“Joyful Christmas and Happy New Year To All” – Seasons Greetings From D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Joyful Christmas and Happy New Year To All”
– Seasons Greetings From D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Christmas is you, when you decide to be born again each day, and let God into your soul.

The Christmas pine is you, when you resist vigorous winds and difficulties of life.

The Christmas decorations are you, when your virtues are colours that adorn your life.

The Christmas bell is you, when you call, gather and seek to unite.

You are also a Christmas light, when you illuminate with your life the path of others with kindness, patience, joy and generosity.

The Christmas angels are you, when you sing to the world a message of peace, justice and love.

The Christmas star is you, when you lead someone to meet the Lord.

You are also the wise men, when you give the best you have, no matter who.

Christmas music is you when you conquer the harmony within you.

The Christmas gift is you, when you are truly friend and brother of every human being.

The Christmas card is you, when kindness is written in your hands.

The Christmas greeting is you, when you forgive and re-establish peace, even when you suffer.

The Christmas dinner is you, when you served bread and hope to the poor man who is by your side.

You are, yes, Christmas night, when humble and conscious, you receive in the silence of the night the Saviour of the world without noise or great celebrations; you are a smile of trust and tenderness, in the inner peace of a perennial Christmas that establishes the Kingdom within you.

A very Merry Christmas to all those who look like Christmas!”

– Pope Francis

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

2020 was the year of doctors. Which profession would it be in 2021?

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

One year ago, so-called astrologers took to two television stations to tell the nation what to expect in 2020. A person going by the name Chandrasiri Bandara explained that the stars were so moved by political developments in Sri Lanka that 2020 would be an extraordinarily prosperous year. At the same time, someone called Manjula Peiris was on TV explaining that the election results caused a planetary alignment that would open the floodgates of foreign investment in 2020. Indeed, Bandara was so specific as to say that that bulk of the prosperity would come after March 2020. To put it mildly, either they or their planets seem to have got their wires crossed.

There is no shame in forecasting the fate of the nation based on a political perspective or ideology. Indeed, many Sri Lankan professionals and businesspeople also predicted that 2020 would be a good year for our country. The difference is that their conviction flowed from faith in a leader untarnished by politics who they saw as a breath of fresh air, and anticipation of a political culture that would shake up the public service.

Their miscalculation and disappointment could have been lessened if not for the pandemic, but this article is not intended to chronicle the many failures of the government. The fact is that no one could have predicted the economic devastation and paralysis that Covid-19 would cause not just in Sri Lanka but throughout the world. Success has been the exception, not the rule. Outside of Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Singapore and Japan, it is hard to find a country that has not been ground to a halt by this deadly virus.

With over 40,000 people testing positive in Sri Lanka and nearly 200 fatalities, there is no gainsaying we could have done better. However, the same could be said of nearly every country in the world. What we do know is that if not for the knowledge, courage and professionalism of our frontline workers and first responders, we could easily have had over 10 times as much suffering.

Continue reading ‘2020 was the year of doctors. Which profession would it be in 2021?’ »

Muslims in Sri Lanka;Unwanted, dead or alive -The Economist

The government is forcibly cremating Muslims who die of covid-19
Outside a hospital in southern Sri Lanka on December 22nd, a handful of Muslim men bowed their heads against the rain, chanting prayers as an unpolished coffin was loaded into an ambulance. They were given just minutes to pay their respects to the deceased, who, doctors said, had tested positive for covid-19. But that was not the most distressing part of it. Against the wishes of his family, his body was being rushed not to a cemetery, but to a crematorium.

Muslims make up nearly one in ten Sri Lankans. Their religiously ordained practice of burying the dead has rarely caused problems, even though the island’s two biggest religions, Buddhism (the faith of some 70% of Sri Lankans) and Hinduism (13%) practise cremation. With the pandemic approaching last spring, the government issued guidelines that permitted burial of those infected provided the grave was at least six feet deep and the water table low enough not to get contaminated. However, when the disease claimed its first Muslim victim on March 31st, hospital workers defied the victim’s family and had him cremated.

Continue reading ‘Muslims in Sri Lanka;Unwanted, dead or alive -The Economist’ »

‘Abolishing provincial councils is like playing with fire.You cannot develop the country when the sentiments of minority communities are hurt,’ Warns Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.


by

Meera Srinivasan

Former President Maithripala Sirisena, who broke away from the Rajapaksas and secured a historic election win in 2015, is back with the Rajapaksa brothers, sitting with their Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna [SLPP or People’s Front] in Parliament — ruling party with 145 seats in the 225-member legislature — since the August 2020 general elections.

The SLPP came into existence by absorbing much of one of the oldest and foremost parties of Sri Lanka, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP), whose rump — 14 MPs — Mr. Sirisena now leads. Thirteen out of those 14 legislators contested polls under the SLPP symbol, leaving only one MP to represent the SLFP in the House. In an interview to the The Hindu at his Colombo residence, the former President spoke about the future of the SLFP, devolution, minority rights, and democracy.


Excerpts…

You recently remarked that the SLFP faced a “huge injustice” in the parliamentary elections and have hinted at possibly contesting the provincial council elections separately. Would you do that?

Continue reading ‘‘Abolishing provincial councils is like playing with fire.You cannot develop the country when the sentiments of minority communities are hurt,’ Warns Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.’ »

The Gotabaya regime is mimicking Trump/Netanyahu by boosting the hardcore chauvinist base by pandering to its worst prejudices and maintaining rigidly hawkish policies.

By Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The ultranationalist Buddhist clergy has commenced a two-pronged campaign: (a) against burials and for cremation of COVID-19 victims, a policy that is mandatory only in a handful of the UN’s 193 countries, and (b) against Provincial Councils and the holding of Provincial Council Elections before the promulgation of a new Constitution. Justice Minister Sabry was a target of the agitated monks.

These formations of the Buddhist clergy have long been part of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s support base, by their own public admission and easy public (facial) recognition. They are also close to radical-nationalist Cabinet Ministers.

It is one thing to dog-whistle racism and religious chauvinism when you are an Opposition personality (JR against the B-C Pact 1957) or are in the Establishment, with extra-systemic religio-racist fans whose campaigns are amplified by the local Fox News while someone else is the Presidential human shield taking the electoral rap.

It is another thing, as President Jayewardene realised (1983-’87) having indulged racist Minister Cyril Mathew, when Sinhala-Buddhist racism unchecked by you rears up and lashes out violently at minorities, on your watch. Whoever you may try to pin the rap on after the conflagration (JRJ pinned it on the JVP), the frame-up lacks credibility and ricochets as rebellion.

Continue reading ‘The Gotabaya regime is mimicking Trump/Netanyahu by boosting the hardcore chauvinist base by pandering to its worst prejudices and maintaining rigidly hawkish policies.’ »

Controversy over the “anti-COVID-19” potion popularly dubbed “Dhammika Paniya” Raises Questions Regarding its Scientific Basis, Concepts of Indigenous Medicine and Association With Goddess Kali

By P.K.Balachandran

The controversy over the “anti-COVID-19” potion popularly dubbed “Dhammika Paniya” after its discoverer and promoter Dhammika Bandara, a Shaman at the Sri Weera Badra Kali Devalaya in Hettimulla, Kegalle, has three aspects.

Firstly, questions are being asked about the scientific basis of the potion as per Western standards of inquiry. Secondly, there are questions over the place accorded to indigenous medicinal concepts in a globalized medical world which has a bias towards Western concepts. Thirdly, there is the issue of the potion’s association with the Goddess Kali, which, according to Dhammika Bandara, gives it a spiritual potency lacking in Western cures.

The moment masses queued up to get a quarter bottle of Bandara’s potion and government MPs too imbibed it giving a hint of State patronage, the powerful Western medical fraternity condemned it and portrayed it as a danger to public health. Unnerved, the government assured that scientific tests were being conducted in Western medicine hospitals and that the potion had been approved only as a food supplement to increase resistance.

But supporters of traditional medicine asked whether it was fair to subject indigenous medical concepts and preparations to Western testing as the two systems rested on different principles. Pointing out the danger in this, a Sri Lankan researcher at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia, Dr.Nirekha de Silva, said that if this were to go on, the survival of traditional knowledge in Sri Lanka, an invaluable heritage, will be in question.

Continue reading ‘Controversy over the “anti-COVID-19” potion popularly dubbed “Dhammika Paniya” Raises Questions Regarding its Scientific Basis, Concepts of Indigenous Medicine and Association With Goddess Kali’ »

The matter of devolution and provincial councils has been on the political anvil in this country for a long time and is not a foreign imposition but a home grown one.

By Dr. Nrmala Chandrahasan

The Provincial Councils, like the windmills in Cervante’s Don Quixote, are having brickbats thrown at, and cantankerous knights tilting at them. In this piece I would like to answer some of the criticisms made against the Provincial Councils. But before I do so I note that the Prime Minister has announced that the Provincial Council elections will be held once the ground situation is ready for it. This welcome statement puts paid to all the critics, it being generally acknowledged that the Prime Minister as an experienced and consummate politician would know the political climate in the country and act accordingly.

One of the frequent criticisms is that the Provincial Councils were imposed upon the Sri Lankan polity by the Government of India. To recapitulate the sequence of events, following upon the July 1983 pogrom (riots) against the Tamil citizens of the Country and the outbreak of civil unrest in Sri Lanka, the then Prime minister of India, Shrimathi Indhira Gandhi sent an envoy as part of a diplomatic initiative to find ways of bringing the country back to normalcy. A process of negotiations was begun between the Governments of India and Sri Lanka with India playing the role of an interlocutor bringing the Tamil parties and the Government of Sri Lanka to the negotiating table, in order to solve the ongoing insurgency by Tamil militants and the ethnic problem in the island through Constitutional proposals.

The outcome of these negotiations were the India –Sri Lanka: Agreement to Establish Peace and Normalcy in Sri Lanka, i. e. the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord in July 1987, and the drawing up of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and the Provincial Councils Act no: 42 of November 1987. By virtue of these two Acts Provincial Councils were set up. The opponents of the Provincial Councils argue that it is not a homegrown institution but one imposed by a foreign power. In this connection I would refer the readers to a very informative and well-researched article by Professor Gamini Keerawella in The Island newspaper of 16th September 2020 titled “Genealogy of Concept and Genesis of 13th Amendment”, in which he traces the genesis of Provincial Councils from the Donoughmore Commission Recommendations in 1931 ,through the Regional Councils of the Bandaranaike –Chelvanayakam pact 1956 , the Dudley Senanayake –Chelvanayakam agreement, and even the promised but not forthcoming Devolution proposals made by the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Government before the 1975 bye-elections in Kankesanthurai. This proves that the matter of devolution and provincial councils has been on the political anvil in this country for a long time and is not a foreign imposition but a home grown one.

Continue reading ‘The matter of devolution and provincial councils has been on the political anvil in this country for a long time and is not a foreign imposition but a home grown one.’ »

Tamil Film superstar Rajinikanth opting out of electoral politics in due to his delicate health brings Tamil Nadu politics back to square one.


By P.K.Balachandran

Tamil superstar Rajinikanth’s declaration on Tuesday that he is opting out of electoral politics in view of his delicate health, has brought Tamil Nadu politics back to square one.

The South India State will remain a bastion on Dravidianism, Tamil nationalism, secularism and social justice, with the main contestants being the two Tamil nationalist parties, namely, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DNK).

The prospect of the Hindu nationalistic Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s getting into Tamil Nadu politics in the April-May 2021 State Assembly elections with Rajinikanth splitting the votes of the ruling AIADMK, no longer exists.

The BJP had been trying to prop the popular actor in the hope that, through his brand of “spiritual politics”, he would pave the way for its rule. Tamil Nadu has so far been stubbornly resistant to the BJP’s aggressive Hindu-nationalism.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Film superstar Rajinikanth opting out of electoral politics in due to his delicate health brings Tamil Nadu politics back to square one.’ »

Tamil Cinema Superstar Rajinikanth says he will neither enter politics nor launch a new political party


Actor-turned-politician Rajinikanth Tuesday announced that he would not be entering politics owing to his ill health and the pandemic situation. His announcement came two days before he was to reveal details of the launch of his political party.

In a three-page statement on Twitter, the actor expressed regret and said it pained him to make such an announcement after having said he would contest the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections in 2021. “It is with profound regret that I have to say that I will neither be launching my political party nor entering politics. Nobody can understand my pain in making this decision,” he wrote.
Rajinikanth, 71, was briefly hospitalised in Hyderabad three days ago for minor fluctuations in blood pressure. He was discharged on Sunday.

Rajinikanth, whose political entry has been rumoured since 1996, acknowledged that he had promised to enter politics even if there was a risk to my life. However, in his statement Tuesday, he said he did not want to sacrifice the lives of others by taking the plunge.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Cinema Superstar Rajinikanth says he will neither enter politics nor launch a new political party’ »

Full text of Tamil Cinema Super Star Rajinikanth’s letter explaining why he is not entering politics as announced earlier

Actor-turned-politician
Rajinikanth Tuesday announced that he would not be entering politics owing to his ill health and the pandemic situation. In a three-page statement on Twitter, the actor expressed regret and said it pained him to make such an announcement after having said he would contest the Tamil Nadu Assembly elections in 2021.

Here’s the full text:

Heartfelt greetings to my beloved people of Tamil Nadu,

After announcing that my political party will start in January, I went to attend the shooting of ‘Annaatthe’ in Hyderabad despite the advice of doctors. The Film Unit consisted around 120 people who daily underwent Covid Tests, isolated themselves from each other, wore face masks & shields and much more. Inspite of the various precautionary measures taken, 4 people from the crew came in contact with the virus. The shooting was immediately called off by the Director & everyone present there were tested, including me.

My test results were negative, but my blood pressure was not stable and constantly fluctuating. As per my medical conditions, I should not have constant fluctuations in blood pressure, as it would severely affect my transplanted kidney. Therefore, under the supervision & advice of my doctors, I was hospitalized for three days.

Considering my health, our film’s producer Mr Kalanithi Maran postponed the rest of the shoot.

I consider this as a warning given to me by the Lord.

Continue reading ‘Full text of Tamil Cinema Super Star Rajinikanth’s letter explaining why he is not entering politics as announced earlier’ »

2020 Data shows No Emergency: Why is WHO promoting Covid-19 vaccines in Tropical countries?

By

Dr. Darini Rajasingham-Senanayake

The currently available Covid-19 vaccines have been authorized for emergency use. This is due to what has been termed a Health Emergency as winter advances and Covid-19 cases spike in the northern hemisphere or Euro-America. Highly advertised Covid-19 vaccines are being produced rolled out by powerful Pharmaceutical and bio-technology companies headquartered in Euro-America under the “warped speed” operation. These vaccines are being marketed on global media and news channels, like CNN, BBC, AL Jazeera and even India’s NDTV to the rest of the world, although they have not gone through a full trials process and their long-term impacts on populations are as yet unknown.

On average it takes over 5-10 years to systematically trial vaccines. Nor have these vaccines been trialed in the GLOBAL SOUTH where the health and nutrition status of people are different than in the global north where larger volumes of processed food are consumed and non-communicable diseases that constitute the co-morbidities profile for Covid-19 are also far more widespread than in tropical countries, especially those where rice is a staple food.

In several tropical Asian and African countries, the 2020 country-specific data shows that there is NO Covid-19 health emergency. In Bangladesh, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, Tanzania and Uganda there is very low incidence of Covid-19 as in Sri Lanka, where questions arise as to why national health authorities are being urged by the WHO, UNICEF and World Bank to spend billions and buy vaccines at this time, especially when it is claimed that there are not sufficient doses for populations in North America and Europe where there is a Covid-19 emergency?

Continue reading ‘2020 Data shows No Emergency: Why is WHO promoting Covid-19 vaccines in Tropical countries?’ »

The promise of ‘prosperity and splendour,’ the very basis on which President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and his Government was brought into power, has been badly betrayed by its flag bearers

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

After relentless political patronage of a covid-healing ‘miracle’ syrup brewed by a ‘kapurala,’ (keeper of a temple cum witch doctor), who chants that he is possessed by the Goddess Kali, it is the height of unseemly irony for Sri Lanka’s Health Services Director to threaten legal action against the ‘kapurala’ and his despairing followers for creating a public disturbance in violation of quarantine regulations.


The law should operate in the reverse

If so, legal action may also be contemplated against a Government patronised private electronic media channel whose television anchors heedlessly propagated this syrup. And what about the culpability of the Health Minister herself, the country’s Speaker and other mindless Ministers who shamefully swallowed this concoction prior to authentication, leading to the upsurge of credulous belief in its powers? In law, the principle of reasonable causation or foresee ability is applicable on all fours here.

This legal test simply asks if the person causing an injury could have reasonably foreseen the general consequences that would result.

By that logic, are not all these individuals reasonably and ‘forseeably’ responsible for the tumult which continues to be caused by the charlatan witch doctor and his syrup?

Continue reading ‘The promise of ‘prosperity and splendour,’ the very basis on which President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and his Government was brought into power, has been badly betrayed by its flag bearers’ »

All State Employees Have to Begin the New Year 2021 by Taking an Oath to Serve the Public and to Implement President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election manifesto — “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour “

When state employees begin their work on January 1, 2021 (next Friday), they will be taking a fresh oath not only vowing to serve the public but also to implement President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election manifesto — “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour “. This will be a new inclusion to the affirmation of the public service.

According to the Public Administration Circular issued by the Ministry of Public Services , Provincial Councils and Local Government, a brief ceremony should be held at each state institution where the head will lead the oath-taking ceremony.

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M.G.R.: From Tamil Film Hero to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The recent announcement by Tamil Cinema Superstar Rajinikanth that he would be forming a political party to contest all 234 seats in the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly at the forthcoming May 2021 elections has led to much speculation and excitement. An immediate consequence of Rajinikanth’s political announcement was the inevitable comparison with the yester-year actor turned politician M. G. Ramachandran known generally as M. G. R. While Sivaji Rao Gaekward alias Rajinikanth has been dominating Tamil cinema for the past four decades, Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran a.k.a.MGR ruled the Tamil movidom for three decades until becoming Chief minister of India’s Tamil Nadu state in 1977. MGR served as chief minister (CM) for ten years until his demise in 1987. His 33rd death anniversary will be commemorated this week on December 24th.

Maruthur Gopalan Ramachandran (17 January 1917 – 24 December 1987),

Although there are many superficial similarities between MGR and Rajinikanth, equating both could prove to be a false analogy. There are many crucial differences including that of age. MG Ramachandran entered active politics in the fifties of the last century. He was elected to the state legislature in the sixties and became CM in the seventies. When he died after 10 years of being Chief minister in 1987, MGR was 70 years of age, Rajinikantha on the other hand has no active political experience as was never a member of any political party so far. Moreover Rajinikanth celebrated his 70th Birth anniversary on December 12th this year. Thus Rajinikanth is entering party politics as a “fresher” in his 70th year whereas MGR after a hectic political life of many years passed away at the age of 70.

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Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Friends!

Nativity scene at St Augustine’s church, South Brunswick, NJ, 2018 💒

It’s Christmas season again!

Only this year the COVID-19 Pandemic has restricted the fun,frolic and festivity. Let us all hope and pray that the world withstands and recovers as soon as possible. The Christmas spirit however will remain despite the changed situation.

An integral part of Christmas is the singing of Christmas carols in churches as well as at events celebrating Christmas.

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The Many Faces of Christmas – Shaped Wooden Puzzle from Sri Lanka ~ Photographed at an exhibit of over 900 nativity scenes hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Eugene, Oregon, USA-pic-by Mary Harrsch

There was a time when carolling was an important part of Christmas. ‘’Carol parties” including someone dressed as Santa claus would visit the homes of church members during night and sing carols.Refreshments would be served at each and every home. A few firecrackers too would be lit.

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

This practice of carolling has become near extinct but happily the tradition of conducting special carol services and carol festivals continue. Most church services relating to Christmas feature the singing of carols.Christmas dinners and parties too witness loud carol singing though not tuneful at all times.

Even though large gatherings at home and elsewhere are not possible this Christmas the singing and playing of carols is still possible albeit on a limited scale.

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Life and Times of Anton Stanislaus Balasingham the LTTE Political Strategist

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Anton Stanislaus Balasingham the political strategist of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) and political adviser to tiger leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran died 14 years ago in his South London residence, His death was not unexpected as it was known, the doctors had given him four to six weeks to live. Bala ‘Annai’ (elder brother) as he was generally known among Tamils was diagnosed with bile duct cancer , a rare and aggressive malignancy of the biliary system. LTTE supremo Prabhakaran conferred the title “Thesathin Kural” (Voice of the nation)upon him posthumously. “I am proud to bestow the title of ‘Voice Of The Nation’ on Bala Annai.” Stated the LTTE chief and went on to say “Bala Annai has not left us. He will live permanently in our thoughts. ”

Anton Balasingham & Adele Balasingham

The life and times of Balasingham is interesting . He was a colourful yet controversial figure. He was admired by some and despised by others. This writer’s relationship with Balasingham too has had its up’s and down’s. I have both criticised and praised him depending of course on the issue at hand. I have written about this man and his role in Tamil affairs on several occasions. I shall rely on some of these writings while focusing on the occasion of his 14th death anniversary. I shall however abide by the dictum “De mortuis nil nisi bonum dicendum est” (of the dead nothing is to be said except good!) while writing about him at this point of time.
Continue reading ‘Life and Times of Anton Stanislaus Balasingham the LTTE Political Strategist’ »

Tamil Cinema Superstar Rajinikanth’s Political Party Plunge

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Tamil Nadu, the Indian State closest to Sri Lanka, is gripped by a great deal of political excitement these days. Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly elections are due in May 2021. All political parties active in the State – from the ruling All-India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK/ADMK) to the chief opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) – are gearing up in election mode to face polls next year. Polls will be held on the first past the post winner system to 234 Constituencies. One more MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) will be nominated to represent the Anglo-Indian community.

The advent of a general election always leads to much enthusiasm and anticipation. The forthcoming election however has been enlivened further by an additional factor. The leading Tamil actor Rajinikanth known as “Superstar” has indicated that he would be forming a new political party in January 2021 to face the hustings in May. Rajinikanth has said that the name of the party and its official launch date in January would be announced on 31 December this year. Since Rajinikanth would be celebrating his 70th birth anniversary on 12 December there is speculation that the popular actor may reveal more details about his future political plans on that red letter day ahead of 31 December.

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“The denial of the right of the Muslim people to dispose of their dead bodies in keeping with the tenets of their religion is a violation of their fundamental right and should not continue” – TNA Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has called on the Government to discuss the issue of mandatory cremation of bodies of those who succumb to COVID-19 with Muslim leaders and come to a reasonable and just decision without any further delay.

“The denial of the right of the Muslim people to dispose of their dead bodies in keeping with the tenets of their religion is a violation of their fundamental right and should not continue,” TNA Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran said in a press release.

Continue reading ‘“The denial of the right of the Muslim people to dispose of their dead bodies in keeping with the tenets of their religion is a violation of their fundamental right and should not continue” – TNA Spokesman M.A. Sumanthiran’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Says Provincial Council elections will be held when the ground situation in the country is conducive to go ahead with the polls;“We cannot make predictions but remain optimistic of holding the elections when the coast is clear” States Prime Minister

by Norman Palihawadana

The government is contemplating holding the Provincial Council elections when the ground situation in the country is conducive to go ahead with the polls, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said on Friday.

He was responding to a query on whether the government has reached a decision on pushing ahead with the polls as opinion in the country is divided with strident calls from some quarters to abrogate Provincial Councils.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Says Provincial Council elections will be held when the ground situation in the country is conducive to go ahead with the polls;“We cannot make predictions but remain optimistic of holding the elections when the coast is clear” States Prime Minister’ »

China Re – thinking Xi’s ‘project of the century’; Chinese overseas lending has fallen sharply leading to a reassessment of the Belt and Road Initiative


by James Kynge in Hong Kong and Jonathan Wheatley in London

It has not taken long for the wheels to come off the Belt and Road Initiative. As recently as May 2017, China’s leader Xi Jinping stood in Beijing before a hall of nearly 30 heads of state and delegates from over 130 countries and proclaimed “a project of the century”.

This was not hyperbole. China has promised to spend about $1tn on building infrastructure in mainly developing countries around the world — and finance almost all of this through its own financial institutions. Adjusted for inflation, this total was roughly seven times what the US spent through the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the second world war, according to Jonathan Hillman, author of The Emperor’s New Road.

But according to data published this week, reality is deviating sharply from Mr Xi’s script. What was conceived as the world’s biggest development programme is unravelling into what could become China’s first overseas debt crisis.

Continue reading ‘China Re – thinking Xi’s ‘project of the century’; Chinese overseas lending has fallen sharply leading to a reassessment of the Belt and Road Initiative’ »

“Honestly, it is India that has to demonstrate goodwill by putting an end to their fishermen’s trespassing activities” Says Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister and Jaffna District MP Douglas Devananda

By

Meera Srinivasan

Citing India’s request for the release of fishermen recently arrested by the Sri Lankan Navy on the charge of illegal fishing, Sri Lanka on Wednesday said it is India that needs to demonstrate goodwill by preventing its fishermen from trespassing into Sri Lankan waters.

Addressing a press conference in Vavuniya in the Northern Province, Sri Lanka’s Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said the Indian authorities had approached the Sri Lankan government, requesting the release of the recently arrested fishermen as a goodwill gesture before a bilateral virtual discussion on the persisting conflict involving the fishermen of Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province.

The discussion is scheduled for December 30, a statement from the Minister’s office said.

Continue reading ‘“Honestly, it is India that has to demonstrate goodwill by putting an end to their fishermen’s trespassing activities” Says Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister and Jaffna District MP Douglas Devananda’ »

Ordinary Sinhalese who internalised hate-driven propaganda which they had been fed for decades must finally understand that the politics of inequality is a hell brew visiting the majority as well


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As the ‘annus horribilis’ that was 2020 winds its way to a close, waves of racism, chauvinism and fear mongering unleashed on the people by this Government’s tom-tom beaters, including electronic media moghuls fattened by ill gotten gains, continue unabated. That these ugly forces will inevitably go beyond the point of control with catastrophic effects is now a near-certainty.


A misbegotten witchdoctor and his portion

Already the signs of impending catastrophe are manifest. How is it that a witch doctor from Kegalle touting an untested ‘cure’ for covid19 was able to berate the Chief Priest of the Atamasthanaya at the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, one of the most venerated sites for Buddhists in Sri Lanka, when he was not allowed to peddle his tonic at the Bodhi. His ranting, ‘I am Kali and I am your mother’ to the head priest was sheer gripping drama albeit of a spectacularly hideous kind. But the point is that he did this and got away unscathed.

Continue reading ‘Ordinary Sinhalese who internalised hate-driven propaganda which they had been fed for decades must finally understand that the politics of inequality is a hell brew visiting the majority as well’ »

National Audit Office Report Exposes Massive Fraud by Certain National Fertilizer Secretariat Employees who have Released “Failed Fertilizer Stocks” After Making Files Disappear and Substituting Fake Reports in Place of Genuine Laboratory Test Reports

By Namini Wijedasa

Certain National Fertiliser Secretariat (NFS) employees have been permitting the release of “failed fertiliser stocks” — with lead, chromium, arsenic, cadmium and other components above permissible levels — by replacing accurate laboratory test reports with fake ones, the National Audit Office (NAO) has revealed in an explosive report.

Recent audit checks revealed 34 instances in which subject clerks and supervising officers handling the respective files “misplaced” accurate lab test reports pertaining to seven types of fertiliser and inserted fake ones. The stocks were released and Government subsidies exceeding Rs 1bn paid to the importing companies.

In another case, trade approval was rejected for a consignment of an established fertiliser company as sample tests did not comply with national parameters. It nevertheless released the stocks to the market. The Secretariat had “neglected its responsibility” to prevent the stock’s distribution and to have it destroyed, the NAO stated.

The company had then submitted claims to the NFS seeking a subsidy of Rs 179mn for these substandard stocks which were “not suitable for use but issued to farmers”.

Continue reading ‘National Audit Office Report Exposes Massive Fraud by Certain National Fertilizer Secretariat Employees who have Released “Failed Fertilizer Stocks” After Making Files Disappear and Substituting Fake Reports in Place of Genuine Laboratory Test Reports’ »

National Archives Dept’s Dynamic Director General Dr. Nadeera Rupesinghe May be Removed From Office Unfairly Through Cabinet Paper by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Following Witch Hunt by Vested Interests Against Her

By Namini Wijedasa

The Department of National Archives is embroiled in controversy over allegations that copies of historical Dutch records in the custody of the institution have been sold to outsiders.

The accusations mostly target the Department’s Director General, Nadeera Rupesinghe, a young historian educated in the Netherlands, who senior staff insist has been tirelessly streamlining and modernising the institution. A three-member committee appointed by the Cultural Affairs Ministry earlier last year to investigate the claims—first made in 2018 by three employees of the same Department—found no evidence of malpractice.

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Commission to Investigation Allegations of Bribery and Corruption have also inquired, taking lengthy statements from Dr Rupesinghe and other staff, as well as written representation.

Continue reading ‘National Archives Dept’s Dynamic Director General Dr. Nadeera Rupesinghe May be Removed From Office Unfairly Through Cabinet Paper by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Following Witch Hunt by Vested Interests Against Her’ »

The Lanka Samasamaja Party, the oldest political party in the country celebrates its 85th anniversary

by Vijaya Kumar

The Lanka Samasamaja Party, the oldest political party in the country celebrates its 85th anniversary on December 18, 2020. The Party grew out of its Youth Leagues which played a prominent part in the ‘Suriya-Mal’ movement – an alternative for indigenous ex-servicemen as against the Poppy Day where funds collected were for British ex-servicemen. The Marxist party from its early days heavily focused on the fight against the British colonial power were identified with people-friendly policies and the struggle for workers’ rights. The party has been instrumental or actively fought for the adoption of many of the progressive initiatives which we today take for granted.

The fight for full independence from Britain rather than constitutional reforms which was the aim of the so-called national parties was successful a mere 13 years after the party’s formation. The British bases which remained were removed under the SWRD Bandaranaike government nine years later and full freedom was achieved when Sri Lanka became a republic on May 22, 1972, under the stewardship of the party’s Colvin R de Silva. The fight for free education and free health services which was originated by the Communist Party’s SA Wickramasinghe, then an LSSP member of the First State Council, bore fruit with the CWW Kannangara Free Education Bill of 1945 and the Free Health Policy of 1951.

Continue reading ‘The Lanka Samasamaja Party, the oldest political party in the country celebrates its 85th anniversary’ »

How bodies of Muslims are cremated against their staunch religious beliefs, thus denying their basic human rights with no firm scientific evidence against burial, is a disgrace to all Sri Lankans.

By

Dr.Sarath Gamini de Silva

The Covid pandemic, apart from causing much human misery all over the world, has had a deleterious effect on human values as well. It appears that mankind has regressed by many decades. Freedom of movement, free association and human interaction, which were promoted as ways of a peaceful world without conflict, have all been suspended as a mandatory way of controlling the pandemic.

Promoting the younger generation to spend more time on physical activity, rather than sitting long hours in front of television and computer screens, has also been suspended. Online teaching has become the norm.

Thus the so-called new normal is a regressive step for the society, which is considered essential at present but hopefully will not last for too long.

Unfortunately, some avoidable situations have arisen due to lack of foresight or scientific thinking on the part of the decision makers.

Continue reading ‘How bodies of Muslims are cremated against their staunch religious beliefs, thus denying their basic human rights with no firm scientific evidence against burial, is a disgrace to all Sri Lankans.’ »

Ven.Omalpe Sobitha Thera Lashes Out at Govt for Setting up South Asia’s Biggest Meat Processing Factory in Katunayake and calls upon Rajapaksa govt to reveal the persons behind the meat project and demandd to know where the meat would come from


It was a crying shame that South Asia’s biggest meat processing factory had been set up in Katunayake, although Sri Lanka was called a Buddhist state, Ven. Dr. Omalpe Sobitha Thera said on Thursday, addressing the media at Sri Jayasekerarama auditorium in Rajagiriya.

The factory is expected to meet 10% of the world’s processed meat requirement.

The press briefing was jointly organised by the National Intellectual Sangha Council and the Justice for Animals and Nature Foundation.

Continue reading ‘Ven.Omalpe Sobitha Thera Lashes Out at Govt for Setting up South Asia’s Biggest Meat Processing Factory in Katunayake and calls upon Rajapaksa govt to reveal the persons behind the meat project and demandd to know where the meat would come from’ »

Father Mahinda Rajapaksa Promises to Ban Cattle Slaughter and Import Beef but Son Namal Rajapaksa Attends Grand Opening of Huge Meat Processing Plant for Beef and other Available Meats at Katunayake

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

We are clearly in an era of Twists and Turns, with Kali Amma projected as the power against the Covid-19 pandemic.

What happened at the Sri Maha Bodhi earlier this week showed a very clear Kali Kovil Twist. The kapuva who made this pandemic syrup wanted to offer it to the Sri Maha Bodhi. The monk who led his team to the site of the sacred and hugely worshipped tree, did not let him climb right up to it. He had to make the syrup offering at the lower level, with very good reason, no doubt.

When his turn came back at the temple, the kapuva or is he a kapu-raala, had his say to the Mahanayake Thera of the temple. He angrily wanted to know why he was not allowed to go right up to the Sri Maha Bodhi. He stressed the role of Kali in his syrup task, and even went on to talk of ‘Kali Ammage…’- when the media was cut out.

Commenting on this special Kali exercise, a senior Thera in Colombo, known for his association with health workers, wanted to know why Kali Amma did not use her divine power and rise above the Sri Maha Bodhi, and make her own offering to the sacred tree. This question will remain in the minds of many, but certainly not with those who were making public and political shows of taking this syrup for Covid protection.

Continue reading ‘Father Mahinda Rajapaksa Promises to Ban Cattle Slaughter and Import Beef but Son Namal Rajapaksa Attends Grand Opening of Huge Meat Processing Plant for Beef and other Available Meats at Katunayake’ »

US embassy officially announces that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board has decided to discontinue the proposed Rs. 89 billion (approximately US$ 480 million) MCC development assistance grant to Sri Lanka due to lack of partner country engagement;The Rs. 89 billion approved for Sri Lanka will be made available to other eligible partner countries in need of grant funding

On December 15, the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board decided to discontinue the proposed Rs. 89 billion (approximately US$ 480 million) MCC development assistance grant to Sri Lanka due to lack of partner country engagement, the US embassy said in a statement here on Thursday.

The Rs. 89 billion approved for Sri Lanka will be made available to other eligible partner countries in need of grant funding to pursue their economic development priorities, reduce poverty, and grow their economies.

Country ownership, transparency, and accountability for grant results are fundamental to MCC’s development model. MCC has successfully partnered with nearly 30 countries worldwide on 38 grant agreements, totaling nearly $13.5 billion. These grants have lifted millions of people from poverty by catalyzing local and domestic investment.

Continue reading ‘US embassy officially announces that the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) board has decided to discontinue the proposed Rs. 89 billion (approximately US$ 480 million) MCC development assistance grant to Sri Lanka due to lack of partner country engagement;The Rs. 89 billion approved for Sri Lanka will be made available to other eligible partner countries in need of grant funding’ »

Champika Ranawaka is educated; yet he can be considered only as a narrow tribal leader who endorsed all the measures taken to oppress minorities and provoke terrible conflicts for the “betterment” of Sinhala Buddhists.

By’

Victor Ivan

How can Sri Lanka overcome the crisis it is facing in a situation where the country has become a failed state with all the leaders, all political parties, and the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary has failed?

The country’s political leaders still do not seem to understand the real reasons behind this failure, and the extent to which they themselves have contributed to it. They appear to think the more Gota fails, the more it increases the chances of them being successful. But, it is not only Gota who has failed; all the leaders in the country have also failed.

It is only the foolish leaders who are ignorant of this crisis could dream of holding an election without directing the country towards adopting a People’s Constitution that gives priority for structural changes badly needed to recreate the country.

If they do not have tears to shed for the serious destruction they have done to this country and its people, if they cannot atone for the contribution they have made to this destruction, and if they still think of exploiting the essence of the country which has already become a hapless chew, for their personal gains, the nature will invariably punish them if not the people. In fact, the damage they have done to this country is thousand times greater than the damage done by Zaharan.

Continue reading ‘Champika Ranawaka is educated; yet he can be considered only as a narrow tribal leader who endorsed all the measures taken to oppress minorities and provoke terrible conflicts for the “betterment” of Sinhala Buddhists.’ »

The United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation Board voted on December 15th to discontinue the US $480 million compact agreement with Sri Lanka; the MCC unit in Sri Lanka will also be closed accordingly.

By

Kelum Bandara

The United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) voted to discontinue the US $480 million compact agreement with Sri Lanka, Daily Mirror learns.

The MCC board took this decision at its meeting on December 15. The MCC unit in Sri Lanka will also be closed accordingly.

However, a formal announcement in this regard is yet to be made on the withdrawal.

Continue reading ‘The United States’ Millennium Challenge Corporation Board voted on December 15th to discontinue the US $480 million compact agreement with Sri Lanka; the MCC unit in Sri Lanka will also be closed accordingly.’ »

Issuing of vehicle number plates sans provincial code indicators will come into effect from January 1st 2021;according to the new process, each vehicle would have only one number, even when the ownership is switched between provinces.

By

Chaturanga Samarawickrama

Issuing of vehicle number plates sans provincial code indicators will come to effect from January 1, Transport State Minister Dilum Amunugama said.

The proposal was made by the Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge was approved by the Cabinet yesterday.

Accordingly, the characters to identify the provinces were added to the number plate when registering vehicles to ease the process at the vehicular emission tests and annual revenue license renewal.

The gazette notification on this will be issued soon, the State Minister said.

Continue reading ‘Issuing of vehicle number plates sans provincial code indicators will come into effect from January 1st 2021;according to the new process, each vehicle would have only one number, even when the ownership is switched between provinces.’ »

Millennium Challenge Corporation withdraws its US$ 480 million grant to Sri Lanka as MCC Board was Unwilling to re-negotiate Agreement in its present form as desired by Gotabaya Rajapaksa Govt

By P.K.Balachandran

Highly placed sources in the Sri Lankan government said on Wednesday that the Board of Directors of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) has withdrawn the five-year US$ 480 million grant offered to the government of Sri Lanka in April 2019 after three years of negotiations.

However, a formal announcement is yet to be made on the withdrawal.

The grant, which was meant for a land and a transport project, became highly controversial in the island nation with nationalists up in arms against it. Nationalists alleged that the grant was meant to make agricultural land marketable, thereby dismantling the existing system in which government, which owns 80% of the land, leases them out to peasants. The idea behind the established system was to prevent the alienation of land which is dear to peasants who constitute 70% of the island’s labor force.

More importantly, nationalists feared that the country’s scarce land resources would finally end up in the hands of Western individuals and corporations endangering the sovereignty of Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Millennium Challenge Corporation withdraws its US$ 480 million grant to Sri Lanka as MCC Board was Unwilling to re-negotiate Agreement in its present form as desired by Gotabaya Rajapaksa Govt’ »

Cremation of 20 Day Old Muslim Baby Against Wishes of Family by Authorities Heightens Resentment and Opposition to Compulsory Cremation of Alleged COVID -19 Victims in Sri Lanka

By

Meera Srinivasan

The last week has been the worst yet for N.F.M. Fahim’s family residing in Colombo. The 38-year-old and his wife lost their new-born to COVID-19 on December 8, and even before they could process the devastating news from the hospital, authorities were ready to hand over the baby’s ashes to them.

“I did not have the heart to take the ashes. We were already dealing with the shock of losing our son who was just 20 days old, and then to be told he was cremated, which goes against our religious practice, was just unbearable,” said Mr. Fahim, breaking down. He last saw his son on December 7, the night he rushed him to a leading government hospital for children, after noticing the baby’s congestion-like symptoms.

In barely two days, baby Shaykh was in the news as Sri Lanka’s youngest victim of the virus, cremated against his family’s wishes because of the government’s policy of allowing only cremation, based on unsubstantiated claims that bodies of COVID-19 victims could contaminate groundwater. “We were repeatedly told the cremation has to be done within 24 hours,” Mr. Fahim recalled.

Continue reading ‘Cremation of 20 Day Old Muslim Baby Against Wishes of Family by Authorities Heightens Resentment and Opposition to Compulsory Cremation of Alleged COVID -19 Victims in Sri Lanka’ »

Cabal of State officials and their close associates in the Business community Make Important Govt decisions Bypassing the Prime minister and the Cabinet of Ministers, States National People’s Power MP Dr Harini Amarasuriya.

By

Imesh Ranasinghe

A cabal of state officials and their close associates in the business community have been making important government decisions bypassing the prime minister and the cabinet of ministers, National People’s Power (NPP) MP Dr Harini Amarasuriya said.

These individuals are not accountable to parliament and, as a result, the legislature has weakened since the advent of the 20th amendment to the constitution, she said.

Continue reading ‘Cabal of State officials and their close associates in the Business community Make Important Govt decisions Bypassing the Prime minister and the Cabinet of Ministers, States National People’s Power MP Dr Harini Amarasuriya.’ »

Large Scale De-forestation, Killing of Wildlife, Pollution of Water Resources and Environmental Destruction Continues Under Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency Despite Pre-election Promises to the Contrary

by Rohan Wijesinha & Dr. Sumith Pilapitiya

“The state of the planet is broken. Humanity is waging war on nature. This is suicidal.”
– Antonio Guterres, U.N. Secretary-General, December 2020

In Sri Lanka, the current Infection Fatality Ratio (IFR) for Covid-19, as per official figures in media reports, stands at approximately 0.5%. That is 1 in every 200 people who contract the virus sadly passes away. Yet, hope is on the way. The amazing development of vaccines, in record time, may soon help contain this pandemic. We caused it, and we will soon have the means to cure it.

On the other hand, if we continue to destroy our forests, irreparably damage our climate, pollute the land and sea, and jeopardize the country’s water catchment areas, then human mortality would not be contained at just 0.5%. Instead, in time, we would all, 100% of us, face extinction. We will take most other species into oblivion with us, as well. At the current rate of destruction, it is not inconceivable that this may happen in less than a hundred years from now. Is this the legacy that we wish to leave our grandchildren, the end game of life? They will curse us for it.

Visions of Prosperity

When old men hold the reins of power, their vision is often limited by the horizon of their remaining lifespan. A year ago, however, the country overwhelmingly elected a leader who though from political clan, was not a politician. He served the country as a soldier and, famously, as an arch military strategist, and was one of those mainly responsible for the ending of the War, and of the peace we now enjoy.

This strategy, this understanding from a different perspective, seemed to come to the fore in his Election Manifesto in which the now President, His Excellency Gotabaya Rajapkase, promised that decision-making would, in future, be based on the findings of science, and of those qualified with the necessary knowledge and experience to make such assessments. This was sweet sound to those of us who had got so used to living on the whims of political expediency, corruption and maladministration.

Continue reading ‘Large Scale De-forestation, Killing of Wildlife, Pollution of Water Resources and Environmental Destruction Continues Under Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency Despite Pre-election Promises to the Contrary’ »

The” Great Helmsman ” President Xi Jinping Seeks to fundamentally revise world order by placing the People’s Republic of China at the centre to serve its authoritarian and hegemonic goals.

By Col R Hariharan

Indian troops have brought Kailash range in eastern Ladakh under their operational control by occupying heights and thereby dislocated Chinese plans to grab territory to gain strategic advantage. For the first time, India has gained tactical advantage to disrupt any Chinese military adventure in the region.

This unexpected move by India, which had generally been bending backwards not to provoke China, has probably caught PLA troops by surprise. But the Chinese leadership had probably factored this while assessing the strategic reset of the Indo-Pacific security scene after the Quad Alliance gained more traction.

This was evident when Chinese President Xi Jinping addressed PLA members of the National People’s Congress on May 26, 2020. According to Xinhua, Xi “ordered the military to be prepared for the worst case scenario, scale up and promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations and resolutely safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests”.

Xi’s utter disregard for India’s sensitivity after 20 Indian troops were killed in an unarmed skirmish with intruding Chinese troops at Galwan on June 15 triggered widespread anti-China sentiments among Indians. This added to the urgency of the government to rework its China strategy. India’s burgeoning new China narrative was evident in the operations to secure the Kailash range. It was also probably a moment of truth for Prime Minister Narendra Modi; during the last five years, he made relentless efforts to build a win-win relationship with China, but to little avail.

Continue reading ‘The” Great Helmsman ” President Xi Jinping Seeks to fundamentally revise world order by placing the People’s Republic of China at the centre to serve its authoritarian and hegemonic goals.’ »

Gotabaya Govt’s Pre-emptive Strike Against LTTE “Maaveerar Naal”

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

November 27th 1989 was the day on which the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)first observed its annual “Maaveerar Naal” or Great Heroes Day (GHD). The LTTE and its leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran are no more after the military defear of the tigers in May 2009. Yet the Great Heroes Day(GHD) continues to commemorated on a low scale in different forms by tigerish elements.

Nowadays Nov 27 is being propagated as the “Thamizhar Theseeya Ninaivaenthal Thinam” or Tamil National Remembrance Day. Several Tamil political parties claiming to espouse Tamil nationalism – aided and abetted by sections of the Tamil media – have been engaging in the political game of commemorating the “Maaveerar Naal”(GHD) as “Ninaivaenthal Thinam”(Remembrance day). Tamil politicians lead a team of volunteers to clean up cemeteries in advance , make speeches on Nov 27th and thereafter light lamps to commemorate the “lives of those who gave up their lives” for the Tamil people.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Govt’s Pre-emptive Strike Against LTTE “Maaveerar Naal”’ »

From a pro-UNP Bar (then) we have a pro-Rajapasksa Bar (now) which seems to be deaf, dumb and blind, even though injustice is caused to a member of its own tribe.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Given deeply worrying abuse of power historically by the Sri Lankan State under states of emergency with national security as justification, the covid-19 global pandemic must not be employed, much like conflict in the North and the South was utilised, as a cover to trample on civil liberties.

A rare and brave intervention

When a so-called medicinal man (less politely referred to by some as a witch doctor) touts a syrup to ‘cure’ covid 19 for which large numbers of desperate human beings queue, sans social distancing outside his house in Kegalle, he escapes unscathed despite bringing about a clear violation of quarantine regulations.

Not only that, this worthy is later entertained in Parliament with the Speaker and sundry Ministers sipping this ‘miracle’ tonic. What then, is the point of forbidding large gatherings or arresting people walking on the streets on the basis that they are not wearing masks?

And why is that same latitude afforded to shifty-eyed witch doctors with political patrons not given to Tamil parents protesting the disappearances of their children in the Wanni, who are told that they will be quarantined if they do not stop their protest? Or more empathy shown to the parents of a covid-19 infected (Muslim) baby, who had endure the child being cremated contrary to their religious beliefs as well as being accused of negligence by the authorities? For Muslims to protest against such treatment, their Ministers, MPs and community leaders must speak up, must resign from Government, not parrot commands from above while safeguarding positions of power and privilege.

Continue reading ‘From a pro-UNP Bar (then) we have a pro-Rajapasksa Bar (now) which seems to be deaf, dumb and blind, even though injustice is caused to a member of its own tribe.’ »

“Bivva Nedha Kali Amma Corona Paniya ?” ( Have You not Imbibed Goddess Kali’s Divine Corona Healing Honey?)

By

Lucien Rajakarunayake

It is not the upcoming solar eclipse on December 14, which will not be seen here, that has brought any new interest, but the major solar eclipse on June 1955 that is now remembered by many; especially with the “Bivva Neda Vadakaha Sudiya” baila beat and the tale of “Emali Paney” being revived in the minds of many from this honey trap of Covid cure. .

Those who take special delight in drinking the new “Kali Amma Corona Paniya” (Divine Corona Healing Honey or Vasangatha Suva Paniya), must be having their own songs and dances, as Covid-19 spreads worldwide and we have a syrup to save our people from this global disaster. This is the height of indigenous syrup era, which has nothing to do with any vaccines developed elsewhere in the world, be it in the US, the UK, Russia or China. We are in the Hela Suvaya era, which may soon take us more than 2000 years ahead from the rest of the world.

Continue reading ‘“Bivva Nedha Kali Amma Corona Paniya ?” ( Have You not Imbibed Goddess Kali’s Divine Corona Healing Honey?)’ »

If the TNA is willing to cooperate with the government India is ready to provide assistance for development projects in the Tamil areas. If the TNA does not cooperate they cannot expect anything else from India. This is India’s current approach to the Tamil issue.

By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, who visited Sri Lanka last week, met with TNA leader R Sampanthan at the India House for about half an hour prior returning to New Delhi.

It is learned that the two talked about the future of the provincial councils which would give some devolution to the Tamils and the 13th Amendment to the Constitution which led to it and agreed to keep what they discussed in secrecy owing to the sensitivity of the issue.

During the meeting with Sampanthan, Doval had expressed interest in the economic development of the northern and eastern provinces and had advised Sampanthan that the Tamil National Alliance should focus more on economic development.

The fact is, in the current context, India does not want or is unable to put pressure on the Sri Lankan government regarding domestic political issues, such as the constitution and devolution. Though Indian Primer Minister Narendra Modi,during his official meetings with Rajapaksa brothers , made it a point to insist that SriLankan Tamils’ aspirations must be addressed through the full implementation of the 13th amendment but to no avail.They (Rajapaksa brothers )always maintained a studied silence in front of PM Modi and later used to give lengthy interviews to Indian prominent English news papers in Delhi itself proclaiming that they were unable to grant anything against the will of the Sinhala majority.That was their response to Modi’s request regarding Tamil problem,But, no doubt,India would certainly continue to raise the issue.

Continue reading ‘If the TNA is willing to cooperate with the government India is ready to provide assistance for development projects in the Tamil areas. If the TNA does not cooperate they cannot expect anything else from India. This is India’s current approach to the Tamil issue.’ »

“The Minister of Justice in Sri Lanka Today Must be Feeling Like the “Minister of Ports and Shipping” in Afghanistan” says MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament

(Text of Speech made in Parliment by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran on 09th December 2020 on Budget Votes of Ministry of Justice)

Thank you Honourable presiding member. I am glad to speak on the 3rd Reading, particularly on the votes of the Ministry of Justice today when my good friend at the Bar Hon. Ali Sabri is the minister of Justice. We’ve had a long association. He occupies a very prestigious post that of a Minister of Justice, In the olden days it was occupied by somebody who was from the Senate – from the upper house – because it was a prestigious office to hold. However I think he may feel like the Minister of ports and shipping of Afghanistan today.

I say this, because having listened to the exchange that took place when the former Minister of Justice was speaking: between the government benches and the main opposition party, one couldn’t escape wondering if they were both letting down the Judiciary, because when you accuse the other side of meddling with the Judiciary and cite Judgments that have been delivered by the Judiciary and imply that those judgments were wrong – were influenced by the executive of the day, then you are both actually letting down the Judiciary.

Perhaps that is the true state of affairs of the country because Judges continue their tenure. Governments come, Governments go but they continue and if you in the House today argue as to which point of time a particular judgment was given and what the political implication of that is, then you are both pointing a finger at the Judiciary and I am only worried that what you were doing was perhaps even justified.

Continue reading ‘“The Minister of Justice in Sri Lanka Today Must be Feeling Like the “Minister of Ports and Shipping” in Afghanistan” says MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament’ »

Gemini Ganesan the Romance King of Tamil Cinema: Birth Centenary of “Kaadhal Mannan”

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

November 17th 2020 was the birth centenary of popular Tamil cinema actor Gemini Ganesan. In a career spanning more than five decades Gemini Ganesan made his mark in Tamil films as the romantic hero par excellence. Gemini Ganesan was regarded widely as the greatest romantic lover in Tamil cinema. In fact he was dubbed “Kaadhal Mannan,” meaning “King of Romance” or “Romance King”. . Though he played a number of diverse roles , it was as a lover on screen that Gemini shone brightly. This earned him the evergreen laurel “Kaadhal Mannan”. This article denoting his birth centenary intends reviving pleasant memories of a man who gave me and millions of others immense pleasure through his movies.

What is most interesting about Gemini Ganesan is the fact that his on-screen and off-screen persona got intertwined in relation to Romance. While the evergreen actor Gemini crooned and danced his way into the hearts of many lovely heroines on screen, the off-screen hero too romanced many women in real life. Gemini had four wives plus several liaisons including live -in relationships with attractive women. He himself admitted to his numerous affairs with other married women to an Indian magazine in an interview . When the magazine wanted more details, Gemini declined to elaborate saying, “Gentlemen don’t tell!”

Continue reading ‘Gemini Ganesan the Romance King of Tamil Cinema: Birth Centenary of “Kaadhal Mannan”’ »

Sensational Capture and “Unofficial” Execution of JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Patabandi Don Nandasiri Wijeweera known to the world at large as Rohana Wijeweera was killed 31 years ago on 13 November 1989.The revolutionary leader of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) or People’s Liberation Front was 49 years old at the time of his death.

Patabendi Don Jinadasa Nandasiri Wijeweera (14 July 1943 – 13 November 1989)

The mastermind behind two bloody insurrections – in 1971 and from 1987 to 89 – was taken into custody on 12 November in the Kandy District and brought to Colombo. With Wijeweera’s capture and execution, the second JVP insurgency petered down gradually and ended.

The second JVP insurgency lasting for more than three years resulted in thousands of people being brutally killed by both the JVP as well as the counter insurgency forces comprising Police, paramilitary and security personnel. While no reliable estimates are available of the number of killings done by security personnel and other agents of the state, there are official figures of the killings done by the JVP.

Continue reading ‘Sensational Capture and “Unofficial” Execution of JVP Leader Rohana Wijeweera.’ »

LTTE’s Abortive Attempt to Assassinate Gotabaya Rajapaksa 14 Years Ago.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the Presidential Elections on 16 November 2019. He was formally sworn in as President two days later at the Ruwanweliseya in Anuradhapura. Today 18 November is the first anniversary of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa assuming office. Incidentally the President’s elder brother, former President and current Prime Minister Mahinda Percy Rajapaksa will also be celebrating his 75th birthday today (18).

The proverbial saying about blood being thicker than water was very much evident as “Mahinda Aiya” embraced “Gota Malli” tightly and hugged him speechlessly for more than a minute when Gotabaya arrived safe and sound at Temple Trees

While extending wishes to the two Rajapaksa brothers on their respective mile-post anniversaries, this column focuses this week on another important anniversary in the life of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa 14 years ago. It was on 1 December 2006 that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) made an attempt in Colombo to assassinate Gotabaya Rajapaksa serving as Secretary of Defence under his brother and then President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Gotabaya miraculously escaped that attempt and went on to forge his inevitable tryst with destiny.

Continue reading ‘LTTE’s Abortive Attempt to Assassinate Gotabaya Rajapaksa 14 Years Ago.’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa blames inordinate delay on the part of the Government Analyst, the Attorney-General and the police for the remandee crisis in the Prisons System where a large number of suspects are being held in jail pending investigations.


By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, yesterday (10) faulted the Government Analyst’s Department, the Attorney General’s Department and the Police over the simmering crisis in the ‘prisons system.’

The President’s Office quoted President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as having said at a meeting summoned to discuss shortcomings and problems in the ‘prisons system’ that due to inordinate delay on the part of the Government Analyst, the AG and the police, a large number of suspects were held in prisons pending investigations.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa blames inordinate delay on the part of the Government Analyst, the Attorney-General and the police for the remandee crisis in the Prisons System where a large number of suspects are being held in jail pending investigations.’ »

Writ Petition Filed before the Court of Appeal seeking access to Detained Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullahs with Romesh de Silva PC Appearing on behalf of Lawyer; Appeal Court President ustice Arjun Obeysekara recused himself from the hearing,


Detained Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullahs’ lawyers yesterday filed a writ Petition before the Court of Appeal seeking access to Hizbullah.

When the matter was taken up yesterday, Romesh De Silva PC, appearing on behalf of the Petitioner said that the lawyers have not had any access to Hizbullah since September.

He said they could not obtain instructions from Hizbullah as to what other remedies must be pursued with regard to his detention.

Continue reading ‘Writ Petition Filed before the Court of Appeal seeking access to Detained Attorney-at-Law Hejaaz Hizbullahs with Romesh de Silva PC Appearing on behalf of Lawyer; Appeal Court President ustice Arjun Obeysekara recused himself from the hearing,’ »

Gotabaya Govt Replaces Idea of Abolishing the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka with New Plan to Create a Compliant PUCSL by Appointing Supportive “Rubber Stampa” to fill Vacancies Caused by Forced Mass Resignation of Earlier Commissioners

By Uditha Jayasinghe

The Government appears to have changed track on scrapping the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) with moves being made to appoint new commissioners, a top official said yesterday.

Following the present commissioners decision to step down after a call from Treasury Secretary S. R. Attygalle on Tuesday, the Government is said to appoint a new set of commissioners shortly with the commission’s Chairman already earmarked. The decision to continue with PUCSL has been welcomed though some are wary about whether the regulatory body will be independent and effective. The move also came under heavy criticism by the Opposition, professionals and civil society.

The incumbent Commissioners who were requested to step down were Chairman Prof. Kithsiri Liyanage, Prof. Kapila Perera, Chandra Ekanayake, Dr. Nishan De Mel and Sadun Gamage. PUCSL commissioners are typically appointed for a five-year term. PUCSL sources confirmed Prof. Kapila Perera and Chandra Ekanayake have already handed in their resignation letters, while the rest are expected to do so within this week.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Govt Replaces Idea of Abolishing the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka with New Plan to Create a Compliant PUCSL by Appointing Supportive “Rubber Stampa” to fill Vacancies Caused by Forced Mass Resignation of Earlier Commissioners’ »

Attorney-at-Law Gowry Shangary Thavarasha files Fundamental Rights violation petition on behalf of Former CID Director Shani Abeysekara (59) who is incarcerated in Mahara Remand Prison eeking his safety and compensation of Rs. 3 million.

By S.S. Selvanayagam

Former Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Director Shani Abeysekara (59), who is incarcerated in Mahara Remand Prison, yesterday filed a Fundamental Rights violation petition, seeking his safety and compensation of Rs. 3 million.

Attorney-at-Law Gowry Shangary Thavarasha filed the petition on his behalf in the Supreme Court.

She cited IGP C. D. Wickramarathne, ASP Neville Silva, and IP S. P. D. J. Nishantha, as well as Senior DIG Deshanbandu Tennakoone and the Attorney General as Respondents.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-at-Law Gowry Shangary Thavarasha files Fundamental Rights violation petition on behalf of Former CID Director Shani Abeysekara (59) who is incarcerated in Mahara Remand Prison eeking his safety and compensation of Rs. 3 million.’ »

There is a contradiction between the democratic DNA of Sri Lankan social consciousness and behaviour, and the harsh, rigid, stubborn, insensitive, monarcho-militarist mode of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka


“We are not living an era of change, but a change of era”
Pope Francis

There is a contradiction between the needs of recovery and progress on all fronts, and the regime’s restrictive framework and retrogressive ideas.

The COVID-19 proliferation and the Mahara massacre are but manifestations of the ideology of denial and the failure of the organisational doctrine-cum-model introduced by the GR regime.

There is a contradiction between the propaganda of the regime and the basic requirements of public credibility. The rebuttal by the College of Psychiatrists of the story of riot-inducing drugs, mysteriously stocked in the dispensary of Mahara hospital and supposedly ingested en masse by the prisoners, is an example. (The Sunday Times –http://www.sundaytimes.lk/201206/news/college-of-psychiatrists-disputes-claims-connecting-pills-with-violent-behaviour-424708.html)

There is a contradiction between the ideology of the regime and the requirements of resuscitating the macroeconomy as distinct from corporate profits.

There is a contradiction between the regime’s self-image (another Israel) and its reality.

There is a contradiction between the openness, kaleidoscopic patterning, and democratic DNA of Sri Lankan social consciousness and behaviour, and the harsh, rigid, brittle, stubborn, insensitive, monarcho-militarist mode of the regime.

Continue reading ‘There is a contradiction between the democratic DNA of Sri Lankan social consciousness and behaviour, and the harsh, rigid, stubborn, insensitive, monarcho-militarist mode of the Gotabaya Rajapaksa regime.’ »

All Five Commissioners of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Tender Their resignations Jointly Following Telephone Call from Yreasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle

By Uditha Jayasinghe

All five commissioners of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) stepped down yesterday following a call from Treasury Secretary S. R. Attygalle.

It is unclear how the PUCSL will continue to function following the resignations of the five commissioners. The Commissioners were Prof. Kithsiri Liyanage, Prof. Kapila Perera, Chandra Ekanayake, Dr. Nishan De Mel and Sadun Gamage. PUCSL commissioners are typically appointed for a five-year term.

Continue reading ‘All Five Commissioners of the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Tender Their resignations Jointly Following Telephone Call from Yreasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle’ »

Devanagala Being Turned into a new Sinhala-Muslim flashpoint; rabblerousing monk, Galagoda-Aththe Gnanasara visit to Devanagala last week revives fears of a new “Aluthgama”

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“People slide by degrees…. Each of the early steps may seem too small to be counted” Jonathan Glover (‘Humanity: A Moral History of the Twentieth Century’)

It was a day in July 2020. The Grand Hotel, Nuwara Eliya, presented former cricketer Sanath Jayasuriya with a bat made of Swiss chocolate. With it, he shattered an ostentatious chocolate dessert fashioned in the form of a cricket ball (http://www.newswire.lk/2020/07/26/watch-striking-shot-by-master-blaster-had-the-chocolate-desserts/).

Such outbursts of bling, silly and vulgarian in general, become abhorrent in times of national distress. In July 2020, Sri Lankan had just emerged from a nearly three-month lockdown, with both the economy and a large swathe of Lankans facing an uncertain future. A Swiss-chocolate blast at such a time is not just bad optics; it provides a hint of bad economics which, if not remedied, can morph into deadly socio-politics.

In September 2020, a mother removed her three children from a school in Ginigathhena because she couldn’t feed them, a story that symbolised life in the time of pandemic for many Lankans. Since then, a new wave of infections had hit, heaping further devastation on national and household economics.

The Government’s economic policies are adding to this distress. For example, the interest rate gamble can undermine the financial security of even middle class families. The resultant drop in private consumption can have a knock-on effect on businesses, especially of the small and medium variety.

Worsening inequality can stymie the Government’s attempt to boost growth. Even the IMF, once a mainstay of the neo-liberal Washington Consensus, has publicly accepted the fundamental incompatibility between durable growth and high income-inequality. The change was propelled in part by the work of such IMF researchers as economist Jonathan D Ostry.

The IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva recently identified progressive taxation as a “key component of effective fiscal policy. At the top of the income distribution, our research shows that marginal tax rates can be raised without sacrificing economic growth” (Reduce inequality to create opportunity – IMF blog – 7 January 2020).

Continue reading ‘Devanagala Being Turned into a new Sinhala-Muslim flashpoint; rabblerousing monk, Galagoda-Aththe Gnanasara visit to Devanagala last week revives fears of a new “Aluthgama”’ »

Rajapaksa Govt Moves to Abolish the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Will Open the Door for Corruption and Create a Dictatorship Warns Eran Wickramaratne MP

By Asiri Fernando

The recent move to abolish the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) by senior public officials will open the door to corruption and is contrary to the policies presented by the President, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne charged yesterday.

Addressing the press at the opposition leader’s office, Wickramaratne said that the move by two civil servants was unlawful and that those involved should be questioned as to what basis they made the call. He was joined by SJB MP Manusha Nanayakkara.

“We have seen a letter sent by Secretary to the President P.B. Jayasundara, to the Secretary of the Ministry of Finance S.R. Attygalle, informing him that the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL) should be dissolved. What have they done? They are creating a dictatorship,” Wickramaratne said, pointing out that dissolving the PUCSL is in contrast to what was stated in the Prime Minister’s budget speech.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksa Govt Moves to Abolish the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka Will Open the Door for Corruption and Create a Dictatorship Warns Eran Wickramaratne MP’ »

Sarath vs Sarath: Field Marshall Fonseka Says it was he who got Rear Admiral Weerasekera the post of Civil Defence Force Commandant and Provided him with Vehicle and Escort and Accuses Public Security Minister of Being Ungrateful


SJB Gampaha District MP Field Marshal Sarath told Parliament yesterday that it was he who had got Rear Admiral Sarath Weerasekera the post of Commandant of the Civil Defence Force, when the latter was without a job.

Participating in the third reading debate on Budget 2021, Field Marshal Fonseka said: “When then Secretary Defence Gotabaya Rajapaksa wanted to appoint a commandant to the CDF, I named Sarath Weerasekera. Then Navy commander Karannagoda opposed it. After Weerasekera was appointed the CDF commandant, Karannagoda did not give him a vehicle, driver or escort. So, Weerasekera came in tears to my office. It was I who gave him a vehicle, driver and an escort. I also gave him army officers to run the CDF. Now, he is showing how ungrateful he is after I criticised him for hugging his son in police uniform after assuming duties as the Minister of Public Security.”

Continue reading ‘Sarath vs Sarath: Field Marshall Fonseka Says it was he who got Rear Admiral Weerasekera the post of Civil Defence Force Commandant and Provided him with Vehicle and Escort and Accuses Public Security Minister of Being Ungrateful’ »

We now need to ask openly for the full implementation of UNHRC Resolution 30/1. Our MPs must ask for these in Parliament. As things are, no one asks for these out of fear of a repressive state and judicial machinery, so the world thinks we are happy with allowing the crimes to go unpunished.

By

Prof. S.Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

The position of our Government is that no war crimes were committed by our forces at the end of the war. In the light of the evidence made available by the UN and world media to deny it at this point of time would be to fool ourselves.

Last week (22 November) I wrote on our responsibility for crimes on the battlefield in May 2009 and of how Australia has approached its own charges of war crimes. I commended its example for our Government beginning trials, asking for forgiveness, and rescinding the medallions, promotions, and high offices given to military personnel.

Subsequently news is that Rear Admiral Dr. Sarath Weerasekera on taking oaths as Minister of Public Security had committed himself to protecting all peoples of Sri Lanka. If that is sincere and true, then to protect Tamils, he must embark on punishing all war criminals identified by due process and withholding promotions from those, inquiries against whom, as in the five students and ACF cases, have been suppressed. So long as the Government fails to do so, those alleged to have committed grave human rights abuses would remain in high office.

Recently it was reported that those mourning their dead, who had not opened their shops to remember their murdered loved ones, were forced by the Army to open their shops closed to commemorate their dead. Therefore it would appear that by “all communities” Dr. Weerasekera meant that protection would only be offered to the majority community… From abjuration of any responsibility to commitments on prosecuting war crimes, the Government is totally mendacious.

Continue reading ‘We now need to ask openly for the full implementation of UNHRC Resolution 30/1. Our MPs must ask for these in Parliament. As things are, no one asks for these out of fear of a repressive state and judicial machinery, so the world thinks we are happy with allowing the crimes to go unpunished.’ »

The criminal investigations conducted by Shani Abeysekera during the Yahapalana regime were not based on false or fabricated crimes. The Lasantha Murder,Prageeth Disappearance,Keith Abduction were crimes actually committed in the country at that time.

By

Victor Ivan

The entire State of Sri Lanka in general and the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary in particular, i.e. the three main constituent elements of the State, are in a state of deterioration and complete breakdown caused by excessive degeneration and resulting impotence and incompetence.

The entire State has reached a level where it cannot be revitalised by simple reforms without recreating the entirety of systemic apparatus. In this backdrop, Gota appears to be failing not only because of his incapacity, but also the failure of the State which he has inherited to govern, which is beyond revitalisation, has contributed to this situation.

Therefore, changing the operator alone is not the solution to the problem. What the country needs today is not a competent operator, but an innovative trendsetter who dares to reconstruct and recreate the machinery which is rendered completely inactive. Yet, not only the public, but also the political parties of Sri Lanka are used to perceive the problem as an outcome of not having a good operator rather than a problem of not having a competent trendsetter to redesign the machinery.

Continue reading ‘The criminal investigations conducted by Shani Abeysekera during the Yahapalana regime were not based on false or fabricated crimes. The Lasantha Murder,Prageeth Disappearance,Keith Abduction were crimes actually committed in the country at that time.’ »

Sri Lankan Judges Must Resist the ‘onslaught’ of racism, militarism, and political opportunism of politicians who subvert the Constitution and not the ‘onslaught of criticism’ that President Rajapaksa refers to.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his Minister of Justice who went charging into Parliament this week to pontificate or plead for judges to be protected ‘from criticism’ may well be advised to reflect on some salutary truths.

Truly remarkable Ministerial idiocy

In South Asia’s less than salubrious context of the separation of powers being limited to constitutional theory rather than evidenced in practice, ruling party politicians defending the independence of the judiciary is the surest sign that the judicial institution is not in a happy state. The Minister justified the wheels of justice turning in fortuitous ways towards Government politicians in recent weeks by arguing that these were all cases filed to extract political vengeance by the previous administration.

His most peculiar logic, (or rather, the absence thereof), was that, as a lawyer appearing in many of these cases, he knew that they were trumped up accusations. Far be it from me to waste valuable column inches on asinine politicians but this truly remarkable idiocy belongs in a class of its own. As the President’s personal lawyer once upon a doubtlessly beneficial time not so long ago, the Minister may well believe in his brief that his client, other members of the Rajapaksa family and their sundry supporters including public servants, indicted variously on serious charges ranging from misappropriation to abuse of public property, were innocent.

Even so, that is a subjective belief, not to be pressed upon the public as an absurd justification for the propriety of court verdicts which (apparently) the Minister was trying to uphold. Surely those decisions, of the trial court or the appeal court as the case may be, should be defended or critiqued for that matter on an objective assessment of their merits or demerits? Indeed, this Ministerial tilting at the windmills of Opposition parliamentarians who pounced on recent acquittals of the Government’s men to question the legitimacy of the rulings, does far more damage than good to their own cause.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Judges Must Resist the ‘onslaught’ of racism, militarism, and political opportunism of politicians who subvert the Constitution and not the ‘onslaught of criticism’ that President Rajapaksa refers to.’ »

Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara Wants Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Stop Moves by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Secretary PB Jayasundara to Dismantle the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lank

By Namini Wijedasa

WaWter Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara has slammed moves by the President’s office to dissolve the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lanka (PUCSL), pointing out to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa that the independent regulator is under the Premier’s purview and not the President’s.

“As the Public Utilities Commission is an institution under your Ministry, any decision related to it must be taken by you,” Minister Nanayakkara, whose subject matter, water, is also regulated by the PUCSL, said in a letter to the Prime Minister on Thursday.

Continue reading ‘Water Supply Minister Vasudeva Nanayakkara Wants Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Stop Moves by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Secretary PB Jayasundara to Dismantle the Public Utilities Commission of Sri Lank’ »

Despite a strong protest by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena to the British authorities, pro-LTTE groups in London went ahead with the planned ‘Great Heroes Day’ commemoration on a grand scale in the United Kingdom.

by Sujeeva Nivunhella

Despite a strong protest by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner in London, Ms. Saroja Sirisena to the British authorities, pro-LTTE groups in London went ahead with the planned ‘Great Heroes Day’ commemoration on a grand scale in the United Kingdom last Sunday.

The High Commissioner asked the British authorities whether a proscribed terrorist organization like Al-Qaeda would be allowed to have its own way and act with impunity the way LTTE groups were openly doing in London.

“The LTTE remains a banned terror group in the UK”, she noted.

Continue reading ‘Despite a strong protest by Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Saroja Sirisena to the British authorities, pro-LTTE groups in London went ahead with the planned ‘Great Heroes Day’ commemoration on a grand scale in the United Kingdom.’ »

Sacking of the president and four members of the Sri Lanka Medical Council has triggered an uproar with medical professionals slamming Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi’s move as “completely flawed” and “an attempt to undermine the autonomy and independence of the apex regulatory body”.

By

Suresh Perera

The sacking of the president and four members nominated to the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) by the previous government has triggered an uproar, with medical professionals slamming Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi’s move as “completely flawed” and “an attempt to undermine the autonomy and independence of the apex regulatory body”.

Expressing consternation over his sudden dismissal as the president of the statutory body, eminent Specialist Consultant Paediatrician, Prof. Harendra de Silva, said he was contemplating legal action against his removal by the Minister.

“I will be challenging my dismissal in the Court of Appeal”, he said.

In terms of the Medical Ordinance, there is no provision to remove the president or any of the four council members nominated by the serving Health Minister of the time, he asserted.

“Before I was informed of my termination, some Health Ministry officials urged me to resign, but I declined to do so”, Dr. de Silva told The Sunday Island.

Pressure was also exerted on the other four members of the council to step down, he noted. “However, we collectively stood our ground and refused to throw in the towel”.

“It was after I dismissed the overtures calling for my resignation that a letter indicating that I have been removed as SLMC president was sent across”, he further said.

Prof. Narada Warnasuriya and Dr. Pushpika Ubesiri, two of the other council members who were dismissed, said that they will also be seeking legal redress over their removal in “contravention of the Medical Ordinance”.

Continue reading ‘Sacking of the president and four members of the Sri Lanka Medical Council has triggered an uproar with medical professionals slamming Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi’s move as “completely flawed” and “an attempt to undermine the autonomy and independence of the apex regulatory body”.’ »

What cannot be forgotten, as the State would like us to, is the reality that the responsibility for convicted prisoners and remanded persons lies wholly with the Govt.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The Mahara Prison and its 11 inmates who have died, or were killed by gunshots or other means, is certainly in the mind of the people.

As the Covid-19 pandemic spreads beyond the often declared expectations of hopes of the government, the Mahara Prison has raised the question of how Covid infected persons, whether symptomatic or not, are actually handled by the State, or the Prison authorities. What cannot be forgotten, as the State would like us to, is the reality that the responsibility for convicted prisoners and remanded persons lies wholly with the Government.

Continue reading ‘What cannot be forgotten, as the State would like us to, is the reality that the responsibility for convicted prisoners and remanded persons lies wholly with the Govt.’ »

Opposition MPs ask Govt to clarify why over 100 prisoners were transferred from the Welikada Prison to Mahara amidst the spread of the coronavirus and why video footage that was released to the media did not include scenes of the shooting.

By Chandani Kirinde

Opposition lawmakers yesterday raised questions in Parliament about the Mahara Prison shooting that left 11 dead and scores of prisoners injured as a committee headed by a retired High Court Judge began an inquiry into the incident by visiting the prison.

Justice Minister Ali Sabry said that the five-member committee headed by retired Judge Sarojini Kusala Weerawardena was to visit the prison as part of the inquiry. Its other members include U.R. De Silva PC, who is an Adviser to the Justice Ministry, Justice Ministry Additional Secretary Rohana Hapugaswatta, retired DIG D.R.L. Ranaweera and retired Prisons Commissioner Gamini Jayasinghe.

The Committee began its work admits growing concern about what led to the unrest which resulted in the shooting.

Continue reading ‘Opposition MPs ask Govt to clarify why over 100 prisoners were transferred from the Welikada Prison to Mahara amidst the spread of the coronavirus and why video footage that was released to the media did not include scenes of the shooting.’ »

India, Maldives and Sri Lanka revived trilateral maritime talks after six years. It was soon after the Quad nations staged the two phased Malabar 2020 exercise in the Bay of Bengal but the question remains if these measures will suffice to withstand rising Chinese power that is already consolidated in the region.

By Lakna Paranamanna

Last week India, Maldives and Sri Lanka revived trilateral maritime talks after six years. It was soon after the Quad nations staged the two phased Malabar 2020 exercise in the Bay of Bengal. The U.S. led alliance has upped its game against Chinese influence in the Indo-Pacific waters, but the question remains if these measures will suffice to withstand rising Chinese power that is already consolidated in the region.

The answer to these queries, can be explored in the theory of sea power argued by Alfred Thayar Mahan – the renowned American Naval officer and strategist, whose 1890 book ‘Influence of Sea Power upon History’ extensively wrote on the use of enhancing maritime prowess to elevate America as the next hegemon to replace the waning power of Great Britain at the time.

Continue reading ‘India, Maldives and Sri Lanka revived trilateral maritime talks after six years. It was soon after the Quad nations staged the two phased Malabar 2020 exercise in the Bay of Bengal but the question remains if these measures will suffice to withstand rising Chinese power that is already consolidated in the region.’ »

“We will continue to struggle for justice and the right to bury our dead” – Joint Statement by Twenty Civil Society Groups


(Twenty civil society groups have issued the following press statement on the forced cremation of COVID dead as against respecting burial by people of certain faith. The statement said that of the 124 persons dead due to COVID-19 as at 3 December, 50 were Muslims.)

On Tuesday the country’s Supreme Court, by a majority decision refused to grant leave to proceed to the 11 applications filed by petitioners belonging to Muslim, Christian and Catholic communities challenging the Sri Lankan Government’s forcible cremation policy

The faith the victims of forced cremation of COVID-19 or COVID-19 suspected dead had in the highest court in Sri Lanka has been shattered. Victims and communities are now left without a recourse in Sri Lanka for the continued injustice they suffer.

Continue reading ‘“We will continue to struggle for justice and the right to bury our dead” – Joint Statement by Twenty Civil Society Groups’ »

Transfer of COVID-19 infected prisoners from Welikada to Mahara sparked unrest States Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.


The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) in its interim recommendations on the incident at the Mahara Prison on 29 November said that the protests were sparked by the transfer of prisoners infected with the COVID-19 virus from Welikada Prison to Mahara and had the authorities responded to prison officials’ concerns over this proposed transfer and set up a separate treatment facility for prisoners, this clash and the subsequent deaths could have been completely avoided.

HRCSL officials who undertook the visit to the prison a day after the clashes also said in its interim report that all new admissions must be first subject to PCR testing before being included in the prisons, quarantine facilities be provided for new intakes, and a separate treatment facility be provided for all prisoners and remandees who are infected with the virus.

The HRCSL also recommended that all prisoners at Mahara be tested for COVID-19 while there should also be regular testing and treatment for officials.

Continue reading ‘Transfer of COVID-19 infected prisoners from Welikada to Mahara sparked unrest States Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka.’ »

Transferring 120 Corona Infected Inmates from Welikade to Mahara at the Behest of of a Doctor who was a “Viyathmaga” Organization Member and in Charge of Prisoners Health was the Cause of the Riot States Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa in Parliament.

By Saman Indrajith

The recent Mahara Prison riot erupted as 120 inmates afflicted with COVID-19 had been taken there from the Welikada prison at the behest of a Doctor in charge of prisoners’ health, who was a Viyathmaga member, Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa told Parliament yesterday.

“Many explanations have been given by ministers about the riot at Mahara Prison. The number of deaths is not yet known and around 120 are wounded. One minister said that there was an invisible hand behind the clashes. Another said the motive was to bring the government into disrepute internationally. A theory was concocted that prisoners had taken some narcotic tablets called Reverse and they and fought because they wanted to see blood. But the truth is otherwise. The real cause is that 120 inmates infected with coronavirus were transferred to Mahara from the Welikada prison at the behest of a doctor in charge of prisoners’ health. That director is a member of the Viyathmaga. Those who were transferred to Mahara prison caused a cluster of 183 persons. As the infection spread fast there was unrest and tension. That was the reason for Mahara riots”

Continue reading ‘Transferring 120 Corona Infected Inmates from Welikade to Mahara at the Behest of of a Doctor who was a “Viyathmaga” Organization Member and in Charge of Prisoners Health was the Cause of the Riot States Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa in Parliament.’ »

Sri Lankan civil society organizations agitating for the Muslims’ right to bury those of them who had died of COVID have declared that they will explore options to secure their inalienable religious right to bury their dead

Sri Lankan civil society organizations agitating for the Muslims’ right to bury those of them who had died of COVID have declared that they will explore options to secure their inalienable religious right to bury their dead.

“The faith the victims of forced cremation of COVID-19 or Covid-19 suspected dead had in the highest court in Sri Lanka has been shattered. Victims and communities are now left without a recourse in Sri Lanka for the continued injustice they suffer,” said a joint statement issued by 20 leading civil society organizations after the Sri Lanka Supreme Court summarily dismissed eleven petitions seeking an order to the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government to reverse its decision to ban the burial of COVID dead.

The statement quoted one of the victims who challenged the offensive regulation in court as saying: “We placed greater hopes in the courts. However, for reasons unknown, our applications have been rejected. Now we feel dejected, let down and abandoned.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan civil society organizations agitating for the Muslims’ right to bury those of them who had died of COVID have declared that they will explore options to secure their inalienable religious right to bury their dead’ »

“I am just a small instrument. If I win, it is people’s victory. If I lose, it is people’s loss. I request people to be with me.I will be more than happy now if I lose my life for the people” Says Tamil Film Star Rajinikanth

Hours after announcing that he would launch a political party in January 2021, actor Rajinikanth on Thursday said that political change is the need of the hour and that he was just an instrument of the people.

Citing the COVID-19 pandemic, he told journalists outside his Poes Garden residence that he was thinking about how this [fighting elections] was possible to do, without meeting people.

“But then…when I was ill in Singapore, I came back alive because of their (people) prayers. I will be more than happy now if I lose my life for the people. Political change is very important and the need of the hour. If it doesn’t happen now, it won’t happen ever. Everything needs to be changed,” he said.

Continue reading ‘“I am just a small instrument. If I win, it is people’s victory. If I lose, it is people’s loss. I request people to be with me.I will be more than happy now if I lose my life for the people” Says Tamil Film Star Rajinikanth’ »

Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth Will Start a Political Party in January 2021 to Contest Forthcoming Tamil Nadu State assembly Elections Mext Year; Party Launch Date to be Announced on December 31st 2020

On Thursday, actor Rajinikanth announced that he will start a political party in January 2021 to contest in the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections and the date will be announced on December 31.

In a tweet in Tamil, Mr. Rajinikanth said, “In the upcoming elections, we will achieve a big victory with the support of the people. A Spiritual politics will emerge in Tamil Nadu that will bring transparency, honesty…a politics with no corruption and one that is free of caste and religious bias.”

Continue reading ‘Tamil Superstar Rajinikanth Will Start a Political Party in January 2021 to Contest Forthcoming Tamil Nadu State assembly Elections Mext Year; Party Launch Date to be Announced on December 31st 2020’ »

Over 12,000 People Affected as Heavy rain lashes Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka Following Cyclone Burevi

By

Meera Srinivasan

At least 12,000 residents of Sri Lanka’s Northern and Eastern provinces were severely affected as heavy rain lashed the region while cyclone Burevi made a landfall on Wednesday night. The maximum rainfall — 279.8 mm in the last 24 hours — was recorded in Kilinochchi district.

Incessant rainfall continued on Thursday as the cyclone moved towards Mannar district located on the island’s northwest coast, before heading towards south India.

Thousands living in Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Mannar, Vavuniya and the eastern Trincomalee district were badly affected, and nearly 200 homes were damaged, according to Pradeep Kodippili, spokesman of Sri Lanka’s Disaster Management Centre.

Continue reading ‘Over 12,000 People Affected as Heavy rain lashes Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka Following Cyclone Burevi’ »

The Rajapaksa regime of Today is the most hawkish, absolutist, militarist, ethno-hegemonistic, unilateralist , ideologically rigid and extremist ever in the island’s post-Independence history.

By Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

The substantive foreign policy debate during this Budget was between the SLPP and the Tamil Opposition. More specifically it was between Ministers Dinesh Gunawardena and Prof. G.L. Peiris on the one hand, and Parliamentarians M.A. Sumanthiran and Gajan Ponnambalam on the other. That debate, though superficially Sinhala/Tamil, south/north, was not simply that. It was an important and civilised clash of perspectives.

Each side said much that was correct but was partial, one-sided. Though the trees were of valuable timber, each side missed the wood for the trees. What Sri Lanka’s foreign policy lacks is the ability either to bridge the two perspectives or chart a middle path between them.

The keyword in the debate was sovereignty. Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and former Foreign Minister, currently the Minister of Education, G.L. Peiris argued strongly for the sovereign equality of states and non-interference, while Sumanthiran took the sovereignty of peoples—including, in Sumanthiran’s argument, the pre-existing, pre-colonial sovereignty of the Tamil statelet—as their ground. That latter point is untenable because when the kingdoms were brought together non-federally, and at the founding of independent Ceylon, the state form opted for was a unitary one as distinct from the separate referenda that the British insisted upon in India, yielding a quasi-federal compact.

Of the speakers in the debate on foreign affairs, Gajan Ponnambalam was something of an outlier, as he almost always is, but this time, he enunciated a most challenging, dialectically reasoned proposition which made his the most interesting single contribution to the discussion. Little wonder then that his speech was totally ignored.

The problem with both sides in the sovereignty debate was that they were standing on principles rather than practice, matters ‘de jure’ rather than ‘de facto’, the ‘ought’ of things rather than the ‘is’.

Taken together, their contending discourses would bring us to a closer approximation of the reality of how the world works—but they aren’t taken together.

Continue reading ‘The Rajapaksa regime of Today is the most hawkish, absolutist, militarist, ethno-hegemonistic, unilateralist , ideologically rigid and extremist ever in the island’s post-Independence history.’ »

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Dismisses Fundamental Rights Petitions Filed by Muslim Civil Society Members Challenging Govt Regulations Stipulating Compulsory Cremation of all COVID -18 Victims Instead of Burial

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Supreme Court of Sri Lanka on Tuesday dismissed petitions, including those filed by Muslim civil society members, challenging government regulations mandating cremation for all COVID-19-related deaths.

The gazette notification issued in April, a month after Sri Lanka detected its first local case of the coronavirus, set off concern among the island’s Muslims — they make up about 10% of Sri Lanka’s 21 million population — who sought a policy revision as the practice of cremations goes against their religious beliefs.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Dismisses Fundamental Rights Petitions Filed by Muslim Civil Society Members Challenging Govt Regulations Stipulating Compulsory Cremation of all COVID -18 Victims Instead of Burial’ »

Death Toll Rises to 11 in Mahara Prison Riot in which Over a 100 Inmates were Hospitalised due to Firing by Prison ;Guards “to bring unrest under control”;Amnesty International Urges “Thorough and Impartial Investigation Into Incident”

By

Meera Srinivasan

The death toll from the recent prison riots in Sri Lanka, sparked by fears of a raging second wave of COVID-19, rose to 11 on Tuesday.

Over 100 prisoners were injured when guards opened fire to contain the unrest on Sunday, as inmates at the Mahara prison, near Colombo, demanded to be freed after at least 1,000 prison inmates in the country tested COVID-19 positive. Prison guards “used force in order to bring under control an unrest”, police spokesman DIG Ajith Rohana had said.

Continue reading ‘Death Toll Rises to 11 in Mahara Prison Riot in which Over a 100 Inmates were Hospitalised due to Firing by Prison ;Guards “to bring unrest under control”;Amnesty International Urges “Thorough and Impartial Investigation Into Incident”’ »

Colombo High Court Judge R.Gurusinghe Acquits Basil Rajapaksa and three others from five charges of misappropriating Rs 2,291 Million “Divaneguma” funds without calling for defence evidence as “prosecution had not proven the charges against the accused beyond reasonable doubt”

By T. Farook Thajudeen

Colombo High Court yesterday released Basil Rajapaksa and three others from a case of misappropriating public funds without calling for defence evidence as pleaded by the defence counsel.

High Court Judge R. Gurusinghe acquitted the four accused, which was former Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa, former Ministry Secretary Dr. Nihal Jayathilaka, Divinaguma Development Department former Director General Kithsiri Ranawaka and Divinaguma Development Department former Deputy Director General Bandula Thilakaratna from the charges of misappropriating public funds.

Continue reading ‘Colombo High Court Judge R.Gurusinghe Acquits Basil Rajapaksa and three others from five charges of misappropriating Rs 2,291 Million “Divaneguma” funds without calling for defence evidence as “prosecution had not proven the charges against the accused beyond reasonable doubt”’ »

Dr.Sudarshini Fernandopulle Sworn in as Stste Minster of Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention; President Creates new Ministry to Cope with COVID -19 Pandemic Threat

MP Dr. Sudarshini Fernandopulle has been appointed as the State Minister of Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention.

The new State Minister was sworn in before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.

The State Ministry for Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention is a new portfolio.

Continue reading ‘Dr.Sudarshini Fernandopulle Sworn in as Stste Minster of Primary Health Services, Pandemics and COVID Prevention; President Creates new Ministry to Cope with COVID -19 Pandemic Threat’ »

Mahara Prison Riot Quelled by Firing;8 Inmates Killed and 62 Including 3 Prison Officials HospitalisedlBuildings Set Ablaze; Three separate Inquiries Launched by Justice Ministry, Prisons Dept and CID

By Asiri Fernando

The Justice Ministry, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Prisons Department are set to launch three separate inquiries into the incidents at the Mahara prison that took place on Sunday evening. The riot resulted in the deaths of eight inmates, sixty-two injured, and parts of the prison being set ablaze.

The CID probe follows the Inspector General of Police (IGP) C.D. Wickramaratne, being instructed by the Defence Ministry Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne, to initiate an inquiry into the incident. State Minister of Prison Reforms and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Dr Sudarshini Fernandopulle, told Daily FT that an internal investigation will also be carried out.

Continue reading ‘Mahara Prison Riot Quelled by Firing;8 Inmates Killed and 62 Including 3 Prison Officials HospitalisedlBuildings Set Ablaze; Three separate Inquiries Launched by Justice Ministry, Prisons Dept and CID’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa must scorn crawlingly subservient Sycophantic creatures lest he fall into the very same trap that his brother, ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa was caught in.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As Sri Lanka hurtles down the precipice of covid-19 contagion coupled with unprecedented economic devastation, bitter and biting anger at our plight can scarcely be contained.

‘Organised propaganda’vs public opinion

State health agencies tasked with handling the pandemic stamme and stutter while a militarised command continues to elbow out a professionally coordinated public health-led effort. In one sense, this is not all that remarkable. What we are facing is the common or garden path consequence of misrule where one set of self-serving authoritarians replaced another set of self-serving ‘democratic’ nincompoops who were too busy fighting with each other to govern properly while many on Colombo’s ‘liberal’ gravy train cheered, oblivious to danger signals early on.

In both cases, what is common to these two sets of truly irrepressible rogues is not only self-interest but also imperviousness to admitting one’s faults and changing direction in consequence thereof. Thus when President Gotabaya Rajapaksa proclaimed, in his Address to the Nation, on 18th November 2020 that the yardstick he would use to assess his success or failure one year into office, would be ‘public opinion’ and not ‘organised propaganda on social media platforms’ by political opponents, that begs the question as to what precisely is this ‘public opinion’ that he is referring to?

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa must scorn crawlingly subservient Sycophantic creatures lest he fall into the very same trap that his brother, ex- President Mahinda Rajapaksa was caught in.’ »

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi sacks Sri Lanka Medical Council President Prof, Harendra de Silva and four others while Monthly SLMC Meeting was in Progress;medical community divided over dramatic move


By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

The head and four others of the Sri Lanka Medical Council (SLMC) were sacked on Friday afternoon by Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi with the removal letters being delivered halfway through the SLMC’s monthly meeting which had started at 1 p.m.

The dramatic removal of SLMC President Prof. Harendra de Silva and others came following a report by a five-member committee appointed by the minister to inquire into complaints against the SLMC, the state watchdog body of medical education and professionalism.

Prof. de Silva and the four others removed were appointed by the former Health Minister Dr. Rajitha Senaratne. The new President of the SLMC is Prof. Vajira H.W. Dissanayake.

Continue reading ‘Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi sacks Sri Lanka Medical Council President Prof, Harendra de Silva and four others while Monthly SLMC Meeting was in Progress;medical community divided over dramatic move’ »

Low key ceremonies held in homes to remember LTTE cadres killed in the war as Court Rulings in North and East Forbid Public Commeoration of “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day)


By Ranjith Padmasiri and S. Rubatheesan

In the North and East, courts have issued orders preventing any form of commemorative events to mark the ‘Maveerar Naal’ or Great Heroes’ Day, a day declared by Liberation of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) to remember its cadres who died in the near-three-decade separatist war.

On Thursday, the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court issued an order after Kopay and Jaffna Police moved motions separately seeking to stop preparations by Tamil political parties and civil society groups in cemeteries where LTTE cadres had been buried.

Taking into consideration detailed submissions made by Senior Additional Solicitor General Harippriya Jayasundara, the Court banned any collective commemorative events in public on the basis that they would pose a health risk in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Mallakam, Chavakachcheri, Trincomalee, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kilinochchi, Mullaitivu and Batticaloa, courts issued similar orders this week.
Police named 51 persons in these cases as respondents after filing separate B reports. The courts were told that the military and police intelligence services had reported that plans were underway to hold public gatherings and commemorative meetings across the Northern Province from November 21-27.

Continue reading ‘Low key ceremonies held in homes to remember LTTE cadres killed in the war as Court Rulings in North and East Forbid Public Commeoration of “Maaveerar Naal” (Great Heroes Day)’ »

Exposing Myths and Fallacies About the Importance and Value of the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka.

By

Dr.Asanga Welikala

With the enactment of the 20th Amendment, Sri Lanka embarks yet again down the fraught path of authoritarian presidentialism. Whether this latest adventure ends in a democratic nightmare, or is as fleeting as its two predecessors, the 18th and 19th Amendments, remains to be seen.

The legitimacy of both these previous constitutional reconstructions were undone by their own creators within a single term of office. The potential for the 20th to go the same way is already visible, although far too early to tell. But for the moment, it is what we have, and it is therefore an appropriate time to reflect on the arguments that are advanced, usually without challenge, as the justification for this system of government.

There are three types of theories that explain how societies – or more accurately, elites – choose the institutional form of government when restructuring the state through constitutional amendment or replacement. The first is by reference to ideas, the second by reference to functions, and the third is by reference to self-interests. Unless we are able to account for how all three factors have combined to determine design choices at a particular moment of formal constitutional change, we are unable to fully understand what is going on.

Continue reading ‘Exposing Myths and Fallacies About the Importance and Value of the Executive Presidency in Sri Lanka.’ »

Badly Fractured Tamil political Parties May be Spurred to Unity by new Rajapaksa Govt’s Chauvinist Discriminatory Policies – The Economist


Hanging above the desk of Emmanuel Arnold, the mayor of Jaffna, are images of three Hindu deities, as well as the Buddha, Jesus and the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina. He has to respect all the religions of his city, he explains. Most Sinhalese, the country’s biggest ethnic group, are Buddhist; Tamils, who predominate in the north, including Jaffna, tend to be Hindu, and there are also small Christian and Muslim minorities. (Mr Arnold himself is Christian.) The ecumenical display, however, prompted griping from his staff: there is little sense of unity in Jaffna these days, even among the Tamil majority, let alone between religions and ethnicities.

Tamil hopes for an independent homeland were dashed in 2009, when the government defeated the Tamil Tigers, a ruthless separatist insurgency. But many in the north still hanker for autonomy, as promised by amendments to the constitution adopted in 1987 but never fully implemented. Anxieties about majority rule have swelled since the election last year as president of Gotabaya Rajapaksa, who as number two in the Ministry of Defence presided over the defeat of the Tigers in a campaign in which many Tamil civilians also died.

Continue reading ‘Badly Fractured Tamil political Parties May be Spurred to Unity by new Rajapaksa Govt’s Chauvinist Discriminatory Policies – The Economist’ »

Sri Lankan Courts ban events forCommemorative LTTE cadre on ‘ Heroes Day’

By

Meera Srinivasan

Many Tamil families living in Sri Lanka’s north and east on Friday marked ‘Heroes Day’ — an annual commemoration of LTTE cadre who died in the civil war —by lighting lamps in the quiet confines of their homes, after the government obtained a court order banning the remembrance.

Petitioning different courts in the war-affected districts in the last week, Sri Lanka’s Attorney General Department sought prohibition orders on the commemoration. Government lawyers and police argued that such an event could lead to the “revival of the LTTE” or potentially cause disharmony among communities. In a submission — that drew wide criticism on social media — an inspector told the court: “we [the government] made it possible for those [referring to northern Tamils] who ate pittu and vadai those days to eat pizza now,” referring to the opening up of the area after the armed forces defeated the separatist LTTE in 2009.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Courts ban events forCommemorative LTTE cadre on ‘ Heroes Day’’ »

“Mr. Foreign Minister, would you have the courage to write a letter to India like you did to the UN Human Rights Council and withdraw from the Indo- Lanka Accord? -MA Sumanthiran MP


(Text of Jaffna District TNA Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran’s Speech in Parliament on the 25th of November 2020 during the budget vote for the Foreign Affairs Ministry.)

Honourable Presiding Member,

I am happy to follow the Minister himself as we discuss the votes on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Minister is an experienced parliamentarian and able person and I’m glad to discuss a few matters with regard to Sri Lanka’s foreign policy while he is present together with also a very able and dynamic young parliamentarian, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs.

It was rather comical to witness the spectacle this morning as we started the debate – the bickering between the government benches and the main opposition each trying to absolve themselves from responsibilities they had undertaken in the international arena. Honourable Lakshman Kiriella blaming President Mahinda Rajapaksa, for agreeing with the Secretary General of the UN on the 26th of May 2009 in Kandy, undertaking to inquire into the allegations of human rights violations. And for his part, the Honorable Minister blaming the main opposition when they were in office for co-sponsoring resolution HRC 30/1 before the UN Human Rights Council.

These acts are not acts of certain governments that are in office at a particular point in time, these undertakings are given on behalf of the state and in the international system these obligations are taken very seriously. The Minister read out the letter sent in February this year claiming to withdraw from the co-sponsorship of resolution HRC 30/1.

All of us know that you can’t withdraw from an act that is already done. The Minister was heard to say in this House that that co-sponsorship happened without the knowledge of anyone not even the President of that time.

I want to ask a question: if that be so, how did Sri Lanka co-sponsor resolution 34/1 and 40/1 several months thereafter both of which were merely roll-over resolutions of 30/1. 30/1 was done on the 1st of October 2015. 34/1 was in March 2017 and 40/1 was in March 2019. Three times over! same contents and how does a responsible Minister stand up here and say nobody knew about the contents. These undertakings are on behalf of Sri Lanka. Of the state! There are serious repercussions if you resile from international commitments.

I want to post another question: on the 29th of July 1987 Sri Lanka entered into an international bilateral agreement with India, commonly known as the Indo – Lanka Accord. Various speakers in this House at various times will say various things about this agreement. Mr. Foreign Minister, would you have the courage to write a letter to India like you did to the UN Human Rights Council and withdraw from the Indo- Lanka Accord? If you don’t and if you haven’t done that over several decades of your party in office, you must honour it. No point saying this was thrust down our throat; if it was thrust down your throat withdraw – write a letter to India like you did to the UN human Rights council. Are you brave enough to do that?

Continue reading ‘“Mr. Foreign Minister, would you have the courage to write a letter to India like you did to the UN Human Rights Council and withdraw from the Indo- Lanka Accord? -MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

When the LTTE’s “Smiling Cobra” Thamilselvan was Targeted by the SLAF in an Air Strike

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

More than eleven years have passed since the War between the Sri Lankan Armed Forces and Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) organization concluded. The lengthy conflict described at one time as South Asia’s longest war came to an end after the military defeat of the LTTE in May 2009. Many of the military triumphs achieved by both sides at different times during the course of the war are now being relegated to the realm of the forgotten.This column intends to focus this week on an incident that grabbed worldwide attention when it happened thirteen years ago.

Suppiah Paramu Thamilselvan

On November 2nd 2007, the former political commissar or political wing head of the LTTE , Suppiah Paramu Thamilselvan (spelled also as Tamilselvan and Thamilchelvan) was killed along with some other tiger operatives in an airstrike conducted by the Sri Lankan Air Force (SLAF). Thamilselvan was to a very great extent the public and political face of the LTTE as he frequently represented the LTTE at negotiations with national and international delegations, issued press statements, granted media interviews and engaged in talks with dignitaries on behalf of the LTTE. Since the LTTE’s reclusive numero uno Veluppillai Prabhakaran and other senior military leaders usually kept out of the limelight, it had been the lot of Thamilselvan to exercise a monopoly over media publicity.

Continue reading ‘When the LTTE’s “Smiling Cobra” Thamilselvan was Targeted by the SLAF in an Air Strike’ »

If Ranil Wickremesinghe had contested the 2015 Presidential Election; he would probably have won it in a close contest; Instead Ranil became an inescapable prisoner of the Yahapalana trap

By

Victor Ivan

The process of the old stock of political leaders and their parties losing the recognition they have enjoyed so far can be described as an integral part of the historical process of ending the old era of the political history of Sri Lanka. The loss of recognition enjoyed by Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Leader of the UNP, and his party can be seen as an outcome of this historical process.

Even the Samagi Jana Balawegaya which has made a critical impact on the downfall of the UNP and its Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe has not been able to secure adequate Parliamentary representation to establish itself as a powerful alternative force. Perceived from this angle, it appears that in symbolic sense the political movement of the UNP has come to an end.

Nepotism and family bandyism

The UNP is the second oldest party, next only to the Lanka Sama Samaja Party. The UNP was established in 1946 while the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) was founded in 1935. It has ruled the country alternately for almost half of the post-independence period, the remaining period being ruled by the SLFP. Under the circumstances, both parties, the UNP and the SLFP, are equally responsible for the defeats suffered and victories gained by the country. The UNP can be considered as the biggest party that Sri Lanka had.

It is mostly the Rajapaksa family being referred to when nepotism or family bandyism in politics is talked about. Similarly, the UNP also can be described as a party founded and maintained by a strong family cartel closely linked by kinship. The strong and influential members of this family cartel can be considered as a close-knit family network which had become affluent through various commercial ventures including the arrack trade during the British rule and had achieved prestigious status in the society. So much so, in the early years of its rule the UNP was known as the ‘Uncle-Nephew Party’ because of the close blood ties between its major leaders.

Continue reading ‘If Ranil Wickremesinghe had contested the 2015 Presidential Election; he would probably have won it in a close contest; Instead Ranil became an inescapable prisoner of the Yahapalana trap’ »

Closure of Cinema Halls in Country Until Dec 31st Hits Cinema Industry Hard.Importers in Quandary about Procuring New Films from Hollywood, Bollywood and Kollywood.

By Charumini de Silva

Cinema owners yesterday described 2020 as the worst year while lamenting that they were still in the dark over reopening, as delay was piling up financial losses.

On 15 October, the Government announced that all cinemas would be closed till 31 October, as a measure to deal with the COVID-19 second wave. Thereafter, the Government is yet to give a timeline on the reopening of cinemas to the general public.

“We are eagerly awaiting the green light from the Government to resume operations post-COVID-19,” industry sources told the Daily FT.

Upon inquiry from the Cultural Affairs Ministry, a top official pointed out that they too were awaiting approval from the public health authority to resume operation of film theatres.

Continue reading ‘Closure of Cinema Halls in Country Until Dec 31st Hits Cinema Industry Hard.Importers in Quandary about Procuring New Films from Hollywood, Bollywood and Kollywood.’ »

Representatives of UPFA,UNO, Muslim Congress, Democratic Party and National Front for Good Governance signed agreements with Easter Bomber Zahran Hashim in Kattankudi in exchange for National Thowheed Jamath support at the 2015 Parliamentary Elections


By Rathindra Kuruwita

National Thawheed Jamaat (NTJ) and its leader Zahran Hashim supported Former President Maithripala Sirisena and the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) at the 2015 elections, former Eastern Province Governor M.L.A.M Hizbullah, on Tuesday night, told the PCoI probing the Easter Sunday attacks.

Hizbullah was giving evidence before the PCoI for the second day.

“Zahran supported the SLMC at the 2015 general election. After the UNP-led coalition won the election, NTJ members fought with our supporters. Several people were injured during the clash, including Zahran’s brother. SLMC leader Rauff Hakeem visited Zahran’s brother at the hospital.”

Continue reading ‘Representatives of UPFA,UNO, Muslim Congress, Democratic Party and National Front for Good Governance signed agreements with Easter Bomber Zahran Hashim in Kattankudi in exchange for National Thowheed Jamath support at the 2015 Parliamentary Elections’ »

Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi will be in Colombo on Nov 27 for trilateral discussions among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives;Sri Lankan side will be represented at the highest levels by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa,

By

Meera Srinivasan

National Security Adviser will hold talks with Sri Lanka and Maldives
National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will be in Colombo on Friday for trilateral discussions among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.

Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi will also travel to Colombo, while the Sri Lankan side will be represented at the highest levels by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sri Lankan newspaper Daily Mirror reported on Thursday.

Continue reading ‘Indian National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Maldivian Defence Minister Mariya Ahmed Didi will be in Colombo on Nov 27 for trilateral discussions among India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives;Sri Lankan side will be represented at the highest levels by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa,’ »

Rishad Bathiudeen Released on Cash Bail of Rs 100,000 and Surety bail of Rs Two Million by Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage to Prevent Risk of Ex-Cabinet Minister Contracting COVID -19 in Jail; Travel Ban also Imposed on ACMC party Leader


Former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen was released on bail by the Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday. Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage released Bathiudeen on cash bail of Rs. 100,000 with two sureties of one million rupees each.

The Magistrate also imposed a travel ban on Bathiudeen and said that the guarantors should be his close relatives.

The Magistrate granted bail to the MP considering the risk of him contracting COVID-19 as two inmates in cells next to his had recently tested positive for coronavirus.

Continue reading ‘Rishad Bathiudeen Released on Cash Bail of Rs 100,000 and Surety bail of Rs Two Million by Fort Magistrate Priyantha Liyanage to Prevent Risk of Ex-Cabinet Minister Contracting COVID -19 in Jail; Travel Ban also Imposed on ACMC party Leader’ »

There is a section of Sangha with racist leanings, who think, it’s they who put Rajapaksas on the pedestal, hence they only should call the tune. Will the president have the courage to discipline Buddhist monks?


By
K.K.S.Perera

An article published in a popular Sinhala daily by a prominent political monk prompted me to respond.

Verse 9 in the Yamakavagga of Dhammapada, Anikkasàvayo vattha paridahessati…., The pure are worthy of the yellow robe but not the impure. Whoever, unstainless, without self-control and truthfulness, should don the yellow robe, is not worthy of it. He who is purged of all stain, is well-established in morals and endowed with self-control and truthfulness, is indeed worthy of the yellow robe.”-Buddha

Mapitigama Buddharakkitha, always claimed that without him SWRD wouldn’t have come to power. The head priest of historic Kelaniya temple where the Buddha visited 25 centuries ago and according to folklore the place where he enjoyed the refreshing water of the Kelani River., [and remember, “a Maha Naga Rajah” carrying a casket of ‘sacred relics’ appeared on the eve of Presidential Election a year ago?] who financed Bandaranaike’s election campaign in 1956, hated Bandaranaike for refusing to grant illegal favours for his shipping company deals and business ventures in large scale import of provisions devoid of tender procedures.

While Buddharakkitha’s motive for the assassination of PM was business, Somarama the assailant monk, an Ayurvedic physician had other motives: Bandaranaike realizing the injustices caused to Tamil-speaking citizens signed a pact with their leader, S.J.V. Chelvanaikam, for the Buddhist priests who backed him on Sinhala onlymotto demonstrated against it and demanded its abrogation.

“It’s we who made you the PM, hence you are obliged to listen to us.” Somarama was one such member of ‘sick’ saffron-robed clergy, a born racist, selected and brainwashed by conspirator Buddharakkitha for carrying out the heinous crime.

Continue reading ‘There is a section of Sangha with racist leanings, who think, it’s they who put Rajapaksas on the pedestal, hence they only should call the tune. Will the president have the courage to discipline Buddhist monks?’ »

If Sri Lanka persists in resisting accountability over War Crimes Allegations, it is likely that in the present rights milieu, we will ultimately be cornered and forced into trials by the world


By

Prof. S.Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Australians and the world had much to celebrate. More than 26,000 Australian uniformed personnel were sent to Afghanistan to fight alongside US and allied forces against the Taliban, Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups. Australian troops inducted into the Afghan War as allies of the US after the 9/11 attack in New York in 2001 were accused of massacring Afghan civilians. That is bad. However, the good news is that in Australia, the accused killers are not being celebrated as heroes but are being charged.

Australia and Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka and Australia bear nominal similarities. Our population is about 21.67 million; Australia’s is about 24.99 million. We are both democracies. Australia extended its adult suffrage to all in 1967, regardless of ethnicity. We extended our restricted suffrage to hill country Tamils much later in 2003 with the passage of ‘The Grant of Citizenship to Persons of Indian Origin Act’.

What is common now is that Sri Lankan troops and Australian troops stand accused of war crimes. But parallels end there. How we have handled war crime accusations is riddled with common features and major differences.

Continue reading ‘If Sri Lanka persists in resisting accountability over War Crimes Allegations, it is likely that in the present rights milieu, we will ultimately be cornered and forced into trials by the world’ »

Seven months have passed since the arrest and detention of human rights lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah; time for the Sri Lankan Bar to reevaluate its position and take a stronger stand against this grave injustice.

By

Gehan Gunatilleke

When he was taken into custody on 14 April, his friends and family, and some within his fraternity, decried the obvious injustice. They were quickly told to quieten down and ‘let the justice system do its work’. They were told not to interfere with the investigation. They were told to be patient, as the truth would eventually emerge, and perhaps set Hejaaz free.

Seven months have passed. The investigations continue with no indictment in sight. If law enforcement authorities and prosecutors actually had a case against Hejaaz, wouldn’t they have framed charges by now? Should we let the authorities investigate in perpetuity?

Seven months have passed, and the media circus has dissipated, making clowns out of all those who prejudged Hejaaz’s guilt. The media callously aired so-called ‘damning’ evidence, and set out to make a monster out of Hejaaz. They have only made him a martyr, as none of the evidence appears to be credible.

Continue reading ‘Seven months have passed since the arrest and detention of human rights lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah; time for the Sri Lankan Bar to reevaluate its position and take a stronger stand against this grave injustice.’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will Take Charge as Minister of Defence and Newly Created Technology Ministry; Sarath weerasekera to be Elevated as Cabinet Minister of Public Security.

By Chandani Kirinde

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is to take over as the Minister of Defence and a newly created Ministry of Technology shortly.

A new subjects and functions Gazette was issued by the President, bringing several institutions under these ministries while a new Ministry of Public Security too, has been created.

State Minister of Provincial Councils and Local Government Rear Admiral Dr. Sarath Weerasekera, is expected to be appointed as its Cabinet Minister, the Daily FT learns.

This new Ministry will have four institutions under it, including the Police and the Civil Defence Department.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will Take Charge as Minister of Defence and Newly Created Technology Ministry; Sarath weerasekera to be Elevated as Cabinet Minister of Public Security.’ »

Govt Intends Regulating Media Websites Through a New Mechanism in Two weeks says Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella; Press Council act to be Amended also

The Government said on Saturday a mechanism for the regulation of websites is to be implemented within the next two weeks.

The upcoming move was made public by Keheliya Rambukwella during the Ministerial Consultative Committee on Mass Media.

He also said the Press Council Act should be amended in a way that would protect the dignity of the citizens and said the media should be regulated.

Minister of Education Prof. G.L. Peiris said that a new law has been passed in Singapore to control such matters and having studied such, the formulation of a new mechanism should be done. He added that such laws must first be referred to a technical committee.

Continue reading ‘Govt Intends Regulating Media Websites Through a New Mechanism in Two weeks says Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella; Press Council act to be Amended also’ »

Jaffna Police HQI Prasath Fernando Says in Court that” Govt made it possible for those who ate Pittu and Vadai those days to eat Pizza now”: MA Sumanthiran PC Responds Angrily that Officer was was disrespecting the people of Jaffna as a whole under the ICCPR Signed by Sri Lanka.


The Jaffna Magistrate Court was tense on Friday when Jaffna’s Headquarters Inspector explained to the court why the Police were seeking an order to ban commemorative events to remember the ‘war’ dead.

During his submission, Inspector Prasath Fernando said that “we (government) made it possible for those who ate pittu and vadai those days to eat pizza now,” referring to the change in the peninsula’s social fabric following the end of the ‘war’ eleven years ago.

Continue reading ‘Jaffna Police HQI Prasath Fernando Says in Court that” Govt made it possible for those who ate Pittu and Vadai those days to eat Pizza now”: MA Sumanthiran PC Responds Angrily that Officer was was disrespecting the people of Jaffna as a whole under the ICCPR Signed by Sri Lanka.’ »

Overturning of High Court Convictions of Weeratunge and Papita by Appeal Court in “Sil Redi”Case:Multi-million Rupee Question is Whether the colossal sum of Rs 600,000,000 or even a part thereof has been reimbursed to the public fund of TRCSL?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Out of the welter of distasteful controversy surrounding the transfer of a colossal sum of Rs. 600,000,000/= from the public fund of the Telecommunication Regulatory Commission of Sri Lanka (TRCSL), to the account of the Secretary to former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to distribute ‘sil redi’ or white cloth to Buddhist devotees just prior to the 2015 Presidential Elections, a few facts stand out.

‘Sil redi’ packages on the eve of an election

As we may recall, the packages of ‘sil redi’ handed out to temples contained a leaflet stating that this was a religious offering made by Mahinda Rajapaksa in pursuance of Mahinda Chinthanaya policies,’ as was publicly justified by the former President himself as (merely) indicating the ‘provenance’ of the cloth, whatever he may have meant by that. The transfer took place during 30th October 2014 and 5th January 2015 on the written request of Lalith Weeratunge (Secretary to President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chairman of the TRCSL) to Anusha Palpita who was Director General.

This is the general context to the convictions by the Colombo High Court of Weeratunge and Palpita in 2017 of inter alia, criminal misappropriation with those convictions being overturned this week by the Court of Appeal.

The two decisions are sufficiently important in the context of examining alleged transgressions of Sri Lanka’s public purse to warrant analysis in the spaces of this column, though a more detailed legal treatment must be kept for later. Suffice to say at the outset that neither of these individuals had ‘personally’ taken the moneys as blared to the high heavens at the time by their defenders.

Continue reading ‘Overturning of High Court Convictions of Weeratunge and Papita by Appeal Court in “Sil Redi”Case:Multi-million Rupee Question is Whether the colossal sum of Rs 600,000,000 or even a part thereof has been reimbursed to the public fund of TRCSL?’ »

Will Mahinda Rajapaksa present the 80th Budget too or will his brother Basil Rajapaksa move in from the 76th or 77th?Keep Guessing!

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

From cremation calls, to a huge ban on imports, we are moving to the Rajavasala Vimukthiya. Those who still use the Vimukthi line in politics had better be on the watch.

Amidst all the burdens of the Covid-19 pandemic that has now taken hold in Sri Lanka, there is a raging debate about burial, or cremation, of the bodies of Covid-19 deceased.

This is fast moving to a debate that is isolating one ethnic minority, against a combination of the majority, and several minorities, which can have painful consequences.

The call for cremations is becoming increasingly strident, against the burial callers. What is surprising is that the cremation criers – from politicians, the Sangha, academics, business people, intellectuals and social movers – have not thought of, or said the obvious.

Continue reading ‘Will Mahinda Rajapaksa present the 80th Budget too or will his brother Basil Rajapaksa move in from the 76th or 77th?Keep Guessing!’ »

State violence against persons thought to be a threat to the State, such as dissenters, human rights defenders, journalists and those arrested for drug offences, has been the permanent normal in Sri Lanka for decades.

By
Ambika Satkunanathan

‘…on the 18th of September (2010) the deceased was taken out of the police station at night to recover a weapon hidden in the deceased’s plantain grove…on the way the deceased had struggled with (the police officer) to snatch his rifle and he was killed as a result of a single shot that went off during the struggle’
Excerpt from the Supreme Court decision in Rathnayake Tharanga Lakmali v Niroshan Abeykoon decided on 17 December 2019

In 2020, according to media reports, five persons were killed in ‘shootouts’ with the police, one while allegedly trying to flee police custody, two when allegedly trying to wrestle weapons from the police when they were taken to retrieve drugs or weapons, and two men died while in police custody at the police station.

State violence: the permanent normal

The phrase ‘new normal’ is commonly used to refer to the post-COVID-19 context, but even in this new normal there exists a permanent normal we cannot escape, i.e. State violence. State violence against persons thought to be a threat to the State, such as dissenters, human rights defenders, journalists and those arrested for drug offences, has been the permanent normal in Sri Lanka for decades.

I refer to it as the ‘permanent normal’ because deaths in custody and persons being killed in encounters with the police are not unique to a particular political regime, but instead are systemic.

For instance, in October 2016, during the Yahapalana regime, two Jaffna University students were killed when they reportedly failed to stop at a police checkpoint. The police initially denied responsibility and claimed that they had died due to an accident that was caused when they lost control of the motorbike because they were speeding while under the influence of alcohol. The post-mortem report however, discovered bullets lodged in the body of one of the victims and did not find any trace of alcohol in their blood. To date, no one has been held accountable for their deaths.

What is the connection between the new normal and the permanent normal? Conditions that existed in the permanent normal, but were largely ignored as they did not directly affect the majority of Sri Lankans, became entrenched and normalised, and have taken new and more menacing forms during the pandemic.

Continue reading ‘State violence against persons thought to be a threat to the State, such as dissenters, human rights defenders, journalists and those arrested for drug offences, has been the permanent normal in Sri Lanka for decades.’ »

“A year ago, more than 6.9 million voters in this country elected me as your new President. It is no secret that the majority who voted for me then were Sinhalese. They rallied because they had legitimate fears that the Sinhala race, our religion, national resources and the heritage would be threatened with destruction” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

(Following is the full text of the address to the “Sinhala” nation by Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa broadcast over all television and radio channels on November 18th 2020)

Ayubowan.

A year ago, more than 6.9 million voters in this country elected me as your new President.

It is no secret that the majority who voted for me then were Sinhalese. They rallied because they had legitimate fears that the Sinhala race, our religion, national resources and the heritage would be threatened with destruction in the face of various local and foreign forces and ideologies that support separatism, extremism and terrorism.

The main appeal made by the people to me was to ‘protect the country’.

During this short period of time we have taken steps to ensure the security of the country as requested by the people. The public should not have apprehensions on this issue any longer.

An administration that protects the rights of all citizens regardless of racial or religious differences will be established during my tenure. I have always acted in accordance with the pledge I made in front of Ruwanweli Maha Seya to protect the unity of the country and to safeguard and nurture the Buddha Sasana as per the Constitution, the supreme law of this country.

I meet with an advisory council comprising leading Buddhist monks of three chapters every month to seek their advice on matters pertaining to governance.

Prior to my assumption of office, many lives have been lost in this country to the activities of religious extremists. The underworld had become powerful and a wave of killings had begun throughout the country. Sri Lanka had become a haven for international drug traffickers. The country was becoming insecure due to the weakening of the intelligence and security forces. Historic sacred sites of archaeological value were being encroached by extremists.

After I came into power, I appointed suitable officials in charge of security apparatus of the country and gave them the required authority to carry out their responsibilities without any compromise. The intelligence services that had collapsed in the past were restructured and revitalised.

Accordingly, we have managed to control the possibility of a resurgence of extremism in any form. A very effective and robust program has been implemented to control the drug menace. There is no room anymore to engage in drug trafficking or operate the underworld from inside of prison cells as in the past. People of this country no longer have reasons to live in fear of underworld gangs, extortionists and racketeers.

We will strive to further strengthen this initiative in the future.

I have now set up a special Task Force to protect sites of archaeological value and to preserve our Buddhist and national heritage.

Continue reading ‘“A year ago, more than 6.9 million voters in this country elected me as your new President. It is no secret that the majority who voted for me then were Sinhalese. They rallied because they had legitimate fears that the Sinhala race, our religion, national resources and the heritage would be threatened with destruction” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

On the first anniversary of the Gotabaya Presidency, my diagnosis is – the Govt is heading rapidly in the wrong direction, which will prove unsustainable, result in unfavourable polarisation, and crash and burn unless there’s a drastic course-correction

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka


“When I am president…human rights will be at the core of US foreign policy”
Joe Biden, The New York Times

In its first year the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency has made avoidable strategic blunders, tracing a trajectory which when extrapolated, indicate that it will wind up a one-term wonder, like the otherwise widely-disparate administrations of the Trump Presidency (2016-2020), Yahapalana (2015-2019), and the Samagi Peramuna (1970-1977).

The Trump template should not be underestimated. Back in June, GR insider, author of the inaccurately titled Gota’s War (2012) and Sri Lanka’s new ambassador/PR to the UN-Geneva, dedicated his regular Sunday Politics sermon to a ferocious full-page assertion of why Trump will win and a rousing endorsement of that prospect. His article dated 19 June 2020 and entitled ‘Trump and Civil Unrest in America’ argued assuredly that polarisation around the ‘law and order’ vs. ‘anarchy’ issue guaranteed a white majoritarian tsunami for Trump.
(http://archive.island.lk/index.php?page_cat=article-details&page=article-details&code_title=223828)

In a fascinating coincidence, this was the core of the successful GR game-plan of 2019. Expect it to be remixed and recycled.

The psychological and ideological identification of the GR project with Trump and Trumpism is/was total but not exclusive – “we’ll always have Beijing” being the Gotabaya administration’s subconscious, entirely unintended salute to Bogart and Casablanca.

On the occasions of the first and second anniversaries of the Sirisena presidency, public seminars of evaluation were organised at which I was a speaker. On both occasions President Sirisena was in the audience and sat through the proceedings. Dr. Suren Raghavan and Prof. Rohan Samarajiva as fellow panellists at the first, and Ambassador Palihakkara, Dr Manikkalangam and Prof Uyangoda among the panellists at the second.

At both these seminars (which are on YouTube) I made the same point: the Government is heading rapidly in the wrong direction, which will prove unsustainable, result in unfavourable polarisation, and crash and burn unless there’s a drastic course-correction back to the moderate centre.

The political adherents of sticking dogmatically to the 2015 mandate or rather, their neoliberal-reformist spin on it, have ended up exiled from Parliament or reduced to a single-digit splinter, while Sirisena’s SLFP which tried belatedly to hit the brakes, has at least a double-digit presence in Parliament.

On the first anniversary of the Gotabaya Presidency, my diagnosis is the same: this won’t end well, but it will end sooner rather than later.

Continue reading ‘On the first anniversary of the Gotabaya Presidency, my diagnosis is – the Govt is heading rapidly in the wrong direction, which will prove unsustainable, result in unfavourable polarisation, and crash and burn unless there’s a drastic course-correction’ »

Defeat of Trump and Victory of Biden Shows that the Sun is Setting on the Age of the Strong Man and the Age of the Strong Leader is Dawning

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

When Hungarian strongman Viktor Orban said in September that rooting for the re-election of Donald Trump was his “Plan A”, he was probably echoing the sentiments of most of the world’s populist, autocratic leaders. They hoped for four more years of Donald Trump because he made the world a safer place for them.

The last decade saw the rise of populist movements on every continent, each helmed by a very specific type of leader – men wrapped in a cult of personality, defined more by flamboyance than substance, men who insisted they had to be above the law for their countries to prosper. These leaders blamed setbacks and societal ills on some mysterious enemy lurking in the shadows, often an ethnic or religious minority group. Their rhetoric was divisive and self-centred. Every positive claim they make, every compliment they utter is in the first person. “I” did it. Only “I” can fix it. “I” won. “I” have the answers.

This narcissism stands in stark contrast to the tone we heard from President-Elect Biden and Kamala Harris in accepting their victory.

Continue reading ‘Defeat of Trump and Victory of Biden Shows that the Sun is Setting on the Age of the Strong Man and the Age of the Strong Leader is Dawning’ »

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa presents “development Budget” for 2021 to Parliament aimed at steering Sri Lanka to 5.5% growth in 2021:estimated Revenue for 2021 is Rs. 1,961 billion while the total expenditure is Rs. 3,525 billion with Rs. 1,564 billion difference between revenue and expenditure.

By Chandani Kirinde

*Aims at 5.5% growth in 2021 amidst COVID-19 impact

*Increase Govt. revenue from 9.7% to 14.1%

*Budget deficit 8.9%, up from 7.9% for 2020

*VAT unchanged at 8% for biz with turnover of Rs. 25 m or above

*Personal Income Tax to apply on earnings only if it exceeds Rs. 250,000 per month

*Income and profits from farming exempt from income tax from 1 April 2019

*First phase of Colombo Port City to commence in 2021

*Port City legal framework to Parliament in Jan.

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa presented what he described as a “development Budget” for 2021 to Parliament yesterday aimed at steering Sri Lanka to 5.5% growth in 2021 and overcoming the severe setbacks to the COVID-19-hit economy.

Presenting the Government’s first Budget since its election in August and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s election last November, the Prime Minister said the medium term vision of the new administration was to reduce the Budget deficit through increasing the economic growth up to 6% over the medium term and increasing Government revenue from its current level of 9.7% to 14.1%. However, in Budget 2021 the deficit will be 8.9%, up from 7.9% in 2020.

“This is a development Budget presented to elevate an economy that has been shattered. It covers all sectors under a macroeconomic vision aimed at fulfilling the ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’. This is a Budget that will open up numerous special investment opportunities to our business community for production of local goods and services under the competitive setting of the global economy,” Rajapaksa, who is also the Minister of Finance, said.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa presents “development Budget” for 2021 to Parliament aimed at steering Sri Lanka to 5.5% growth in 2021:estimated Revenue for 2021 is Rs. 1,961 billion while the total expenditure is Rs. 3,525 billion with Rs. 1,564 billion difference between revenue and expenditure.’ »

Sri Lanka’s compulsory cremation of Covid-19 related dead bodies is not a case of extra-caution or science. It is proof of scientific ignorance, callousness and an overwhelming lack of enlightenment.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

When your country is doing something totally different from what the rest of the world does, literally in exact opposition to the common sense practised and adopted by 194 countries in the world, things aren’t just right.

That is what the government should reckon of its flawed policy of compulsory cremation of dead bodies of Muslims. According to the religious belief of Muslims, the burning of the dead is tantamount to desecration. And the rest of the world has taken note of it and made allowances. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also permits both cremation and burial for the disposal of Covid-19 related death bodies.

Whereas the Government of SriLanka has defended its policy on the basis of scientific advice by an expert committee, but this isn’t science. This is demagoguery.

During the early stage of the Covid -19 pandemic, when the first deaths were reported in March, there existed a degree of uncertainty on the proper way of doing the last rites. The initial health ministry guidelines allowed for both cremation and burial, but the cremation was favoured as the safer way. Then, when the first Muslim died on March 31, the victim’s family insisted on burial. Instead of reaching out for wider discourse, the Ministry of Health issued a circular- Ministry of Health (MOH) Circular No. EPID/400/2019 n-cov on 1 April 2020, which required that all COVID-19 victims be cremated.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s compulsory cremation of Covid-19 related dead bodies is not a case of extra-caution or science. It is proof of scientific ignorance, callousness and an overwhelming lack of enlightenment.’ »

Court of Appeal rules that deforestation of the Wilpattu National Park Forest for the re-settlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had been made contrary to law and orders former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to bear the full cost of the tree planting programme in these areas based on the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle.

By
Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Court of Appeal yesterday ruled that deforestation of the northern sanctuary of the Wilpattu National Park Forest for the re-settlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had been made contrary to law and ordered former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to bear the full the cost of the tree planting programme in these areas based on the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle.

The Court of Appeal two-judge-Bench comprising Justice Janak de Silva and Justice Nissanka Bandula Karunaratne delivered this judgment pursuant to a writ petition filed by the Centre for Environmental Justice (CEJ).

Meanwhile, the Court of Appeal Court issued an order in the nature of mandamus ordering the Conservator General of Department of Forest Conservation to take action to implement a tree planting programme in accordance with the provisions of the Forest Ordinance in any area equivalent to the reserve forest area used for the resettlement of IDPs.

Accordingly, Court of Appeal issued a consequential order directing Rishad Bathiudeen, the seventh respondent in the petition to bear the full cost of such a tree planting programme applying the polluter pays principle as according to the evidence before Court he was instrumental in using the reserved forest land for the re-settlement of the IDPs.

Continue reading ‘Court of Appeal rules that deforestation of the Wilpattu National Park Forest for the re-settlement of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) had been made contrary to law and orders former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen to bear the full cost of the tree planting programme in these areas based on the ‘Polluter Pays’ principle.’ »

Kenya Owing $ 6.5 Billion to China Gets Caught in Chinese Debt Trap:Caught in Chinese Debt Trap; May Have to Cede Control of Mombasa Port and Inland Container Depot Pledged as Collateral to Beijing if Nairobi is Unable to Repay Loan

By S Venkat Narayan

Kenya is one of China’s largest trade partners in Africa. It owes $6.5 billion to China, which is 22 percent of its total external debt. China’s interest payments represent 87 per cent of the cash used to service debt expenditure in 2019. Kenya is yet to work out an arrangement with China, but has been reluctant to seek debt relief amid reports that it was concerned it could hurt its ability to tap capital markets.

Kenya and neighbouring Ethiopia, according to the World Bank’s international debt statistics, are among the world’s most indebted countries. Kenya’s external debt rose four times over the last decade, only second to Ethiopia that saw its debt increase five-fold during the decade.

Analysts say the $3.2-billion contract with China in 2014 to build the standard gauge railways connecting Kenya’s capital Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa symbolised the problem. The railway line was expanded in 2015 to Naivasha town 75 miles northwest of Nairobi, raising the project cost by another $ 1.5 billion.

The railway line made a loss of $ 90 million in its first year. The government promised a profit in 2019. It ended up in the red again. The government has been forcing businesses to move their cargo on the railway to ensure it generates enough cash for operations but the project still recorded a loss of $200 million over three years. In September, a panel of lawmakers nudged the government to renegotiate the loan deal and cut operating expenses by half. Kenya hasn’t had its way yet.

Continue reading ‘Kenya Owing $ 6.5 Billion to China Gets Caught in Chinese Debt Trap:Caught in Chinese Debt Trap; May Have to Cede Control of Mombasa Port and Inland Container Depot Pledged as Collateral to Beijing if Nairobi is Unable to Repay Loan’ »

The militarised approach to handling the global pandemic has now run into serious roadblocks. It is the Govt alone which must take the responsibility for an ill-thought out militarisation of the public health response.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

The fearsome sight of armed motorcycle riders, clad in black, complete with sunglasses and masks completely obscuring their faces conducting covid-19 temperature checks on the public in Colombo and then roaring away in a concerted cloud of darkness as it were, raises an unfortunate analogy to mind.

Symbolism is important in messaging

At the height of the terror-ridden years of Haiti’s Papa Doc Duvalier, his all-black masked Tonton Macoutes used to roam the capital city in much the same way, grabbing and ‘disappearing’ opponents of the regime. Interestingly, the Haitian Creole explanation of the name ‘Tonton Macoutes’ derived from our familiar ‘goni billa’ or as the Haitians rather hilariously put it, ‘uncle gunnysack.’ In both cases, these were scare tactics resorted to by annoyed parents to frighten children into obedience.

But Sri Lanka and Haiti share a further common and more sinister piece of history; these versions of ‘uncle gunnysack’ did not remain confined to storybooks but were used variously to deal with inconvenient critics. During the conflict years in the North and South of this country, the ‘goni billa’ was the way in which ‘insiders’ identified ‘terrorist suspects’ who were thereafter disposed of.

Unsurprisingly, that less than foolproof method also caught up those who were entirely innocent in the process, Sinhala, Tamil, Muslim nonetheless. Guilt, innocence, these all became words to be casually tossed aside, not weighed with solemn precision in a court of law to determine a human being’s fate.

Continue reading ‘The militarised approach to handling the global pandemic has now run into serious roadblocks. It is the Govt alone which must take the responsibility for an ill-thought out militarisation of the public health response.’ »

Govt handing over management of “Other State Forests (OSF)” to Divisional/Districts Secretaries would be disastrous for forest cover and biodiversity in the country while paving the way for private parties and friends of politicians to grab land.

By

Kshama Ranawana

Environmentalists, Conservationists and the political opposition are strenuously objecting to the decision by the government to hand over the management of “Other State Forests (OSF)” to Divisional/Districts Secretaries alleging the move would be disastrous for the forest cover and biodiversity in the country.

It was in July this year that the Cabinet first mooted the idea of handing the management of these lands earlier referred to as “State Residual Forests” by abolishing circular 05/2001 which had transferred the management of these lands from the Divisional/District Secretaries to the Forest Department.
The July Cabinet decision was forwarded to the then Minister of Environment to study the matter and present a mechanism that could vest such lands back with the Divisional/District Secretaries, so they could be released for “economically productive purposes.”

Fears were raised at that time that Divisional/District Secretaries would come under undue pressure to release these forest lands for purposes that would harm the environment.

In a letter dated July 3, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna wrote to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa urging him to revoke the planned abolition of circular 05/2001.

Continue reading ‘Govt handing over management of “Other State Forests (OSF)” to Divisional/Districts Secretaries would be disastrous for forest cover and biodiversity in the country while paving the way for private parties and friends of politicians to grab land.’ »

Gotabaya came to power without a proper understanding of the crisis the country was facing and an appropriate package of reforms to resolve it, but has the conviction that all issues could be resolved by creating an atmosphere of dictatorship

By

Victor Ivan

This is not an issue which has received adequate attention. Yet, I am of the view that one era of the history of Sri Lanka which commenced since independence in 1948 has come to an end in 2020. It simply means that the State and its associated socio-political system that was bequeathed to us by the British when Sri Lanka was granted independence, by ending the long period of colonial rule, has completely collapsed and ceased to exist.

Our limitations

Although there may have been shortcomings in the system that we inherited from the British, it can be considered as a very modern and better system based on liberal ideology than the feudal system that we had previously, before the advent of the British.

India, in contrast to Sri Lanka, reformed the system that it inherited from the British in order to comply with the needs of the newly-gained independence and did it in a manner that would further strengthen and enhance the democratic nature of the mechanism.

It was only after 24 years since independence that Sri Lanka ventured upon reforming the system of governance it inherited from the British. Unlike India the reforms were not carried out the way they would have strengthened the democratic foundations of the system, but rather debilitated and weakened it. The damage that can be caused to an edifice constructed by liberal architects is immense when it is modified and repaired by a group of architects consisting of Marxists, adherents of Anagarika Dharmapala and several others without any vision at all.

In fact, we did not possess an adequate democratic vision or discipline required to pursue an effective system of self-governance by the time the country gained independence. India possessed a far-reaching vision and discipline for that. The freedom struggle of India served as a source of education, a university capable of producing mature leaders that India needed. On the contrary, the freedom that we gained was not an outcome of an independent struggle, but a thing received as a gift. Consequently we did not have the opportunity to produce mature leaders.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya came to power without a proper understanding of the crisis the country was facing and an appropriate package of reforms to resolve it, but has the conviction that all issues could be resolved by creating an atmosphere of dictatorship’ »

The 20th Constitutional Amendment and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Commission of Enquiry Together put Sri Lanka on a Dangerous Path of Authoritarian and Family Rule.


By
Alan Keenan and K. Mudiyanse

Sri Lanka, long-plagued by political violence and near-complete impunity for crimes by the state and pro-state forces, now faces a new assault on justice and the rule of law. There is a systematic attempt to rewrite the history to make politically-connected criminal suspects into victims, and investigators and legal reformers into criminals.

The unprecedented efforts of the government of Gotabaya Rajapaksa – most strikingly through his presidential commission of enquiry into so-called “political victimisation” – threatens to do more than just eliminate the possibility of justice in the specific cases it is considering.

These specific cases relate to that of political allies of the state, and in instances where Rajapaksa family members are being rescued from prosecution. In doing so, it risks distorting judicial and police procedures, by which the very existence of a meaningful justice system is cast into doubt.

International human rights watchdogs have understandably expressed concerns about the return of the Rajapaksa family to power, given the grave crimes committed during the years of Mahinda Rajapaksa’s presidency from 2005–15. A year into the presidency of his brother, Gotabaya, however, the signs suggest that the threat to dissenting voices and political opponents will, at least at first, be through more subtle means than the murders, assaults and enforced disappearances used to silence critics during their first regime. Legal attacks and legalised lies – not bodies in the street – seem likely to be the preferred means of destroying their opponents. The world needs to be alert to this and to find ways to respond.

Continue reading ‘The 20th Constitutional Amendment and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Commission of Enquiry Together put Sri Lanka on a Dangerous Path of Authoritarian and Family Rule.’ »

“There is no legal basis for the Army Commander’s recent announcement prohibiting travel out of the Western Province until November 15 and for Imposing the so called ‘quarantine curfew”states TNA Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran in Parliament

(Summary of Speech Made by Tamil National Alliance Jaffna District Parliamentarian Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran in Parliament on 12.11.2020)

“Rule of law, it has been said is the bedrock of democracy. Even rule by law is undesirable. But what we have now is far worse: it is rule by executive diktats! That is what we have today.”

M. A. Sumanthiran MP, speaking on the Appropriation Bill 2020 in Parliament today, exposed the government’s flagrant violation of the law across a range of matters.

He alleged that the Appropriation Bill 2020 is an attempt to cover up illegal activities that the government has carried out in respect of public finances. Parliamentary resolutions can only be used to draw from the consolidated funds for specific public services expenditures such as the paying of government servant salaries.

The constitution does not permit the levying of taxes or government borrowing under this arrangement. Similarly, the constitution does not permit spending on developmental activities under parliamentary resolutions or presidential authorisation. For such necessities, an appropriation act must be passed in advance.

Continue reading ‘“There is no legal basis for the Army Commander’s recent announcement prohibiting travel out of the Western Province until November 15 and for Imposing the so called ‘quarantine curfew”states TNA Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran in Parliament’ »

Psychologically powered by Trump’s 2016 Victory ,the Gotabaya regime came into being as the last victory of global Alt-Right ultranationalism, the parabola of which has begun its descent with Trump’s defeat.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it” – John (1:5)

Let us remember George Floyd. Now the American people can begin to breathe. So can humanity.

When Obama won, I wrote a piece from Geneva entitled ‘Barack Obama: History’s High Note’ (https://groundviews.org/2008/11/06/barack-obama-historys-high-note/) Maybe I should call this ‘Joe Biden: History’s High Noon’. The victory of Joe Biden, Gary Cooper-like cool, calm, yet principled American moral hero, was a triumph for civility and moderation, decency and dignity, humanism and pluralism, social empathy and social fairness, anti-racism and anti-supremacism.

With Biden begins the end of American decline. Those who think that in the past week, the USA demonstrated its weakness and the debility of democracy as a system of governance, are much mistaken. History will show that this was the turning point, where the world saw democracy alive, in real-time, from the inside; how the values of democracy were fought for, even at this moment of ‘dual power’ marked by Trump’s institutional obstructionism and polarising incitement of far-right passions. A second American Revolution, this time a replay of the 1960s and ’70s, may be inevitable.

If a low-intensity Civil War is waged against the Biden-Harris administration by neofascist militia, drawing support from the ‘Confederate’ white supremacist constituency, future history will show that this only strengthened American democracy as did the Civil War of the 1860s, enhancing the moral strength of the American idea, ideals and system throughout the world.

As I entered my teens I read a new book (in 1970) which an American friend had gifted my father, titled ‘The Greening of America,’ by Charles A Reich. It contemplated the shift of consciousness of the 1960s, dubbing it Consciousness III. The Biden-Harris victory marks the birth of a new American consciousness, with globalised resonance because the USA is more a mirror of the world, of humanity in all its plurality, than is any other country, and its ideals as demonstrated by the vote for Biden-Harris, are more universalist than the message and model of its rivals and competitors. The gravitational centre of global consciousness could shift, creating a new global centre-space, a new democratic consensus, a new middle-ground and Middle Path.

History will indelibly etch the charismatic Kamala Harris, who is in part, OUR Kamala: not only the first woman Vice-President of the USA, but also the first woman of colour and of “South Asian descent” (Biden’s victory speech) to hold that post, who will also be the most powerful woman in the history of the most powerful nation in history.

Continue reading ‘Psychologically powered by Trump’s 2016 Victory ,the Gotabaya regime came into being as the last victory of global Alt-Right ultranationalism, the parabola of which has begun its descent with Trump’s defeat.’ »