task Force To Prevent Massive Scale Environmental Destruction of Muthurajawela Wetlands Sanctuary By Private Construction Company.’ »

Over 80 UNP Parliamentarians Sign Letter Expressing Confidence in Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Counter Move Against No Confidence Motion Against Him; More To Sign this Week.

By

Saman Indrajith

More than 80 UNP MPs have signed a letter expressing their confidence in Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by yesterday evening, Law and Order and Public Administration Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara said.
Continue reading ‘Over 80 UNP Parliamentarians Sign Letter Expressing Confidence in Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in Counter Move Against No Confidence Motion Against Him; More To Sign this Week.’ »

Debate and Vote on No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Scheduled for April 4th 2018 In Parliament.

By Saman Indrajith

Party leaders yesterday set April 04 as the date for the debate on the No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

They fixed the date during a party leaders’ meeting chaired by Speaker Karu Jayasuriya in the parliament complex.

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake said the vote on the motion against the Prime Minister Wickremesinghe would be taken on the same day following a full-day debate.

The number of questions for April 4 at the commencement of sittings has been reduced from 15 to 8 to allow more time for the debate.

“The sittings will commence at 9.30am and the debate may continue until about 9.30pm. The vote will be taken thereafter,” MP Dissanayake said.

Continue reading ‘Debate and Vote on No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Scheduled for April 4th 2018 In Parliament.’ »

Ex-President Mahinda rajapaksa’s son and Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa Prevented Flying from Moscow to Texas By US Authorities.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lankan legislator Namal Rajapaksa, son of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, has said U.S. authorities denied him permission to fly to Texas from Moscow. He went to the Russian capital as an observer for the recent presidential election.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda rajapaksa’s son and Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa Prevented Flying from Moscow to Texas By US Authorities.’ »

Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne Vehemently Denies Allegations That His Ministerial Colleague Champika Ranawaka Was Involved With Groups Responsible for Recent Anti-Muslim Violence.

By Chathuri Dissanayake

An irate Minister Rajitha Senaratne denied allegations levelled against one of his Cabinet colleagues alleged to have links with the extremist groups involved in the recent attacks in Kandy.

Losing his cool at the Cabinet press briefing, Cabinet Spokesperson Senaratne yesterday engaged in a verbal battle with a reporter who raised a question on the involvement of Minister Champika Ranawaka.

Categorically denying all allegations levelled against his Ministerial colleague Ranawaka, Senaratne went on to accuse the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna of spreading rumours to cover up their involvement.

Police Spokesperson Ruwan Gunasekara also denied any involvement of any member of the Government, saying that investigations carried out so far had not revealed any such details.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne Vehemently Denies Allegations That His Ministerial Colleague Champika Ranawaka Was Involved With Groups Responsible for Recent Anti-Muslim Violence.’ »

Joint Opposition MP and a Ministerial Secretary Being Probed For Alleged Inteference with olice and Special Task Force Personnel Deployed To Quell Anti-Muslim Violence in Kandy.

By

Kavindya Chris Thomas

Investigations are underway into a Parliamentarian and Ministry Secretary’s involvement in the communal unrest in Kandy, following the arrest of three Joint Opposition (JO) and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Pradeshiya Sabha Members, who had allegedly led the violence.

Revealing the identities of the politicians, Co-Cabinet Spokesperson Minister of Health Dr. Rajitha Senaratne said that the identity of the MP will be revealed in due course.

Continue reading ‘Joint Opposition MP and a Ministerial Secretary Being Probed For Alleged Inteference with olice and Special Task Force Personnel Deployed To Quell Anti-Muslim Violence in Kandy.’ »

314 Persons Comprising 146 Under Normal and 168 Under Emergency Arrested For Kandy District Violence; 5 From Podu Jana Peramuna also Among Arrested.SLPP Councillor Burnt Menikhinna Mosque and Pradeshiya Council Member Torched Businesses in Digana.


By

Zahrah Imtiaz

As investigations into the riots in Kandy continue, co-cabinet spokesperson Minister Rajitha Senaratne strongly insisted yesterday that no minister in government was involved in the incidents which unfolded earlier this month.

Instead, he said five members of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) have been arrested or investigated with regard to their role in the riots.

From March 4 to 18, 314 persons in total have been arrested for committing racially motivated crimes in Kandy. Of this number, 205 were from the Kandy district (72 arrested under normal law, 133 under emergency) and 109 from other areas of the country (74 under normal law and 35 under emergency), Minister Senaratne said at the weekly cabinet media briefing yesterday.

Continue reading ‘314 Persons Comprising 146 Under Normal and 168 Under Emergency Arrested For Kandy District Violence; 5 From Podu Jana Peramuna also Among Arrested.SLPP Councillor Burnt Menikhinna Mosque and Pradeshiya Council Member Torched Businesses in Digana.’ »

There are Significant Social and Cultural Differences in how Buddhists and Muslims are Taught and Trained to Approach Matters of Religion and Identity.


By
Kalana Senaratne

In Sri Lanka, the relationship between the Sinhala Buddhist majority and the Muslim minority has steadily deteriorated since the end of the civil war. When Mahinda Rajapaksa was in power, much damage was caused when violence was unleashed on Muslims by Buddhist mobs, in Aluthgama in 2014. The new government, which was elected in 2015 with the support of the minorities, promised an end to such violence. However, the recent attacks in the Kandy district, where well over 200 homes and 14 mosques were destroyed, resulting in a state of emergency being imposed and social media platforms being blocked, has shown that this government too has not been able to contain the anti-Muslim project that is gaining ground in Sri Lanka.

The state of emergency has been lifted. But the continuing nature of the struggle between the two communities calls for a dispassionate assessment of the many complexities undergirding their relationship. This involves the need to problematise certain popular assumptions about the character of the Sinhala Buddhist mindset, the nature of the accusations being levelled against Muslims, and about ending the crisis. This is necessary to add perspective to an ongoing debate and not to condone, even indirectly, the devastation caused by tribalistic groups on the country’s minorities.

Continue reading ‘There are Significant Social and Cultural Differences in how Buddhists and Muslims are Taught and Trained to Approach Matters of Religion and Identity.’ »

President Sirisena’s Govt Must Not Allow Violent Nationalists To Spread Their Message of Hate Easiliy and Routinely.

By

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera


“One’s life has value so long as one attributes value to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion”
– Simone de Beauvoir

Only when fear and hatred is spread by extremists does serious reflection haunt a community. The teardrop-shaped island of Sri Lanka, a seeming paradise hanging off the Indian subcontinent, has been provoked yet again. Within a few hours arose an ugly incident of violence, the hill country’s vibrant colours serving as a backdrop to death and destruction – a systematic break-down of lives, religious spaces, and personal property.

The July 1983 riots, insurrections quashed in 1971 and 1989, and 2014 Aluthgama riots were among these unexpected bursts of violence. In all cases, the unprepared State reacted slowly before resorting to brutal force to restore order. How could Sri Lanka become riven by hostility and terror in a short time? Recent events suggest that this question deserves further attention and study to better inform the work of policymakers.

A nation plunged into a state of emergency with a heavily State-influenced media is the present situation in Sri Lanka. Terrorism exercised blatantly in the streets by violent, extremist nationalists to harm other religious or ethnic groups should not be met with silence, especially in a town that treasures the Buddha’s sacred Temple of the Tooth, symbolising the purity of the words of non-violence uttered by the Buddha. Extremists should be punished to restore the rule of law in society, regardless of the religious or political affiliations of the perpetrators.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Govt Must Not Allow Violent Nationalists To Spread Their Message of Hate Easiliy and Routinely.’ »

22 UNP MP’s Will Vote for No Confidence Motion in Parliament Though They did Not want To Sign it Says Joint Opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila


By Skandha Gunasekara

The much-anticipated NoConfidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, the third such NoConfidence motion against a premier in Parliament history, was handed over to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya yesterday by former President and Kurunegala District MP Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The former President, along with a group of Joint Opposition MPs, submitted the motion – containing14 allegations against the Premier – tothe Speaker around 2:30p.m. last afternoon.

The motion was signed by 51 Joint Opposition MPs and four SLFP MPs, including three Government Ministers.

Continue reading ‘22 UNP MP’s Will Vote for No Confidence Motion in Parliament Though They did Not want To Sign it Says Joint Opposition MP Udaya Gammanpila’ »

No Confidence Motion Against His Prime Minister By Opposition Places President Sirisena Between a Rock and a Hard Place.

Submission of a No Confidence Motion (NCM) against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe by the Joint Opposition Group (JO) in the Sri Lankan parliament on Wednesday has ironically put President Maithripala Sirisena in a fix.

Sirisena’s Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has 41 members in parliament, the majority of whom would like to back the NCM because the party has been in daily confrontation with the Prime Minister and his United National Party (UNP) in the coalition government.

“SLFPers” as they are called in the local parlance, would like to align themselves with the JO, which is composed of a breakaway group of the SLFP and like-minded MPs led by the charismatic former President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The 41 MPs of the SLFP are dreaming of a day when the two factions of the party unite and form an SLFP-led government getting rid of the UNP which is seen as being too Rightist and too pro-West.

Continue reading ‘No Confidence Motion Against His Prime Minister By Opposition Places President Sirisena Between a Rock and a Hard Place.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Did Not Sign No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Because a Vote Will Only Help Ranil Wickremesinghe to Prove His Majority in Parliament

A faction of Sri Lanka’s ruling coalition Wednesday submitted a no-confidence resolution against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, but without sufficient support to topple him.

The long-delayed resolution was handed to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya with 55 members of parliament backing it. However, former president Mahinda Rajapaksa did not sign the resolution.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Did Not Sign No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Because a Vote Will Only Help Ranil Wickremesinghe to Prove His Majority in Parliament’ »

No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Coalition Govt Signed by 51 Joint Opposition and 4 SLFP Govt MP’s Handed Over To Speaker Without Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Signature

By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana

The Joint Opposition handed over the much-anticipated No-Confidence Motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Government to Speaker Karu Jayasuriya this afternoon.

Joint Opposition MPs, including former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, were seen at the Speaker’s office during the handing over of the motion.

Joint Opposition Parliamentary group leader Dinesh Gunawardane told a media briefing that several Government MPs had also signed the motion together with the Joint Opposition MPs.

Continue reading ‘No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Coalition Govt Signed by 51 Joint Opposition and 4 SLFP Govt MP’s Handed Over To Speaker Without Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Signature’ »

Deep Division Within Joint Opposition Over No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister With MP’s Ramesh Pathirana,Nimal Lanza,Prasanna Ranatunge and Kumara Welgama Criticising the Move.

By Saman Indrajith

The Joint Opposition (JO) parliamentary group members are divided on the no-faith motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. There were heated arguments at the JO’s parliamentary group meeting yesterday.

Parliament sources said dissenting views had been expressed by the JO members over submitting the NCM.

Continue reading ‘Deep Division Within Joint Opposition Over No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister With MP’s Ramesh Pathirana,Nimal Lanza,Prasanna Ranatunge and Kumara Welgama Criticising the Move.’ »

United National Front(UNF) Ministers and MP’s Unanimously Pledge to Vote Against and Defeat No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe;”Rebels” Palitha Range Bandara and Wasantha Senanayake To Support Ranil.

By
Sandun A Jayasekera

UNF ministers, state ministers, deputy ministers and parliamentarians, at a meeting with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the chair, unanimously decided to confront and counter the JO-sponsored no-confidence motion against him, Cabinet Spokesman and Minister, Gayantha Karunatilaka said.

He said State Ministers Wasantha Senanayake and Palitha Range Bandara had also agreed to the decision arrived at and would vote against the motion if it was presented in Parliament.

Continue reading ‘United National Front(UNF) Ministers and MP’s Unanimously Pledge to Vote Against and Defeat No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe;”Rebels” Palitha Range Bandara and Wasantha Senanayake To Support Ranil.’ »

Sri Lankan Govt Preparing to Impose Censorship On Social Media and Suppress Free Expression With the Collaboration of Facebook Under the Pretext of Curbing Hate speech


By Pradeep Ramanayake

While Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena last Thursday officially removed its bans placed on Facebook on March 7, his government is working closely with the giant corporation to restrict access to the social media platform.

In a tweet message Sirisena noted that his secretary, Austin Fernando, discussed “with officials of Facebook, who have agreed that its platform will not be used for spreading hate speech and inciting violence [in Sri Lanka].”

The government imposed the ban on Facebook, and other social media outlets, including Viber and WhatsApp, as part of its national state of emergency on March 6. The draconian measure was in response to anti-Muslim violence unleashed by Sinhala-Buddhist extremist groups in some areas of central Kandy district.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Preparing to Impose Censorship On Social Media and Suppress Free Expression With the Collaboration of Facebook Under the Pretext of Curbing Hate speech’ »

Hitherto Unrecognized Endemic Frog Found In Sri Lanka Is Scientifically Named “Uperdon Rohani” and Given Common Name ” Rohan’s Monsoon Croaker” In Honour of Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda.


A team of Indian and Sri Lankan scientists led by Dr Sonali Garg of the University of Delhi has discovered that a frog commonly found in Sri Lanka’s dry zone in fact represents a new, previously-unrecognised species, which they have named Uperodon rohani. The scientists explain that “This species is named after Rohan Pethiyagoda, in recognition of his contribution to biodiversity studies in India and Sri Lanka, especially on frogs and fishes.”

The species was named in an 88-page monograph titled “An integrative taxonomic review of the South Asian microhylid genus Uperodon” published in the journal ‘Zootaxa’ on 23 February. The authors found that the nearest evolutionary relative of the species, which is endemic to Sri Lanka, is the Indian frog Uperodon variegatus. They characterise the new species by its unique genetic make-up and morphology, in addition to the distinctive croaking call made by males. The propensity of these frogs to call loudly in chorus after heavy rains have led the scientists to propose that its common name be ‘Rohan’s Monsoon Croaker.’

Continue reading ‘Hitherto Unrecognized Endemic Frog Found In Sri Lanka Is Scientifically Named “Uperdon Rohani” and Given Common Name ” Rohan’s Monsoon Croaker” In Honour of Dr. Rohan Pethiyagoda.’ »

Was National Police Commission Secretary Ariyadasa Cooray Removed From Post Abruptly Because he Asked IGP Jayasundara For an Independent Report Into Recent Anti-Muslim Violence?

By Rathindra Kuruwita

The National Police Commission (NPC) has removed its Secretary, N. Ariyadasa Cooray abruptly following a closed door meeting yesterday.

Cooray was employed under public administration circular 9/2007 which allowed him to work until the age of 67 but a new circular (Circular No 03/2018) introduced last month states that a retired Public Official over 60 should not be employed in the Public Service, NPC Chairman P. H. Manatunga said. The NPC will decide on who will replace Cooray, at the next Commission meeting on March 22

Speaking to The Island Cooray said that he had been informed that he was past the age of retirement.

Continue reading ‘Was National Police Commission Secretary Ariyadasa Cooray Removed From Post Abruptly Because he Asked IGP Jayasundara For an Independent Report Into Recent Anti-Muslim Violence?’ »

SLFP Ministers In Govt Reluctant to Place Signatures Openly in No Confidence Motion Against The Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

By

Kelum Bandara

SLFP ministers are reportedly hoping to inform President Maithripala Sirisena in writing that they would support the no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Minister Dayasiri Jayasekara told Daily Mirror today that a few SLFP ministers would sign the no confidence motion but the rest would act during the voting.

Continue reading ‘SLFP Ministers In Govt Reluctant to Place Signatures Openly in No Confidence Motion Against The Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya Says Majority of Sinhalese Were Happy About Recent Attacks On the Muslim Community Just As They Were After the 1983 Anti-Tamil Violence Which was Regretted Later.

By

M.S.M. Ayub

Dismissing the popular view on the attitude of a majority of Sinhalese towards the attacks on Muslim-owned properties and mosques during the recent riots in Ampara town and the Kandy District, Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya claimed they seemed happy about what happened.

“The claim that a majority of Sinhalese were against the recent attacks on Muslims is wrong,” he said.

At a workshop on ethnic harmony on the theme, “building Bridges” held on Saturday at SLIDA, Mr. Deshapriya was quick to observe that a majority of Sinhalese were happy to see the Tamils too being attacked in 1983, only to regret it a few years later.

Continue reading ‘Elections Commission Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya Says Majority of Sinhalese Were Happy About Recent Attacks On the Muslim Community Just As They Were After the 1983 Anti-Tamil Violence Which was Regretted Later.’ »

Unable To Get Enough MP’s to Endorse Proposed No Confidence Motion Against Ranil Wickremesinghe Joint Opposition Tries To enlist President Sirisenas Support To Topple The Prime Minister Of His Own Govt.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Joint Opposition (JO) has appealed for President Maithripala Sirisena’s support for the no-confidence motion (NCM) to be moved against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Top JO spokesman and Chairman of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Prof. G. L. Peiris and UPFA Colombo District MP Gamini Lokuge yesterday made the appeal to the President.

They said so addressing the media at former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s office at Nelum Mawatha, Battaramulla.

Prof. Peiris and Lokuge underscored the pivotal importance of the warring SLFP factions reaching a consensus on the move against Premier Wickremesinghe.

Prof. Peiris said the JO/SLPP expected President Sirisena, in his capacity as the Chairman of the SLFP, to direct his 44-member parliamentary group to back the NCM.

Continue reading ‘Unable To Get Enough MP’s to Endorse Proposed No Confidence Motion Against Ranil Wickremesinghe Joint Opposition Tries To enlist President Sirisenas Support To Topple The Prime Minister Of His Own Govt.’ »

President Sirisena Says He Remembers and Values the Support Extended By Tamils and Feels Indebted to the Community While Speaking at an Event in Jaffna.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Reminding President Maithripala Sirisena of the “unstinted support” that Tamils extended to him in 2015, senior Tamil politician and Leader of Opposition R. Sampanthan on Monday urged him to “rise as a statesman” and resolve Sri Lanka’s ethnic problem.

“We want a statesman to rise in this country who can say, ‘I resolved the country’s national question and we think you can do it, we think you should do it and it is our expectation that it will be done,” he said, speaking at an event in Jaffna, where he shared the stage with Mr. Sirisena.

The veteran Tamil leader’s remarks come at a time when Mr. Sirisena’s national unity government is dealing with a major blow in the island-wide local government elections held in early February.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Says He Remembers and Values the Support Extended By Tamils and Feels Indebted to the Community While Speaking at an Event in Jaffna.’ »

I Support Putin, just as I Support Mahinda and am Willing to Support Gotabhaya with More Caution and Caveats If the Need Arises.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

I have to say that I am very happy indeed about the resounding victory scored by President Putin. If not for him, there would be no multi-polarity in the world; no chance of a global equilibrium; no ally for the rising economic power of China which would have been encircled by the West. There would be a unipolar world under Western hegemony. It would have been a return to the imperialist world order during colonialism—something our generation had never experienced. The Middle East would have gone the way it did in Iraq and Libya. Syria has held because of Putin. Had Putin been President of Russia at the time, Yugoslavia would still exist and the world would have been a better place.

Fidel Castro had warned about what the world would be without the Soviet Union. In 1973 at the Nonaligned Summit in Algiers, he contradicted Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi who had equated the USA and the USSR as two superpowers both of which should be opposed by the Third world. Fidel, who had never been a camp follower of the USSR and often criticized it, blazing his own path, nonetheless warned Gaddafi that if the USSR did not exist the western world would carve up the Middle East in the context of the rising oil prices with the activism of the OPEC. He urged OPEC to establish banks and other facilities to share its new wealth with the Third World. Not for the first time, Fidel proved prophetic. After the USSR fell, the US and its allies did carve up the Middle East as it did during colonial times. Gaddafi was lynched. Saddam executed.

It was the arrival of Putin that enabled Russia to save itself and grow strong again. He had to start where we in Sri Lanka had to in 2005, by confronting and defeating a powerful, separatist, suicide bombing terrorist militia, arising from among the Chechens. If he didn’t do so, it would not only have been the USSR that was extinct but Russia too would have shrunk; its periphery broken off. The world had a taste of what things would have been like, when Yeltsin was in charge and Russia was a weak, wobbly fellow traveler of the West; giving itself away with nothing in return.

Continue reading ‘I Support Putin, just as I Support Mahinda and am Willing to Support Gotabhaya with More Caution and Caveats If the Need Arises.’ »

UNP Re-organization Committee Wants Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe To Recommend a Person as His Successor After he Relinquishes Office.

By

Yohan Perera

The committee appointed to look into the reorganization of the United National Party (UNP) in its report had recommended that Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe should name a person who would take over the party leadership as and when he steps down from the leadership.

A member of the committee said it had come out with this suggestion as its members were of the opinion that it would be easier for the party to move forward when a suitable person who would take over the party is named. Also, it was stated that many in the party had wanted to feel secured in the future.

Continue reading ‘UNP Re-organization Committee Wants Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe To Recommend a Person as His Successor After he Relinquishes Office.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Conveys Felicitations To President Putin For His Electoral Victory Through Ambassador Yuri Materiy When Russian Envoy Called On Him.

(Text of Press Release Issued By Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa)

Following the victory of incumbent President Vladimir Putin of the Russian Federation at last Sunday’s election, the Russian Ambassador in Colombo HE Yury. B Materiy met former President Mahinda Rajapaksa at his official residence in Colombo on Monday. President Mahinda Rajapaksa took this opportunity to convey his felicitations to President Putin on his landslide victory.

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Says He Will Move a No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Topple the Current Govt Headed By President Sirisena.

By Meera Srinivasan

Former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa said he would move a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe next week, and claimed he had the support of some legislators in the PM’s United National Party (UNP).

Declaring that he was close to bringing the government down, Mr. Rajapaksa said: “The UNP’s own members are doing that, I don’t have to do [much].” He was speaking to Colombo-based foreign correspondents at his residence on Thursday.

In late 2016, about two years after his election defeat, the former President had vowed to topple the successor government. The country’s first national unity government helmed by President Maithripala Sirisena and PM Wickremesinghe remained stable through 2017 despite tensions.

However, the outcome of the local government elections held in February 2018 pushed the government to a virtual split.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Says He Will Move a No Confidence Motion Against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Topple the Current Govt Headed By President Sirisena.’ »

Resurgence of Communal Violence Poses Threat to Tourism, FDI and Balance of Payments

By

Nimal Sanderatne

The recent communal violence has raised apprehensions on its repercussions on the economy. Although the violence was restricted to three areas in Ampara, Kandy district and Gintota, and its direct impact on economic activities was minimal, the fears of further communal violence has serious implications for the economy.

The violence has already affected tourism adversely and is likely to deter foreign investment, increase international borrowing costs and could cause a capital outflow. All these would affect the country’s balance of payments adversely at a time when a balance of payments surplus is vital for enabling the massive debt repayment in 2019. This setback has also come about at a time when an improvement in the balance of payments was expected owing to a growth in exports, tourist earnings and other services. This year’s economic growth could slow down.

Balance of payments

The resurgence of communal disturbances is likely to affect the balance of payments adversely though is by no means confined to it. However, in view of the very large foreign debt repayments in 2019, the reduction of the balance of payments surplus or incurring a deficit would increase the difficulties of debt repayment. Therefore this space focuses on the impact of the communal violence on the balance of payments.

Continue reading ‘Resurgence of Communal Violence Poses Threat to Tourism, FDI and Balance of Payments’ »

President Sirisena Revokes The State of Emergency which He Imposed After The Outbreak of Anti-Muslim Violence

By Chathuri Dissanayake

As the army begins to withdraw troops from Kandy, President Maithripala Sirisena ended the state of emergency which was imposed in the country two weeks ago to control extremist attacks on the Muslim community in the central hill capital.

President Sirisena signed the gazette notification lifting the state of emergency upon his return from a state visit to Japan, the President’s Media Division announced today.

“The state of emergency declared on March 06, 2018 according to the instructions given by President Maithripala Sirisena has been lifted. President Sirisena after returning to the country following a successful state visit to Japan signed the Gazette notification to lift the state of emergency with immediate effect from midnight yesterday,” the statement issued by the President’s Media Division read.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Revokes The State of Emergency which He Imposed After The Outbreak of Anti-Muslim Violence’ »

Easy Manner In which Sri Lankan Citizens Accepted the Imposition of Emergency rule Without Demurring Provides Much food For Thought.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The ‘abnormal’ has become normal once again as Sri Lanka quietly and almost gently slipped back into a nation-wide State of Emergency, imposed by the Government as a reaction to recent attacks by Sinhalese mobs on Muslim shops and residences in Kandy.

Abnormal realities and perilous implications

The fragile nature of the democratic balance in this troubled country is best illustrated by how Sri Lankans naturally accepted the return of the emergency without demur. In a country where emergency law had virtually replaced the normal law of the land for decades citing ethnic and civil conflict, this reaction may be understandable. Few questioned the wisdom of this move and fewer still interrogated the exact content of the emergency regulations that were issued by President Maithripala Sirisena on Tuesday March 6th 2018.

Notwithstanding the fact that we are used to abnormal realities however, there are perilous implications to this turn of events which we need to be alive to. Harsh preemptive action to prevent further violence was warranted, particularly in the face of substantiated allegations that the police and counter-terror units were initially passive as marauding thugs struck terror into the hearts and minds of ordinary Muslim residents in affected areas.

But the continuation of a nation-wide State of Emergency has grave impact on the state of mind of the Sri Lankan citizenry which needs to be given serious thought to. Moderate and measured reactions on the part of the Government are called for, not dithering and uncertainty in the first instance that is succeeded by the other extreme of emergency over-reach. These are considerations that merit serious attention.

Continue reading ‘Easy Manner In which Sri Lankan Citizens Accepted the Imposition of Emergency rule Without Demurring Provides Much food For Thought.’ »

Orchestrated Anti-Muslim Violence in Amparai Town and Kandy District

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as minister of Law and Order on February 25th 2018. It was a stop gap measure. The premier was only expected to be in charge of the portfolio for two weeks until a new minister was appointed. The fortnightly stint as a”caretaker” minister however has proved to be a terrible ordeal amounting to a baptism of fire for the new Law and order minister. A pre-planned, well co-ordinated campaign of anti-Muslim violence was unleashed in two phases , first in the Amparai town and next in the Kandy district.

Politically astute stalwarts of the United National Party(UNP) suspect that the calculated anti-Muslim violence had a multi-pronged objective. Primarily it was intended to test and challenge Wickremesinghe’s capacity to discharge his duties well as a law and order minister. Ranil’s opponents have for long tried to depict him as a weak and ineffective leader incapable of dealing efficiently with threats to the County and/or law and order. The spectre of communal violence rearing its ugly head again would provide an opportunity to demonstrate that Ranil was not a strong leader. Since Wickremesinghe is a contender for the Presidency in 2020, the portrayal of the prime minister as weak would certainly pay dividends to any rival contesting on a platform of “strong man as president”.
Continue reading ‘Orchestrated Anti-Muslim Violence in Amparai Town and Kandy District’ »

So -Called “Govt to Govt ” Multi-million Dollar MIG 27 Aircraft Deal with Ukraine During Rajapaksa Regime Was Bogus and No-existent:FCID Intensifies Search for Udayanga Weeratunga

(“Exclusive” Report in “Sunday Times” of March 18th 2018)

On a bitterly chilly wintry morning in the Ukranian capital of Kiev last year, an investigation team from the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) sat down to a conference with officials. Present were the country’s Prosecutor General and top officials of Ukrinmarsh, the state agency that exports military products and related equipment.

The FCID team leader, Senior DIG Ravi Waidyalankara, who is the head of the FCID, asked a senior official of Ukrinmarsh about the sale to Sri Lanka of MiG 27 fighter jets and a trainer to the Sri Lanka Air Force. “What sale?” he asked and exhorted “there has been no sale of any MiG-27 aircraft to Sri Lanka from us. There never was.”

How then did claims arise that there has been a “Government-to-Government” deal to procure these MiG-27s in 2006? In fact, a voluminous document said, “CONTRACT BETWEEN THE SRI LANKA AIR FORCE FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE DEMOCRATIC SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF SRI LANKA AND M/S STATE SELF-SUPPORTING FOREIGN TRADE AND INVESTMENT FIRM ‘UKRINMARSH’ (SUBSIDIARY OF ‘UKRSPECTSEXPORT”) UKRAINE”

The answer – the so called contract of July 26, 2006 is fictitious and was not the real one. So is the reference in the fake contract to a Designated Party – Bellimissa Holdings Ltd., 2nd Floor, 145-157 St. John Street, London. This was just an office with a desk and a table and fund remittances ended up in a secret bank account in British Virgin Islands (BIV).

Continue reading ‘So -Called “Govt to Govt ” Multi-million Dollar MIG 27 Aircraft Deal with Ukraine During Rajapaksa Regime Was Bogus and No-existent:FCID Intensifies Search for Udayanga Weeratunga’ »

If Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Becomes President the Sinhala Majority Would Be Bi-furcated Into the “Heroic: and “Unheroic” With The Minority Communities as the Enemy.

By

Sarath de Alwis

Perfection, of a kind, was what he was after, And the poetry he invented was easy to understand; He knew human folly like the back of his hand, And was greatly interested in armies and fleets; When he laughed, respectable senators burst with laughter, And when he cried the little children died in the streets.’ Epitaph on A Tyrant – W.H. Auden

When Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was remodelling the city of Colombo, he was guided by his own definition of perfection. It was a tyrannical perfection. He had his share of admirers. Affluent middle class matrons found the Independence Arcade delightfully dashing. The Dutch Hospital refurbished is à la mode to those who can afford it.

As the poet Auden tells us what is chic and elegant for the few can be terribly wrong for the many. Gotabhaya made many little children cry, when their families were forcibly ejected from their homes to fit their miserable souls into Gotabhaya’s grand design in urban renewal. He knows human folly as the back of his hand.

We have forgotten how we feared Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s invisible long arm moving levers of power before January 8 2015.

As Milan Kundera the novelist philosopher announces with lyrical elegance, ‘Our struggle against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.’

Continue reading ‘If Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Becomes President the Sinhala Majority Would Be Bi-furcated Into the “Heroic: and “Unheroic” With The Minority Communities as the Enemy.’ »

Racism has Actually been an Expression of a Widely Shared Political Consciousness in Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese Buddhist Society

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

Racism is a political theme that has attracted a great deal of public attention in Sri Lanka last week. The attacks on the life and property of Muslim citizens in several locations in the Kandy District by Sinhalese mobs has provided the context for renewed public attention on the negative and destructive consequences of racist politics.

There seems to be two opposing responses to these particular events of racism. The first, which is being openly expressed, condemns racism and views it as a hindrance to peaceful community relations as well as the country’s progress.

The second, which is being expressed in private conversations, is mildly critical of the acts of violence against Muslims, yet, claims for it a political rationale and justification.

From that perspective, when the legitimate ‘place’ of the majority community in a multi-ethnic society is at stake, and when the government shows only a passive reaction to it, radical groups justifiably turn to violence to protect the majority’s interests.

Continue reading ‘Racism has Actually been an Expression of a Widely Shared Political Consciousness in Sri Lanka’s Sinhalese Buddhist Society’ »

Is the CID Eager To Place The Blame For “Sunday Leader ” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga’s Murder on Ex Def – Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa?

by C.A.Chandraprema

Even though there is supposed to be an ongoing police investigation into the 2009 murder of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, what we have been seeing for the most part is a series of investigations and arrests in relation to various matters on the sidelines of the murder. One of the first persons to be arrested in this connection was a bystander who had stolen Lasantha’s phone from the crime scene. This was just a theft and the suspect was soon released. In December 2009, the investigation was handed over to the CID. Then came two much more sensational arrests on February 26, 2010. According to a report published in the Sunday Leader, investigators had zeroed in on five SIM cards which on the basis of communication tower data, had been detected as having moved in the same direction as Lasantha’s phone on the day the murder had been committed. It was also said that the five numbers had not been used before or since the day of the killing – a telltale sign that these were SIM cards used for a special operation.

All five cards were said to have been registered in the name of one Pitchai Jesudasan a garage owner from Nuwara Eliya. When arrested and questioned, he had claimed that he had lost his National ID card, which could have been used to buy the five SIM cards. However he had made no complaint to the police about the loss of his ID card. It later transpired that this Jesudasan was a close associate of one Kandegedara Piyawansa, a Sinha Regiment soldier who was said to be attached to Military Intelligence. He too was arrested by the CID. P. Jesudasan is supposed to have died of a heart attack while in remand on 13 October 2011. Two years later, on September 6, 2013, Kandegedara Piyawansa was released due to the lack of evidence. Thereafter the investigation into Lasantha’s murder went into abeyance.

Immediately after the Rajapaksa government was defeated in January 2015, the investigation into Lasantha’s murder was revived, but nothing much happened for one and a half years. In July 2016, a Warrant Officer named Premananda Udalagama attached to Military Intelligence was arrested on the charge of abducting and assaulting Lasantha’s driver. Contrary to some confused media reports that appeared at the time, this driver had not been driving Lasantha’s car at the time of the murder. The Colombo Telegraph was later to explain that this driver had been in the habit of getting drunk in the evenings and telling everybody who would listen that it was Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who had got Lasantha killed. Lasantha’s driver obviously had no way of knowing whether Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was responsible for Lasantha’s killing and he was plainly babbling his imaginings after getting drunk. The story is that the driver had been abducted by Army Intelligence and assaulted and told not to go around accusing Gotabhaya Rajapaksa of being behind the killing and then released.

Continue reading ‘Is the CID Eager To Place The Blame For “Sunday Leader ” Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga’s Murder on Ex Def – Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa?’ »

Representatives of Joint Opposition and Govt SLFP Meet At Tiran Alles Residence To Plan Ouster of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister Through No Confidence Motion

(Extracts From the “Sunday Times”Political Column of March 18th 2018)

Last Tuesday, at the Borella residence of Tiran Alles, a former MP and businessman, a group of politicians met. They were representatives of the ‘Joint Opposition’ and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) which is led by President Sirisena. Among those representing the ‘JO’ were: Basil Rajapaksa, Dullas Allahapperuma, Namal Rajapaksa, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Those representing the SLFP included Minister Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Minister Susil Premjayantha, State Minister Dilan Perera and Lakshman Wasantha Perera.

Moves to oust PM

The subject of discussion was on moving a Vote of No Confidence on Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. It was not lost on those who took part that the move was an uphill task and required a majority vote. That was to clear the first hurdle, in ousting the Premier. If it was the formation of a new Government thereafter, they had to demonstrate the support of 113 MPs in Parliament. In an apparent bid to ensure there was no egg on their face if the motion was defeated in Parliament, those present agreed that the motion should be sponsored jointly by the ‘JO’ and the SLFP. They also chose to explore whether even “two or three” UNP parliamentarians could be called upon to sign the motion. Some claimed that a handful had voiced support but their identities were being kept a secret. One of the backers of the motion declared that it was to keep the news away from a ‘Mr Money Bags’ who was closely watching possible UNP defections. There were fears he may thwart them.

Continue reading ‘Representatives of Joint Opposition and Govt SLFP Meet At Tiran Alles Residence To Plan Ouster of Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister Through No Confidence Motion’ »

More Than a 100 Volunteers Re-constructed Anamaduwa’s only Muslim Eatery in 24 Hours When It Was Burnt Down in Racist Arson Attack.


By Prasad Purnamal

MOre than 100 volunteers helped to rebuild 30 year old Madeena Hotel in Anamaduwa in the Puttalam District, 24 hours after a mob set fire to the eatery following a wave of anti-Muslim attacks in Kandy

Mohamed Rahim, or ‘Madeena Mudalali’ to the people of Anamaduwa, was the only Muslim to run an eatery in the area since 1990.

In a wave of anti-Muslim violence sweeping the Kandy District, several isolated incidents in other regions of the country were also reported.

In the early hours of March 11, Rahim’s restaurant was set ablaze by a mob, in what looked like an attempt to spread the wave of violence into the Puttalam District.

When the news of arson spread like wildfire, Puttalam DIG, Champika Siriwardene lost no time to ensure peace in the area leaving no room for mischief-makers to have a field day. Most importantly, the Sinhala community in the area did not want to see communal unrest in their own area, after the nightmare in Kandy, which remained largely calm and peaceful.

But the loss of the shop deeply affected Mohamed Rahim leaving him helpless and distraught. “My eatery which I started 28 years ago was lost in one night” he said emotionally, adding that he never thought he would be able to rebuild his business.

However, as a symbol of true coexistence and camaraderie the Anamaduwa New United Traders’ Association with its president, Dayan Abeyratne decided to rebuild Madeena Mudalali’s gutted eatery within 24 hours and reopen the restaurant to the public.

Continue reading ‘More Than a 100 Volunteers Re-constructed Anamaduwa’s only Muslim Eatery in 24 Hours When It Was Burnt Down in Racist Arson Attack.’ »

Over a 100 Medical Professionals Collectively Denounce Canar About “Wanda Pethi” Sterilization Pill And Re-iterate That Govt Analyst Report of Substance Found in Ampara Eatery Being a Ball of Starch” Was Correct.


By Dimuthu Attanayake

The country should accept the verdict of the Government Analyst that the substance found in the food in the Ampara restaurant was a ball of starch, insist a group of Sri Lanka’s top physicians. “We are 100 percent sure that the so-called ‘pill’ was starch, the medical professionals told a media briefing last week, adding that there was no scientific evidence to prove that a pill could render human beings sterile

Hundreds of top physicians in Sri Lanka came together to debunk the myth of the ‘sterilization pill’ last week, after propagation of fake news about the ability of the ‘pill’ to render the consumer infertile led to communal unrest and violence targeting the Muslim community in Ampara, two weeks ago.

The now infamous “wanda pethi” controversy has been repeatedly debunked by scientists and medical professionals, who insist that human beings cannot be rendered infertile outside of certain surgical procedures.

A group of individual medical professionals, who gathered at Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) to brief the media on the subject last Thursday (15) said, there exists no such pill that can render its user infertile, according to western medicine.

“We have gathered today as a group of independent professionals, not affiliated to any medical organization to dispel the myth on the sterilization pill,” said Consultant Physician, Dr. Upul Dissanayake.

Continue reading ‘Over a 100 Medical Professionals Collectively Denounce Canar About “Wanda Pethi” Sterilization Pill And Re-iterate That Govt Analyst Report of Substance Found in Ampara Eatery Being a Ball of Starch” Was Correct.’ »

How to Situate History of Humanity Beyond Imagined Communities by De-mythifying the Image of Arya, Dravida or Super Races Narrated in Colonial Historiography

By

Prof.Sudarshan Seneviratne

(Text of Talk Felicitating Romila Thapar at “History and the Historian” event honouring the eminent historian on March 15th 2018 inIIC, New Delhi, India.SudharshanSeneviratne. Emeritus Professor. University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka.CHS/JNU Alumnus 1973-1980)

Good morning friends,

It is said, to understand history, first, understand the historian. So, we have gathered this morning to redefine history and history unfolded by the historian – Professor Romila Thapar. Ladies and gentlemen, she is guru and mentor, professional historian, and social activist who upholds freedom of expression reading the past. Professor Thapar has left a benchmark reading history beyond a mere source of information. Historiography, for her,is a prelude to understanding history as a form of knowledge. If this axiom is not recognized, Hobsbawm cautions, history becomes the raw material for fundamentalist ideologies and if there is no suitable past, it can always be invented, and memory expunged. If memory is lost, then as Lowenthal remarks, “The Past is a Foreign Country.”

This primordial mind-set was identified by Professor Sarwapalli Gopal as the ‘Fear of History’. To liberate that mindset, Professor Thapar drove home the need to decolonize our minds and from other parochial ideologies that emerged during the Colonial period and continue to be embedded in the post-Colonial period. It is not simply the dilution of historical consciousness or our collective memory loss, but a deliberate falsification of history on Who Owns the Past.

Continue reading ‘How to Situate History of Humanity Beyond Imagined Communities by De-mythifying the Image of Arya, Dravida or Super Races Narrated in Colonial Historiography’ »

Why Cant Buddhist Mahanayakes Heading Maha Sangha Sects Stop Their Monks from Spreading Hatred and Promoting Violence against Minority Communities in Sri Lanka?

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Whenever violence is unleashed on ethnic minority communities, political leaders from South almost by rote, hold a small group responsibleand reiterate that an overwhelming majority of the majority community have always wanted goodwill and peace among the communities.

This was the refrain last week as well, following the anti-Muslim violence that erupted in the Central Province last week. There is no gainsaying the credence of this statement. A significantly larger proportion of the majority community do abide by law and want goodwill and harmony among the communities.

But the question is, when the larger majority is so civil and amicable, how do small groups get together to unleash violence for several days, disrupting normal life?

Pondering this question, I am reminded of the quotes of two of the great sons of the last century.
Albert Einstien, a theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity and one of the two pillars of modern physics, said the world was a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who didn’t do anything about it. At the same time, Martin Luther King Jr., the American Black civil rights leader said we would have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

There is no denying that during the many bouts of violence, victims from minority communities have received support and help from friends, neighbours and well-wishers from the majority community. But the question is, why haven’t these friends and well-wishers and the majority of the majority community helped create a culture of tolerance and civility that could prevent ethnic violence

Continue reading ‘Why Cant Buddhist Mahanayakes Heading Maha Sangha Sects Stop Their Monks from Spreading Hatred and Promoting Violence against Minority Communities in Sri Lanka?’ »

Two Supreme Court Judge Receuse Themselves From Bench hearing Writ Petitions filed against Bribery Commission Proceedings againsEx- chief Justice Mohan Peiris and appeal Court Judge AHMD Nawaz.

By S.S. Selvanayagam

Two judges of the Supreme Court yesterday recused themselves from being members of the bench hearing the writ petitions against the decision of the Bribery Commission to institute proceedings against the former Chief Justice and incumbent superior court judge.

When the writ petitions were taken up yesterday before a bench headed by Chief Justice Priyasath Dep, justices Buwaneka Aluvihara and Nalin Perera declined to be members of the bench to hear the writ petitions challenging the decision of the Bribery Commission to institute proceedings in the Magistrate’s Court against former Chief Justice Mohan Peiris and incumbent judge A.H.M.D. Nawaz of the Court of Appeal.

The Court fixed the matter to be taken for support on 14 May.

Continue reading ‘Two Supreme Court Judge Receuse Themselves From Bench hearing Writ Petitions filed against Bribery Commission Proceedings againsEx- chief Justice Mohan Peiris and appeal Court Judge AHMD Nawaz.’ »

Seven Special Petitions Filed Against Constitutionality of Judicature Act Amendment Bill Fixed for Argument on March 19 Before Supreme Court


By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Seven Special Determination petitions challenging the constitutionality of the bill entitled the Judicature (Amendment), a bill to amend the Judicature Act No.2 of 1978 was yesterday fixed for argument on March 19 by the Supreme Court.

President’s Counsel Romesh de Silva, Gamini Marapana PC, Sanjeewa Jayawardena PC, Manohara de Silva PC and Kushan de Alwis PC appearing on behalf of the petitioners yesterday made their oral submissions against the concerned bill. They argued that the bill shall become law only through a two-third majority in Parliament and the approval of the people at a referendum.

The three-judge-bench comprised Chief Justice Priyasad Dep, Justice Buwaneka Aluvihare and Justice Nalin Perera.

Continue reading ‘Seven Special Petitions Filed Against Constitutionality of Judicature Act Amendment Bill Fixed for Argument on March 19 Before Supreme Court’ »

Hambantota MP And Sri Lankan Rugger Ex-Captain Namal Rajapaksa Ready To Coach Girls Rugby Team In Kashmir in May 2018

By

Meera Srinivasan

In an unlikely collaboration, Sri Lankan parliamentarian and rugby player Namal Rajapaksa has offered coaching help to a girls’ rugby team in distant Kashmir.

“I have spoken to senior Sri Lankan coach Ronnie Ibrahim, and we want to offer whatever support we can to the young team,” Mr. Rajapaksa, a former captain of Sri Lanka’s national rugby union team, told The Hindu on Thursday. Following a report by New Delhi-based World is One News on a Kashmir girls’ rugby team, Mr. Rajapaksa tweeted: “Breaking social boundaries to pursue their passion for #rugby.”

Continue reading ‘Hambantota MP And Sri Lankan Rugger Ex-Captain Namal Rajapaksa Ready To Coach Girls Rugby Team In Kashmir in May 2018’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Foreign Correspondents He is Ready To Align With Maithripala Sirisena if SLFP Led Govt is Formed After Ranil Wickremesinghe Is Removed as as Prime Minister

The Joint Opposition (JO) in the Sri Lankan parliament will move a Motion of No Confidence against Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in the coming week, the JO leader and former Lankan President, Mahinda Rajapaksa, told the Foreign Correspondents’ Association here on Thursday.

He said that he is confident of getting the motion passed because a substantial number of MPs belonging to Wickremesinghe’s United National Party (UNP) will either sign the motion, or vote for it when the division is taken.

This will be in addition to the bulk of MPs belonging to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) headed by Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is, of course, unlikely to back the motion as it is with Wickremesinghe, Rajapaksa said. But other parties in the opposition and the government coalition, could support it.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Foreign Correspondents He is Ready To Align With Maithripala Sirisena if SLFP Led Govt is Formed After Ranil Wickremesinghe Is Removed as as Prime Minister’ »

Contrary To Claims Made By Presient Sirisena Facebook Has Not Given any Guarantees To Sri Lanka That It Wont Allow Its Platform to Be Used to Spread Hate Speech and Incite Violence.

Tech giant Facebook made no new commitments to filter hate speech on their platform contrary to claims by the Sri Lankan government, official sources said Thursday.

President Maithripala Sirisena announced that he lifted a ban on Facebook after it agreed to remove hate speech posted on its platform.

“My secretary has discussed with officials of Facebook, who have agreed that its platform will not be used for spreading hate speech and inciting violence,” Sirisena announced over Twitter which was not targeted for last week’s ban.

Continue reading ‘Contrary To Claims Made By Presient Sirisena Facebook Has Not Given any Guarantees To Sri Lanka That It Wont Allow Its Platform to Be Used to Spread Hate Speech and Incite Violence.’ »

Bodu Bala Sena Gen -Secy Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera Participated as “invitee” at Two Events in Japan Where President Maithripala Sirisena was Personally Involved.


Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera was seen among the invitees who attended an event that took place under President Maithripala Sirisena’s auspices, in Japan.

Gnanasara Thera came under severe criticism from many quarters in the wake of the recent racially-motivated violence in kandy.

The controversial monk also attended a discussion that took place under the auspices of the President, in Japan. Many other Buddhist monks in Japan also attended the discussion.

Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Gen -Secy Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera Participated as “invitee” at Two Events in Japan Where President Maithripala Sirisena was Personally Involved.’ »

Pornographic Sites Featuring Local “Stars” That Were Blocked For Years Are Now Easily Accessible To Sri Lankans After Govt Imposed Restrictions on Social Media.

Sri Lanka may have blocked access to social media sites such as the Facebook, but the online crackdown appears to have had a flip side with hundreds of porn sites making a comeback.

While 6.2 million people using Facebook through Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in Sri Lanka could not access their pages, the pornographic sites banned many years ago for featuring Sri Lankan men and women were suddenly visible to local audiences.

Eight years ago, police secured court orders to block access to hundreds of sites which they said featured local stars. However, most of them were freely available this week without any disruptions by ISPs.

Continue reading ‘Pornographic Sites Featuring Local “Stars” That Were Blocked For Years Are Now Easily Accessible To Sri Lankans After Govt Imposed Restrictions on Social Media.’ »

Sinhala Doctors at Teldeniya Govt Hospital Refused To Treat Bleeding Muslim Assaulted by Special Task Force Accusing Injured Victim of Being a “Thamby Terrorist”Destroying the Country

By

Kithsiri Wijesinghe

Details are emerging of Sri Lanka security forces and public officials collaborating with ultra nationalist Sinhala Buddhist mobs in a riot against Muslims.
Doctors on duty in a government hospital denied treatment to injuries from a severe beating by members of the island’s elite police combat unit, alleges a Muslim official from the central hills.

A Sinhala doctor at the Theldeniya hospital had turned down the request to treat bleeding head wounds received at the hands of the Special Task Force (STF), Abdul Saleel Mohamed Fazil told JDS by phone.

‘Muslim terrorist’

The doctor had repeatedly referred to the wounded man as ‘Thambi’, a derogatory Sinhala term widely used against Muslims, while other medical officers looked on.

“The doctor accused me of being a ‘Thambi’ terrorist,” said the 43 year local councillor who says that the STF tried to frame him and two others for racial hatred when Muslims were under attack by Sinhala extremist mobs on 5 March.

Continue reading ‘Sinhala Doctors at Teldeniya Govt Hospital Refused To Treat Bleeding Muslim Assaulted by Special Task Force Accusing Injured Victim of Being a “Thamby Terrorist”Destroying the Country’ »

“Mahasohon Balakaya”Made A video Three Years Ago In Which its Commander Amith Weerasinghe Says Digana Has Become a “Muslim Country”Without a Single Sinhala Shop


By Rohantha De Silva and K. Gamini

Anti-Muslim violence initiated by extremist Sinhala-Buddhist groups in the Teldeniya-Digana area of Kandy began on the evening of March 4 and continued for about four days. The death of a Sinhalese lorry driver, following an assault by four Muslims men, was seized on by right-wing Sinhala-Buddhist formations to unleash their attacks.

Police lifted a curfew on Sunday but social tensions in the Kandy area remain. Police and military personnel are conducting intermittent patrols of Kandy town and the affected area with soldiers stationed at some locations.

According to the police, almost 7,000 security officers, including 3,250 from the army and air force, have been deployed. Over 220 people have been arrested—161 from the Kandy area and 69 from outside the district.

When World Socialist Web Site (WSWS) reporters visited Teldeniya-Digana a few days ago, the damage done by the violence was clearly visible. Houses and shops had been attacked and burnt down, and residents expressed fear, despair and outrage over the vicious destruction suddenly unleashed against them.
According to those interviewed by the WSWS, the violent rampage was initiated by the fascistic Mahasohon Balakaya (MB—Greatest Demon) and Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) formations. Mahasohon Balakaya, which was established a few years ago, has a public office in Digana. Both organisations, which claim to be “protecting” the Sinhala race and Buddhism, are infamous for targeted attacks on Muslims. Sri Lankan police have arrested MB leader Amith Weerasinghe and several other associates on suspicion of directing the violent rampage.

Continue reading ‘“Mahasohon Balakaya”Made A video Three Years Ago In Which its Commander Amith Weerasinghe Says Digana Has Become a “Muslim Country”Without a Single Sinhala Shop’ »

It was not a Sinhala-Muslim clash, it was a Mob Attack on Muslims says Sri Lanka Muslim Congress Leader and Cabinet Minister Rauff Hakeem in Interview with “The Hindu”.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Rauff Hakeem is the Minister of City Planning and Water Supply in Sri Lanka’s national unity government and the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress, a prominent Muslim political party. A lawyer and a senior parliamentarian, he represents Kandy district, which recently witnessed violent attacks by Sinhalese mobs that claimed at least two lives and destroyed many mosques, Muslim-owned shops and homes. The episode has left the island’s Muslim minority, who make up about 10% of the population, in shock. Speaking to The Hindu at Dharussalam, his party headquarters in Colombo, Mr. Hakeem situated the violence within the larger political scape of Sri Lanka after the civil war ended in 2009, with the armed forces crushing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, as well as in the global context of growing Islamophobia.

Excerpts:

How do you view the recent attacks targeting Muslims in different parts of Kandy district in the central highlands and the preceding incidents in Ampara in the Eastern Province? Anti-Muslim attacks have been on the rise from 2012.

On the one side, this has been a local manifestation of an international problem – Islamophobia. It has intensified due to very deliberate actions of certain xenophobic forces that have mobilised themselves intensely, particularly after the war victory, looking for another enemy. They look for pretexts to attack Muslims and target their economy and livelihoods. Their deliberate attempts have had a fair share of political patronage.

Some of these [Sinhala-Buddhist] extremist organisations came into prominence around 2011-12, starting with the hijab issue, then the campaign against Halal [certification], which were all pretexts to create this “enemy mindset”.

The Halal issue was used to create unnecessary fear in the minds of non-Muslims, whereas food practices of Muslims, Halal slaughter methods or ingredients that go into the food consumed by Muslims have never been a problem in the past. Business rivalry, jealousy and a variety of other reasons also contributed towards creating a phobia. And then it came to other lifestyle issues of Muslims, particularly women wearing the hijab — these were also being looked at as alien to Sri Lankan culture.

The Aluthgama, Beruwala incidents [anti-Muslim riots in 2014] were among the worst violent episodes based on hate speech. These two incidents in Ampara and Kandy were very carefully planned. They happened soon after the local government elections where the [Mahinda Rajapaksa-backed] Joint Opposition had a very sizeable victory, and in which the country’s ethnic polarisation was pronounced. That is another indicator of whether there was some political background to this. We cannot totally rule out the possibility of some type of political motivation. This is endemic to our culture.

Whatever political party we [may be from], we need to refrain from patronising extremist elements for political expediency. The recent incident was not a Sinhala-Muslim clash, it was a mob attack on Muslims and it was repeatedly taking place. The failure of the government to protect Muslims — that is another serious issue.


Yes, you have accused the police of having been lethargic.

Totally. They are complicit in this violence by their deliberate negligence, to say the least, if not active support, by not coming to the rescue of Muslims in a timely manner. On top of it, the failure of the intelligence community to have a proper early warning about what was going to happen. We local politicians knew that something was going to happen on the day of the funeral [of a Sinhalese driver who succumbed to injuries after an altercation with Muslim youth in a road rage incident, which triggered the riots]. We kept speaking to all the responsible officers, they kept reassuring us that there was nothing to worry about and that they would take care. Finally, when it happened, they all put up their hands in exasperation and said, “We never anticipated that this would be of such a scale and we just could not contain the violence”, simply trying to trot out excuses. They should have been prepared for such a calamity. It looks like callous disregard for the safety of the Muslim minority in this country.

Minority or any other community, it is the bounden duty of the government to ensure their safety, particularly when it is quite apparent that something sinister was brewing. A lot of people have a lot of explaining to do.

This is where impunity comes in. The culture of impunity that was there during the Rajapaksa regime came to re-establish itself in this manner when it came to law enforcement. This is a very serious issue and Muslims are furious. Just after the war victory, these xenophobic forces gained momentum and it culminated in pogroms such as Aluthgama and Beruwala, which resulted in the entire minority community deciding to send that regime back home and installing a new government. Just because you wear a saffron robe it does not mean you have total freedom to say what you want. Particularly when it comes to hate speech. While some action was taken against one or two originally, the government felt they had to soft-pedal this.

In this country, the values of coexistence are well understood, and Muslims have contributed in no small measure to national unity and to the safety, sovereignty and integrity of this country. We have absolutely no problem living peacefully with the Sinhala majority.

Then there is also a canard being created about demographic changes happening by deliberate fertility programmes among Muslims and making Sinhala women infertile through preposterous, dubious methods. The government needs a proper communication strategy to stop such false propaganda.

You spoke about backing this government. In 2015, the national unity government would not have come to power without the support of Muslims. Given that eastern Muslims voted as a block for this coalition, do you think the government is letting down the Muslim minority?

Given the way in which the government was reacting to some of these issues, the least you can say is that there was this unwarranted inhibition in their approach to strict law enforcement. This is what is angering Muslims. Why this inhibition? The inhibition is perhaps due to the fact that they are losing ground among the Sinhala majority, but this is a minuscule minority of radicals. You are never going to win that vote bank.

This could also be part of a design to wean away Muslims [from this government]. The minorities, the pattern in which they voted in the local government polls, indicated quite clearly that they still remain the pillar of support of this government. Trying to create this perception that Muslims are now disgruntled and outraged to such an extent that at least a certain percentage will move away could benefit some sections politically.


Can you reflect on this a bit more historically? In one of the first major riots in Sri Lanka in 1915, Muslims were targeted. In terms of parliamentary politics in the last few decades, your party has mostly aligned itself to the government of the day. Is it uncomfortable for you to still be in government when repeatedly, post-war, your constituency is targeted?

When you look at it emotionally and sentimentally, you can become very impulsive, resign in a huff and go to the opposition. I don’t think there is anybody more qualified than me to speak about it — because I have done that twice before. In hindsight I feel that we cannot be so impulsive all the time. We have to look at the total picture.

But here again there was another issue. There was this blame game by the two partners in government against each other, destabilising the government itself, contributing further to its decline.

You mean after the local government elections in February?

Yes, soon after the local government elections the type of blame game that took place between the two major partners in government was a matter of discomfort for all of us who are partners in this government. It seems that there is no coherence in governing, and there is a lot of indecision. Such political instability creates a fertile ground for these [extremist] forces. That needs to be settled quickly.

How do you respond to claims that there is rising fundamentalism in the Eastern Province, with funding from West Asian countries?

You know, it’s very typical, this question after a lengthy interview of this nature. Not only you, several media people who have come to interview me end up asking this question. It is again a manifestation of an international mindset. But locally, I don’t see that Muslims have been radicalised to that extent so as to resort to violence.

Whatever radicalisation has been happening, it is in the cultural domain — you see their dress, their attitude to observing their faith, you see a certain amount of this happening, they talk about Wahhabism, or the Salafi ideology being the cause for most of this radicalisation. Then there are various Jama’aths like Sri lanka Thawheed Jama’ath. It is not a case of sectarian radical groups coming and taking root, but these are different schools of thought in Islamic philosophy.

We local politicians know. We have been monitoring, we keep our ears to the ground and we interact with all these people. Sometimes when it is necessary we criticise the attitude of some of these people — the way they propagate their ideology because it can give a different perception to the outsider, that this community is becoming a bit introverted, very exclusivist and reducing interaction with the rest of the community — these are frowned upon by a majority of Muslims in this country.

When it comes to religious practice, whether it is in Hinduism, Christianity, or Judaism, there are different strains, different ideologies being practised by fringe groups. I don’t think we need to worry about these fringe groups as long as they don’t resort to violence as a means to propagate their culture or ideology.

Issues like women’s rights have come into focus. People tend to think Islam is very slow in embracing certain liberal values when it comes to women’s emancipation or their rights. They are cultural issues and those reforms will have to come from within and that is happening now.

Today one of the main issues is women’s participation in the labour force. In South Asia, we are far behind compared to other countries. There are several factors contributing to it. It is because we are more protective of women. But any religious taboo against women working has over time got de-escalated so much that a large number of Muslim women are freely working. But of course, the way in which they dress or behave will be dictated by cultural norms, and that you cannot prevent. That is the right of those people to practise their own culture. That accommodation needs to be there and it should not be perceived as “the other”.

Courtesy:The Hindu

International Implications of a War Against Muslims Will Be Different To the War Against Tamils Because the Tamils as a Global Community are Less Numerous and Economically Endowed Than the Muslims


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

There is a potential threat of domestic terrorism of a new type. The excellent choice for Minister of Law and Order, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, and the Defence authorities under President Sirisena and Ruwan Wijewardene must coordinate to face this new, existential threat.

It was on March 3rd, after Ampara but just before Teldeniya, that an impressive young Sri Lankan scholar, Dr. Sara Dissanayake, warned that the State had not recognized right-wing extremism and far right hate crimes as a national security threat (“Why the Government Needs to Overcome the Fear of Labelling”). She has proven spectacularly correct. Her analysis came a few weeks after security scholar Prof. Rohan Gunaratne accurately identified ‘Sinhala Only’ as the beginning of the country’s slide into chronic cycles of conflict.

I would take Dr. Dissanayake’s lucid analysis to the next level: (I) Organized, armed, Far Right ethno-religious urban terrorism is a potential national security threat that must be preempted (II) The state security agencies themselves require inoculation against the ideological disease that is the constitutive element and growth medium of such terrorism. Firm, clear, enlightened leadership from the top brass and the officer corps is imperative.

The Anamaduwa arson came (coincidentally?) in the wake of a social media post featuring the photograph and name of a supposed army man (possibly a fake), recommending the use of small-unit hit and run attacks, rather than mobs! The Anamaduwa attack involved four motorcyclists!

The bias in the coverage of the recent anti-Muslim riots in the global media is generating more Sinhala middle class outrage than the horrifying burning of dozens of mosques and the dispossession of thousands of our citizens.

The imbalanced coverage could have been rectified by a clear and strong counter-opinion arising from within the Sri Lankan Buddhist clergy and Sinhala Buddhist society, not the usual belated banalities. What is socially imperative is a body of counter-opinion frontally opposed to the hate speech of those wanna-be Wirathus on video, such as the young monk threatening an old, grey-bearded Muslim street vendor seated on a mat in Welimada, and the demented homily of the bhikkhu calling himself “Buddha Rakkitha Himi”.

Continue reading ‘International Implications of a War Against Muslims Will Be Different To the War Against Tamils Because the Tamils as a Global Community are Less Numerous and Economically Endowed Than the Muslims’ »

Why Should an American Company names Trimble inco Be Allowed to Survey Lands in Sri Lanka At A Higher Cost Instead of our Own and Respected Survey Dept Established in 1800?

By

Sanja De Silva Jayatilleka

There is an on-going dispute of several months duration which has escaped public attention due to the avalanche of crises that has descended on us Sri Lankans over the last months. This dispute relates to an American company named Trimble Inc. which has offered to do what the Survey Department of Sri Lanka usually does, at a cost of 154 million rupees, amidst vehement protests by the General Surveyors’ Association (GSA) of Sri Lanka which in desperation at being ignored, has resorted to threatening strike action, a familiar form of dispute resolution now routinely practiced by numerous professionals, usually in the scorching heat of the Lipton Circus roundabout.

Should it matter who surveys our lands? The GSA, an institution which was founded in 1922, and the oldest public sector trade union in Sri Lanka, as well as the only trade union of the Government Surveyors, emphatically assert that it does, and has done so most recently in representations to the Secretary to the Prime Minister.

In listing the more urgent reasons for its protests at a foreign entity being awarded the project of land tenure regularization, a potential threat to the security of Sri Lanka due to the possible misuse of geological and other data gathered during the project of extensive surveying has also been identified. The GSA’s discussions with the Secretary to the Prime Minister have come late in the day, after several previous attempts with others had fallen on very deaf ears.

The Cabinet has already approved this project put forward by the weirdly named ‘Ministry of Lands and Parliamentary Reforms’, the latter an overdue task if ever there was one. The American project had the recommendation of Minister Mangala Samaraweera as the Minister of Finance. The Ministry had beaten Trimble Inc. down to Rs. 154 million from Rs.170 million for the project, a commendable level of negotiating skill for sure, but it is nowhere as cheap as what the GSA had offered at less than Rs. 15 million for its proposal, with the signature of approval from the Surveyor-General himself.

Continue reading ‘Why Should an American Company names Trimble inco Be Allowed to Survey Lands in Sri Lanka At A Higher Cost Instead of our Own and Respected Survey Dept Established in 1800?’ »

Police Raid “Mahason Balakaya”Office in Nattaranpotha in Kundasale and Recover Leaflets and Posters Promoting Racism and Violence and 6 Bottles Suspected Of Being Used as Petrol Bombs.

The police yesterday raided the office of the ‘Mahason Balakaya’ in Nattaranpotha in Kundasale following the arrest of its leader Amith Jeevan Weerasinghe and ten others who are allegedly responsible for the acts of violence committed in the Kandy area.

The police had recovered leaflets and posters promoting racism, violence and six bottles suspected to be petrol bombs, police spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekera said.

Continue reading ‘Police Raid “Mahason Balakaya”Office in Nattaranpotha in Kundasale and Recover Leaflets and Posters Promoting Racism and Violence and 6 Bottles Suspected Of Being Used as Petrol Bombs.’ »

Why was Ranjith Madduma Bandara Appointed Law and Order Minister Instead of the Most Suitable Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Who is Dreaded by the Rajapaksas ?



BY

Vishwamithra 1984

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”
– Confucius

There was so much of hope, at least amongst the ordinary folks, that Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka would be appointed Minister of Law and Order.The logic behind such hope is quite legitimate and sound. Sarath Fonseka, when he was the Commander of Sri Lanka Army, delivered the goods.

Fighting against one of the most dreaded terrorist armies in the world-the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Elam (LTTE)-and its charismatic leader Prabhakaran, Sarath Fonseka not only exhibited raw gallantry and bravery, he displayed his acute knowledge about modern-day terrorist warfare and strategic battling on the field.

He never sent his men and women where he couldn’t go himself, a characteristic of a charismatic leader. He may be detested by the Tamil Diaspora. He is certainly feared by our politicians, amongst whom are the Rajapaksas, who were quite comfortable to give orders from their air-conditioned rooms in Colombo.

Battlefield experience is a rare quality. Those who gather such experience, especially as battlefield commanders, are even rarer.

That is why all over the world, those who excel as winning commanders end up capturing most lucrative civilian jobs in any administration. Whether it’s in the democratic West or any other administration in the ‘Socialist’ world, Russia or China, such men and women end up occupying very commanding positions in the civilian management of governing affairs. As far as Sarath Fonseka is concerned, he seems to be in a unique position in that, he was dreaded by the Rajapaksas.

Continue reading ‘Why was Ranjith Madduma Bandara Appointed Law and Order Minister Instead of the Most Suitable Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka Who is Dreaded by the Rajapaksas ?’ »

Why Does the Sri Lankan State Severely Repress Popular Protest Except in the Case of Racist Mobs?

By Devaka Gunawardena

The recent riots targeting Muslims in Kandy have provoked accusations on many sides. While mainstream conversations focus on what the riots entail in terms of immediate political consequences for the current Government and its tepid response, progressives have also had to reckon with the growing presence of anti-Muslim rhetoric and violence as a feature of contemporary Sri Lankan life.

Many advocates in liberal civil society attempt to get to the root cause by arguing that Sinhala Buddhists have a sense of entitlement and ownership of Sri Lanka. This argument was a framing device, for example, during a recent panel discussion on Al-Jazeera on the impact of the riots.

Progressives may sympathise with the attempt to push back against the idea that the recent riots are a symmetrical conflict involving extremists “on both sides”. The danger, however, is that the assumption of an unchanging Sinhala Buddhist mentality may fall back into many of the same kinds of culturalist arguments that were ineffectively promoted during the civil war to explain animus toward Tamils. Progressives may yet again be unknowingly ceding ground to Sinhala nationalists, accepting their ethno-religious framing of conflict.

Continue reading ‘Why Does the Sri Lankan State Severely Repress Popular Protest Except in the Case of Racist Mobs?’ »

Tragic Narrative in Sri Lanka is About The Violence That thrives on Impunity ;Apart From Ritual of Arrests, some Prosecutions and Bail, There have been no Convictions To Date

by Bishop Duleep de Chickera

Madness against Muslims

The shameful acts of violence against the Muslim community in the Kandyan hills, were possible because the violence unleashed against the Muslim community in Ampara and Aluthgama and several other places had been tolerated for too long. If not, the aftermath of the senseless killing of a Sinhala man by some Muslims at Teldeniya, would not have gone so far.


The freedom to harm

Unacceptable as these and any acts of violence are, this tragic narrative is not about violence only. It is about violence that thrives on impunity.

To date, apart from the ritual of arrests, some prosecutions and bail, there have been no convictions. Those responsible for the calculated harm against equal citizens of this country and the incitement of religious hatred remain protected. They walk the streets, free to spread fear and intimidation and ridicule the rule of law, yet again.
Continue reading ‘Tragic Narrative in Sri Lanka is About The Violence That thrives on Impunity ;Apart From Ritual of Arrests, some Prosecutions and Bail, There have been no Convictions To Date’ »

“Recent Attacks on Muslms Helped to Advance the UN-US Agenda In Respect of Sri Lanka” Says Lanka’s Former Envoy in Geneva ,Tamara Kunanayakam at “Eliya” Press Briefing.


Former Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva Tamara Kunanayakam yesterday said recent attacks on Muslims had helped advance the UN-US agenda in respect of Sri Lanka.

The attacks coincided with the sessions of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, the return of the US Peace Corps to the country and the arrival of the UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, a former US Assistant Secretary of State and none of the foregoing was fortuitous to Sri Lanka, she said.

Addressing a media briefing at the National Library and Documentation Services Board called by Eliya, a civil society organisation set up by former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa, Kunanayakam said that attacks only helped advance Feltman’s agenda, which was inseparable from that of Washington.

“Feltman is a neo-conservative hawk, who has been involved in breaking up sovereign states into ethnic enclaves. Within the UN, he is also responsible for a team working on constitutional arrangements promoting federalism as a response to ethnic minority grievances.”

The situation here gave the UN Human Rights High Commissioner the opportunity to threaten Sri Lanka with universal jurisdiction if it failed to make progress in accountability and transitional justice. His choice of language was to target only the previous Government under Mahinda Rajapaksa, to strengthen Washington’s allies within the present regime, and to advance Washington’s project to gain international legitimacy for its unilateral interventions in the internal affairs of other States, Kunanayakam has said.

The full transcript of Tamara Kunanayakam’s address at the “Eliya” press briefing is as follows –

Given that we find ourselves today standing at a pivotal crossroads in our nation’s history, I would like to begin and end by addressing an appeal to the Sri Lankan people – irrespective of the community they belong to – not to be swayed by events imposed upon them by others, but to keep their focus on the issues that concern them directly – the real issues, the issues that affect their daily lives, their working and living conditions, the issues that determined their vote and political choice at the recent Local Government elections.

The vote of the people was not a vote for or against Muslims, or for or against Tamils, or for or against Sinhalese. It was a majority vote against the Yahapalana Government and its pro-Western anti-people policies, which the people had correctly identified as being responsible for the rapid decline in their working and living conditions, and for their loss of sovereignty.

Continue reading ‘“Recent Attacks on Muslms Helped to Advance the UN-US Agenda In Respect of Sri Lanka” Says Lanka’s Former Envoy in Geneva ,Tamara Kunanayakam at “Eliya” Press Briefing.’ »

Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Chairperson Saliya Pieris Calls Upon the People of Sri Lanka To Provide the Strength and Support Required to Achieve the Objectives of the OMP Act

Office of the Missing Persons (OMP) yesterday called for public support to achieve its objectives. OMP Chief Saliya Pieris, in a media statement, said as follows :

“The Office on Missing Persons (OMP) has officially ‘commenced duties following the appointment of the Chairperson and members by His Excellency President Maithripala Sirisena on 28th February 2018 upon the recommendation made by the Constitutional Council comprising representatives of political parties in Parliament and of civil society.

“The main purpose of the OMP is to address the suffering of the many thousands of families living in all parts of the country whose loved ones have gone missing or disappeared during multiple conflicts in Sri Lanka.

“The OMP will address the many cases of missing and disappeared persons irrespective of ethnicity, religion and region, as the office has been established to serve all affected victims.

“Despite the passage of time and multiple commissions established by successive governments, many of these families, not knowing the fate of their loved ones continue to suffer and remain engaged in a search for truth.

Continue reading ‘Office of Missing Persons (OMP) Chairperson Saliya Pieris Calls Upon the People of Sri Lanka To Provide the Strength and Support Required to Achieve the Objectives of the OMP Act’ »

Pioneering Physicist and World’s Best Known Scientist Stephen Hawking Passes Away Peacefully in Cambridge at the age of 76.

Stephen Hawking, perhaps the world’s best known scientist, has died, a spokesperson for his family has confirmed. He was 76.

“It is with great sadness we announce the death of Professor Stephen Hawking CH CBE FRS FRSA at the age of 76,” the statement reads. “Professor Hawking died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of this morning. His family have kindly requested that they be given the time and privacy to mourn his passing, but they would like to thank everyone who has been by Professor Hawking’s side — and supported him — throughout his life.”

Continue reading ‘Pioneering Physicist and World’s Best Known Scientist Stephen Hawking Passes Away Peacefully in Cambridge at the age of 76.’ »

Campaign For Free and fair Elections(CaFFE) Complains to National Police Commission About Police Not Taking Action Against Mobs During First Four Days Of Anti -Muslim Violence in Digana.Teldeniya, Ambatenne and Menikhinna.

The Campaign for Free and Fair Elections (CaFFE) lodged an official complaint with the National Police Commission yesterday (13) requesting an impartial and transparent investigation into police inaction which it alleges increased the intensity of recent communal clashes in Kandy.

Writing to Mahinda Moragolla, Director of Public Complaints Investigation Division, Executive Director of CaFFE, Rajith Keerthi Tennakoon has said their observers on the ground reported police inaction during the first few days during communal riots in Kandy.

Continue reading ‘Campaign For Free and fair Elections(CaFFE) Complains to National Police Commission About Police Not Taking Action Against Mobs During First Four Days Of Anti -Muslim Violence in Digana.Teldeniya, Ambatenne and Menikhinna.’ »

“No Medication or Pills Known or Available That Can Make Human Beings Permanently Sterile” – World Health Organization (WHO) Refutes Canards Spread in Sri Lanka About “Infertility” and “Sterilisation”Pills

The World Health Organisation (WHO) in Sri Lanka, on Monday said there was no medication or ‘pills’ currently known or available that can permanently make a human being sterile, clearing recent accusations that sterilization pills were used in an eatery in Ampara, in eastern Sri Lanka.

Current UN Resident Coordinator a.i. and WHO Representative in Sri Lanka, Dr. Razia Pendse, said, “There is no medication or ‘pills’ currently known or available that can permanently make a human being sterile. The information on use of an ‘infertility pill’ or ‘sterilization pill’ mixed with food is baseless with no scientific evidence.”

Continue reading ‘“No Medication or Pills Known or Available That Can Make Human Beings Permanently Sterile” – World Health Organization (WHO) Refutes Canards Spread in Sri Lanka About “Infertility” and “Sterilisation”Pills’ »

All of us have the Capacity, the Tools of Conscience and Intention to Exert Change and the Power to Empower.

By

J. Natasha Gooneratne

(Text of Key Note Address on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8th 2018 at the Forum on Women in Business & Travel Organized by Air India)

I’d like to thank you for having me here today and giving me this opportunity to share my views with you. I am rarely afforded the occasion to speak to members of the business community, and I think today is fitting, as it is timely for a forum like this to take place. Given that today is women’s day, I have been advised to keep my very brief address apolitical. An instruction that I have unequivocally disregarded.

For those of you who don’t know me, my work has thus far centered around diplomacy and international relations, with a focus on geopolitics, and I continue now in the area of political research. I have been part of civil society as I have also been part of the private sector in this country. But moreover, I, like so many that you must have heard say these words, was born to a Sri Lanka steeped deep in war. A war that often came to visit the perceived safeness of Colombo. When I was 10 years old the Joint Operations Command that stood next door to my school was bombed by the LTTE. It is a memory that stands in vivid starkness to the rest. This was one of the larger attacks in Colombo and the extent of the damage, both human and in terms of infrastructure was immense.

Since that time the questions that I had about why Sri Lanka was at war, was innumerable. I found nothing in my text books at school, nothing. As do I find nothing in text books at present. Nor would my teachers give me answers I was looking for. From the fragments that I could gather as a child, the different stages of the conflict made no sense: ‘How could it have got to that degree of chaos without anyone doing anything about it’. I grew up believing that I could somehow make a difference someday. A sentiment, many in my generation felt. And believed that the path to that difference, was through in-depth knowledge and understanding of mediation, multilateral cooperation with a focus on support and assistance; through the myriad of expertise that the world, and organizations such as the UN showcased for examples such as Sri Lanka. I was soon to find out that this line of thinking was both naïve and counterproductive.

Continue reading ‘All of us have the Capacity, the Tools of Conscience and Intention to Exert Change and the Power to Empower.’ »

“Lucky Aiya” Also Known as ” Apey Lucky” and his Indelible Footprints in the Children’s Music Sphere of Sri Lanka

by Prof.Theodore Warnakulasuriya
Open University of Sri Lanka.



“Some people come into our lives
and quickly go.
Some stay for a while and leave
Footprints in our heart
And we are never, ever the same”

To those who know him closely, “Ape luckiya,” “Lucky ayiya” , or “Ape Lucky” are some of the special, sentimental and fond nick names they use to talk about Mr. Luxman, Wijesekera. All of us know Luxman as a popular and well known singer, and a composer of music, especially for Children. Further, Luxmanis an extremely talented,Television drama producer, an advertising director and a singer of solo and duets which are very popular today. My good friend late“some”, (Mr, Somapala HewaKapuge) always referred to Luxmanas “Ape lukiya” fondly whenever he spoke about him. My association with Mr. Luxman Wijesekera, is more than 20 years, and I consider that it is a great privilege to write a short felicitation about LuxamanWijesekera and his contribution to the Children’s Music in Sri Lanka.

His parents were late Mr. Walter Wijesekera and late Mrs. Daisy GeterueWijesekara. He studied firstly at Anuradapura Central College, and Maliyadeva College in Kurunegala. Later he got admission to Government College of Music (Hewood) and received his first appointment, as a music teacher in Welusumana Vidyalaya. After a stint in Anuradapura, Luxman joined and taught music at Isipathna College and D.S.Senanayake Colleges in Colombo. In 1975,as an auditioned singer of Sri Lanka Broad Casting Cooperation, he earned popularity in Radio and Television in Sri Lanka. We, young and olds, still remembernostalgically his well-known “Muthu AhurakGayana” Children Song Program aired by Sri Lanka Rupawahaini Cooperation in the 80s.

Laxman Wijesekara, definitely is very close to our hearts and minds, and one of the key figuresin Children’s Music in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘“Lucky Aiya” Also Known as ” Apey Lucky” and his Indelible Footprints in the Children’s Music Sphere of Sri Lanka’ »

Mind-boggling as to how ‘ Mahasohon Balakaya’ a Fringe Racist Group could Operate an Office in Kandy and very Publicly Propagate Hate Against Muslims for Years

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Last week, when I wrote about the looming danger of fringe Sinhala Buddhist extremism, it was all quiet in Kandy, at least on the surface. But, those who were privy to local intelligence should have known about simmering tension in the area after the death of a Sinhalese lorry driver who succumbed to injuries after being assaulted by a group of drunken Muslim youth.

The government as usual did nothing to sooth the unrest. Only after Digana was burning, and local thugs were on rampage, attacking Muslim shops, residences and mosques that it finally decided to act. Then it was too late. The damage was done. A young man was found dead inside a burnt out shop, another succumbed to injuries due to a grenade attack.

Muslims had sleepless nights, ethnic relations were damaged. The government handed a propaganda coup to the Eelam lobby and their assorted accessories, which are hell bent on projecting Sinhalese as barbarians.

The tourism industry is likely to take a beating. Economy will suffer. All of that is due to the incompetency of this government to meet even a peripheral threat, which could have been defeated with a single dose of political will and common sense.

Continue reading ‘Mind-boggling as to how ‘ Mahasohon Balakaya’ a Fringe Racist Group could Operate an Office in Kandy and very Publicly Propagate Hate Against Muslims for Years’ »

It was Obvious to Those With Common Sense that Kandy was Waiting to Happen in the Almost Immediate Aftermath of Ampara.

By Sharmini Serasinghe

Shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted?

Proactive, or control a calamitous situation rather than just responding to it after it has happened is not a quality our laid-back bureaucrats and their masters are familiar with. No matter which political hue they belong to, proactive they are not!

Instead, they remain inactive until the situation goes beyond control and only then do they react. Usually, too late!

Be it a flood, drought or a manmade disaster,inactive followed by reactive is the usual norm and that too after several yawns, much head scratchingand foot-dragging. Then, they all get knee-jerked into a spin, react like a bull in a China shop and run around pell-mell trying to force the marauding animal back into the stable. In the interim chaos has unfolded,lives and propertylost and an anxious nation shivering under a dark cloud of déjà vu.

Much could have been prevented had those hinges and locks on the stable door been well oiled and shut in time, viz. Proactive!

Once all hell breaks loose the blame game and finger pointing starts. It’s never the responsibility of those who are rightfully responsible but the blame is laid at the doorstep of every Tom, Dick and Harry.

Post Kandy hellfires, some in government are reportedly claiming it cannot be blamed solely on the government. The reason, it lacked preparedness in facing violence of such a scale!Honestly, if not the incumbent and its white elephant bureaucracy who in heaven’s name is responsible for the lack of preparedness?

Continue reading ‘It was Obvious to Those With Common Sense that Kandy was Waiting to Happen in the Almost Immediate Aftermath of Ampara.’ »

Amith Weerasinghe the Alleged Mastermind Behind Anti-Muslim Violence In Kandy and His Associate Sumedha Suraweera Arested in Pre-dawn Raids at Digana and Poojapitiya by the Police Terrorism Investigation Division(TID)

By Rathindra Kuruwita

Police said yesterday the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) had arrested Amith Jeevan Weerasinghe, alleged to be one of the masterminds of the communal unrest in Kandy and nine others, in predawn raids in Digana and Poojapitiya.

The TID also arrested Weerasinghe’s second in command Sureda Suraweera. They are accused of spreading misinformation that led to communal violence, organising violent mobs that attack persons and property and using social media to incite violence.

“What you should note is that only two of them are residents of the Kandy District. All others are outsiders,” said Police Spokesperson Superintendent Ruwan Gunasekera.

Continue reading ‘Amith Weerasinghe the Alleged Mastermind Behind Anti-Muslim Violence In Kandy and His Associate Sumedha Suraweera Arested in Pre-dawn Raids at Digana and Poojapitiya by the Police Terrorism Investigation Division(TID)’ »

Burnt Down “Madeena Muslim Hotel” Renovated in 12 Hours By Anamaduwa Residents of whom Majority were Sinhalese;Police Arrest 8 Persons for Arson Attack.


By

Camelia Nathaniel

The Anamaduwa Police had arrested eight persons yesterday in connection with the burning down of the Madeena Muslim Hotel in Anamaduwa last Saturday/sunday night.

The Police Media Spokesman’s office told the Daily News last evening that the police were in the process of recording statements from those arrested.

Continue reading ‘Burnt Down “Madeena Muslim Hotel” Renovated in 12 Hours By Anamaduwa Residents of whom Majority were Sinhalese;Police Arrest 8 Persons for Arson Attack.’ »

‘It is a time to show no mercy to those who spread fear and hatred and incite violence against innocent people’ -“Sunday Observer”.

(Text of Editorial appearing under the heading “The silence of the good people” in the “Sunday Observer” of 11 March, 2018)

Last week in Kandy, Sri Lanka witnessed the worst ethnic violence since the atrocities at Aluthgama in 2014. The latter was under a brutal militaristic, undemocratic regime that actively emboldened hardline Buddhist groups for its own political ends. In the toxic milieu of jingoistic Rajapaksa rhetoric, Aluthgama was a tragedy destined to happen; the only surprise was that it did not happen sooner, and did not escalate further.

Kandy and Ampara on the other-hand; these were tragedies that were never meant to happen.

On January 8, 2015, the people of this country, beleaguered and desperate, voted to defeat the tribalistic menace of petty communal politics that had plagued our country for decades. That was a vote against all odds, at a time when democracy, freedom, equality and the desire to live in a pluralist, multi-ethnic country seemed only a distant dream.

It is nothing short of a tragedy that the current government of national unity, elected into office on the high pedestal of good governance, rule of law, justice and dignity for all, have all but failed to prevent the violence against minorities in Kandy and Ampara over the last two weeks.

Worse still, its response in the wake of the tragedy that unfolded in Kandy last week has further eroded credibility among the very people who pinned such great hope in the January 2015 change.

Continue reading ‘‘It is a time to show no mercy to those who spread fear and hatred and incite violence against innocent people’ -“Sunday Observer”.’ »

Malwatte Chapter Sri Siddharatha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera Warns Govt About Extremist Organizations Spreading Communal Division in the Country by Openly Maintaining Offices:” When Armed Forces and Police Are There To Protect Public,There is no need for Auxiliary ‘Balasenas’ or’Balakayas” says Prelate


Most Ven. Tibbotuwawe Sri Siddharatha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera of the Malwatte Chapter this week said extremism should be totally wiped out from the country. When the Armed Forces and Police are available to protect and safeguard the public, there is no need for other auxiliary Balasenas or Balakayas to offer them protection.

The Prelate said what the Maha Sangha ought to do was to join hands with devotees to develop the village rather than trying to build the country.

“When they build and develop the village, the country as a whole would automatically develop,” the Mahanayake Thera said.

Continue reading ‘Malwatte Chapter Sri Siddharatha Sumangala Mahanayake Thera Warns Govt About Extremist Organizations Spreading Communal Division in the Country by Openly Maintaining Offices:” When Armed Forces and Police Are There To Protect Public,There is no need for Auxiliary ‘Balasenas’ or’Balakayas” says Prelate’ »

Consensus Across Party Lines in Parliament That a Root Cause for the Violence That Erupted was the Culture of Impunity.

By

M.A.Sumanthiran

On March 6 2018, Parliament took up an adjournment motion on the issue of the recent violence taking place in Ampara and later, Digana. Speaking after Minister Rauf Hakeem, I agreed with many of the sentiments the Minister expressed concerning these incidents. However, I did not share the disbelief the Minister professed to feel concerning the incidents. Sadly, such incidents involving violence against an ethnic group that is in a numerical minority are an undeniable part of Sri Lanka’s history.

In another speech in Parliament I described how not once, but twice during my lifetime, the Sri Lankan government arranged for me, along with many other Tamils, to be transported to our place of origin in Jaffna during times when violence was being perpetrated against the Tamil community. Not once, but twice the Government acknowledged to me, and to all the Tamil people, that it could not – or would not – protect us in its own capital. We, who were said to be equal citizens, Sri Lankans, were faced with a Government that was unable – or perhaps unwilling – to be responsible for our physical safety in the capital city of what was said to be our own country.

The similarities between these previous incidents and the present violence are undeniable. The mobs, the burning of homes and shops, and the ever present fear of communities under attack are all too familiar. Perhaps, the starkest similarity however, is also perhaps the most distressing one – the blind eye of law enforcement authorities at the site of the violence.

Continue reading ‘Consensus Across Party Lines in Parliament That a Root Cause for the Violence That Erupted was the Culture of Impunity.’ »

The Inaction, Incompetence and Lethargy During Recent Violence Must Be regarded as the Collective Failure of the Whole Coalition Govt

By
Bhavani Fonseka

(The writer is a senior researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives in Colombo and an Eisenhower Fellow)

On March 6, President Maithripala Sirisena’s government introduced emergency rule, nearly seven years after it lapsed in 2011. The introduction of emergency was in response to the violence and unrest spreading through parts of the Kandy district where shops, buildings and places of worship belonging to the Muslim community were attacked by Sinhala mobs the previous day. Reports from victims and eyewitnesses in Digana indicate that buildings were targeted on the basis of ethnicity, with Muslim homes and shops targeted when surrounding buildings owned by Sinhalese were not touched.

They also confirmed that while a majority within the mob were from outside the area, the violence was directed towards particular buildings, as guided by locals who were privy to the ethnicity of residents and owners. Several who recount the chaos and mob violence, witnessing their homes and shops being destroyed, still live in fear of the possibility of violence erupting, fuelled by the fear of the law and order authorities failing to stop the violence.

Sheer desperation

I personally witnessed buildings ablaze and panicked residents attempting to seek shelter in Akurana last Wednesday (7). A local resident who watched his building engulfed in fire asked in sheer desperation as to why this was happening when the police was informed of the mob attacks, but only seemed to respond when the violence was hard to contain. In other areas in Katugastota, shops owned by Muslims were set ablaze during curfew hours. In all these areas residents note that the police response was delayed despite desperate calls by residents.

Continue reading ‘The Inaction, Incompetence and Lethargy During Recent Violence Must Be regarded as the Collective Failure of the Whole Coalition Govt’ »

Muslim Owned Restaurant “Medeena Muslim Hotel” at Anamaduwa in Puttalam District Attacked on Sunday Despite Police Constables being deployed To guard the Locality.

A Muslim-owned restaurant was attacked in Sri Lanka on Sunday despite a nation-wide police alert against hate crimes after last week’s ethnic riots provoked a state of emergency, officials said.

Attackers smashed the “Madeena Muslim Hotel” restaurant in the north-western town of Anamaduwa, 130 kilometres (81 miles) north of Colombo in the early hours of Sunday, police said adding that they were treating it as a hate crime.

“Police constables had been deployed to guard the area, but it looks like they were not at the location when the attack took place,” a senior police officer said adding that disciplinary action will be taken against those responsible.

Continue reading ‘Muslim Owned Restaurant “Medeena Muslim Hotel” at Anamaduwa in Puttalam District Attacked on Sunday Despite Police Constables being deployed To guard the Locality.’ »

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Discloses His Readiness to Give Up US Citizenship and Contest Elections If Selected as a Presidential Candidate -Interview With Gagani Weerakoon of “Ceylon Today”.

By Gagani Weerakoon

Former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa in an interview with Ceylon Today said he takes pride in saying that he did everything possible to defeat terrorism in his capacity as the Defence Secretary, even though it resulted in projecting him as an evil human rights violator.

Excerpts:

You have previously said that you are ready to contest the 2020 Presidential Election if your two brothers (Mahinda and Basil) agree to it. Have you received their consent now?

A: We have not sat together and discussed it yet. I think there’s more time left for that and it is a bit too early to discuss the 2020 election. President Mahinda (Rajapaksa) will discuss and reach a decision with other parties when the right time comes.

Even though you sometimes imply you are not yet ready to enter fulltime active politics, most of your recent statements are political and often criticizing the government?

A: I think every individual should have a political ideology. I too am politically opinionated and have a political ideology. That is how this country should be governed and on what sorts of policies and principles we should adopt. I sometimes voice my viewpoints on certain issues. They can be political or not, and they can be critical of the government.


Even though you said there is no decision on contesting the 2020 Presidential Election, Joint Opposition members like Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, Mahindananda Aluthgamage claim that you are the 2020 Presidential candidate. Are they making such claims with your approval and blessings?

Continue reading ‘Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Discloses His Readiness to Give Up US Citizenship and Contest Elections If Selected as a Presidential Candidate -Interview With Gagani Weerakoon of “Ceylon Today”.’ »

Office of Missing Persons May Give a “Quantum of Solace” To Long Suffering Loved Ones

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Let me begin on a very personal note. The first major emotional upheaval I underwent as a result of losing a very loved one was when I lost my maternal grandfather in December 1968.I was 14 years old at that time. I was inordinately fond of him and he of me, his eldest grandchild. My grandfather had been ailing for sometime and his impending demise was expected. Both his children,their spouses and all his grandchildren were around his bed when my grandfather breathed his last.

We were living in Kollupitiya at that time and my grandfather passed away peacefully in our residence. The Doctor came and certified his death there.The undertakers took the body away,embalmed it and brought it back in a coffin for people to pay their respects. The funeral service was at our home. The burial was at Kanatte. A memorial service was held two months later in a Methodist church in Colombo. A memorial monument was duly erected in Kanatte.

Why I relate all these details is to emphasise that I was witness to each and every aspect of my grandfather’s final farewell to this world – from his deathbed to tombstone. I knew fully well that my granfather had died and that he was not among the living yet I refused to accept that he was dead. Being quite young and having been so fond of him, I could not cope with his loss at that time. We were living in Aloe avenue at the bottom of the lane by the seaside then. I was learning Tennyson’s “break,break,break”in my GCE(OL) English literature class. The poem written by Tennyson over the loss of his friend Arthur Hallam resonated very much with me then. I would sit on the rocks along the Colpetty beach just as Tennyson did ” at the foot of thy crags O ‘sea” and think of my “Appa” as I called my grandfather.( I called my father Papa & grandfather Appa).The lines “But O’ for the touch of a vanish’d hand, And the sound of a voice that is still!” would strike responsive melancholy chords in my heart.
Continue reading ‘Office of Missing Persons May Give a “Quantum of Solace” To Long Suffering Loved Ones’ »

Shaven Headed men Wearing Saffron Robes are Accorded Veneration, Reverence and an Unacceptable Degree of Impunity Because they are Buddhist Priests and by Implication Untouchable.

by Anura Gunasekera

In June 2014, in Aluthgama, a minor altercation between a Muslim man and a Sinhalese eventually resulted in a massive conflagration, in the course of which a large number of properties belonging to Muslims had been destroyed whilst several Muslim men had also been killed. There is irrefutable evidence that a racist hate-monger named Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara, the leading voice of the ” BoduBalaSena”, had been responsible for providing the impetus to the anti-Muslim attacks with an inflammatory anti-Muslim speech.

As in all such previous instances of violence against minorities in this country, the police, obviously largely Sinhala-Buddhist in composition, had been inactive observers of the mayhem unleashed by Gnanasara. The response of the then regime- led by Mahinda Rajapaksa- was to totally sanitize the scene of the crimes, obliterating all evidence and precluding any possibility of a forensic investigation. That action was led by armed personnel, reportedly acting under the explicit orders of Gotabhaya Rajapakse, then Defence Secretary. Despite the loss of life and destruction of property, belonging largely to Muslims, to date no action has been taken against the perpetrators.

In June 2016 a mob led by a number of similarly saffron clad individuals attacked a house in Boossa, occupied by Rohingya refugees and compelled the eviction of the inmates, including helpless women and children. Uniformed policemen were passive onlookers of that vile incident. With a feeling of total nausea, I watched the unspeakably vile conduct of the so-called Buddhist priests, in a video clip of the incident circulated shortly afterwards. It was not possible to understand how ordained followers of the compassionate Buddha could generate such hate, such vitriol, against a group of displaced, destitute, human beings. In November of the same year there was a wave of attacks against Muslim owned establishments in Galle.

On the 27th of February, in Ampara, armed Sinhalese had destroyed several Muslim establishments, accusing Muslim food vendors of serving to the Sinhalese, food laced with drugs inducing barrenness. The fact that the latter assertion defies current medical technology is of no consequence to those who initiated the violence.

Continue reading ‘Shaven Headed men Wearing Saffron Robes are Accorded Veneration, Reverence and an Unacceptable Degree of Impunity Because they are Buddhist Priests and by Implication Untouchable.’ »

Dozens of Pages on Facebook Were Anchored to Extremist Buddhist Groups Promoting Falsehoods and Vicious Diatribes Against the Muslim Community and Islam

By

Sanjana Hattotuwa

Unlike the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama four years ago, the horrible violence in Kandy, Digana and surrounding areas was covered in great detail by the mainstream media. As a consequence of dealing with the fallout of the violence over social media, some insights are worth sharing. This is particularly pertinent in light of the censorship of social media carried out under Emergency Regulations by the government, ostensibly with the intent of controlling, curtailing and containing the spread of content that incited violence or fomented hate. The public were also divided – with some noting that social media was the cause of, or certainly added to the violence, and others – like myself – noting that the myopic blocking of key platforms were extremely harmful on a number of fronts and set a terrible precedent for governments in the future to do as they saw fit to curtail information flows. But to this we shall arrive after some observations which mainstream media cannot report on, because their model of journalism isn’t linked to a deep-dive into, or the sifting of social media content.

The sheer volume of social media content generation during the violence was significant. Close to ten thousand tweets in Sinhala and English alone with the hashtag #digana, marking out the content as somehow anchored to what was going on in the area. There were dozens of pages on Facebook that were anchored to extremist Buddhist groups promoting falsehoods, vicious diatribes against the Muslim community and Islam, replete with memes and photography on top of which were often calls to protect Buddhism, congregate at a certain place or Temple to discuss and take action against threats to Buddhism, the accelerated birth rate of Muslims, continuing rumours and purported evidence of sterilisation pills sold or somehow smuggled by Muslims to be used against Sinhalese women, and language that suggested there were violent, invaders, alien, untrustworthy, hostile, ungrateful, ungracious and a community that needed to be taught a lesson or two.

Continue reading ‘Dozens of Pages on Facebook Were Anchored to Extremist Buddhist Groups Promoting Falsehoods and Vicious Diatribes Against the Muslim Community and Islam’ »

Powerful Cabinet Minister From Colombo District Responsible For Instigating Communal Violence Through Amith Weerasinghe and “Mahasohn Balakaya” Alleges Opposition MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara.

BY W.K. Prasad Manju

Joint Opposition Ratnapura District Parliamentarian Vasudeva Nanayakkara claimed that he has come to know, via intelligence sources, that a powerful Government Minister from the Colombo District had given his blessings to an extremist group known as the Mahason Balakaya to instigate the recent communal clash in the hill capital.

Continue reading ‘Powerful Cabinet Minister From Colombo District Responsible For Instigating Communal Violence Through Amith Weerasinghe and “Mahasohn Balakaya” Alleges Opposition MP Vasudeva Nanayakkara.’ »

“Devils Force”(Mahasohon Balakaya) Presided Over By Amith Weerasinghe Operating From a Plush Office in Kengalle Was Allegedly responsible for Violence in Kandy


By Leon Berenger in Digana, Kandy

The silent tears fall on smouldering embers but it cannot douse the flames of hatred which engulfed the hill station town of Digana that witnessed a bloody cycle of ethnic violence where the minority Muslims was targeted at the beginning of this week. It all began with hate speech and provoking statements on the so-called social media following the death of a trucker and another individual both belonging to the majority Sinhalese community.

The trucker died almost 9 days after he was allegedly assaulted over a road rage incident, by a group of Muslim men under the influence of liquor, while the other person died after a grenade he was carrying in his possession accidentally exploded.

These two incidents provided the perfect ammo for extremists in the area to unleash mayhem in the area taking the police and other law enforcement agencies by total surprise and within 24 hours the once peaceful town of Digana and the suburbs was burning out of control.

The marauding mobs were well organized and their targets had been previously identified.

Continue reading ‘“Devils Force”(Mahasohon Balakaya) Presided Over By Amith Weerasinghe Operating From a Plush Office in Kengalle Was Allegedly responsible for Violence in Kandy’ »

“No Violence in the Names Of Our Children” Say the Families of Victims of M.G. Kumarasinghe and Samsudeen Abdul Basith

BY Kavindya Chris Thomas, reporting from Digana

Two men, separated by several kilometres, two villages and distinguished by their respective religions and ethnicities, faced unnatural similar circumstances during this week of bedlam in the Central Province.

Historians may observe and record the contemporary occurrences that led to the week-long racial tension and violence in the Kandy suburbs this month, thus rendering these two insignificant lives as mere footnotes in the historic records that would one day be used to understand and would be scrutinised, in order to answer why things happened, the way they happened. However, it should be noted that despite all the obstacles that stood in their way, the lives of M.G. Kumarasinghe and Samsudeen Abdul Basith, came together in their untimely deaths, becoming the inopportune scapegoats of politically motivated racial tensions that kept the Kandy under siege and lockdown for almost a week.

M.G. Kumarasinghe, 43, was a resident of Ambala, Medamahanuwara who was transporting goods for the private company he was working for then. On 22 February, close to midnight, the vehicle he was driving at the time got involved in an accident near Teldeniya with a three-wheeler carrying four individuals. According to Kumarasinghe’s cousin, a police officer attached to the Teldeniya Police, it was around 1:30 a.m. on 23 February when he received a call from Kumarasinghe, who said that he had been assaulted by four individuals who were in the three-wheeler. Kumarasinghe’s assistant was also assaulted.

Continue reading ‘“No Violence in the Names Of Our Children” Say the Families of Victims of M.G. Kumarasinghe and Samsudeen Abdul Basith’ »

When Hate and Violence Invaded the Central Highlands

by Maneshka Borham

The recent unrest in Kandy was not only sudden and unexpected but it also brought the whole district to a standstill for over a week as violence ensued in various areas. The unrest which eventually took a communal turn however all began with a mere personal dispute between a lorry driver and several youth travelling in a three wheeler in Teldeniya.

According to the family members of H.D Kumarasinghe, a father of two, the event that led to all the destruction happened on February 22. A lorry driver by profession Kumarasinghe had just arrived at the Sinha fuel station in Teldeniya owned by his employer around 12.30 am with a truckload of milk powder when a group of men in a trishaw had attacked him. As narrated by the victim to his cousin, Kumarasinghe had claimed the dispute had arisen as he did not allow them to overtake the lorry. While he had refused treatment after the beating, he was later found unconscious and sprawled near the lorry. The injuries led to his eventual death on March 2.

His wife Thilaka Padmakumari says she is unable to fathom the fate that has now befallen her family. “He was the only breadwinner of our family” she says adding that they were also taking care of Kumarasinghe’s elderly parents. “I am unable to work as my 10 year old son is autistic” she said claiming he needs constant care.

According to the family Kumarasinghe was loved by all with his best friends from school even being a Muslim. “He did not have any enemies and was a hard worker” she said. However his family also says they feel guilty about those who have been arrested for inciting violence following Kumarasinghe’s death. As one family member put it those arrested were standing up for them and therefore should not be penalized for it.

“Some individuals tried to convince us to take my son’s body to the Digana town but we did not agree to it” Kumarasinghe’s father H.D Gunasena said adding that he did not personally know any of these individuals, he now believes were outsiders to the village.

Continue reading ‘When Hate and Violence Invaded the Central Highlands’ »

Country Bereft of Leadership With President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Being Locked Up in a Power Struggle Having Political and Personal Roots

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

Another week of political chaos and uncertainty has just passed. There was something new in it – Government paralysis for a few days. When two Ministers publicly admitted that the police had been inactive in controlling rioters in the Kandy District that was no ordinary news. There were also media reports, not just rumours that even the army and the STF that were deployed after the declaration of emergency, were just onlookers of mob violence against Muslim citizens.

Another July 1983 was in the making. With unprecedented public condemnation of racial violence, and amidst belated assertion of its authority by the government, Sri Lanka seems to have managed to escape another countrywide bloodbath. Let us hope that the beast has been beaten back.

Amidst this generalized state of chaos, there was also a widely shared feeling of despondency, and a sense of betrayal. With a deep sense of sadness, we citizens also watched the President and the Prime Minister of our Republic performing their public duties in discordance and disunity. We passed a couple of days last week with a strange feeling in the air that the country was bereft of leadership.

Continue reading ‘Country Bereft of Leadership With President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Being Locked Up in a Power Struggle Having Political and Personal Roots’ »

Communal Violenc Demonstrates That Country Is Heading For an Uncertain Future

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Some months ago, I happened to have a chance conversation with a fellow traveller en route when returning to Sri Lanka. Highly educated in the engineering sciences, he hailed from Mawanella (a town close to Kandy) and after a while, the exchange turned to a discussion on how his village had changed with the passing of time.

Coming into being of hostile communities

‘I remember when we were children,’ he said ‘our Muslim neighbours and their children would treat our houses as if it was theirs and we did the same with them. We celebrated during festivals but not only that, the pace of ordinary life was punctuated with constant interactions. But now it has all changed. Everywhere we see people dressing more conservatively and there is a clear difference now in the way the communities live. They are distanced and more hostile. We are also separated and we do not want to engage with them.’

That passing exchange summarised in a nutshell, the breakdown of community relations in one village and symbolising a similar breakdown all over this unfortunate country with the passing of the decades.

It is from this gradual paralysing of trust that a single mundane sequence of action and reaction between a few human beings, which would ordinarily have been just one of many other similar incidents on a given day, spiraled into the communal violence that took place in Kandy within the space of one short but calamitous week.

Continue reading ‘Communal Violenc Demonstrates That Country Is Heading For an Uncertain Future’ »

Hundreds of Buddhist Monks and Activists Condemn Anti-Muslim Violence in Colombo at Protest Demonstration Organized by National Bhikku Front Against “Communal Clashes Destroying National Unity”.

Hundreds of Buddhist monks and activists staged a demonstration in the Sri Lankan capital Friday to condemn anti-Muslim riots that have killed three people and forced the government to declare a nationwide state of emergency.

The National Bhikku Front said they organised the silent protest against what they called “communal clashes destroying national unity”.,

Moderate Buddhist leaders have also denounced the riots concentrated in the central city of Kandy, 115 kilometres (72 miles) east of the capital Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Hundreds of Buddhist Monks and Activists Condemn Anti-Muslim Violence in Colombo at Protest Demonstration Organized by National Bhikku Front Against “Communal Clashes Destroying National Unity”.’ »

Violence in Sri Lanka Not Local “clashes” between Buddhists and Muslims, but organised and targeted Attacks by Well-known National-level Groups who made their Intentions Clear Through Media -Alan Keenan of “Crisis” group.

An upsurge of attacks against Muslims by Sinhala Buddhist militants in Sri Lanka has raised fears of a new round of communal violence. In this Q&A, Crisis Group’s Sri Lanka Senior Analyst Alan Keenan says the Government needs to act urgently to prevent the violence from spinning out of control, by enforcing laws against hate speech and arresting and prosecuting those involved in organising the violence:

Q: Sri Lanka has declared a state of emergency for ten days to rein in the spread of communal violence, a Government spokesperson said on Tuesday, a day after Buddhists and Muslims clashed in the Indian Ocean island’s central district of Kandy. What are the reasons behind this latest communal violence in the country?

A: There are many factors behind the recent upsurge of violence against Sri Lankan Muslims. The events of the last 10 days have not been local “clashes” between Buddhists and Muslims, but organised and targeted attacks by national-level militant groups who are well known and have made their intentions clear through traditional and social media.

The immediate cycle of violence began with the death on 3 March of a Sinhala Buddhist man in the central hill town of Teldeniya. He had been attacked ten days earlier by four local Muslim men, who were promptly arrested and detained. His death sparked anger and limited violence the next day by local Buddhists, 24 of whom were arrested and held by the police.

Continue reading ‘Violence in Sri Lanka Not Local “clashes” between Buddhists and Muslims, but organised and targeted Attacks by Well-known National-level Groups who made their Intentions Clear Through Media -Alan Keenan of “Crisis” group.’ »

Muslims Engage in “Jumma”Prayers on Friday While Police and Army Provide Protection To Mosques Throughout Sri Lanka.

Soldiers and police guarded mosques across Sri Lanka during Friday prayers amid fears of new anti-Muslim attacks after four days of riots that have left at least three dead.

Most Muslim-owned businesses in the island nation remained shut in protest at attacks by mainly Buddhist Sinhalese groups concentrated around the central city of Kandy.

Armed troops and constables patrolled outside mosques while in Kandy, prayers were said in open grounds in many places because mosques had been burnt or vandalised.

Continue reading ‘Muslims Engage in “Jumma”Prayers on Friday While Police and Army Provide Protection To Mosques Throughout Sri Lanka.’ »

SLMCLeader/Cabinet Minister Rauff Hakeem asks Govt to Issue “Shoot at Sight”Orders to Enforce Curfew in Violence Affected Areas

By

Kelum Bandara

Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) leader Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday asked the government to issue ‘shoot at sight’ orders to enforce the police curfew in the affected areas.

Mr. Hakeem told the Daily Mirror there were lapses initially in dealing with the situation, but the incidents could not be solely blamed on the government.

He said there were problems in the preparedness in facing the violence of this scale.

Continue reading ‘SLMCLeader/Cabinet Minister Rauff Hakeem asks Govt to Issue “Shoot at Sight”Orders to Enforce Curfew in Violence Affected Areas’ »

85 Persons Including 10 Key Suspects Arrested Over Anti-Muslim Violence in Kandy District Where More Than 200 Houses, Businesses and Vehicles Were Torched in Three Days.

Police, giving the first comprehensive update after communal violence erupted earlier this week, said 85 people had been arrested for rioting in Kandy, including the head of a radical group and 10 others accused of spreading extremist views via social media.

Speaking at a media conference, police said petrol bombs were hurled at a mosque yesterday as hundreds of police and troops provided security in the Kandy District. Police confirmed that significant numbers of Muslim-owned businesses were set on fire and vandalised in several parts of the country. Two deaths have been confirmed so far with 11 others injured.

Continue reading ‘85 Persons Including 10 Key Suspects Arrested Over Anti-Muslim Violence in Kandy District Where More Than 200 Houses, Businesses and Vehicles Were Torched in Three Days.’ »

Additional Army Deployed in Kandy District Under the Command of Major-General Rukman Dias Who will Coordinate with Police and STF in Efforts to Quell Violence Says Premier Wickremesinghe in Special Statement Made to Parliament.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday issued a special statement giving an update on the violence in Kandy, assuring that law enforcement authorities stand ready to quell any unrest and soothing fears of violence spreading countrywide.

Speaking in his capacity as Law and Order Minister, Wickremesinghe recapped the incidents that sparked violent clashes in Digana and the statement he made in parliament on Tuesday (6 March). He also noted that several shops and businesses in Katugastota and surrounding areas had been set on fire.

“According to reports, a grenade explosion has occurred when a mob turned violent in Katugastota. Police are conducting investigations into the situation. In the Kandy District and other areas, law and order prevails,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Additional Army Deployed in Kandy District Under the Command of Major-General Rukman Dias Who will Coordinate with Police and STF in Efforts to Quell Violence Says Premier Wickremesinghe in Special Statement Made to Parliament.’ »

Amparai “Sterilizing Chemical”Canard Proved to be False Conclusively by Govt Analyst who says Particles Found in Food Were Mere Lumps of Flour.

By
Indika Ramanayake and Tharindu Jayawardena

The particles that were found in food at an eatery in Ampara, which was earlier rumoured to be sterilizing chemicals, were clumps of flour, the Government Analyst reported to Police.

“They were contents of carbohydrates,” Government Analyst A. Weliangage said.

Continue reading ‘Amparai “Sterilizing Chemical”Canard Proved to be False Conclusively by Govt Analyst who says Particles Found in Food Were Mere Lumps of Flour.’ »

Fresh Wave of Anti-Muslim Violence in Different Areas of Kandy District Even After Emergency Declared By Govt Being In Force for 24 Hours.

By the “Daily FT” Special Correspondent in Kandy

A fresh wave of violence erupted in different parts of the Kandy District yesterday, a full 24 hours after the Government declared a state of emergency to control escalating ethnic tensions and attacks on homes and businesses targeting the Muslim community in Digana and surrounding villages.

Fires raged in Akurana, Katugastota last afternoon, setting a large row of shops alight as Muslim leaders used loudspeakers to repeatedly call for calm. At 2:30 p.m., around the 8th mile post in Akurana, in an area known as Ettankattai, a row of 25 Muslim-owned shops went up in flames, spewing ash and sending up clouds of black smoke visible from miles away. A fire brigade unit attempted to put out the rapidly spreading fire as dozens of army personnel wielding large poles attempted to control the crowd.

Muslim leaders made announcements on loudspeakers, urging people to remain calm “for the sake of Allah” even as crowds of people gathered around the Akurana mosque. As shops and buildings collapsedfrom the raging fires and tension reigned, the military pushed residents and media personnel back from the centre of the violence.

Continue reading ‘Fresh Wave of Anti-Muslim Violence in Different Areas of Kandy District Even After Emergency Declared By Govt Being In Force for 24 Hours.’ »

Field Marshall Sarath Fonseksa Denounces Appointment of Ranjith Madduma Bandara as Law and Order Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Regional Development Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka today said he was against the appointment of Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara as the new Law and Order Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena this morning.

Minister Fonseka told the media in Colombo following an event, that this appointment was made without prior information to Minister Bandara.

“Minister Bandara was unaware of this appointment. He was summoned to the Presidential Secretariat suddenly this morning and was appointed as the Law and Order Minister. I am feeling disgusted of these kinds of decisions and I strongly condemn them,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Field Marshall Sarath Fonseksa Denounces Appointment of Ranjith Madduma Bandara as Law and Order Minister by President Maithripala Sirisena.’ »

Newly Appointed Law and Order Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara Directed By Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Submit Report on Workings of the National Police Commission as his First Order of Duty.


Public Administration and Management Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara received his appointment letter as the new Law and Order Minister from President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday morning at the President’s official residence.

Two weeks after assuming duties as the Minister of Law and Order, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe relinquished the post and vested it in Public Administration and Management Minister Ranjith Maddumabandara. yesterday.

The Prime Minister when taking over the ministry stated that a new Minister of Law and Order would be decided on within two weeks.

Maddumabandara assumes leadership of the Police at a time when it has been accused of being slow to act in preventing the communal clashes which took place in Kandy over the past couple of days.

Continue reading ‘Newly Appointed Law and Order Minister Ranjith Madduma Bandara Directed By Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to Submit Report on Workings of the National Police Commission as his First Order of Duty.’ »

Ranjit Madduma Bandara Appointed by President Sirisena as Minister of Law and Order.

Senior United National Party (UNP) MP, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, has been sworn-in as Sri Lanka’s Minister of Law and Order in the context of the need to have a full time Law and Order Minister given the anti-Muslim riots sweeping Kandy district in Central Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Ranjit Madduma Bandara Appointed by President Sirisena as Minister of Law and Order.’ »

Jathika Hela Urumaya’s Champika Ranawaka’s Role in Promoting Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism andthe Launching of ‘Islamophobia’ as an Ideological and Political Weapon.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The recent spate of attacks on Muslims is the latest manifestation of Islamophobia in Sri Lanka. Such violence cannot but have the effect of radicalizing Muslim youth and marginalizing Muslim moderates. We have come one step closer to the emergence of Islamist terrorism in Sri Lanka.

So far we have experienced a ghastly increase in Islamic religious fundamentalism within the Muslim community, especially but not exclusively in the East. However, there is a vital difference between Islamic fundamentalism and Islamist terrorism.

Not all Muslims are religious fundamentalists. There is also a difference between Islamic radicalism (e.g. Hezbollah, Hamas) and Islamic fundamentalism (e.g. Wahhabis). The latter is far more regressive and dangerous than the former, which has an emancipatory content. Religious fundamentalism and religious radicalism are not armed and violent, except verbally so in some cases. Terrorism is. Terrorists are Islamist, not Islamic. Islamism is their ideology, not the religion they practice. All Islamist terrorists are Islamic fundamentalists but not all Islamic fundamentalists are Islamist terrorists. Religious fundamentalism harms only the Muslim community itself, but not other communities nor the State.

If and when Islamic religious fundamentalism spawns Islamist armed extremism it will hurt other communities and the state. Nothing is more likely to generate Islamist terrorism on this island than the news, the sight and the emotions of Sinhala mobs, sometimes with Buddhist monks in their ranks, attacking Muslims.

The Sinhala racists made the same mistake with the Tamils. Mob violence was visited upon the Tamils in 1956, 1958, 1977, 1979, 1981 and 1983. The Tamil Tigers were formed in 1976, with Prabhakaran taking over as Chairman in 1978. The vast expansion of Tamil terrorism, as distinct from the commencement of Tamil armed insurgency—not all insurgencies are terrorist– followed Black July 1983.

The Sinhala racists attacked the Tamils to “put them in their place” and because they could, with some degree of impunity, since they were the majority. The gamble failed. It is true that the Tamils, by resorting terrorism, lost the civil war and the South won, but the Tamil issue has been internationalized to a point that is irreversible. So the visiting of mob violence upon the Tamils in 1958, 1977 and 1983 did not have the desired result and indeed achieved its opposite.
Continue reading ‘Jathika Hela Urumaya’s Champika Ranawaka’s Role in Promoting Sinhala Buddhist Fundamentalism andthe Launching of ‘Islamophobia’ as an Ideological and Political Weapon.’ »

“An Opposition MP and His Secretary, Two Recently Elected Local Body Members, A District Organizer and Buddhist Monk From same Political Party Behind Anti-Muslim Violence in Digana and Teldeniya will be Arrested Soon reveals Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne


By Chathuri Dissanayake

As flames engulfed more homes and shops in different parts of Kandy, President Maithripala Sirisena rushed to the hill capital yesterday to meet with religious leaders and Government officials, in a bid to quell the situation.

President Maithripala Sirisena, who was due to hold a meeting in Anuradhapura, rushed to Kandy when a fresh wave of attacks occurred in Akurana and Katugastota around noon yesterday (7 March).

Holding discussions with Mahanayake Theras of Malwattha and Asgiriya chapters, and Islamic Moulavies and other religious leaders, ministers, government officers, Sirisena urged for calm.

Meeting with Government officials and heads of security units deployed in the area, Sirisena gave instructions to take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the people in the area.

Struggling to contain the situation, Government re-imposed Police curfew in Kandy at 11am until 4pm today as incidents where mobs attacked places of worship, homes and businesses resurged when curfew was lifted in the morning yesterday. Education Minister Akila Viraj Kariyawasam also announced yesterday that schools in the Kandy District would remain closed indefinitely.

Continue reading ‘“An Opposition MP and His Secretary, Two Recently Elected Local Body Members, A District Organizer and Buddhist Monk From same Political Party Behind Anti-Muslim Violence in Digana and Teldeniya will be Arrested Soon reveals Cabinet spokesman Rajitha Senaratne’ »

Anti- Muslim Violence Erupt Again During Curfew In Akurana and Katugastota in Kandy; Soldiers Deployed To Maintain Peace Watched With “Folded Arms” Sinhala Mobs Attacking Muslim Establishments.

By
Meera Srinivasan

A fresh round of violence gripped parts of Sri Lanka’s Kandy district on March 7, a day after authorities declared emergency to quell heightening anti-Muslim attacks in the Central Province.

Scattered and sporadic, a series of attacks targeting Muslim-owned shops and other buildings in the suburbs of Akurana and Katugastota near Kandy were carried out by a mob, reportedly Sinhalese, local sources said.

Continue reading ‘Anti- Muslim Violence Erupt Again During Curfew In Akurana and Katugastota in Kandy; Soldiers Deployed To Maintain Peace Watched With “Folded Arms” Sinhala Mobs Attacking Muslim Establishments.’ »

Fresh Anti- Muslim Arson Incidents In Kandy Despite Island-wide Emergency and Blocking of Social Media : Grenade Exploded By Attacking Mob Kills one and Injures 11 in Ambatenna .Police Fire on Mob in Menikhinna.

Mobs torched Muslim-owned businesses in a central Sri Lanka district on Wednesday as hundreds of police and troops struggled to restore order after days of rioting.

The soldiers poured into Kandy to reinforce police but arson attacks persisted even though the government has imposed a nationwide state of emergency and suspended the internet locally to quell attacks by mobs from the majority Sinhalese community.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said several arson attacks were reported from Kandy on Wednesday, and internet access curbed to prevent the spread of hate speech.

“We have temporarily blocked several social media websites to prevent them from being used to instigate violence,” Wickremesinghe said in a statement.

He said a hand grenade carried by a member of a mob had exploded at the Kandy suburb of Ambatenna, but did not give further details. Police sources said the Sinhalese man who carried the explosive device was killed and 11 others were injured.

Continue reading ‘Fresh Anti- Muslim Arson Incidents In Kandy Despite Island-wide Emergency and Blocking of Social Media : Grenade Exploded By Attacking Mob Kills one and Injures 11 in Ambatenna .Police Fire on Mob in Menikhinna.’ »

National Christian Evangelical Alliance Urges Govt to Uphold the Rule of Law in the Country and Stem the Violence Currently Prevailing in the Kandy Region


(Text of Statement Issued by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka Condemning the Communal Tensions in Digana, Kandy)

The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) is deeply concerned and condemns the circumstances surrounding the prevailing tensions in Digana, Kandy.

In light of the unrest, the NCEASL underscores the importance of upholding the rule of law in the country and urges the different communities to abstain from taking the law into their own hands. It is of utmost importance that extremist elements are not nurtured and given the space to influence and dictate the words and actions of the communities, leading to increased violence, unrest, and irreparable damage.

Continue reading ‘National Christian Evangelical Alliance Urges Govt to Uphold the Rule of Law in the Country and Stem the Violence Currently Prevailing in the Kandy Region’ »

Anti-Muslim violence rears its ugly head again in Sri Lanka

By

Dr.Lionel Bopage

Inciting violence, hatred and threats against other citizens because of their diverse
backgrounds is harmful for sustained peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. Ridiculing their religious beliefs and destroying their properties is terrifying for the targeted groups and distressing for the law abiding community members. A free nation shows its maturity byallowing minorities to enjoy the same rights and privileges the rest of the community is entitled to.

In June 1980, Sri Lanka acceded to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
(ICCPR), and it came into force in September 1980. Article 17 of the ICCPR provides that
“No person shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family,
home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation”, and
“Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks”.

Continue reading ‘Anti-Muslim violence rears its ugly head again in Sri Lanka’ »

Four Mosques, 37 Houses, 46 Shops and 35 Vehicles Damaged in the Anti-Muslim Attacks Up To March 5th in Kandy District according to Central Province Councillor Hidayath Saththar.

By Mujib Mashal and Dharisha Bastians

Sri Lanka’s government imposed a nationwide state of emergency on Tuesday after mob attacks against the minority Muslim population in a central district, violence that has highlighted the country’s fragility as it tries to recover from decades of civil war.

The unrest in the district of Kandy began on Sunday as angry mobs made up of the majority Sinhalese ethnic group attacked dozens of Muslim businesses and houses and at least one mosque. At least one person was killed. Hundreds of security personnel, including special forces, were deployed to Kandy on Monday and a curfew was declared there.

Continue reading ‘Four Mosques, 37 Houses, 46 Shops and 35 Vehicles Damaged in the Anti-Muslim Attacks Up To March 5th in Kandy District according to Central Province Councillor Hidayath Saththar.’ »

Maithripala’s Open Admission That He Had Saved Gotabhaya Rajapaksa From Arrest and Legal Action Failed To Win Votes for SLFP From Mahinda Supporters at Local Polls.

By Dr. Vickramabahu Karunaratne

Some analysts say the power struggle between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe ended with both being badly bruised, but the conflict also exposed the limitations of their long-term political strategies. It gave in to the hands of Sinhala Buddhist racism a bogus victory to arouse Sinhala plebeians and create violence in the country.

However, people cannot easily forget that in the run-up to the 10 February Local Government elections the differences within the Yahapalana coalition deepened and Maithri declared that his Government was more corrupt than the Mahinda Rajapaksa regime.

In sharp contrast, Ranil desisted from criticizing the junior coalition partner and even moved to rein-in his United National Party (UNP) young bucks who tried to snipe at Maithripala.

Ranil was backed by the Leader of the Opposition. That neutralized the situation. For a democrat what were at stake were not just the 341 Local Government bodies. In reality what was at stake was the General Election of 2020. If democracy prevails and things flow without change of Constitution a new President must be in office by January 2020, while the earliest a parliamentary election can be held is February 2020. Many believe that Mahinda is not interested in a presidential election for obvious reasons. However, the majority in his Pohottuwa crowd believe that Gotabaya is going to be the candidate from their side.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala’s Open Admission That He Had Saved Gotabhaya Rajapaksa From Arrest and Legal Action Failed To Win Votes for SLFP From Mahinda Supporters at Local Polls.’ »

“Anti-Muslim Sentiment Among Sinhalese Subsided After Tamil Militancy Emerged But Seems to Have Re-surfaced After the War Ended” – Senior Academic MA Nuhman

By
Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka on Tuesday declared an island-wide state of emergency to curb heightening anti-Muslim violence in the country’s Central Province. The decision, taken at the weekly Cabinet meeting on Tuesday, came in response to a series of arson attacks targeting dozens of mosques and Muslim-owned shops and homes in Kandy.

pic via : @MeeraSrini

On Tuesday morning, police found the body of a Muslim youth, burnt to death, in a building that had been set to fire.

Describing the move to declare emergency as a “confidence building measure”, Cabinet Minister and government spokesman Dayasiri Jayasekara told The Hindu: “The emergency allows us to deploy the Army in case of any violent clashes. There were concerns that the police were mishandling the situation over the last few days and we want to make sure the situation does not escalate.”

The emergency will lapse in two weeks unless Parliament votes to extend it at that time, legal experts said.

Over the last few days, police have arrested 24 suspects in connection with the attacks in Kandy. The violence, according to police sources, was triggered by the death of a 41-year-old man, who succumbed to injuries caused by a group of Muslim men, following a road-rage incident last week. The suspects were arrested immediately after the incident and remanded, officials said.

Continue reading ‘“Anti-Muslim Sentiment Among Sinhalese Subsided After Tamil Militancy Emerged But Seems to Have Re-surfaced After the War Ended” – Senior Academic MA Nuhman’ »

“First STF Takes Away From Muslims Whatever They Have To Defend Themselves Including Knives and Then Muslims Come Under Attack From Mobs” – Statement From Affected Muslim Person.

By Latheef Farook

What had happened in Digana on Sunday 4 March 2018 was a crime committed on an innocent Sinhalese lorry driver by three drunken Muslim three wheeler thugs. It is a matter for law enforcement authority to deal with culprits in keeping with the law of the land.

Instead, Muslim owned businesses in and around the area were burnt and the entire area was plunged into chaos. The government should have known that emotions were running high during a funeral and it was duty bound to prevent the racists from implementing their evil agenda on Muslims in the area.

The government’s failure to take timely precautionary measures to prevent any untoward incident against Muslim business establishments sent a clear message to racists. The presence of a BBS monk gave yet another shot in the arm for these racists. The question is what was he doing there?


This is what a Muslim from Pallekele said: “There is no way for Muslims to defend themselves. First, the STF comes and take from Muslims whatever they have, including knives, to defend themselves. Then Muslims came under attack. In one incident they entered a mosque and attacked those inside. Then they allowed racists waiting to attack Muslims. They included women with helmets’.

Continue reading ‘“First STF Takes Away From Muslims Whatever They Have To Defend Themselves Including Knives and Then Muslims Come Under Attack From Mobs” – Statement From Affected Muslim Person.’ »