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

By Prof. Carlo Fonseka

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

Director Sanjeewa Pushpakumara

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

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

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


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Meera Srinivasan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

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

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


Derangement and despairing ironies

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

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

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

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

By Gagani Weerakoon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By

Alison Flood

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

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

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

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

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

By the “Sunday Observer”News Desk

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

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

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

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

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

By

Sarath de Alwis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

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

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

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

* It is a post-democratic political formation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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

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

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

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Susirith Mendis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

by Zacki Jabbar

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

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

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

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

By A.J. Abeynayake

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

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

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

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


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

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

Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?’

– WB Yeats, The Second Coming

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

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

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

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

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

By Chitra Weerarathne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

North is insecure today

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Chaturanga Samarawickrama


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

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

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

The telephone conversation went as follows:

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

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

By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By

Romesh Madushanka

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

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

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

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

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s US Citizenship and Presidential Ambition

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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

Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa

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

Ambassador Atul Keshap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By
Neville de Silva

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Sarath de Alwis


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

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

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

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

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

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

A more learned label ‘would be fetishization of Buddhism.

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Don Manu

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



By
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

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

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

Human tragedies trodden underfoot

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

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


The criminalization of Sri Lanka’s communities

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

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

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

Notion of summary justice

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

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

No quick solutions are possible

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

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

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

Courtesy:Sunday Times

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

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

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

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

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

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

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

By Wasantha Rupasinghe

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Dr. Ranil Senanayake

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

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

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

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


By Chitra Weerarathne

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Skandha Gunasekara

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

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

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

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

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

By
Lakdev Liyanagama

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Maria Abi-Habib


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

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

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

And then the port became China’s.

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

By

Sasanka Perera

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

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

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

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

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

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

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


By Sharmini Serasinghe

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

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

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

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

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

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


By

P.K.Balachandran

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


By

Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Namini Wijedasa

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

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

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

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

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

By

Jayadeva Uyangoda

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

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

Viyath Maga

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

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

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

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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

Lester James Peries

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

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

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


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

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

by C.A.Chandraprema

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By the “Sunday Observer” Political Editor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By

Indunil Usgoda Arachchi

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

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

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

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

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

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

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

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


Dangers of rabble-rousing rhetoric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Asking Gotabhaya To ‘Be a Hitler’ is the Most Dangerous and Morally Debased Public Statement I Have Ever Heard Uttered In This Country” -Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka.


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

I was more alarmed by what I saw and heard on TV news last evening than by anything I have seen or heard in the Sri Lankan media throughout my life. What I saw and heard was the most dangerous and morally debased public statement, i.e. a statement made in public and concerning public, not private affairs, I have ever heard uttered in this country. It would be the most dangerous public statement that could be uttered in any country in the world.

While it was on TV news on two channels, I need to reproduce fairly, what happened. This is how Lanka C news, a website sympathetic to the occasion, filed the story on June 20th with a slightly embellished title.

“Become a Hitler, even establish a military rule and build the country, request the Prelates of the three Chapters, of Gotabhaya”. The story reads:

‘The Anunayaka of the Asgiriya Chapter, Ven Vedaruvey Upali thero said that he requests former Defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to even resort to becoming a Hitler and run a military rule and build the country. He said this at the religious ceremony and alms giving held on the 69th birthday of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa at his residence in Mirihana.

A group of Bhikkhus representing the Three Chapters, attended the occasion. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Chamal Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa—[thus] all the Rajapaksa brothers—attended the occasion. In addition, most of the group of Sixteen who left the government were also present.’ (Lankac news, June 20th 2018)
Continue reading ‘“Asking Gotabhaya To ‘Be a Hitler’ is the Most Dangerous and Morally Debased Public Statement I Have Ever Heard Uttered In This Country” -Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka.’ »

Ven.Venduruwe Upali Thero Said Gotabhaya Must Become a “Hitler Like” Leader of Sri Lanka In the Presence of Rajapaksa Siblings Mahinda, Chamal and Basil.

A top Buddhist monk has asked Sri Lanka’s former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to become another “ Hitler” who is known to have killed up to six million Jews in the Holocaust.

A chief priest of the Asgiriya chapter, Venduruwe Upali, blessed Rajapaksa on his 69th birthday Wednesday by encouraging him to return to power and “rebuild the country” even if it means establishing military rule.

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

Continue reading ‘Ven.Venduruwe Upali Thero Said Gotabhaya Must Become a “Hitler Like” Leader of Sri Lanka In the Presence of Rajapaksa Siblings Mahinda, Chamal and Basil.’ »

“Do Not Jeopardize The Lives Of Web Journalists Under The Pretext Of National Security”- National Movement of web Journalists

(Text of Press Release Issued by National Movement of web Journalists )

The national movement for web journalists strongly urges the president, prime minister and the responsible stakeholders in the government to immediately cease the effort taken to put the lives of web journalists into risk in disguise of national security.

According to reports the Criminal Investigation Department has started an investigation about news published in the Dinamina and Lakbima newspapers dated May 25th of this year regarding the steps taken by the security forces for the commemoration of the national heroic day in north and east during the month of May. By doing this the CID has put the lives of two journalists at stake by taking personal information’s of these two journalists who edited the news.

The CID has forwarded a letter requesting names and addresses of the journalists, seeking investigation regarding a news published last May 25th in the Lakbima newspaper editors Lasantha Weerakulassoriya and Gayathri Gingangarachchi under the caption “security on alert,splitting the country, president and the prime minister instructs”

The CID has further requested the names of the persons who allowed to publish the news and demanded a certified copy of the news. Although the names of the journalists have been published with the news, it’s
skeptical why the CID is requesting the names and personal information of those journalists once again.

Continue reading ‘“Do Not Jeopardize The Lives Of Web Journalists Under The Pretext Of National Security”- National Movement of web Journalists’ »

Mervyn De Silva’s Political Ideas and Values

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

19TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY June 22nd

Mervyn de Silva

“Mervyn’s career as a journalist, as a literary critic, as a satirist, as a political commentator, as a broadcaster, both within the country and abroad, is without peer, either before or since and is not likely to be equaled for a long time to come, if at all.”
—Neville Jayaweera, The Island, Sept 8th 2002


“…Mervyn revealed dimensions to his personality in which there was a strong romantic strain. He had a feel for the heroic, the courageous, the brave and brainy anti-authoritarian protagonist.”

—P. Duleepkumar, Sunday Times, Sept 5th 1999

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

The volume entitled ‘TITO in the World Press: On the Occasion of the 80th Birthday’ was published by the Yugoslav review Borba.

The opening contribution to the volume published in 1972 in Belgrade was by Abraham Guillen, writing in the newspaper Marcha, in Uruguay. Guillen, a veteran of the Spanish Civil War, was known as the ‘counselor’ and ‘strategist’ of the legendary Uruguayan urban guerrilla group, the Tupamaros, of which President Mujica was a leader as a young man and comrade-in-arms of the movement’s founder Raul Sendic.

The article on page 14 of the volume was by the most legendary journalist of the Arab world, Mohamed Hassanein Heykal of Egypt, writing in the famous paper he edited, Al Ahram.

Nikolai Podgorny, the President of the USSR was another contributor, writing in Pravda.

Luigi Longo, a founder member with Antonio Gramsci and Palomiro Togliatti and later, General Secretary of the Italian Communist Party and partisan fighter against Mussolini’s fascism contributed a piece on Tito to l’Unita.

One of the most famous Western journalists of the post war 20th century, CL Sulzberger contributed his piece in the pages of the New York Times, of course.

On page 30 of the volume is the editorial bearing the name Mervyn de Silva and appearing in the Daily News, Sri Lanka on May 19th 1972. (In an interesting symmetry, when he was unfairly dismissed from the editorship of the Daily News, the article in The Guardian, UK, described him as the Hassanein Heykal of Sri Lanka.)

Continue reading ‘Mervyn De Silva’s Political Ideas and Values’ »

Anunayake of Asgiriya Chapter Ven Vendaruwe Upali Thera Advises Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Launch Military Rule Like Adolf Hitler and Build Up The Country.

A senior Buddhist monk yesterday advised former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to launch into a military rule ‘like Hitler’.

The monk, Ven Vendaruwe Upali thera, made this remark while speaking at a religious ceremony to mark the birthday of the former Defence Secretary.

He is an Anunayake of the Asgiriya Chapter, in Kandy.

Continue reading ‘Anunayake of Asgiriya Chapter Ven Vendaruwe Upali Thera Advises Gotabhaya Rajapaksa To Launch Military Rule Like Adolf Hitler and Build Up The Country.’ »

US Exit From UNHRC Will Not Cause a Decline In International Concern Over the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue As UK and Canada Will Continue To Show Interest.

The Sri Lankan Tamil issue, which has been the subject of very aggressive US-backed resolutions in the UN Human Rights Council (UHRC) against Lankan regimes since 2009, will not be swept under the carpet in the international arena because the US has quit the UNHRC, observers here feel.

Former Lankan Ambassador in Geneva and now Ambassador designate to Russia, Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka, said that the exit of the US from the UNHRC does not mean that the US will not play a role in shaping events in the council.

“The US had inspired resolutions against Sri Lanka even when it was not part of the 47-member body. The US got the British to engineer a resolution against Sri Lanka when it was not itself a member,” Jayatilleka recalled.

It is also not certain if the US has left the UNHRC for good. It had opted out in 2006 but joined in 2009.

Continue reading ‘US Exit From UNHRC Will Not Cause a Decline In International Concern Over the Sri Lankan Tamil Issue As UK and Canada Will Continue To Show Interest.’ »

US Will Continue To Engage With Sri Lanka Over US – Sri Lanka Co-sponsored UN Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1 – UN Envoy Atul Keshap assures Sri Lanka Govt.

In the wake of US quitting the UNHRC, US embassy in Colombo said that the US would continue to closely follow progress made by Sri Lanka in respect of the Geneva Resolution 30/1.

The following is the full text of statement issued by the US embassy last night: “Secretary Pompeo has announced that the United States withdrew from the United Nations Human Rights Council effective June 19, 2018.

Ambassador Keshap met with senior Sri Lankan officials to convey the assurance of the United States Government that we will remain fully engaged with the Sri Lankan Government to help it meet its continuing and standing commitments to the international community to advance the cause of reconciliation and lasting peace for all Sri Lankans.

Continue reading ‘US Will Continue To Engage With Sri Lanka Over US – Sri Lanka Co-sponsored UN Resolutions 30/1 and 34/1 – UN Envoy Atul Keshap assures Sri Lanka Govt.’ »

“18 Clergy Including 15 Buddhist Monks Are in Jail. If Gnanasara Thera is Pardoned Or Given Any Special Treatment Then the Others Would also want Similar Relief” Says Cabinet Spokesman Dr.Rajitha Senaratne.

By Zacki Jabbar

The Mahanayakes have raised the issue of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) leader Galagoda Atte Gnanasara Thera, imprisoned for threatening the widow of cartonist Prageeth Ekneligoda with President Maithripala Sirisena, but the government said yesterday that special treatment for one prisoner could lead to others demanding same.

Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, addressing the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing at the Information Department, said that there were 18 priests serving prison sentences for various offences, some of which were of a very serious nature. “Fifteen of them are Buddhists while the other three are from the Hindu, Muslim and Christian faiths. If Gnanasara Thera is pardoned or given any special treatment, then the others would also want similar relief.”

Continue reading ‘“18 Clergy Including 15 Buddhist Monks Are in Jail. If Gnanasara Thera is Pardoned Or Given Any Special Treatment Then the Others Would also want Similar Relief” Says Cabinet Spokesman Dr.Rajitha Senaratne.’ »

Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale States Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero Would Be Treated Like Any Other Prisoner In Terms Of the Prisons Ordinance.


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister and attorney-at-law Thalatha Atukorale has informed Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Sri Dharma Sangha Sabhawa that Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara would be treated like any other prisoner.

In her letter, dated June 19, 2018, Minister Atukorale has insisted that the Commissioner General of Prisons had no option but to treat Ven. Gnanasara in accordance with the Prisons Ordinance.

The letter was addressed to the Most Ven. Prof. Kottapitiye Rahula, Chief Registrar, Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Sri Dharma Sangha Sabhawa.

Continue reading ‘Justice and Prisons Reforms Minister Thalatha Atukorale States Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero Would Be Treated Like Any Other Prisoner In Terms Of the Prisons Ordinance.’ »

US Calls the United Nations Human Rights Council a “Cesspool of Political Bias” and Quits the UNHRC Calling it a “Hypocritical and Self-Serving Body” which “Makes a Mockery of Human Rights”.

The US has pulled out of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling its anti-Israel and a “cesspool of political bias,” the BBC reported.

US envoy to the UN Nikki Haley has said the “hypocritical and self-serving” body “makes a mockery of human rights.”

Ms Haley last year accused the council of “chronic anti-Israel bias” and said the US was reviewing its membership.

Ms Haley announced the US’s intention to quit the council at a joint news conference with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who called the council “a poor defender of human rights”.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres, in a statement released through his spokesman, responded by saying he would have “much preferred” the US to remain in the council.

Continue reading ‘US Calls the United Nations Human Rights Council a “Cesspool of Political Bias” and Quits the UNHRC Calling it a “Hypocritical and Self-Serving Body” which “Makes a Mockery of Human Rights”.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Becoming President Would Trigger International Repercussions With Far-reaching Implications, Which a Small State Like Sri Lanka Cannot Afford.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Perhaps the most decisive intervention of America’s Ambassador in Colombo, Atul Keshap during his three-year span seems to be a parting shot at a farewell meeting with ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
During the tete-a-tete, Mr Keshap had cautioned the ex-President against fielding his younger brother as the next Presidential candidate.

According to the story which first appeared in the Jaffna based newspaper Kaalaikkathir, and reproduced by senior journalist D.B.S Jeyaraj, the US Ambassador has said that the Western nations, including the USA, would not favourably regard Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidential bid.

Nadesapillai Vithyatharan, who edits the Kaalaikkathir, and formerly the editor of Sudor Oli has a love-hate relationship with the Rajapaksas.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Becoming President Would Trigger International Repercussions With Far-reaching Implications, Which a Small State Like Sri Lanka Cannot Afford.’ »

Next Election Could Be The Last Free Election We Have If It Results In The Victory Of Extremist Fundamentalist Forces In The North And The South


By
Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“The proper functioning of a pluralist democracy presupposes the free interplay of diverse opinions. The freer and more active, the better…”

—Mervyn de Silva, Inaugural editorial, Lanka Guardian May 1st 1978

The very last thing this island needs is to slide into another cycle of conflict. But that’s where we are headed unless we stop, think and make choices and changes of the correct kind.

This is the first time that mainstream society and politics both in the North and the South, have seen a simultaneous rise of extremism. What we face today is the dangerous phenomena of (negative) symmetry and simultaneity. Despite a neoliberal cosmopolitan government which has been rightly criticized for appeasement of Northern bellicosity and has been crippled electorally as a result, the slogans and symbolisms from the North, the political discourse and behavior of the Northern Provincial Council and civil society movements, have escalated in their militancy.

The combination of a spike in Northern stridency and the economics of neoliberal globalization on the part of the dominant drivers of Government policy, has generated entirely predictable results: a displacement of mainstream social opinion towards populist neo-nationalism.

As in many other parts of the world, in Sri Lanka, it is neoliberal economics that is threatening liberal democracy by implementing policies which have generated an inevitable mainstream backlash. Cosmopolitan neoliberalism has bred nationalist neo-conservatism.

By converting to neoliberal globalist evangelism, the traditional centre-right UNP has lost its centre, its national credentials and mass base, thereby creating a Frankenstein’s monster of a radical neo-nationalist New Right. There is an emerging bloc of tendencies and strata making up the backbone of a rising New Right neo-conservatism. The foot-soldiers are a vast current of the petty bourgeoisie. The ideology or rather the social psychology is one of resentment (Nietzsche famously used the French term “Ressentiment” while relentlessly combatting it). The animating spirit and style are of rancor and intolerance.

Continue reading ‘Next Election Could Be The Last Free Election We Have If It Results In The Victory Of Extremist Fundamentalist Forces In The North And The South’ »

Almost All The Alleged Atrocities Committed By The Rajapaksa Regime Could Be Attributed To a Particular Member Of The Rajapaksa Family


By

Vishwamithra 1984

“One’s days were too brief to take the burden of another’s errors on one’s shoulders. Each man lived his own life and paid his own price for living it.”
~Oscar Wilde

Mahinda Rajapaksa and his clan have fine-tuned that aspect of political dynamic that could be solely responsible for delivering an ailing political entity into super-action mode and achieve the results that such an action desired. This fine-tuning of the Rajapaksa-propaganda machinery did not take place yesterday when they were in the opposition. They have achieved or they thought they have years ago, that lofty goal of mass deception and political hoodwinking so that they could be in power forever. Yet, they failed. Vexing of the masses to such an intolerable extent has its own inherent disadvantages. What appears on the shallow surface does not necessarily happen to be deep enough to make the gullible masses suffer to an unending degree.

Nevertheless, the current euphoria they have artificially created about a sibling of Mahinda Rajapaksa and the accompanying message that he would be the next Presidential candidate will not hold any water come the day of reckoning. Their lies and exaggerations have to be met with facts, figures and statistics. Facts are not figments of imagination of some wishful-thinking activists; figures cannot be distorted and stats don’t lie. A phony image created around a demonic political character cannot and should not last, at least for the sake of our nation’s staunch commitment to democracy and freewill. That phony bubble will burst; it’ll shrink and disappear but it would not happen automatically. It must be made to happen by human hand. And that human hand can be provided only by the United National Party (UNP).

Continue reading ‘Almost All The Alleged Atrocities Committed By The Rajapaksa Regime Could Be Attributed To a Particular Member Of The Rajapaksa Family’ »

Does Foremost Place Given to Buddhism in Constitution Enable Govt to Set Up Special Courts to “Hear” Cases Against Buddhist Monks Accused Of Breaking the Law?

There are indications that the Sri Lankan coalition government headed by President Maithripala Sirisena of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinhe of the United National Party (UNP), will accede to the demand for special courts to try cases against Buddhist monks.

There has been a growing demand from influential sections of Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese-Buddhist community to set up special courts to try cases against Buddhist monks, following the jailing of the high profile monk, Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, General Secretary of the radical Buddhist organization Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) for contempt of court.

The monk had abused and intimidated in court, Sandya Eknaligoda, who had filed a case against the military intelligence for the disappearance of her journalist cum cartoonist husband Prageeth Eknaligoda.

Continue reading ‘Does Foremost Place Given to Buddhism in Constitution Enable Govt to Set Up Special Courts to “Hear” Cases Against Buddhist Monks Accused Of Breaking the Law?’ »

Despite Competition Among His Brothers For The Sri Lankan Presidency, Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants His Son Namal Rajapaksa To Become President.

Sri Lanka’s uneasy coalition is expected to hobble along till the presidential elections next year, but it is not only the government that is in trouble. The opposition too is in trouble, trying to choose a candidate.

The uncertainty over the contender at the 2019 vote is at the nub of wrangling between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as they both harbour hopes of contesting.

Within the opposition ranks, the euphoria that followed the February local council victory has given way to fissures within the newly formed Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) of former president Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The “Economy Next” political correspondent discusses the options for both the SLPP and the unity government in the next 18 months.

-Sibling rivalry-

Continue reading ‘Despite Competition Among His Brothers For The Sri Lankan Presidency, Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Wants His Son Namal Rajapaksa To Become President.’ »

Every Pygmy Step Taken By the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Towards Reconciliation Would Be Abandoned Under a Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Presidency

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara


“The arc of the universe may bend towards justice, but it doesn’t bend on its own.”

Barrak Obama (Speech on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington)

Violence has no place in the teachings of the Buddha. Yet when violence was unleashed on Kandy’s Muslims, in the name of Sinhala-Buddhism, only a handful of Buddhist monks had the moral courage to speak out. Ven. Galkande Dhammananda Thero was among that handful. Recently he used Buddha’s teachings to enlighten and inform another ‘hot-button’ topic – how the end of the long Eelam War should be commemorated. He did so by asking a rhetorical question – what was Buddha’s teaching about war victory? – and answering with a stanza from the Sukha Vagga (Happiness) in the Dhammapada.

“Victory breeds hatred in the conquered. The defeated live in sorrow. Giving up both victory and defeat, the appeased live in peace.”

Sri Lanka could have based her post-war policy on this stanza alone, and gone a long way towards reconciliation. Instead, it did the opposite; a policy of triumphalism was adopted and every possible humiliation was heaped on the defeated; domination rather than reconciliation was the desired goal. Costly, disruptive and in-your-face military parades to mark war-victory constituted an essential component of this approach, a militarised revelry in which both Mahinda and Gotabhaya Rajapaksa revelled. It was not commemorating but crowing of the most infantile sort.

This triumphalism – and the concomitant veneration of ‘war-heroes’ – went hand in hand with neglect and even humiliation of flesh-and-blood soldiers. While politicians sang their praise from platforms, the actual soldiers were forced to sweep sidewalks, uproot weeds and clean city parks; even the demand by disabled soldiers for a full pension went unheeded.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration often lacks the moral courage to do the right thing. In many instances, ceasing incorrect practices is as far as the government is willing to go. For instance, the government is yet to implement one of the most sensible recommendations of the LLRC – assign a date to commemorate all those who died in the war, combatants and civilians, Sinhalese, Tamils and Muslims, Burghers, Malays… A commemoration in which everyone can participate equally, as human beings and as Lankans, could have helped in the formation of a truly Lankan nation. The government hasn’t implemented this recommendation, probably because it fears the backlash of the Rajapaksa opposition and extremist Buddhist monks.

What the government has done was to stop some of the more in-your-face practices. It no longer commemorates war-victory with massive military parades. It has also allowed the Tamils to mourn their dead, a basic right the Rajapaksas denied. This year, busloads of Tamils returning after commemoration ceremonies in Mullivaikkal were offered cool drinks by the army – small improvements, but ones that matter. They contribute towards psychological detoxification of society sans which neither peace nor reconciliation is possible.

All that would end, if the Rajapaksas return, especially if that retrogression happens under a Gotabhaya presidency.

Continue reading ‘Every Pygmy Step Taken By the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Towards Reconciliation Would Be Abandoned Under a Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Presidency’ »

Please Write to Your Elected Official Asking them to Stop Immediately the Inhuman Detention of More Than 11,000 Children Being Held Separate From Parents in the USA

By

Bhadri Durgabakshi ·

Life has a strange way of teaching lessons to those fortunate enough to have one. At 28 years, I was suddenly faced with the prospect of raising a baby on my own, in a new country, and carve a path to independence. This meant that I had to leave my infant son at the daycare while I worked. Not having had adequate time to prepare him for this phase, he experienced immense separation anxiety. While the separation was traumatic for both of us, we both knew that at the end of the day we would be together. That was a future we could count and rely on, as certainly as the sun would rise the next day.

This is not the future that more than 11,000 immigrant kids (under the age of 13), being held in detention centers can count on today, in the most civilized of nations. Their parents will not be there to take them home at the end of the day and comfort them. Their parents have not prepared these children to operate without them, because there was no need to. They were taken away suddenly on false pretexts. These children are held in rooms next to their parents, and they can hear their wailing and screams. This is absolutely cruel and inhumane, and cannot be accepted as normal treatment of human beings, in this day, in a country that prides itself as protecting its most weak and vulnerable.

My gut wrenches when I hear news stories about these children languishing in detention camps, where no one is allowed to even hug or comfort them. Society recognizes that minors are incapable of operating as viable human beings and need adults to provide for their basic needs. A pediatrician being interviewed today on NPR recalls a little girl, not more than 2 years of age, having an epic meltdown, in the detention center. She was missing her parents and was inconsolable. The pediatrician was not allowed to hug or comfort her, as this is against federal agency rules, she was told. Two siblings aged 6 and 10 have been prevented from hugging each other. They were doing so to comfort each other, in the absence of their parents. The pediatrician talked about permanent effects on brain development being caused to children who suffer such extreme anxiety and trauma. In which world are we living in now? We live in a country where an adult is not able to pick up a baby to comfort her? And, there are federal regulations stipulating these inhuman decrees. Have we lost all inklings of humanity?

Continue reading ‘Please Write to Your Elected Official Asking them to Stop Immediately the Inhuman Detention of More Than 11,000 Children Being Held Separate From Parents in the USA’ »

Importance of Establishing an Office For Reparations in Sri Lanka.


By Bhavani Fonseka

This week the Cabinet of Ministers approved draft legislation to establish an Office for Reparations in adherence to the commitments made by the Government in 2015. Unfortunately, there is a lack of public knowledge about what reparations are, despite successive Governments providing various forms of reparations over the years. At the time of writing, there was also limited public information on the draft legislation approved by Cabinet. It is disappointing that there is really no concerted effort by the present Government to explain their own proposals and to engage citizens in something that would benefit many people across Sri Lanka.

More concerning than even this absence of information, however, are the attacks by senior members in the Government on proposals to provide reparations to families of former LTTE cadres. It is deeply troubling that senior members of a Government which promised co-existence and reconciliation to all its citizens have a very selective view of victim-hood in a country that has witnessed decades of violence impacting all ethnic and religious groups. It is also a worrying sign of attempts to shape a particular narrative by some with ethno-nationalist tendencies. Any reforms meant at genuine reconciliation must address the diversity of affected individuals and groups, and recognise that victims are not homogeneous. Attempts to shut out some groups from future reparations miss the nuance required of a complex issue with no attempts to understand the grievances of individuals and groups.

What are Reparations?

Continue reading ‘Importance of Establishing an Office For Reparations in Sri Lanka.’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Economic Vision and Political Mission

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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

Pic via: facebook.com/gotabayar/

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

USA and Western Nations Wont Allow Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Become President of Sri Lanka;Outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap Bluntly Tells Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

United States Ambassador to Sri Lanka Atul Keshap has reportedly shattered the political ambition of former defence secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to become the next President of Sri Lanka.

The US envoy who is scheduled to leave Sri Lanka shortly after having completed his term of office in Sri Lanka is reported to have told Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that the US and Other western nations do not welcome the prospects of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa contesting polls and becoming president and are opposed to such a move.

The outgoing Ambassador dropped this political bombshell when he made a courtesy call to bid farewell to ex-president Rajapaksa on Sunday June 10th 2018.


Atul Keshap reportedly told Mahinda Rajapaksa directly that the USA and other Western Nations Are Not In Favour of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Becoming Sri Lanka’s President.

He had bluntly told Mahinda not to field Gotabhaya as a presidential candidate.

Continue reading ‘USA and Western Nations Wont Allow Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Become President of Sri Lanka;Outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap Bluntly Tells Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Must Correct His Many Mistakes For The Sake Of The Country If and When He Returns To Power.

By

N.A.De S. Amaratunga

Ex-president Mahinda Rajapaksa is undoubtedly the most popular political leader at present, and therefore has the potential of coming back to power. If people want him back in power it cannot be stopped and it should not be stopped. Let the people decide. It should not be decided by the US, China, India or any other external agent. The fact that he had been the president twice should not be a valid reason to deny the people their wish. People are concerned about what has been going on under the present regime. Economy has declined as never before, taxes are high and cost of living is climbing, corruption is rampant, foreign interference has become a threat to our sovereignty and the people can sense the perilous situation the country is in.

They cannot help comparing the previous government and the present and see that they were better off under the former. They cannot have any hope the present government could make amends and get the country out of the mess. They see government high ups making all kinds of promises but that’s all they have done for the last three years, and say they are going to solve all the problems and make this land a heaven on earth in the next one and half years. People cannot be fooled all the time. Can anybody find fault with the people if they want to bring back Mahinda Rajapaksa or somebody else with his blessings? Is there anybody in the UNP or JVP who could solve these problems which are their own making? The majority of people have faith only in Mahinda Rajapaksa. Therefore, what the intelligent people should do is not plot to defeat him, for there is no better alternative, but give him good advise to correct his past mistakes, so that if he comes back to power he will be better than what he was from 2010 to 2015.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Must Correct His Many Mistakes For The Sake Of The Country If and When He Returns To Power.’ »

Re-visiting the Communal Conflagration in Polonnaruwa of May 1958 Sixty Years After

By

K.K.S.Perera

When a government, however popular, begins to help racial or religious emotionalism merely because it is a harsh and loud-noised demand made on it, and then interferes in the management and enforcement of law and order for the advantage of its favourites or to win the applause of a crowd, however out of control it may be, disaster is certain.

As rumors spread the town was buzzing with people. They collected in groups in streets, exchanging news about an invasion of Polonnaruwa by Tamils from Trincomalee and from Batticaloa. Land development, Irrigation department and Government farms labour gangs made up a regiment of Sinhalese battalion, and were on the rampage beating up Tamil labourers and officials, looting and raping. Polonnaruwa had just a small police station. Requests for support were not regarded important as the Government seemed unwilling to take the situation in Polonnaruwa seriously. Sinhalese policemen who tried to defend Tamils were attacked by the mobs; a few had severe injuries which proved fatal. However, the colonists who settle down some years ago, under the auspicious of DS Senanayake in 1940s took no part in the rioting. It was mainly the imported labour and squatters who are new to the area.

In 1958 April Ministry of Land and Land Development wanted to transfer 400 labour families of Tamils from Trincomalee displaced by the closing down of Royal Navy Dockyards to be settled in East Padaviya. Sinhala colonists from places like Veyangoda, Kosgoda, Gampaha and some older established Sinhalese who regarded this province as their traditional homeland opposed the idea of Settling Tamils in any part of the Polonnaruwa District.

Continue reading ‘Re-visiting the Communal Conflagration in Polonnaruwa of May 1958 Sixty Years After’ »

Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Up in Arms Against Bill to Amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act No 25 of 2002 Saying it will Substantially Change Character of Original Act.

(Text of Media release Issued by Former sri Lanka president Mahinda rajapaksa on June 17th 2018)

The government has introduced in Parliament, a Bill to amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, No. 25 of 2002. The purpose of the original law was to facilitate cooperation between Sri Lanka and specified foreign countries in locating and identifying witnesses or suspects, the service of documents on such persons, the examination of witnesses, the obtaining of evidence, execution of requests for search and seizure, temporarily transferring a person in custody to appear as a witness, facilitation of the personal appearance of witnesses, the location of the proceeds of any criminal activity, and enforcing orders for the freezing of property etc. It applied only to specified Commonwealth countries and to other countries that had signed agreements with Sri Lanka to render mutual assistance in criminal matters.

The Bill to amend Act No: 25 of 2002 will repeal and replace entire sections of the original Act and substantially change its character. The proposed amendment will widen the applicability of the Act to every country that is a party to any international Convention that involves criminal matters. Though the original Act applied only to states, the proposed amendment will make it applicable to international organisations such as the International Criminal Court as well. It will also make documentary evidence and evidence obtained through video conferencing from persons resident in foreign countries admissible in judicial proceedings. The administrative machinery to respond expeditiously to requests from overseas is also to be expanded.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Up in Arms Against Bill to Amend the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act No 25 of 2002 Saying it will Substantially Change Character of Original Act.’ »

Judicial Proceedings Concerning Ex-Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Make Franz Kafka’s Novel “The Trial” a Current Reality in Sri Lanka.

By

Sarath de Alwis

“Traitors in Black Coats Flocked Together,” was the caption of a news item that appeared on July 9, 2009 in the official website of the Ministry of Defence. The news story identified the five lawyers who represented the Sunday Leader newspaper at a July 9 hearing in a Mount Lavinia court as having “a history of appearing for and defending” LTTE guerrillas.

It carried pictures of three of those lawyers. In addition, the story did something that was remarkably original in our judicial history.

It announced that the ‘original Defence team’ of the defendant newspaper had voluntarily resigned from handling the case citing it was against their ethical and moral standing to oppose a national hero like the Secretary of Defence, who had ‘made Sri Lanka a free country.’

A news report on Thursday announced that the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa had undertaken before the Court of Appeal to appear before FCID on June 25 to make a statement.

Franz Kafka haunts Hulftsdorp. Kafka was a literary giant who focused on shame and guilt. He was particularly incisive with the absence of shame and guilt in people wielding power and authority.

With a devastating eloquence, often almost uncanny and frightening, he painted despair, solitude and alienation in biting, abrupt lines. He condemned social orders and systems of administering justice which were moral neutral. He was archetypical inhabitant of the ‘surveillance state’.

The term ‘Kafkaesque’ is used even in this day, to describe the nightmarish legalese resorted to by judges and lawyers who alone can comprehend the logic of illogical situations that often unfold before courts.

The term “Kafkaesque” also describes court proceedings manipulated by a coercive state machine that compels citizens to navigate through procedures that are designed to frustrate those who dare to challenge authority.

Continue reading ‘Judicial Proceedings Concerning Ex-Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Make Franz Kafka’s Novel “The Trial” a Current Reality in Sri Lanka.’ »

Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara Quoting Martin Niemöller Makes Brilliant Submissions in Court to Secure Conviction of Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero in Landmark Case.


by Maneshka Borham

In many ways, last Thursday, June 14 was an extraordinary day.

Controversial Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, the firebrand monk who has been the face of fear-mongering and hate speech against minority communities living in Sri Lanka over the past six years, strolled into the Homagama Magistrate’s Court with dozens of young Buddhist monks in tow, crowing that he would continue to serve the country. He was at the suburban courtroom to be sentenced for the crime of intimidating Sandhya Ekneligoda, the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda within the precincts of that same court-house in January 2016.

The Homagama magistrate delivered the guilty verdict last month.

But as the sentencing concluded last Thursday, Gnanasara Thera’s bravado appeared to fail. The magistrate sentenced the BBS general secretary to six months rigorous imprisonment for each of his two convictions, to be served concurrently, meaning that the monk would complete both sentences within six months provided he behaved himself in prison. If not, the sentence would be extended by three months. The monk was also ordered to pay Rs 50,000 as compensation to Sandhya Ekneligoda subject to a further Rs 3,000 fine.

At first, the monk looked taken aback by the sentence delivered by Magistrate Udesh Ranatunge – but only for a moment.

Minutes later he was on his feet, ignoring the pleas of his lawyer as he launched into a familiar tirade that questioned both the magistrate’s integrity and his sentence.

In stark contrast, his victim, Sandhya Ekneligoda, wearing a simple white Kandyan sari at the other end of the crowded court room, stood calm and stoic, a smile lingering on her lips and a look on her face that showed she knew she had won this round.

On this day proving that not even a member of clergy could get away by intimidating a witness or victim to a crime especially within a court, Homagama Magistrate Udesh Ranatunge made an example out of the case.

In a court system which rarely convicts clergy, Thursday’s ruling was monumental, with legal experts claiming it may set precedence for similar cases in the future to ensure protection of witnesses and victims of crime.

Continue reading ‘Senior State Counsel Janaka Bandara Quoting Martin Niemöller Makes Brilliant Submissions in Court to Secure Conviction of Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero in Landmark Case.’ »

Novel Proposal To Introduce Two Dometicated Cow Elephants Into Sinharaja Forest To Provide “Company”To Last Two Male Elephants Being Suggested By Rain Forest Conservators

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

‘Unique’ within an already ‘unique’ group – this is what the last of the two Sinharaja elephants are!

As there was a deadlock, with President Maithripala Sirisena issuing instructions that moves to translocate (take from one place to another) the pair of elephants be halted forthwith and Wildlife Minister Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka insisting that they need to be translocated, environmentalists are urging a permanent solution to ensure that the elephants remain within the Sinharaja Rainforest.

This was while UNESCO has informed Sri Lanka that no flora and fauna should be removed through man-made actions in this World Heritage Site and Man and Biosphere Reserve, said environmentalists, who pointed out that Sinharaja is also a National Heritage Site which gives it maximum protection.

Such declarations on Sinharaja make it unique, with all flora and fauna including the two elephants becoming unique as well, the Sunday Times learns.

Continue reading ‘Novel Proposal To Introduce Two Dometicated Cow Elephants Into Sinharaja Forest To Provide “Company”To Last Two Male Elephants Being Suggested By Rain Forest Conservators’ »

Does Article 9 of Constitution Giving Buddhism Foremost Place Exempt Abusive Monks Exemption From the Rule of Law?


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

When irrepressible British satirist, soldier and spy Malcolm Muggeridge said, ‘never to forget that only dead fish swim with the stream’, that warning beautifully underscored the tediousness of drifting in comforting safe shallows without challenging the odds in deeper waters.


A woman who challenged the odds

This week, the jail term of six months and fine imposed by the Homagama Magistrate’s Court on General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena, Galagodaththe Gnanasara for threatening and intimidating the wife of missing journalist Prageeth Ekneligoda, Sandhya in open court and during the hearing of a habeas corpus inquiry more than two years ago, had significant repercussions beyond that individual case.

This was an instance where an individual who had no connection to an ongoing inquiry, hijacked the proceedings, threatened and lectured a party in open court, abusing her in filthy language while also abusing state lawyers in the process. His ‘defence’, if one can call it that, was that he was emotionally overwrought by the sacrifices rendered by the armed forces during the war. Ekneligoda’s disappearance implicated military intelligence officials and the inquiry is still ongoing.

Retribution would have been swift and harsh if any ordinary person had dared to indulge in such extraordinarily thuggish behavior. In this case, justice took a little more than two years to be served but it was, in fact, served. Indeed, even though this legal proceeding was not of a contempt of court nature, the ruling and subsequent jail term legitimately asserted the authority of the judiciary in a country where that term (used interchangeably with contempt of court) has been twisted entirely out of its ordinary meaning. Rather than be utilized to safeguard the integrity of the judicial institution and uphold its standards for improvement, this legal tactic has been employed as a lever to subdue critiques of judicial action and suppress public discussions of the same.

Continue reading ‘Does Article 9 of Constitution Giving Buddhism Foremost Place Exempt Abusive Monks Exemption From the Rule of Law?’ »

Are Norochcholai Residents Being Afflicted With Respiratory Illness and Skin Rashes Due to the Coal Power Generating Plant Situated in the Area?


By Dimuthu Attanayake

Shashikala Harshani is a young mother living in the village of Illanthadiya, Norochcholai, bordering the Coal Power Plant that has been subject to much controversy. When Shashikala’s little girl was born, there was a patch that appeared on her skin, which looked like a kind of rash, on her hand. “We have shown it to doctors and they said it will go away with time. But, it has been five years now. Some doctors say this might be caused due to ash from the power plant, but nobody is sure,” she said.

Noordu Kumari is another resident of the area, who gave birth to a baby with a similar patch on her leg. “It was smaller when she was born but grew bigger with time. The doctors say it will go away,” she repeats.

Young children born with these skin patches have been one concern for the inhabitants of the villages adjoining the Lakvijaya Power Station in Norochcholai. Villagers believe there is a co-relation between these skin conditions and respiratory issues prevalent in the population living around the area and the power plant, even though no causal link has been scientifically established so far by medical experts.

This, however, doesn’t do much to allay the fears of villagers living around the coal power plant, whose three turbines supply 900 megawatts in total to Sri Lanka’s national grid. With an energy crisis looming and the cleaner, cheaper hydro-power capacity no longer sufficient to meet the national demand for power, the Lakvijaya coal power plant in Norochcholai has stepped into fill this gap, in spite of constant breakdowns at the power generation facility.

Continue reading ‘Are Norochcholai Residents Being Afflicted With Respiratory Illness and Skin Rashes Due to the Coal Power Generating Plant Situated in the Area?’ »

Tamil Civilians and Rehabilitated Ex-LTTE Cadres Bid “Piriyaavidai” Tearfully at Vishwamadhu in Mullaitheevu District to Col.Bandula Rathnapriya Transferred out to Ambepussa.

By
by Maneshka Borham

Recent tearful scenes to bid farewell to a military officer serving in Vishwamadu, Mullaitivu underscores immediate needs in the impoverished and war-torn region, the continuing stigmatisation of rehabilitated ex-LTTE cadre, and the desperation for humanity and respect in a vulnerable community

In the backdrop of militarisation fatigue and continuing calls for the removal of the armed forces from civilian structures in the war-affected Northern and Eastern Provinces, scenes last week of Tamil civilians and ex-LTTE combatants in Vishwamadu, Mullaitivu bidding a senior military officer tearful farewell on his transfer to Ambepussa, sent shock waves all over the country.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Civilians and Rehabilitated Ex-LTTE Cadres Bid “Piriyaavidai” Tearfully at Vishwamadhu in Mullaitheevu District to Col.Bandula Rathnapriya Transferred out to Ambepussa.’ »

Addl Solicitor -General Viraj Dayaratne Assures Appeal Court That Ex -Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Wont be Arrested by CID Over Weeraketiya DA Rajapaksa Memorial Construction Issue

By Chitra Weerarathne

The Attorney General yesterday assured the court of appeal that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa would not be arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department in connection with the construction of D. A. Rajapaksa Memorial at Weeraketiya.

The assurance was given by Additional Solicitor General Viraj Dayaratne.

Continue reading ‘Addl Solicitor -General Viraj Dayaratne Assures Appeal Court That Ex -Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Wont be Arrested by CID Over Weeraketiya DA Rajapaksa Memorial Construction Issue’ »

US Ambassador Atul Keshap Appears To Have Started the Gotabhaya Game Dispute or “Gota Keliya Aragalaya” in Sri Lanka

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Just as President Donald Trump appears to have got over his fire and fury fighting with North Korea’s Rocket Man Kim Jong Un, the US Ambassador Atul Keshap appears to have started a presidential battle issue in Sri Lanka or the Gotabhaya Game Dispute or Gota Keliya Aragalaya.

Many have seen the reported Keshap comments to former president Mahinda Rajapaksa, about his brother Gotabhaya’s plans or the SLPP / SLFP’s plans for Gotabhaya to be the next president here as an unwanted American interference in Sri Lankan politics. Quite right, Mr. Keshap should know that we oppose any US involvement or interference in any presidential politics here; much more that Americans oppose the alleged Russian interference to ensure the election of Donald Trump as US President.

There are many critics who say we will have to keep a close watch on Facebook and other social media as to how much the US Embassy here, will be throwing its weight in Anti-Gota Politics.

But there are many others who think what Keshap had raised at his very cordial meeting with MR – related news reports not contradicted or clarified by MR or Keshap – was really about American citizenship, and not about the Sri Lankan presidency. Just look at the picture.

Continue reading ‘US Ambassador Atul Keshap Appears To Have Started the Gotabhaya Game Dispute or “Gota Keliya Aragalaya” in Sri Lanka’ »

Atul Keshap’s Talks With Mahinda Rajapaksa Has Brought a New American Twist Into the Politics of Sri Lanka

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The politics of division bothering the governing coalition made worse by the two key politicians associated with questionable donations from Perpetual Treasuries and its associate companies, the focus of political debate in the past three weeks, has been pushed back by the reports of the US Ambassador Atul Keshap’s reported critical comments on the possibility of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa being a candidate for, and possibly the next Executive President of Sri Lanka.

The story was first reported in the Tamil daily “Kaalaikkathi” (Morning Ray) on June 12, 2018, from a special correspondent reporting on what Ambassador Keshap had told former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, at a meeting on June 10 at the former president’s residence, which could have been Keshap’s farewell meeting with MR. There was sufficient time for the US Embassy to comment on or contradict the report, which has not been done; and the story has gained wider publicity by being on the blog of journalist D.B.S. Jeyaraj, having very good contacts with the political and Tamil media, and has now hit the headlines in the local media.

Continue reading ‘Atul Keshap’s Talks With Mahinda Rajapaksa Has Brought a New American Twist Into the Politics of Sri Lanka’ »

Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy GalagodaAththe Gnanasara Thero Sentenced to 6 Months Rigorous Imprisonment , 1500 Rupee Fine and Also Ordered to Pay 50,000 Rs Compensation to Sandhya Eknaligoda.

Sri Lanka’s highly controversial Buddhist monk, Galagodaatte Gnanasara, was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday for his criminal conduct outside a court house where he threatened violence against Sandya Eknaligoda.

Gnanasara was found guilty on two counts under the penal code which carried a maximum sentence of two years in prison, an unspecified fine and or both. The Homagama magistrate gave him six months of hard labour (rigorous imprisonment) and fined him 1,500 rupees.

He was also ordered to pay 50,000 rupees as compensation to Sandya Eknaligoda for intimidating her in January 2016 at the Homagama courts during proceedings of her husband’s disappearance.

Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy GalagodaAththe Gnanasara Thero Sentenced to 6 Months Rigorous Imprisonment , 1500 Rupee Fine and Also Ordered to Pay 50,000 Rs Compensation to Sandhya Eknaligoda.’ »

Outgoing US Envoy Atul Keshap Asked Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa About Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Recent Visit to China says “NewsIn Asia” Website

Mystery surrounds what transpired during outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap’s courtesy call on former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa last Sunday. On Wednesday, The Island daily quoted a source close to the former President to say that Ambassador Keshap told Mahinda Rajapaksa (MR for short) that his younger brother and former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa is “unpopular” thereby hinting that Gotabaya will not be able to win the next Presidential election to be held in January 2020.

It is widely rumored that the Joint Opposition and the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) led by MR will field Gotabaya as their candidate because MR himself cannot contest for a third time under the 19 th.Amendment of the constitution enacted in 2015.

Continue reading ‘Outgoing US Envoy Atul Keshap Asked Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa About Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Recent Visit to China says “NewsIn Asia” Website’ »

Unnamed “Spokesman” for Mahinda Rajapaksa Denies Outgoing US Ambasador Atul Keshap Discussed Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidacy with his Brother the EX-president.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap has told former President Mahinda Rajapaksa that his brother, Gotabhaya was very unpopular.

Indian American Keshap has based his assessment on information received by him, a spokesperson for the former President’s Office told The Island yesterday.Career diplomat Keshap succeeded Michele J. Sison in March 2015. He took over the mission in late August 2015.

Keshap paid a courtesy call on former President Rajapaksa at the latter’s Wijerama Mawatha residence on Sunday evening.

Continue reading ‘Unnamed “Spokesman” for Mahinda Rajapaksa Denies Outgoing US Ambasador Atul Keshap Discussed Gotabhaya Rajapaksa’s Presidential Candidacy with his Brother the EX-president.’ »

US Embassy Non-Committal About Meeting Between Atul Keshap and Mahinda Rajapaksa Saying Ambassador Meets Routinely With Leaders and Honours Confidence of Private Meetings By Not Discussing Contents of Those Publicly

By

Lahiru Pothmulla

In response to the news report published on a Tamil daily newspaper in Jaffna regarding a content of a meeting held between former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and outgoing US Ambassador Atul Keshap, the US Embassy today remained non-committal.

When the Daily Mirror inquired about the meeting, the Embassy said that the Ambassador met political leaders as a routine.

Continue reading ‘US Embassy Non-Committal About Meeting Between Atul Keshap and Mahinda Rajapaksa Saying Ambassador Meets Routinely With Leaders and Honours Confidence of Private Meetings By Not Discussing Contents of Those Publicly’ »

Two State Ministers and Five Deputy Ministers from the UNP and UPFA Sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena.

Two new State Ministers and five Deputy Ministers were sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Presidential Secretariat on the morning of June 12th 2018

Ranjith Aluvihare was sworn in as State Minister of Tourism Development and Christian Religious Affairs while Lucky Jayawardana was sworn in as Hill Country New Villages Infrastructure and Community Development.

Continue reading ‘Two State Ministers and Five Deputy Ministers from the UNP and UPFA Sworn in by President Maithripala Sirisena.’ »

US Citizenship Issue Wont be an Obstacle for Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Contest the Presidential Elections Says Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader Udaya Gammanpila.

By

Sheain Fernandopulle

The United States (US) citizenship was not a barrier for former Defense Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa to contest the upcoming Presidential Election, Pivithuru Hela Urumaya (PHU) leader and MP Udaya Gammanpila said yesterday.

Addressing a news conference, he said Mr. Rajapaksa had requested him to explain the true legal position and the procedure in respect of renunciation of the US citizenship.

Continue reading ‘US Citizenship Issue Wont be an Obstacle for Gotabhaya Rajapaksa to Contest the Presidential Elections Says Pivithuru Hela Urumaya Leader Udaya Gammanpila.’ »

Will Mahinda Rajapaksa Ever Forgive Those of the SLFP Who Crossed Over With Maithripala Sirisena and Helped Defesat Him in the 2015 Presidential Poll?


By

The “Sunday Observer” Political Correspondent

The year was 2007. Mahinda Rajapaksa and his 35-member entourage were returning from a private visit to London, having travelled there in winter to attend his second son Yoshitha’s graduation from Britannia Royal Navy College, Dartmouth.

SriLankan Airlines, fully booked for holiday traffic in peak tourist season, found it could not accommodate the presidential delegation without cancelling seats on its business class sector.

Faced with the prospect of offloading three dozen paying passengers who had booked flights months in advance, the SriLankan CEO Peter Hill – then nine years in the job, made a judgment call. He declined the presidential request.

A seething President Rajapaksa had to charter a Mihin Lanka flight to fly himself and his delegation back to Sri Lanka.

In any sane country, Peter Hill’s actions would have been hailed as being the correct corporate decision for the then profit-making national carrier.

In Rajapaksa Sri Lanka, Hill had his work permit cancelled by the BOI.

Weeks after the incident, in the face of an increasingly souring relationship with the Rajapaksa Government, Dubai-based global carrier Emirates announced it was pulling out of SriLankan which it was fully managing with a 43.6 percent stake in the company. The 10-year contract expired in March 2008 and was never renewed. Emirates described the end of the deal as an “amicable parting”. It was anything but.

The Government celebrated the exit of Emirates by serving milk rice on all its flights. The unions cheered the re-nationalisation of the country’s flag-carrier. Patriotic protectionism was the Rajapaksa way, the regime thundered, no more national assets to be ‘handed over to foreigners..’….

Continue reading ‘Will Mahinda Rajapaksa Ever Forgive Those of the SLFP Who Crossed Over With Maithripala Sirisena and Helped Defesat Him in the 2015 Presidential Poll?’ »

The Troika and the Truth: A Constructive Commentary On Lalith Weeratunga’s Testimony


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

I was delighted to read Lalith Weeratunga’s revelatory article ‘The Troika’ (Counterpoint, Daily FT). I regard him as a friend and I respect him as one of the finest public servants we have had. President Rajapaksa could not have had a better Secretary to the President at a crucially testing time in our contemporary history. I have long encouraged Lalith to write his memoirs and I hope what I see in the newspaper is but a ‘teaser’, which will eventuate in a full volume.

Lalith Weeratunga’s account of the Troika is the truth. However, while it is the truth, it is not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. There are important pieces that requires inclusion to establish a clearer account of the times and issues. These are of crucial importance because unless we insert them back in and complete the diplomatic history of that time, we shall be unable to understand what happened in President Rajapaksa’s second term, how we got mired in the war crimes quagmire in Geneva, and the problems we shall have in extricating them even if the Troika returns, even with some in significantly and qualitatively elevated roles.

Lalith’s account is of a golden moment in Sri Lanka’s foreign relations, where we avoided the fate that the Jayewardene administration suffered when it rightly attempted to defeat the LTTE in 1987. That attempt triggered intervention. Under President Rajapaksa, the Troika helped avoid it and secure the space necessary to win the war.

However, Lalith’s account omits the two crucial and inextricably interrelated factors that enabled this success.

Continue reading ‘The Troika and the Truth: A Constructive Commentary On Lalith Weeratunga’s Testimony’ »