Fisheries minister Rajitha Senaratna yesterday rejected a call to allow Indian fishermen to fish in Sri Lankan waters on a permit system for three years.
He was responding to a call by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) senior leader Subramanian Swamy who made the suggestion at a seminar organised by the Defence Ministry in Colombo this week.
“There is no possibility of agreeing to such a request. Nobody can take an arbitrary decision on this,” Dr Senaratne said. Dr. Swamy said Indian fishermen were unable to catch good fish due to reckless fishing on the Indian side. “On the Gulf of Mannar, our quality fish and shrimps have been fished out. Now, the good export value fish and shrimp are on the Sri Lankan side. We have to sit down with Sri Lanka and say give us three years to repopulate our side of the ocean. In between you give us some permits to fish on your side,” he said.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Rajitha Senaratne Rejects Proposal by Subramanian Swamy for Indian Fishermen to Fish in Lankan Waters for Three Years by Permit.’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
Despite claims to the contrary by the SLFP leader of the ruling UPFA the controversy over the need and demand for abolishing/down-sizing Executive Presidency has refused to die. The latest to join issue, if it could be dubbed so, are two partners in the UPFA, as has been the case in the recent past.
The traditional Left ally in the Government, Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) leader and Minister Dinesh Gunawardane has said in a media interview that Parliament does not have adequate powers to participate in governance. He should know. After all, he is the Chief Government Whip in Parliament.
The National Freedom Front (NFF) of Minister Wimal Weerawansa has gone a step further. Not stopping with the abolition of the Executive Presidency, It wants a new Constitution, to boot. Furthermore, it has claimed a signed agreement with the SLFP leadership. NFF leaders have cited senior SLFP ministers, including Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa as signatories to the pact. The SLFP has neither denied, nor clarified the NFF claims.
If such was the case, what stops the Government from talking to the TNA? After all, none of the demands, including those from the UNP Opposition, on the abolition of the Executive Presidency, has been characterised as the national problem. The ethnic issue alone has been, instead.
Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Committed Cardinal Mistake of Backing US Sponsored Resolution at UNHRC in Geneva.’ »
Chairman of the Bharathiya Janatha Party Committee on Strategic Action and former Union Minister of the Government of India Dr. Subramanian Swamy is confident that Tamil Nadu would soften its stance on Sri Lanka with regard to its concerns on human rights issues.
Speaking to The Nation during the Defense Seminar held in Colombo last week, Dr. Swamy pointed out that the protests against Sri Lanka, and his visit to the seminar, were spearheaded by a minuscule number of people. “Nobody takes them seriously and it is essentially organized by a cinema director who has made all his films on LTTE drug money. He is kind of a financial orphan. His name is Seeman,” he said.
“They are against any normalcy in the relations between Sri Lanka and India. But normalcy is coming. It’s already here and in a few months India and Sri Lanka will become absolutely good friends, supporting each other,” Dr. Swamy added.
Continue reading ‘Anti-Sri Lanka Protests in Tamil Nadu Organized by Cinema Director Seeman who has made his films on LTTE drug Money – Subramanian Swamy’ »
Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, yesterday urged all Sri Lankan stakeholders to engage constructively, in a spirit of partnership and mutual accommodation, towards finding a political solution that builds upon the 13th Amendment of the Sri Lankan Constitution.
The Prime Minister met the six-member TNA delegation, led by MP R. Sampanthan, yesterday afternoon at his office.
The PM stressed the need for a political solution that addresses the aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, dignity, justice and self-respect within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Indian PM Narendra Modi Tells TNA Delegation led by R.sampanthan that he wants to meet Northern Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran.’ »
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi Saturday urged Sri Lanka to ensure “equality, dignity, justice and self-respect” for its Tamil minority.
Modi made the appeal when a six-member delegation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka’s main Tamil political party, called on him.
Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Delegation meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi-Aug 23, 2014-pic: courtesy of Australian Tamil Congress
“The prime minister stressed the need for a political solution that addresses the aspirations of the Tamil community for equality, dignity, justice and self respect within the framework of a united Sri Lanka,” an official statement said.
Continue reading ‘Indian PM Modi Tells TNA that ALL Stakeholders Must Engage Constructively to Find Political Solution Built Upon the 13th Amendment of Sri Lankan Constitution’ »
Time and tide, they say, wait for no man. Now though, through the intervention of an infrastructure project funded by the European Union to help fishermen, tides have been taken out of the equation.
The Palk bay, running along the coast of Mannar, is known to many for various reasons, not the least of which is the controversial Sethusamudram project.
Continue reading ‘The Fishermen of Mannar are now far Ahead of the Farmers in their Journey to Sustainability’ »
P K Balachandran
COLOMBO: In a paper published in the latest issue of the US Defence Department’s journal “Prism”, Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has reiterated his belief that Islamic terrorism poses a threat to the island nation.
Since the LTTE’s defeat, some of the Muslim groups in Lanka have begun to engage in activities that go “far beyond self-protection”, he said in the journal brought out by the Center for Complex Operations (CCO).
“There is information that some of these groups have even tried to link up with global Islamic terrorist organisations. This is a situation that requires careful monitoring,” Gotabaya said. “Some Islamic groups in Lanka have started to establish ties with LTTE-linked agents to create further problems,” he further said.
Continue reading ‘“Islamic Terrorism” Poses Threat to Sri Lanka Reiterates Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa.’ »
NEW DELHI: External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj told a visiting delegation of Sri Lankan Tamil Members of Parliament on Friday that New Delhi continues to look at the 13th amendment as the framework for a political solution in the island nation.
This was the first engagement of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) with the new dispensation in New Delhi, though their first interlocutor was an old acquaintance. Swaraj had met with the visiting delegation members in her earlier avatar as the Leader of Opposition, when she led a parliamentary group to the island nation in 2012.
Giving the details of the meeting, spokesperson in the External Affairs Syed Akbaruddin said the 6-member delegation gave a presentation in fairly detailed manner on what they perceive as current situation in Sri Lanka in terms of political environment and their engagement or otherwise with the Sri Lanka government.
Continue reading ‘India Tells Visiting TNA Delegation that the “Way Forward”for Sri Lanks Including Tamils is Within Framework of Indo-Lanka Accord.’ »
Democratic Party Leader and former Army Chief Lt. Gen. Sarath Fonseka insists that he has no faith in coalitions meant to achieve short term projects such as consensus on a common presidential candidate to face incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next presidential election.
Asked to comment on a recent statement attributed to Ven. Maduluwawe Sobitha Thera of the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) regarding the organisation decision to field a common candidate to pave the way for the abolition of the executive presidency, Gen. Fonseka said that such a decision taken at a gathering of 100 to 150 persons in Colombo would be irrelevant as far as the electorate was concerned.
Continue reading ‘Gen.Sarath Fonseka has no Faith in Project to Achieve Consensus on A Common Presidential Candidate to Contest Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »
India was keen on engaging with the Sri Lankan government and all political parties to help with the ongoing reconciliation process in the island nation.
TNA delegation in New Delhi-Aug 22, 2014
This was conveyed to a visiting Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Friday, signalling broad continuity of the Sri Lankan policy adopted by the United Progressive Alliance government. External Affairs Ministry spokesman said the Minister stressed the need for a political solution that “addresses substantially the aspirations of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka for equality, dignity, justice and self respect within the framework of a united Sri Lanka.”
Continue reading ‘India Reiterates Commitment to “Substantially Addressing Aspirations of Tamil Community for Equality, Dignity, Justice and Self-Respect Within United Sri Lanka”’ »
Sometimes those who are elected by the people forget their basic obligations. When you take things personally, you may not think about the public service. Most politicians face two major challenges.
1. Winning the election, 2. Keeping the promises given in the election manifesto.
The Chief Minister of the Northern Province is struggling with the second challenge due to his personal attitude and the influence of the TNA politicians.
If there is a will there is a way. But for some Tamil politicians it works the other way. There is a way, but there is no will. Recently, Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran, made a blunder ordering out the Chief Secretary.
This has gone to Court and the Court taught a lesson to CV stating that the Chief Minister does not have the authority to order a Chief Secretary. But the Chief Minister may request the Chief Secretary and the staff to coordinate their tasks in fulfilling their duties by the public.
After this, though there is no open conflict, we see there is a underlying lapse and slow moving process in the provincial administration.
We contacted Chief Secretary Wijeyaluckshmi Ramesh and had a brief interview to get a clear picture of the situation.
Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Secretary Wijeyaluckshmi Ramesh Talks about Problems with TNA Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran.’ »
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) claims the Opposition is still not prepared to put forward a common presidential candidate, despite speculation.
TNA Parliamentarian Suresh Premachandran asserted that although a common presidential candidate will be the only way out of the present situation, there is lack of seriousness in the talks about the matter.
He added that a member of the Buddhist clergy will not be able to secure votes of all communities. “The present situation in the country is such that Tamils and Muslims will never support a Buddhist clergyman no matter how honest and genuine is.”
Following are excerpts from the interview:
Continue reading ‘“Tamils and Muslims will never Support a Buddhist Clergyman no Matter how Honest and Genuine he is” –Suresh Premachandran’ »
Often I feel angry with death and the Gods. They take away the best in a way that leaves me inconsolable. I feel helpless not just because of the pain of missing them but because my world shrinks, my map of friendship collapses into empty outlines. This happened when my friend the philosopher Ramu Gandhi died. I felt the same way when the great chemist C.V. Seshadri disappeared into the sea.
I felt completely broken when U.R. Ananthamurthy passed away on Friday evening. It was as if a cosmos had collapsed, a way of life had disappeared. It was not the achievements of the man as a writer and a public intellectual, but the man himself as an achievement that mattered.
U.R. died fighting till the end. He had won most of the awards one could dream of. But it was not a curriculum vitae, a career as a shopping list that captures him but the fact that his autobiography could also be the sociology of the intellectual at his best.
Continue reading ‘U.R. Ananthamurthy: Greatest Story Teller of Modern Kannada Literature.’ »
MURALIDHARA KHAJANE& AFSHAN YASMEEN
Kannada writer and one of the most acclaimed public intellectuals in the country, U.R. Ananthamurthy passed away at a private hospital here on Friday. He was 82.
Dr. Ananthamurthy, a Jnanpith award winner, had a kidney ailment and had been on dialysis for a long time. He was put on ventilator on Thursday night.
Manipal Hospital director H. Sudarshan Ballal said Dr. Ananthamurthy’s condition worsened on Thursday night. “There was a sudden drop in his blood pressure around 6.30 p.m. on Friday following which his heart stopped functioning. Despite efforts by doctors to resuscitate him, he could not be revived,” he said.
Long illness had never come in the way of Dr. Ananthamurthy’s continued writing, critical thinking and public engagement. He had always been a critic of Hindutva politics and had incurred the wrath of the supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the run-up to the Lok Sabha election for stating that he would not wish to live in a country with Mr. Modi at the helm. He was deeply influenced by Ram Manohar Lohia’s political movement.
Continue reading ‘Kannada Writer and Indian Jnanpith Award Winner U.R.Ananthamurthy Passes Away in Bangalore Hospital at 82 Years of age.’ »
By SRUTHISAGAR YAMUNAN & UDHAV NAIG
Upping the ante against two Tamil movies with a Sri Lankan connection in the offing, 65 organisations with Tamil nationalist sympathies, including parties such as the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi and the Tamilar Vaazhvurimai Katchi (TVK), have come together to oppose the release of Puli Paarvai and Kaththi.
Speaking to The Hindu after a meeting of the outfits here, the TVK chief and former MLA, Vel Murugan, said Pulipaarvai, being produced by Vendhar movies, showed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and its slain leader V. Prabhakaran in a bad light.
According to him, the movie portrayed Balachandran — the younger son of Prabhakaran who is alleged to have been executed during the final stages of the civil war in 2009 — as a child soldier.
Continue reading ‘65 Pro-LTTE Tamil Nationalist Organizations Oppose Release of Tamil Films”Puli Paarvai” and “Kaththi” in Tamil Nadu.’ »
This week, the global insurance giant, American International Group (AIG), announced that it was pulling out from Sri Lanka, effective from 31 August. The decision to withdraw from the Sri Lankan market was first communicated as early as June this year. AIG’s share in the local insurance market is a meagre 0.3 per cent and its withdrawal is unlikely to have an impact on the local market.
An AIG statement attributed the pull out to the on -going effort to streamline its operations. General Manager of AIG’s Colombo office, Baldev Singh was on record as saying, “the decision was based on the assessment of current size, future potential cost of capital and various other performances and economic indicators.”
In the same week, US based fund Janus sold shares in Conglomerate, John Keells Holdings, resulting in a net foreign outflow of 4.52 billion rupees (US $34.73 million), the worst net foreign selling on the Colombo bourse since 25 March 2010.
The local currency fell due to heavy dollar demand and a moral suasion by the Central Bank capped the depreciation.
The two events may appear unrelated, but not so, if you add the third: A leading Sunday English newspaper reported last week that international export credit agencies have begun imposing ‘sanction clauses’ into agreements with Sri Lanka, in anticipation of potential international sanctions. The ‘sanction clauses’ would mean that the local partners would have to pay a higher premium to the lending agencies if the sanctions are imposed. The newspaper also added that the Attorney General’s Department has opposed.
Continue reading ‘International Credit Agencies Imposing “Sanctions Clauses”in Agreements with Sri Lanka in Anticipation of Economic Sanctions by West Against the Country.’ »
Gary Anandasangaree has won the nomination election for the Scarborough Rouge Park constituency on behalf of the Liberal Party in Canada.
On 20th August, nomination election was held to select the next Federal Liberal candidate for the Scarborough Rouge-Park constituency for the general election to be held in 2015 in Canada.
The three candidates for the nomination race were Gary Anandasangaree, Bhardwaj Ashwani and Michael Johnson. Despite the series of slander, false allegation and propaganda on Gary has crossed all the hurdles.
Continue reading ‘Gary Anandasangaree Wins Nomination as Scarborough Rouge Park Constituency Liberal Party Candidate for Canadian Parliamentary Elections.’ »
Senior members of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), an amalgam of Tamil political parties currently in power in Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on August 23.
A delegation led by TNA leader and senior politician R. Sampanthan will leave for New Delhi on Thursday, sources said.
Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Delegation Bound for India to Meet Prime Minister Modi,Foreign Minister Swaraj and National Security Adviser Doval in New Delhi’ »
“As societies grow decadent, the language grows decadent, too. Words are used to disguise, not to illuminate, action: you liberate a city by destroying it. Words are to confuse, so that at election time people will solemnly vote against their own interests.”
“Gaveshana Charika” literally means ‘investigative tours’. Taken in its literal sense, these investigative tours undertaken by a selected group of Parliamentarians of the United National Party (UNP) indeed sounds very genuine although it is quite obvious to every man and woman on the street that the tagline is a politically-loaded catch phrase invented by the UNP essentially to render at least some rudimentary identity to an otherwise isolated mode of protest launched by the Party to satisfy a ‘suspecting’ public who is getting increasingly alarmed and frustrated at the rotten stagnation and inactivity of the main Opposition party in the sphere of agitational politics in Sri Lanka’s.
Yet to everyone’s surprise, this very lackadaisical approach to protest is being given validity and importance by none other than the Government itself, against whom the protests are aimed. Had the Government opted to keep quiet about these “Gaveshana Charikas”, and allowed the UNP parliamentarians to enter the premises of failed Government projects and departments and show a farcical sense of freedom and tolerance of opposition-politics, then the steam, if there were any, would have died a natural death and no instant heroes would have been born.
Continue reading ‘“Gaveshana Charika”(Investigative Tours)Campaign Launched by the UNP has More Pluses than Minuses.’ »
On 24 July, within the musty confines of New Town Hall on Green Path, extraordinary political scenes unfolded. Ironically, the politically-charged event featured only academic, professional and civil society speakers, all of whom discussed constitution and nation building, rampant abuse of power and the broken quality of the present system.
There were two remarkable things about the low key event organised by the moderate scholar monk Maduluwawe Sobitha Thero, who is leading a movement agitating for constitutional reform that will abolish the executive presidential system. Firstly, the National Movement for Social Justice, with its band of top legal luminaries and constitutional experts, announced that it had developed a tangible roadmap for abolition. The discussion around abolition has existed for decades and fingers have been burnt many times over. Yet Sobitha Thero’s experts succeeded in bringing the discussion out of the abstract for the very first time, setting deadlines, closing loopholes and drafting a credible modus operandi to ensure that the presidential system is abolished six months after the next presidential race.
But the real show-stopper that afternoon was the Opposition cast that showed up at New Town Hall to witness the event. The felicitous picture published in many newspapers the very next day featured a star cast including not only Ranil Wickremesinghe, Chandrika Kumaratunga, Sarath Fonseka, R. Sampanthan, Karu Jayasuriya and the JVP’s Sunil Handunetti, but also ousted Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake, who was making a rare public appearance, and Bar Association President Upul Jayasuriya, whose fiery anti-impeachment positions propelled him to lead the country’s legal fraternity.
Continue reading ‘Unity Between Ranil and Sajith can Boost UNP but may Crush Hopes of a Common Opposition Candidate’ »
Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.
I have a great affection for General Chandrasiri, and indeed great admiration too. This began when, in 2008, he invited me to be the Chief Guest at the Future Minds Exhibition he had organized in Jaffna. The other principal invitee was to be the Bishop of Jaffna, someone else for whom I have both affection and admiration. Though he has always stood up for the rights and dignity of the Tamil people he serves, he has also spoken out against terrorism and the LTTE.
Indeed, it is a mark of his integrity that the strongest evidence against the spurious allegations made against us with regard to the first No Fire Zone comes in the letter the Bishop wrote on the day that Zone was subject to attacks. Contrary to what the Darusman report insinuates, and what an even less scrupulous report claims was our plan to corral civilians in places where the LTTE had weaponry, the Bishop said that he would ask the LTTE to refrain from transferring weapons into the No Fire Zone. Unfortunately neither the Ministry of Defence, nor the Foreign Ministry (the latter, as Dayan Jayatilleka graphically described it, now territory occupied by the MoD), have bothered to argue against the allegations on the basis of facts and evidence from independent sources.
Unfortunately the aim of General Chandrasiri in 2008, to avoid politicians, as he put it to me when asking me for the event, was countered by Douglas Devananda doggedly turning up and taking a prominent role. I could understand then why he could not be put off, but it is sad that he did not take up the idea suggested by the General’s assertion of the need to develop human resources. Instead, even in the local authorities his party won, he allowed personal predilections to come to the fore, and did nothing for development. There was no thinking of the type of partnership that could have been set up, to train youngsters and start businesses, through a synergy of talents, with civilians being in charge but accepting advice and assistance from the military.
Continue reading ‘Govt Could Exchange Governors by Appointing Gen.Chandrasiri to the South and Kumari Balasuriya to the North.’ »
Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, in an exclusive article for Haaretz, calls for a global boycott of Israel and urges Israelis and Palestinians to look beyond their leaders for a sustainable solution to the crisis in the Holy Land.
The past weeks have witnessed unprecedented action by members of civil society across the world against the injustice of Israel’s disproportionately brutal response to the firing of missiles from Palestine.
If you add together all the people who gathered over the past weekend to demand justice in Israel and Palestine – in Cape Town, Washington, D.C., New York, New Delhi, London, Dublin and Sydney, and all the other cities – this was arguably the largest active outcry by citizens around a single cause ever in the history of the world.
Continue reading ‘“My plea to the people of Israel: Liberate yourselves by liberating Palestine”-Desmond Tutu’ »
Brimming with confidence about being re-elected to serve an unprecedented third term in office, President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday shrugged off his political rivals and appeared undeterred by the UN inquiry into allegations of war crimes quietly gathering steam in Geneva.
“I will be still be here, I am planning for the next five years,” President Rajapaksa told Colombo-based Foreign Correspondents at Temple Trees yesterday, asked about his chances at the next presidential election. His Government’s vision was targeting the year 2020, President Rajapaksa explained.
Asked whether this meant he would retire in 2020, the President quipped: “Ask me that in 2020.”It was the strongest indication yet that the President may declare a snap poll in 2015, in which he will contest a third term in office.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Says Navi Pillay is “Biased”and Reiterates UN Investigators Would not be Permitted to Enter Sri Lanka.’ »
(Following is the full text of Keynote Address by Secretary to the Treasury Dr. P.B. Jayasundera titled ‘Sri Lanka: Challenges to a Rising Nation’ at the Defence Seminar 2014)
Good Morning to all.
Professor G.L. Peiris, Minister of External Affairs, Lalith Weeratunga, Secretary to the President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development, the Commanders and the officers of Sri Lanka tri-services, distinguished delegates, ladies and gentlemen, I am indeed honoured and privileged to be the Keynote Speaker of this 2014 Defence Seminar organised by the Sri Lanka Army, being attended by a rich audience and will be addressed by renowned resource persons from around the world.
I wish to thank the Commander of Sri Lanka Army Lieutenant General Daya Rathnayake and his able Director Training Brigadier Ralph Nugera for inviting me to speak to this high profile gathering.
‘Sri Lanka: Challenges to a Rising Nation’ – the subject assigned to me to speak at this prestigious event, compelled me to spend some time to research on our country’s post independent journey towards what it is today, and in this process several milestones we as a nation have passed are in fact eye openers to be able to understand challenges from a historical perspective, since history has a tendency to repeat itself in the future.
It is equally important to review the present phase of development and how it has been managed while passing many barricades along the journey to be able to understand the challenges of the present, since the present will invariably be the history of the future. I also thought that it is important to view challenges from a past and present perspective, to be able to visualise future perspectives and equip ourselves to facilitate the management of contemporary challenges in our transition from a middle income economy.
Continue reading ‘Five Pillars of Nation Building are National security, Food security, Energy security, Environment security and Macroeconomic security’ »
Bishop of Colombo, Rt. Rev. Dhiloraj Canagasabey has publicly stood by Anglican priest and disappearances activist, Fr. M. Sathivel, who was recently targeted by a monk led group claiming to represent families of the disappeared in the south.
The protesting group, later calling itself the Dead and Missing Persons Parents’ Front, violently disrupted a meeting with the families of the disappeared from the Northern Province on 4 August at the Centre for Society and Religion in Maradana, where Fr. Sathivel was also present.
Continue reading ‘Anglican Bishop of Colombo Refutes Allegations Levelled by Group of Buddhists Against “Courageous Ministry” of Fr. M.Sathivel of Colombo Diocese.’ »
(Text of a Media Release Issued by the National Peace Council titled “The CONTINUING SURVEILLANCE OF CIVIL SOCIETY EVENTS”)
The issue of security forces personnel in uniform and intelligence officers in plain clothes performing surveillance of civil society activities in the North and East has been widely reported in the post-war period. There are reports that this surveillance includes social functions such as weddings, puberty ceremonies, memorial services in addition to seminars and workshops organized by civil society organizations in the North
On three occasions in the past month, the National Peace Council regrets to note that activities under its inter-religious reconciliation programme have been subjected to surveillance by the security forces. Two of these events have been outside the former war zones of the North and East, which suggests that the practice of surveillance is encompassing the entire country.
Continue reading ‘National Peace Council Condemns Continuing Surveillance of Civil Society Activities and social Functions by Security Personnel and Intelligence Officials.’ »
(Text of Statement Issued by Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan endorsing the younger son of Tamil United Liberation Front(TULF) leader Mr.Veerasingham Anandasangaree, Mr.Gary Anandasangaree as a Liberal Party Candidate for the Scarborough-Rouge Park Constituency in elections to the Canadian House of Commons)
Mr Gary Anandasangaree who is seeking nomination from the Liberal Party of Canada for the Scarborough-Rouge Park riding for the forthcoming Parliamentary Elections is a long-standing Human Rights activist and lawyer who has selflessly worked for the welfare of the Tamil People in Sri Lanka.
We particularly remember the commitment with which he advocated for the rights of our people at the UN Human Rights Council for several years when very few activists saw that as a useful avenue.
Continue reading ‘TNA Leader R.Sampanthan Backs TULF Leader V.Anandasangaree’s son Gary for Nomination as Liberal Party Candidate in Canadian Parliament Elections.’ »
Roma Rajpal Weiss
A series of religious clashes in Myanmar and Sri Lanka in recent years has increased international concern about the role of Buddhist clergy in fuelling anti-Muslim violence.
Deadly riots broke out between Buddhists and Muslims in southern Sri Lanka on 15 June. Three people were killed and 80 injured in the towns of Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dhagra. The violence was sparked by reports that a Muslim man had allegedly attacked a Buddhist monk. Further reports indicated that the argument had actually been between the driver of a monk and the driver of a Muslim man.
Bodu Bala Sena (BBS, the Buddhist Strength Force), a nationalist Buddhist group with a notorious reputation, is being blamed for the incident. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, the group’s leader, gave a speech around the time of the riots in which he claimed that the Sinhalese Buddhist population was under serious threat from the Muslims. This instigated further violence by large mobs, which attacked mosques and burned down shops and houses in Muslim neighbourhoods.
A few weeks later, similar clashes broke out in Mandalay, Myanmar’s second largest city. It was rumoured on social media that two Muslim men had allegedly raped a Buddhist woman. The news triggered violence that left two dead and scores injured. The woman later confessed that she had lied and was arrested.
Continue reading ‘International Concern Mounts Over Role of Buddhist Clergy in Fuelling Anti-Muslim Violence in Sri Lanka and Myanmar’ »
“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”
The Colombo Magistrate’s Court issued on Tuesday, August 12, 2104, restraining orders on the Thowheed Jamath, Bodhu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya organizations preventing them from holding demonstrations and protests in Colombo and the Colombo Fort area. The demonstrations were scheduled for Wednesday, August 13. The Police making the announcement regarding the said court order stated: “The court order was issued by the Colombo Magistrate’s Court following information given by the Colombo Fort police that demonstrations were planned for today by the Thowheed Jamath, Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) and Sihala Ravaya (SR) organizations.”
What seems to be a victory for peace is in fact a dangerous alternative to the surrender of two fundamental rights, freedom of movement and freedom of speech assured to all Sri Lankans by our Constitution.Once again the Bodhu Bala Sena and its fellow travelers have scored a point. And the Rajapaksas stand to gain at least on two fronts. Firstly, they give an ostensible reason why we must have peace in the midst of our City centers and secondly, they hide their hypocrisy in their Middle-East policy of backing the regime of Israel that is considered the world over as practicing ‘apartheid’, while portraying themselves as supporters of the Palestinian Liberation Movement. Running with the hare and hunting with the hound continues, even on the international stage.
Continue reading ‘Colombo Court’s Restraining Order Surrenders Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Movement to Bodhu Bala Sena and Cohorts’ »
Last Tuesday Sri Lankan history would have changed drastically if action had not been taken to prevent a clash between Muslim and Buddhist extremists in Colombo. SSP Premalal Ranagala and the police should be commended for the way they acted to contain the situation that was developing. SSP Ranagala was shown bundling the BBS monks into their vehicle and sending them off. Perhaps for the first time since the appearance of this mad monk phenomenon on our streets, we saw a cop adopting the right attitude and tone of voice towards these troublemaking monks. Had they not been packed off in that manner, Colombo would have gone up in smoke. The Muslim extremist Towheed Jamath organization and the Bodu Bala Sena had announced rival demonstrations in Central Colombo over the Palestinian issue. That Muslims in this country would want to demonstrate in favour of Palestine is quite natural.
But the fact that the BBS wanted to organize a rival demonstration in favour of Israel in the same vicinity shows that this was an attempt to provoke a religious riot. Israel has helped this country and there is nothing wrong in organizing a rally to support Israel in their war against terrorism but did it have to be right near the pro-Palestinian rally? This in-your-face attitude, and willingness to use even foreign issues to confront Muslims in a needling way shows that the BBS is involved in a concerted attempt to spark off a July 1983 style Muslim-Sinhala riot. They may not be a terrorist organization in the conventional sense of bearing arms and carrying out attacks, but what they are doing is in fact a kind of terrorism. Perhaps the Terrorism Research and Analysis Consortium was not too far off the mark when they so designated the BBS. The Towheed Jamath movement is also cast in the same mould. They have been working below the surface and using intimidation and coercion to have their way within the Muslim community. In places where they are in the majority such as Kattankudy, the Mulsims who do not agree with them live under a reign of terror.
Continue reading ‘Almost All Ministers Except Rajitha Senaratne and Thilanga Sumathipala Think Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Behind Bodu Bala Sena.’ »
33 Tamil National Alliance(TNA)Provincial councillors comprising 28 from the North and 5 from the East have written to outgoing UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms.Navanetham Pillay outlining three specific requests regarding the on going investigation into Sri Lanka by her office.The TNA councillors have jointly urged ms.Pillay and her in coming successor to take the three requests into consideration. The TNA provincial councillors want the UN probe to investigate incidents affecting the Tamil people in the Island from at least the year 1974 and determine whether Genocide has taken place and also wants the probe to be conducted from Tamil Nadu in India if the Sri Lankan Govt forbids entry of the UN investigators into Sri Lanka.
While Northern chief minister CV Wilgneswaran,Council chairman CVK Sivagnanam and Eastern council opposition leader K Dhandaayuthapaani have not signed the letter the four Northern provincial ministers and deputy chairman are notable signatories.It is learnt that the controversial letter writing project of the TNA councillors is being undertaken on the initiative of former MP and current provincial councillor MK Sivajilingam.
The text of the letter with names of signatories is as follows -
Continue reading ‘33 TNA Provincial Councillors from North and East Write to Navi Pillay Requesting UN Probe to Determine Whether Genocide of Tamils Has Occurred in Sri Lanka.’ »
Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has threatened to field a candidate at the next presidential election, if President Mahinda Rajapaksa and other political leaders, do not accept their soon to be presented ‘comprehensive policy framework’.
General Secretary of the BBS, Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera said the Buddhist group will present its policy framework to President Rajapaksa and if he agrees with the content and decides to carry it forward, the BBS will back him at the presidential election.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena will Contest Next Presidential Election if President Rajapaksa Does Not Support BBS Policy Warns Gnanasara Thero’ »
Popular music composer Illayaraj’s younger son and a famous composer himself Yuvan Shankar Raja Monday confirmed that he has converted to Islam, adding that he is proud of the decision which got his family’s support.
Though the rumour was going around for quite some time, Yuvan, confirmed this in a tweet.
“Yes, I follow Islam and I’m proud about it. Alhamdhulillah,” Yuvan Shankar Raja posted on Twitter.
There were rumours that Yuvan, who was married twice, was now going to marry a Muslim woman.
However, he has denied the rumours.
“I’m not married for the third time. The news is false, and yes, I follow Islam and I’m proud of it,” India Today quoted him as saying.
Continue reading ‘Why Music Composer Yuvan Shankar Rajah Converted From Hinduism to Islam Seeking Solace, Inner Peace and Happiness’ »
♫ “Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan”♫
The fourth season of Vijay TV Airtel Supersinger Competition has concluded with a fairy tale ending. The winner Diwakar is from a humble social background and without any formal training in singing. Diwakar was not only the choice of the Judges, but also of the people who endorsed him with a record number of votes.
The zenith of Diwakar’s performance in the keenly contested show was his rendering of the song ”Neeyay Unakku endrum Nigaraanaavan”from the old Tamil film “Baley Pandia” produced and directed by B.R.Panthulu in 1962.Sung by maestro TM Soundararajan(TMS) and “Konnakol”expert MS.Raju(not to be confused with the Telugu film producer) the song was picturised on actors Sivaji Ganesan and M.R. Radha singing with K. Balaji playing the “Ghatam”.
Continue reading ‘“Supersinger Winner Diwakar, “Balaey Pandia” Film and the TMS-Raju Song”Neeyay Unakku Endrum Nigaraanavan”’ »
Last week controversy prevailed over 16 women taken into custody by the police, from an Ayurvedic Centre from Bambalapitiya, on charges of prostitution, then stripped bare and searched at the Welikada Prison.
The arrested women allege the female Army officers in the Prison had insisted they remove their clothes to perform body searches on them, before they were allowed into the remand prison.
Lawyer Gunasekera Wanninayake, Counsel for the defence claimed the act of undressing women fully in search for contrabands is totally demeaning and undermines the women’s dignity.
Continue reading ‘16 Sex Workers Arrested on Charges of Prostitution were Allegedly Stripped Bare and Body Searched at Welikade Prison by Female Soldiers.’ »
He promised not to cry but millions of cricket fans including President Mahinda Rajapaksa and some 4,000 spectators were close to tears when one of the world’s greatest Test cricketers Mahela Jayawardena said farewell at his home-base SSC ground in Colombo yesterday.
Captain Angelo Mathews and other players carried Mahela Jayawardena on their shoulders for a lap of honour amid roaring cheers and firecrackers as the 37-year-old star ended his Test career with a total of 11,814 runs including 34 centuries in 149 Tests during the past 17 years.
Continue reading ‘Mahela Jayawardene Teaches Political Leaders the Lesson of “Reigning, Letting go and Quitting”at the Right Time.’ »
BJP’s Rajya Sabha Member of Parliament, Tarun Vijay on Monday urged the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee to request the Centre to take immediate steps for declaring Tamil for use as a language of the Madras High Court for passing orders and judgments.
It might be recalled that Tamil Nadu government had passed a resolution that Tamil should be made court language in the High Court. On receiving the proposal, the Central Government had forwarded it to the then Chief Justice of India, K.G. Balakrishnan and a full court meeting of the Supreme Court rejected the proposal.
Continue reading ‘Tarun Vijay , North Indian BJP Rajya Sabha MP Urges President Mukherjee to Declare Tamil as Language of Court in the High Court.’ »
(This article which appeared first on October 5th 2012 is being reproduced without any changes here from Cricinfo in honour of Mahela Jayawardene)
Three years ago, the Sri Lankan cricket team rode through the streets of Lahore, Pakistan, on the third day of a Test match. Captain Mahela Jayawardene, who is to his country what Derek Jeter is to the city of New York, rode near the back of the bus. The convoy, with a police escort, rolled through the streets outside the stadium. Mahela, known as MJ, took out his phone to call his wife, and that’s when they all heard what sounded like fireworks. Someone shouted, “They’re shooting at the bus!” They heard the bullets, marching down the side exposed to the terrorist gunmen, sounding like rain on a metal roof. Mahela dived for the floor, and the first 30 seconds of what happened next ended up on Christina Jayawardene’s voicemail. An RPG flew over the bus. A grenade rolled under it. It was a blur: policemen being shot in the street, dying on a Tuesday morning, bullets striking the tires, players screaming. When she played the message for Mahela’s oldest friend, tears flowed down her face as he listened.
“I got hit,” her husband shouted, and she heard the fear in his voice. Next his friend and fellow star Kumar Sangakkara, also a cricket legend, got hit with shrapnel, too, then another and another. Six in all were wounded, only one by a bullet. Soon, the bus driver would heroically drive them to safety, and Mahela would call the president of Sri Lanka on a private number, flexing for the first time anyone could remember, telling the politician to get him and his boys home. But on the floor of the bus, wounded by shrapnel and bleeding, Mahela felt sure that he’d die outside a stadium, killed for the crime of being a cricket star in a part of the world where the games seem to matter way more than they should.
Continue reading ‘Mahela Jayawardene:A man who speaks for a nation’ »
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene
When a country or a people are starved of basic compassion, profit alone cannot ensure stability. Equally, toleration of savagery in one form can only breed greater savagery in many other guises. This is the abiding lesson surely that all great religions teach us.
Greater scrutiny required of deportation policies
Even during the grim conflict years, Sri Lankans practised Buddhist, Christian, Islamic and Hindu teachings which prioritized humanity over every other concern. The evils that confronted us during war were endured as a matter of necessity. It is doubly ironic therefore that in the post-war years, we stand in the greatest danger of abandoning that humanity at an unbearable cost.
This is clearly reflected towards those who have sought asylum here from persecution in their own countries. During the past month, brutal deportation of Pakistani asylum seekers, many of whom belong to the Ahmadiyya Islamic sect or are Christians directly at risk in Pakistan have gone virtually unnoticed.
Continue reading ‘Inhumane Treatment Meted out by Govt to Desperate Victims of Discrimnatory Practices Seeking Asylum in Sri Lanka.’ »
Army troops serving in different areas of the Jaffna peninsula have started a programme to provide drinking water to the people affected by the severe drought.
Plastic water tanks have been placed in public places. In addition water bowsers have also been sent to rural areas.
As in many parts of the country, the prevailing drought has adversely affected the people of Jaffna.
Jaffna has not received adequate rainfall for nearly two years.
Continue reading ‘Army Provides Drinking Water to People in Various Parts of the Jaffna Peninsula who are Affected by Severe Drought’ »
Veerasingham Anandasangaree is not someone who is afraid to speak his mind. At 81 and semi-retired from politics, the onetime Parliamentarian and General Secretary of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) has made some new public disclosures, questioning the legitimacy of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) and the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK), better known as the Federal Party (FP).
Raising such questions will no doubt ruffle quite a few feathers, particularly among Tamil politicians of today, but that has not deterred the octogenarian politician from going public with such matters. “The Tamil people are being deliberately misled by the TNA. The people want peace, but after winning elections, they (the TNA politicians) are not working towards that goal,” Mr. Anandasangaree told the Sunday Times.
And to illustrate the point, he made public this week, a two-part document titled ‘The TNA and ITAK should declare their true identities’, in which he claimed that, both the ITAK and the TNA were started fraudulently and without proper authority, and hence, has no moral right to function. Mr. Anandasangaree first entered Parliament in 1970, contesting the Kilinochchi seat on the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) ticket, but it was way back in 1959 that he made his maiden attempt at an election by contesting a seat in the Colombo Municipal Council (CMC), also on the LSSP ticket. He lost, but it was not altogether surprising, given that he was up against veteran Colombo politician V.A. Sugathadasa.
Continue reading ‘“Tamil National Alliance Propped up by Sections of Tamil Media Toes the Agenda Set by the Tamil Diaspora”- V.Aanandasangaree’ »
Franklin R. Satyapalan
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has prepared the draft of a policy document to develop the country based on Buddhist principles and traditional Sinhalese values, the organization’s CEO, Dilantha Withanage said.
This broad-based document includes policies on diverse subjects such as health, education, nutrition, law and order and good governance, he said.
Asked whether the policies would be detrimental to the interests of other minorities and religions, Withanage replied, “Buddhist principles and traditional Sinhalese values had never been against other minority or religious interests”.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Drafts Policy Document to Develop Sri Lanka According to Buddhist Principles and Traditional Sinhala Values.’ »
Franklin R. Satyapalan
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has prepared the draft of a policy document to develop the country based on Buddhist principles and traditional Sinhalese values, the organization’s CEO, Dilantha Withanage said.
This broad-based document includes policies on diverse subjects such as health, education, nutrition, law and order and good governance, he said.
Asked whether the policies would be detrimental to the interests of other minorities and religions, Withanage replied, “Buddhist principles and traditional Sinhalese values had never been against other minority or religious interests”.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Compiles Policy Document to Develop Sri Lanka on Basis of Buddhist Principles and Traditional Sinhala Values.’ »
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will decide whether it is to field a presidential candidate or not only after the announcement of a presidential election is made, TNA parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran told Ceylon Today in an interview on Thursday (16).
“Only then will we also decide on the other option whether to support a common candidate or not,” he said.
Sumanthiran, who has an insight into the main opposition UNP’s thinking, said they would however field a candidate to challenge incumbent President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the next Presidential Election, without supporting a common candidate.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Wont get Simple Majority in the First Count at Presidential Poll says TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran.’ »
Many of Sri Lanka’s opposition movements that have sprung up in more recent times especially in the South, movements which seek to construct an alternative discourse, appear to be oscillating somewhat ambivalently between the ready desire to affect course-correction and the very reluctant ambition of initiating regime-change. Those which have the greatest potential of affecting regime-change are for course-correction; while those who may have influenced certain movements to adopt a course-correction approach appear less promising about affecting regime-change.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Needs the Defence Secretary while Gotabhaya Can Succeed only by Operating Behind the Charismatic Mahinda.’ »
BY MENAKA INDRAKUMAR
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that is the physical aspect of it, while inner beauty shines from within. When a woman’s physical beauty fades, it is said the eyesight of a man of her age too weakens. But, women strongly feel that physical beauty can be revived. Pandering to this belief, we see thousands of beauty parlours springing up in every nook and corner of the country. So, irrespective of status or age, women in the modern world appear to be more conscious about their beauty and run the risk of curtailing their life.
So it was in such backdrop, in an effort to tackle the battle of the bulge that Dr. P. A. Priyangi chose to visit a cosmetic surgery clinic last week to get rid of the fast developing belly-fat, which irritated her even behind the steering-wheel of her car.
Dr. Priyangi (47) attached to the plastic surgery unit of the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital went to a cosmetic surgery clinic in Bambalapitiya to reduce her big belly by way of a plastic surgery, medically known as Liposuction.
Continue reading ‘Deadly Price of Beauty! Tragic Tale of Dr. Priyangi’s Demise at Bambalapitiya Cosmetic Surgery Clinic.’ »
Very few communist comrades possess humour as they are known to be serious politicians. For communist comrades, it’s difficult to add one magical component to their socialist skills to make their contributions more palatable and enjoyable. That magical component is humour, which many comrades lack. However, Parliament had a comrade from the Communist Party during the last quarter of the 20th Century who possessed much wit and humour. He was the amiable Sarath Muttetuwegama, well versed in the cliometrics of communism sporting a mellifluous smile, and representing the Kalawana electorate at that time, he was an ebullient representative of the progressive politics of our time who could sing the ‘Communist Chorus’ to eternity.
He fought for the liberation of mankind and the working class, upholding the doctrine of Nicolai Ostrowsky. Comrade Sarath, hailing from the affluent class, was a humble human being in politics. Today’s neophyte scribes and self-proclaimed political pundits certainly missed the opportunity to listen to him, as he died at a relatively young age in a tragic accident. If the late C.V. Gooneratne and A.H.M. Azwer were the best combination to crack humour in the Parliaments of the last quarter of the past century, they were followed by Sarath Muttetuwegama and former Deputy Minister of Higher Education A.M.R.B. Attanayake during the J.R. Jayewardene Government. In parliamentary debates that turned hot, Sarath proved he was capable enough to take on the 140 UNP members with capitalist views, when the UNP held power with a five-sixth parliamentary majority in the House.
Continue reading ‘Lively Duel Between Communist MP Sarath Muttetuwegama and UNP Deputy Minister AMRB Attanayake in 1977-1989 Parliament.’ »
In a bid to unite and strengthen the United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe is to appoint Sajith Premadasa as his deputy very shortly, sources close to the UNP leader revealed yesterday.
This would be the third time Premadasa would occupy that position in the Party.
This follows several rounds of talks between the duo held in the recent past, where the focus was on uniting the UNP and bringing back active members who had left the Party over differences in the past.
Wickremesinghe is to propose the appointment of Premadasa as deputy leader at the next Working Committee meet of the Party, sources said, adding that a confidante of the leader would second the proposal.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe to Propose Name of Sajith Premadasa as UNP Deputy Leader at next meeting of Party’s Working Committee’ »
It was five years ago on August 5th 2009 that Selvarasah Pathmanathan alias “KP” the chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was captured in Malaysia and brought to Colombo in a well-planned operation amounting to an “extraordinary rendition”.
Selvarasah Pathmanathan alias “KP”
KP who had served for many years as the chief arms procurer of the LTTE heading a tiger department known euphemistically as “overseas purchases” was discontinued from his post in 2002 after the Oslo facilitated ceasefire came into force. Tiger Supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran re-absorbed him into the movement years later and appointed KP as head of the LTTE’s newly created International relations department in January 2009.
After the Mullivaaikkaal military debacle and Prabhakaran’s demise in May 2009 KP donned the mantle of LTTE leadership abroad as he was the senior most active tiger leader alive . This move was opposed by some sections of the overseas tigers led by Perinpanayagam Sivaparan alias Nediyavan.
Continue reading ‘Five Years After the Capture of Ex-LTTE Chief Selvarasah Pathmanathan alias “KP” in Malaysia’ »
Pope Francis would visit the historical Madhu Shrine during his stay in Sri Lanka in January next year, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, the Archbishop of Colombo announced yesterday. The Cardinal was at the Madhu Shrine to celebrate the Feast of Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary to heaven that fell yesterday.
The Shrine of Our Lady of Madhu in the district of Mannar is considered the holiest Catholic shrine in Sri Lanka. Madhu is a place of worship for both the Sinhalese and the Tamils and has been considered a symbol of unity between the two communities.
It was announced yesterday that over 400,000 devotees attended the Madhu festival and making a special announcement Cardinal Malcolm reveled the Pope’s visit to the Shrine that has a history of over 400 years.
Continue reading ‘Pope Francis will Celebrate Mass at Sri Lanka’s Most Historic “Our Lady of Madhu”Catholic Church in Mannar District on January 14th 2015’ »
Mahela Jayawardena, arguably Sri Lanka’s most elegant batsman of his generation and second only to Arjuna Ranatunga as a captain, leaves the game’s biggest stage this week, playing his last Test Match against Pakistan at his favourite hunting ground, the Sinhalese Sports Club (SSC) in Colombo.
Jayawardena had indicated that he would continue playing in the one-day format of the game until the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next year. It is the one prize that has eluded him, having been in two World Cup finals and losing both, one of them as captain and after scoring a century in the other.
Jayawardena leaves a plethora of records to savour but he will be best remembered for his batting artistry, combining elegance with efficiency, which is why he has been successful across all versions of the games including the ‘instant’ T-20. He is one of a handful of cricketers to score a century in all three formats of the game.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Most Elegant Batsman of his Generation, Mahela Jayawardena Plays his Last Test Match Against Pakistan.’ »
It is not incorrect to work with foreign assistance if one is doing the right thing. So, we have to fight against any attempts to restrict such assistance. But there are advantages too in working with less or no foreign assistance. What are these? If a programme depends on local strength, strength of the people and benefits of working with nature then the local people will monitor the work more carefully and there should be more answerability to the people. Planning and decision making will have to be done more with the people who will assist. People will assist such programmes only if they are confident of the benefits. It has to be simple and easily understood too.
Trees will absorb sunlight and convert them into food, timber, soil fertility, medicine, animal fodder, more water retention in the soil and less drought and fewer flood damage. These are simple, easily understood and easily implemented. Seeds have to be collected, protected and shared. To do this it is not essential that one has one’s own land. Working on any land this way will improve soil fertility and yield and make food, water and a healthy environment. But this requires some work, education and training work and people on how best to do it.
Continue reading ‘Non -Governmental Organizations are not an Illegal Phenomenon’ »
The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has no intention of abolishing the Executive Presidency, according to SLFP General Secretary and Minister of Health, Maithripala Sirisena.
The Minister was responding to a question, at a media briefing yesterday (15) at the SLFP Headquarters, Darley Road.
He was responding to a question about the initiatives taken by leftist ministers to abolish the Executive Presidency before the next presidential election.
Continue reading ‘SLFP Will Not Abolish Executive Presidency says Party General Secretary Maithripala Sirisena’ »
The country’s oldest community dates back to thousands of years. The Vedda community or the indigenous community held its annual Wariga Sabha (Council of the Clan) to take crucial decisions on behalf of its nearly 500,000 members. The Council held to coincide with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous People is usually organised with government patronage. But this year it was held in Dambana with native community deciding not to accept any government sponsorship or invite any government leaders for their ancestral ceremony. Struggling against the encroaching social, cultural and economical changes, the community leader, Uru Warige Wanniya Aththo described the reasons why they decided not to accept state patronage and the crucial issues that affected his community.
What is the difference between this year’s Wariga Sabha and the Sabhas of previous years?
During the previous years, we held this ceremony with the sponsorship of the government. But we decided to have this year’s Wariga Sabha on our own. We decided that this year’s event should be conducted in Dambana.
So we invited 25 people from each community from various villages where our community people live. In the previous years 50 or more people took part in this event representing their respective areas but we decided this time to have it with the participation of only 25 representatives.
Continue reading ‘500,000 Strong Vedda Community Holds its “Wariga Sabha” Annual Clan Council in Dambana Independently Without State Support or Participation’ »
President Obama recently made a decision. Consequently, the U.S. is launching limited airstrikes in Iraq and has also undertaken a humanitarian operation in the northern part of the country.
Obama’s press conference last Thursday was difficult to watch. He couldn’t conceal the disgruntled look on his face; it appeared that he was having trouble looking directly into the camera. Obama emphasized that this was a humanitarian operation and that U.S. ground forces would not be going back to Iraq.
Notably, he didn’t mention anything about defeating the Islamic State (IS).
It’s true that Obama’s anti-war stance had a lot to do with his winning the Democratic nomination in 2008, but I’m hoping he’s thinking more about the well-being of the American republic (and the world) instead of campaign promises. Regrettably, I don’t think we’ve gotten there yet.
Continue reading ‘Why did President Obama who Invoked Responsibility to Protect in the case of Libya not do the same During the Final days of the War in Sri Lanka?’ »
“The true test of civilization is not the census, nor the size of cities, nor the crops – no, but the kind of man the country turns out.”
~Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, philosopher and poet
Exaggerations of the truth are quite common in any human endeavor. When exaggerations are driven into fully-blown falsehoods, they tend to master the individual or society that willingly accepts the fallacy of falsehood as truth. It is a criminal act and when the casualty and society accept the criminal act in any way, shape or form, society’s will to survive diminishes and when it reaches a critical mass, it explodes, claiming everyone around as victims of the willing. By virtue of his or her silence and omnipotence, the victim becomes a helpless accomplice of the crime thereby facilitating the commission of falsehood and lies and even rape, larceny and murder. The vicious circle of human folly continues to turn, capturing every willing and unwilling observer into this web of sin. Society, as a result becomes a prisoner of itself, consuming its vital resources to nurture and nourish itself. The most tragic aspect of this process is that it is only the historians of a later day who would see the beginning, the midpoint and the end of the whole story.
Continue reading ‘Alternative Leader to Present President Must be Equal to the Incumbent in Vigour,Vibrancy and Vitality.’ »
On the occasion of International Youth Day 2014, we, the undersigned members of the Young Political Leader’s Forum of Sri Lanka, welcome the publication of the Sri Lanka National Human Development Report 2014, by the United Nations Development Programme Sri Lanka, together with the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Skills Development, and the Ministry of Finance and Planning. We resonate with the importance of civic and political participation of youth and reaffirm the following recommendations as laid out in the report.
Young people are often described as disengaged from civic and political engagement. Yet, their role as active agents for change remains fundamental, especially in a post-war society such as Sri Lanka.
Given the above, we strongly believe in the need to actively engage youth in civic and political participation. As a group of concerned young politicians, we therefore call for the implementation of the following set of recommendations:
Continue reading ‘Statement on the Civic and Political Participation of Youth By the Young Political Leaders’ Forum of Sri Lanka’ »
Yuvan Shankar Raja, 34, called lovingly Yuvi at home, is not just the legend Ilaiyaraaja’s younger son, but is also India’s youngest composer, who did his first Tamil film music at the age of 16.
Yuvan Shankar Raja
While Yuvan in his name stands for young, Shankar was added by a pandit and Raja, his family name, when he became a composer.
After giving music in 100 Tamil films, he makes his Bollywood debut with Raja Natwarlal. Over an hour-long conversation, the otherwise inaccessible composer opens up to Bombay Times about why he sung for AR Rahman, what made him convert to Islam and why no one can replace his mother in the world.
Continue reading ‘“I got Direct Calling from Allah” – Music Composer Yuvan Shankar Rajah Talks About his Conversion to Islam.’ »
Lauren Bacall, the actress whose provocative glamour elevated her to stardom in Hollywood’s golden age and whose lasting mystique put her on a plateau in American culture that few stars reach, died on Tuesday in New York. She was 89.
Her death was confirmed by her son Stephen Bogart. “Her life speaks for itself,” Mr. Bogart said. “She lived a wonderful life, a magical life.”
With an insinuating pose and a seductive, throaty voice — her simplest remark sounded like a jungle mating call, one critic said — Ms. Bacall shot to fame in 1944 with her first movie, Howard Hawks’s adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel “To Have and Have Not,” playing opposite Humphrey Bogart, who became her lover on the set and later her husband.
Continue reading ‘Lauren Bacall: Provocatively Glamorous Hollywood Star with Insinuating Pose,Sultry Looks and Seductive Voice.’ »
The Police yesterday dispersed a group of extremist Buddhist monks led by Bodu Bala Sena secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero who arrived in Muslim-dominated Maligawatte area to clash with a Muslim organisation protesting against Israel.
The BBS monks argued with the police not to allow the Muslims to hold protest demonstration from Maligawatte to Colombo Fort.
Police had obtained an injunction against demonstrations in the Colombo Fort and Pettah areas and did not allow the demonstrators to enter the prohibited area.
The Colombo Magistrate’s Court issued restraining orders on the Thowheed Jamath, Bodu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya organisations preventing them from holding demonstrations and protests in the Colombo and the Colombo Fort areas. The Buddhist monks had a heated argument with the police who then removed the monks amidst heightened tensions.
Continue reading ‘Buddhist-Muslim Clash Averted by Police in Maligawatte Between Bodu Bala Sena led by Gnanasara Thero and Thowheed Jamath Organization.’ »
A forty seven year old woman doctor who visited a private beauty parlour named ‘Cosmetic Surgery Clinic’ in Bambalapitiya, Colombo today and obtained an injection to improve her looks and to become young and pretty had the misfortune of dying at the beauty parlour itself, police said.
Preliminary investigations had revealed that the doctor who was attached to the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital had died of poisoning after being administered an antibiotic injection.
The beauty clinic in question is well renowned for its latest beauty treatment methods. They include the removal of wrinkles from around the eyes and other forms of beauty treatment.
The deceased doctor was the mother of two children and resided on Senanayake Mawatha, Nawala. She had visited the beauty parlour at about 1.00 pm, and the treatment had commenced at about 3.00 pm. She had died within an hour.
Continue reading ‘Woman Doctor from Lady Ridgeway Hospital Who Got Injection to Improve her Looks at Bambalapitiya Beauty Parlour Dies of Poisoning Within an Hour.’ »
Col R Hariharan
[Answers to some of the questions on India-Sri Lanka relations and China raised by an international news agency answered on August 11, 2014 are given here.]
How do you see the diplomatic, economic, political relationship between Sri Lanka and India before the end of the war and after the end of the war?
The multifaceted India-Sri Lanka relationship has undergone subtle changes after the Eelam War ended in triumph for Rajapaksa. The main reason for this is President Rajapaksa’s failure to implement 13th Amendment to the Constitution and trigger the political process with Tamil minority as promised to India. His act of political expedience not only destroyed the Indian leadership’s credibility in him but also the public credibility in the Manmohan Singh coalition’s ability to handle the relations with India’s neighbours.
Its tectonic effects in Tamil Nadu politics saw the end of the Congress party’s fragile relationship with the DMK with disastrous results in the parliamentary poll for both the parties. It provided a fillip for anti-Sri Lanka lobbies in Tamil Nadu to gain strength particularly after Sri Lanka continued to dither on carrying out impartial probe into allegations of human rights violations towards the end of the war.
At the diplomatic level, the impact was seen in hesitant swings in India’s support for Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Commission sessions on Sri Lanka’s accountability. However, at the functional level both India and Sri Lanka seem to be keen to maintain some balance in their responses to acts of political and public provocation on both sides.
Continue reading ‘Infrastructures Controlled by China in Sri Lanka will help its Strategic Build-up in the Indian Ocean region Where India is the Dominant Power.’ »
Under the glass deck at the entrance to Independence Arcade on Bauddhaloka Mawatha, hundreds of ornamental fish swim hypnotically to and fro, delighting children and visitors to the latest entertainment spot in the capital. The glass is tough enough to walk on and the pond is lit up beautifully at night, making the massive underground tank a major attraction at the 85,000 sq.ft. recreational facility. Every other afternoon, the fish confine themselves to the farthest corners of the tank, and visitors can view a different species half-submerged in the green waters.
Window pane Wiper and brush in hand, a Sri Lanka Navy sailor floats along the surface, diligently wiping slime and water vapour off each glass pane to prevent the view from above being obscured. Senior officers stand upon the glass, issuing occasional instructions. Each pane on the deck that covers the fish tank is estimated to have cost well over a Rs. 1 million.
Touted by its publicists as an “Expression of Freedom” in post-war Sri Lanka, the actual cost incurred by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development to restore the dilapidated Auditor General’s offices have never been made public. The restored colonial facade, tasteful interiors and illuminated water features make Arcade Independence Square a stunning icon in the heart of the city, brimming with promise about Colombo’s future. ‘Beautiful City; Beautiful Life’ reads the Arcade tagline, a reflection of the vision for the capital city created by the Ministry of Defence and Urban Development.
Continue reading ‘Tale of Two Colombos:One Shines with Construction and Development While the Other Suffers Destruction and Suppression.’ »
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has ordered the relevant officials to take steps to release Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody to mark Indian Independence Day which falls on August 15, President’s Media Coordinating Secretary Vijayananda Herath said.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Orders Release of Indian Fishermen in Custody to Mark the August 15th Indian Independence Day’ »
India yesterday renewed its commitment to the sustenance of peace and development in Sri Lanka as the giant neighbour documented over $ 1.3 billion in post-war support.
“As Sri Lanka strives towards a peaceful future, the Government and the people of India remain committed to assist Sri Lanka in its endeavours of rehabilitation, reconstruction and reconciliation,” Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha said yesterday at the launch of brochure titled ‘India and Sri Lanka: A partnership that transcends time’ with Economic Development Minister Basil Rajapaksa.
Continue reading ‘Newly Launched Brochure titled ‘India and Sri Lanka: A partnership that transcends time’ Documents Over 1300 Million US Dollar Post-War Support by India for Sri Lanka’ »
Upul Joseph Fernando
When Mahinda decided to hold a snap poll for a third term Presidency he was smitten with fear of an Opposition backlash against his erratic foreign policy, which had embittered relations with world powers. He felt timorous about America spearheading an economic sanction programme, which could affect the economy of the country which would ultimately be used by the Opposition to arouse public dissention against the government.
Rajapaksa clan had assiduously prepared contingency plans to face such a damaging situation, which could affect the presidential election. It is known that they have prepared a blueprint of a plan of action to show the country and the world that the world powers like India and China are closely aligned with Mahinda and his Government.
As a first step towards implementing this strategy a highly publicized event was planned by the government by inviting the Pope for a State visit. As the next step in this pre-planned propaganda blitz was to invite Dr. Subramanium Swamy and a group of BJP Parliamentarians to the country and get Swamy to declare India’s unstinted support to Mahinda and his Government. He declared at a press conference that if the Tamils could vote for Fonseka at the 2010 presidential election there should not be any difficulty now to vote for Mahinda.
Even Chinese officials who visit the country do not make such appeals to the common people to vote for President Rajapaksa at the next election. Such matters are considered internal affairs and foreigners have no right to interfere by advising people to vote for a person of their choice.
Continue reading ‘China Appointing Defence Attache for the First Time in Sri Lanka Shows Change in Beijing-Colombo Relations.’ »
The international engagement in a call for action on Sri Lanka’s accountability arising from the last stages of the war, and the upcoming resolution in this regard at the UNHRC sessions in March this year, brought together the Marga Institute and the Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies (CHA) in a joint endeavour to present an alternate narrative of the events of the last stages of the war.
The subsequent resolution adopted by the UNHRC convinced the partners of the need to place the narrative in the domain of the public discourse on the last stages of the war.
The work on the compilation of the ‘Third Narrative’ was led by Godfrey Gunatilleke who has been at the Marga Institute from its inception and who wrote an excellent critique of the Darusman Report , Jeevan Thiagarajah who was intimately involved in the theatre of humanitarian services and was closely allied with the late Neelan Tiruchelvam while studying the conflict since 1983, and Asoka Gunawardene, respected former senior public official and currently the head of the Marga Institute and supported with important contributions and insights from other members of the group who participated in the discussions.
The report has been prepared as a logical sequel to the initiative that was taken by a group of concerned citizens in early March 2014 to propose an alternative to the UNHRC resolution. The alternative that was proposed by the group recommended a course of action which would be directed not as an inquiry into allegations of war crimes but as a full and impartial evaluation of the conflicting and contradictory accounts of the war available from different sources.
Continue reading ‘The “Third Narrative”About the Last Stages of the War in Sri Lanka and Related Issues of Truth and Accountability’ »
ROBIN WILLIAMS, an actor and comedian, died on August 11th, aged 63. The flood of grief-stricken commentary that followed news of his death has not simply been a response to his many achievements as a corruscating comedian and award-winning actor.
It has also been a sign that audiences felt they knew him as a friend. In his stand-up specials and chat-show appearances, he never seemed to be holding anything back. Dripping with sweat, pouring out words in torrents, he seemed to have no filters between his buzzing brain and the outside world.
He could be endearingly open and honest about his own problems (for years he was addicted to alcohol and cocaine), even while improvising delirious flights of fancy and flitting from character to character. Viewers loved him for it.
Continue reading ‘Remembering Robin Williams as Entertaining Actor and Endearing Friend.’ »
NEW DELHI: He came to the national capital alone at the tender age of 20, but with a determination to learn. Exactly 44 years on, Sudharshan Seneviratne is back in the city for a long haul — this time as Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India.
The nomination of Seneviratne, a renowned archaeologist, for replacement of Prasad Kariyawasam had surprised many. After all, he is the first person from outside the diplomatic service to grace the coveted post in the past two decades.
Sitting in his office here, Seneviratne is coming to grips with his new job, even as he rekindles old friendships from his university days. “I feel like having come back home,” he told Express in his first interview after presenting his credentials on July 31. A soft-spoken academic, who has spent all his life among books and ancient monuments, Seneviratne’s nomination was certainly a signal from Colombo that it intends to forge another path in its often fractious relationship with its bigger Northern neighbour.
Continue reading ‘First Sri Lankan to Complete his Doctoral Thesis from Jawaharlal Nehru University is New Lankan Envoy in New Delhi’ »
Last week, a presentation made to the US Congress by an American Professor of Law by the name of Ryan Goodman outlining how Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa can be tried in a US court for war crimes committed in Sri Lanka gained much publicity in this country.
The American government has been pushing for an international war crimes inquiry against Sri Lanka for some time now, but this was the first time it got personal with an American legal luminary actually outlining how Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who is a dual US-Sri Lankan citizen can be tried in a US court for war crimes.
Goodman followed up his Congressional briefing with an article in a blog edited by him titled “Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US Citizen for War Crimes – The Case of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.” The article argued that since the American government was promoting accountability in Sri Lanka it was duty bound to prosecute under US law, the main war criminal Gotabhaya Rajapaksa who is a US citizen and therefore within US jurisdiction.
Prof. Goodman has also outlined the American laws that Gota can be tried under. The principal piece of legislation he mentions is the US War Crimes Act of 1996 which features as section 2441 of the US Crimes and Criminal Procedure Code. Several other laws that Gota can be tried under are also mentioned including Section 2340A of the US Crimes and Criminal Procedure Code which deals with torture committed by a US citizen on a foreign national, but it is clear that the primary piece of legislation that Goodman is relying on is the War Crimes Act of 1996.
Continue reading ‘Will the US War Crimes Act of 1996 be Utilised by the American Establishment to Prosecute Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as a War Criminal?’ »
By Ryan Goodman
(Ryan Goodman is co-editor-in-chief of Just Security. Ryan is the Anne and Joel Ehrenkranz Professor of Law at New York University School of Law.This opinion piece is reproduced from Just Security)
This is the second post arising out of a presentation I made at a congressional briefing earlier this month on issues of accountability in Sri Lanka. The analysis below is also drawn from my opening remarks, and the further refinement of my ideas in light of discussions following the briefing.
Here I highlight the various laws that might assist the Justice Department and other agencies in prosecuting US citizen, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In another post back in May, I described some of the evidence in the public record about his alleged involvement in mass war crimes—for which the US government is interested in seeking accountability.
Sometimes the cover-up is more easily proven than the crime. And Gotabaya may also be guilty of witness tampering. At the end of this post I therefore include a detailed, “Timeline: Was US Citizen Gotabaya Rajapaksa Involved in Witness Tampering in a US War Crimes Inquiry? You Decide.”
The following analysis may be helpful to members of Congress as well as the administration. The Justice Department and other agencies are not able to comment on ongoing investigations. Accordingly, it would be helpful, I imagine, if members of Congress simply sent a letter to relevant offices within the administration expressing interest and hope that they will pursue with full rigor any information and all legal avenues that establish criminal or civil liability for the most serious violations of US federal law by individuals subject to our jurisdiction.
So, what legal avenues might be available to the administration in the case of Gotabaya?
Continue reading ‘Road Map 2- Legal Avenues to Prosecute a US Citizen for War Crimes—The Case of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »
The Obama administration has taken the lead internationally to promote accountability in Sri Lanka. The principal focus is on war crimes and crimes against humanity committed during the country’s decades long civil war. But those efforts are also important to addressing the situation of Tamil, Muslim, and Christian minorities in Sri Lanka today.
Congress has also played an important role. It has restricted military and financial assistance, and individual congressional members have distinguished themselves through a variety of statements and initiatives.
The lack of accountability in Sri Lanka, however, is worsening. Following her visit there, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights stated that the country is “showing signs of heading in an increasingly authoritarian direction” (see also this International Crisis Group report). According to the State Department, the main targets of human rights violations are “civil society activists, journalists, and persons viewed as sympathizers of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam terrorist organization.” As the State Department further explains, violence against Muslim and Christian minorities is also an increasing concern due to “a serious escalation in the number of attacks by extremist Buddhist groups, many with direct ties to high government officials” (my emphasis added). In short, impunity (for war crimes) begets impunity (for ongoing violations). And in Sri Lanka today, a climate of impunity reigns.
Continue reading ‘Road Map 1-What More Can the US Congress and Administration do to Promote Accountability in Sri Lanka?’ »
Dr. Wickrema Weerasooria
Hon. The Chief Justice, and Other Judges, the Attorney General and Mr. Upul Jayasuriya, President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, Ladies & Gentlemen.
When I was asked to speak a few words on behalf of the lawyers being felicitated today, I felt both humbled and privileged. I felt humbled because there are others in this group who are far more competent, knowledgeable and able than I to give this talk. I felt privileged because of the opportunity given to me to address such a large and distinguished gathering.
History’s Importance to Lawyers
It was the well-known English writer Sir Walter Scott who said that a lawyer without history or literature is a mere mechanic, a mere working mason. With some knowledge of history, he can call himself an architect. In that context, as a lawyer of over 50 years, I ask the younger generation to spend a little time learning about our legal and judicial history. Most of that history is found in three excellent books all authored by one man, the late Justice A R B Amerasinghe. He died recently in January this year (2013). He was one of my teachers at Peradeniya University. He wrote the History of the Supreme Court. The second book was Legal Heritage of Sri Lanka and the third book Professional Ethics for Lawyers. Justice Amerasinghe has truly said that Sri Lanka’s greatest lawyer was Mr. H.V. Perera Q.C. and the greatest jurist is Judge Christopher Weeramantry.
Justice Weeramantry who ended his legal career as the Judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) at the Hague, speaks very highly of Sri Lanka’s judiciary and our legal profession. We need no other testimonial. The apex functioning of both judges and lawyers in Sri Lanka is still at Hulftsdorp – named after the Dutch General Hulft who died in 1656 of a bullet fired by a Portuguese soldier. The area where Hulft died became known as the village of Hulft (Dorp meaning village in Dutch) What lawyers call Hulftsdorp, our people call Aluthkade – New Bazaar, and that is still where the Temple of our Noble Profession is situated. Today Hulftsdorp houses one of the most iconic buildings of modern times, the Supreme Courts complex and has become the hub of our country’s legal fraternity.
Continue reading ‘Shakespeare in “Henry VI”said”The First Thing to do is Kill all the Lawyers”to Create a Perfect Society.’ »
STATEMENT ISSUED BY THE PROVINCIAL SUPERIOR OF THE OBLATES OF MARY IMMACULATE (COLOMBO PROVINCE) ON THE ILLEGAL INTRUSION AND DISRUPTION OF A MEETING AT CSR
As the Provincial Superior of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate (Colombo Province), I wish to express my feelings of deep disappointment and frustration over the deplorable and despicable incident that transpired at the Centre for Society and Religion (CSR), at 281, Deans Road, Colombo 10, on Monday, August 4, 2014.
CSR is the social justice arm of the Oblate religious order and has always championed the cause of the poor and the marginalized, whatever be their race or creed.
Continue reading ‘Press Release by Oblate Provincial in Colombo about Illegal Intrusion and disruption of a Meeting at Centre for Society and Religion’ »
By D.B.S. Jeyaraj
Anton Balasingham in coversation, on behalf of LTTE with President Premadasa during the 1990 peace talks-pic courtesy: sundaytimes.lk
An official delegation representing the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) was engaged in negotiations with the Government of President Ranasinghe Premadasa in Colombo when Former Leader of the opposition Appapillai Amirthalingam and his colleague Vettivelu Yogeswaran were assassinated by a tiger hit squad on July 13th 1989.The assassination caused much embarrassment to the Premadasa regime which initially embarked upon a concerted campaign to absolve the LTTE of responsibility. It was indeed a time of great confusion and initially many were ready to grant the benefit of the doubt to the LTTE. However the passage of time saw the LTTE itself admitting to the killing openly thus exposing the pathetic cover up attempts of the Govt which had “muttai/bithara” all over its face as a result.
The LTTE negotiating team was led jointly by its chief political strategist and adviser Anton Stanislaus Balasingham alias Bala annai and political wing head Naren Yogaratnam alias Yogi.The tiger negotiators had paid several visits to Colombo for talks with President Premadasa himself , his senior cabinet ministers and top bureaucrats. Most of the talks were held at the “Sucharitha”residence of President PremadasaThe LTTE team had been housed at the Hilton Hotel during the early days. Subsequently they were accommodated at the Galadari Meridian hotel.The Police Special Task Force(STF) was in charge of security for the LTTE during their Colombo sojourn.
Continue reading ‘TULF Leader Amirthalingam Assassination in 1989: President Premadasa’s UNP Govt Shields LTTE From Blame.’ »
The first Tamil film which impacted on me greatly during childhood was ‘Veera Pandiya Kattabomman’. It was a kind of bio-picture about a ‘Paalayakkaaran’ or Polygar (feudal chieftain) who defied the British during the last decade of the 18th Century and paid the supreme penalty. Kattabomman whose full name was Veera Pandiya Kattabomma Karuthaiyya Nayakkar governed an area known as Paanchaalankurichi which is in the Thoothukkudi District of Tamil Nadu state in India.
Sivaji Ganesan (1 October 1928-21 July 2001) in “Veera Pandiya Kattabomman”
I was five years old when I first saw the film with my parents at Elphinstone Theatre. The upper portions of the theatre were encased in hardboard, resembling the structure of a fortress. There were two cut-outs on either side of two men with upraised swords on horses. In the middle was another cut-out of a man literally taking a bull by its horns. The two horsemen were Kattabomman played by the actor Sivaji Ganesan and his brother Kumaraswamy alias Ommaithurai played by OAK Devar. The man taming the bull was Vellaiyhathevan, the commander of Kattabomman’s forces. The actor was Gemini Ganesan.
Continue reading ‘Sivaji Ganesan: Tamil cinema’s versatile actor par excellence’ »
Mangala Samaraweera M.P.
The United National Party (UNP) has consistently maintained that the opening of the floodgates of international scrutiny can be avoided only through an independent and credible local investigation to inquire into the serious allegations against the Rajapaksa regime of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.
Desmond de Silva
In fact when the government sponsored a motion against the international investigation initiated by the UNHRC on June 18 this year, moving an amendment on behalf of the UNP, I said, “Mr. Speaker, rejecting an international investigation can only be done acceptably if there is a credible local mechanism” and we proposed that the government fully implements the recommendations of the LLRC report, revive the provisions of the 17th Amendment and integrate the Latimer Principles as an integral part of the Constitution and make provisions for the early passage of the Freedom of Information Act as a means of restoring the credibility of our democratic institutions.
Continue reading ‘Desmond de Silva, Geoffrey Nice and Michael Crane Reputed for Whitewashing Govt Crimes,Getting Immunity for Heads of State and Saving Dictators Facing War Crime Charges’ »
July 13th 1989 was the date on which the well-known Sri Lankan Tamil leader Appapillai Amirthalingam was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).The former leader of the Opposition was a national list MP of the Tamil United Liberation Front(TULF)at the time he was gunned down in Colombo.
(26 August 1927 – 13 July 1989)
Amirthalingam was killed along with former TULF Jaffna MP Vettivelu Yogeswaran 25 years ago.The tiger killers shot dead Amirthalingam and Yogeswaran even as talks were going on between an official delegation of the LTTE and the Govt of President Ranasinghe Premadasa in Colombo.It was the assassination of Amirthalingam that demonstrated clearly the true nature of the LTTE to the world at large.
Continue reading ‘Assassination of Tamil Leader Appapillai Amirthalingam by the LTTE 25 Years Ago’ »
by D.B.S. Jeyaraj
‘Rekava’ or the line of destiny was the path-breaking film by Lester James Peries which altered the destiny of Sinhala cinema. (Though Rekava is spelled with both a ‘v’ as well as a ‘w’ in English, I am sticking to v because the original titles shown in the film spelled it with a v).
Rekava, the first feature film to be made by Lester, was released in December 1956. It was hailed as a turning point in the decade-long evolving history of Sinhala cinema. Prominent journalist Mervyn de Silva described Rekava as “the birth of Sinhala cinema” itself when writing about it.
Continue reading ‘Lester James Peries and the Making of his Path-breaking Sinhala film “Rekava”’ »
Turn off the TV, calm down and stop trying to convert people to your religion.
His Holiness Pope Francis-pic via: twitter.com/Pontifex
These are among the top 10 pieces of advice issued by Pope Francis this week as part of his recipe for a happy, more fulfilled life.
Speaking in a very frank interview published in the Argentine weekly “Viva”, the Pope drew on his personal experiences to come up with his own lifestyle guide with a humble, anti-consumerist twist.
The highlights include a call to families to “turn off the TV when they sit down to eat because, even though television is useful for keeping up with the news, having it on during mealtime doesn’t let you communicate with each other”, according to a Catholic News Service translation of the interview.
And Francis said people will also be much happier when they stop trying too hard to bring others round to their way of thinking – including on religion. He said the church grows “by attraction, not proselytising”, and added that the best way to get through to anyone was with “dialogue, starting with his or her own identity”.
Pope Francis’s secrets to happiness
Continue reading ‘Pope Francis Outlines Ten Top Suggestions for People to Lead a Happy Life With Sense of Fulfilment.’ »
The 15th Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture titled “Stone and Flower: Truth as a Foundation for Community Learning and Reconciliation”, will be delivered by Ms Galuh Wandita Soedjatmoko from Indonesia on Sunday 3 August 2014 at 6 p.m. at the BMICH, Committee Room A.
Galuh Wandita Soedjatmoko-pic courtesy of: publishing.monash.edu.au
Ms Soedjatmoko has over the last two decades worked with several local organizations in East Timor and Indonesia on rights, reconciliation and peace-building. Before moving to East Timor in 1999, she worked for 10 years with Oxfam, focusing on support for local NGOs working in conflict areas in Eastern Indonesia with a focus on gender and development. She is a founding member of the women’s organization, Fokupers, in Timor-Leste, established in 1997. In 1999, her work focused on providing support for those affected by violence, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and women victims of violence in East Timor.
Continue reading ‘Galuh Wandita Soedjatmoko of Indonesia to deliver 15th Neelan Tiruchelvam Memorial Lecture on August 3rd at BMICH’ »
(This article was posted last year to denote the 30th anniversary of Black July 83 and is reproduced here again in view of the 31st anniversary without any change except a minor one in the heading)
“Shops, Banks, Offices and Restaurants in the Capital’s crowded City Centre and Main Streets being burnt while the Police look on. Thousands of houses ransacked and burnt, sometimes with women and children inside. Goon squads battering passengers to death in trains and on station platforms and, without hindrance, publicly burning men and women to death on the streets! Remand prisoners and political detainees in the country’s top prison being massacred.The armed forces joining in and sometimes organizing this pogrom against members of Sri Lanka’s two Sri Lankan minority communities. The nation’s President and top ranking cabinet members publicly justifying the pogrom!” – (Introductory Paragraph from “Sri Lanka” The holocaust and After” by C.R. Hensman writing under the pseudonym L. Piyadasa)
The tragic history of post – independence Sri Lanka records that the Tamils of Sri Lanka have been subjected to mass –scale mob violence in the years 1956, 1958, 1977, 1981 and 1983. The anti-Tamil violence of July 1983 was the most terrible and horrible of them all. It remains etched in memory even after 30 years.
Continue reading ‘Anatomy of an Anti-Tamil Pogrom: Thirty-first Anniversary of “Black July” 1983.’ »
by Shamindra Ferdinando
Taking into consideration the failure on the part of the British government to restraining the UK based LTTE groups during his previous visits, President Mahinda Rajapaksa has decided against attending the World War I Commemorative Service for the Commonwealth at Glasgow Cathedral on August 4.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G. L. Peiris, has, in a letter addressed to Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport as well as Minister of Equalities stressed that the decision to skip the Commonwealth event had been taken due to the British government’s failure on previous occasions to rein in LTTE groups, though the LTTE remains proscribed in the UK.
Continue reading ‘Commonwealth Chair President Rajapaksa will not Attend Commonwealth Events in Glascow due to Security Concerns Caused by British Govt not Restraining LTTE Groups.’ »
Upul Joseph Fernando
When former President D.B. Wijetunga met people at his retirement home in Kandy, he used to say that his engagement with the Southern Provincial Council was a folly. UNP was never strong in the South. The UNP strategy at the Southern Provincial Council election finally paved way for Chandrika to come to power. But Wijetunga did not understand it at that moment. In warfare also it is advised to lure the enemy into a field in which you are strong. It is always foolish to engage with the enemy on the ground where he is strong.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa is now sharpening his swords to engage with the Northern Provincial Council and commit this fault. He has pushed the Northern Provincial Council Chief Minister on to the warpath by rejecting his appeal to change the Governor. Wigneswaran has now vowed to resign from the Chief Minister position. This recalls the incident of Opposition Leader A. Amirthalingam and the other MPs of Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) resigning from Parliament protesting against the 6th Amendment to the Constitution banning the talks about a separate State, which was brought after the 1983 Black July. This resignation paved way for the Tamil armed groups to become powerful.
Mahinda himself has the best experiences of political anguish an elected Chief Minister feels when the people’s mandate he won is ignored by a Governor. He was highly instrumental in ending the political game played by the Governor of the Southern Provincial Council in 1993 denying the People’s Alliance, which had the majority in the Southern Provincial Council the opportunity to form the rule. Following is an excerpt from his biographical sketch Kurahan Satakaya:
Continue reading ‘Mahinda Playing with Fire in North by Rejecting Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s request to Change Governor.’ »
The Presidential proclamation came like a bolt from the blue. For one endlessly-suspended moment, the world according to the Rajapaksa administration had turned topsy-turvy.
After five years of stringent denials and rejections, zero casualty claims, military courts of inquiry and war censuses, President Mahinda Rajapaksa issued a proclamation last Thursday announcing the launch of a domestic investigation into alleged war crimes and the conduct of his armed forces in the waning days of the war.
He has sought the expertise of three of the world’s top war crimes prosecutors, all of them renowned for serving on UN tribunals and special courts to try political regimes accused of crimes against humanity. Sir Desmond De Silva QC, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC and Dr. David Michael Crane confirmed this week that the Sri Lankan Government had appointed them to advise a ‘local commission investigating allegations of war crimes by all parties to the conflict’.
The three expert advisors are to be remunerated for their services by the Presidential Secretariat.
“As a practicing attorney, like all attorneys in practice, I am being compensated by the Sri Lankan Government for being a legal advisor,” Dr. Crane told the Daily FT by email earlier this week.
Continue reading ‘Enhanced Domestic Inquiry with International Experts is Rajapaksa Regime’s Last Ditch Attempt to Alter Course of International Destiny’ »
Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.
Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha MP~pic courtesy of: Centre for Security Analysis
In July 2008, when I was head of the Peace Secretariat, I published a volume entitled ‘Lest We Forget’, to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the ethnic violence of July 1983. I had wanted the President to preside over a meeting to express regrets, but he did not think this appropriate at the time. However I had no doubt that, as a member in 1983 of the opposition that also suffered from the authoritarianism of the Jayewardene government, he understood the enormity of what had happened in 1983.
Now I am not so sure. Though he has reacted much better to the events at Aluthgama than Jayewardene did, he has not been firm enough in ensuring zero tolerance for racism. And though he recognizes that the activities of the BBS and its leader are destructive, he seems to think that they have emerged through an international conspiracy. The pronouncements of close associates in government who have encouraged the attitudes propounded by the BBS (or, on a charitable view, fallen headlong into the trap laid by the supposed international conspirators) is ignored.
Worse the President also seems to believe in the danger presented by Muslim extremists. It is unfortunate that he does not see that a more irrational version of such fears is the purported raison d’etre of the conspirators he criticizes. What is then an essential ambiguity suggests that, unless he assesses the situation more carefully, we are in danger of descending into the mess caused by the Jayewardene government in 1983.
Continue reading ‘“Lest We Forget”: The Ethnic Violence of July 1983’ »
In Remembrance of ‘July 83’
by the Young Political Leaders Forum (YPLF)
Dated July 23rd, 2014 | Colombo
We, the undersigned members of the Young Political Leaders Forum of Sri Lanka (YPLF), recall the events of ‘July 1983’ with deep regret. Today, thirty-one years later, we strongly believe that Sri Lanka has the opportunity to restore trust between its people and progress towards national unity. The role of youth in this regard becomes crucial for peace-building and communal harmony. In this spirit, as a group of committed young politicians, we wish to share our perspective on the importance of engaging youth as change agents to resist hate and violence, and to promote unity.
Continue reading ‘“In Remembrance of July 1983″: Statement Issued by Young Political Leaders Forum’ »
The hardline Bodu Bala Sena organisation has criticised efforts by certain groups to get its General Secretary Galagodaththe Gnanasara Thero’s Australian visa cancelled, calling it a ‘third class act’.
“There are extremist groups and Muslim organisations behind the moves to get his visa cancelled,” BBS CEO Dilantha Withanage told a media conference yesterday.
A letter had been sent to Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, to be passed on to all Australian MPs both at federal and state level, asking him not to permit Gnanasara Thero entry into the country.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Criticises Attempts by Certain Groups to get Gnanasara Thero’s Australian Visa Cancelled as a “Third Class act”.’ »
COLOMBO, July 22 — A firebrand Sri Lankan monk today criticised the Dalai Lama for urging the island’s Buddhists to halt violence against minority Muslims and rejected him as a global spiritual leader.
The Dalai Lama spoke to a crowd of about 15,000 students, faculty, and guests as part of the Anwar Sadat Lecture for Peace on May 7th, 2013 – pic by James Levin courtesy: Diamondback-University of Maryland
Buddhist monk Galagodaatte Gnanasara said the Dalai Lama was ignorant of the “true situation in Sri Lanka” and accused the Nobel Peace Prize winner of being a victim of “Islamic extremist propoganda”.
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader earlier this month asked Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka “to imagine an image of Buddha” before committing any crimes against Muslims, in a plea to halt the violence.
“We don’t accept the Dalai Lama as a world leader of Buddhists,” Gnanasara told reporters.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero Rejects Dalai Lama as World Buddhist Leader Because Tibetan Spiritual Leader is a “Victim of Islamic Extremist Propaganda”’ »
Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa
India will be far more supportive of Sri Lanka’s position at the United Nations Human Rights Council than ever before, former Union Cabinet Minister and the chairman of the BJP Committee for Strategic Action Subramanian Swamy said here on Monday.
Speaking on ‘India under Modi: relevance for the region and the world’, he said India’s foreign policy shall henceforth be guided by national interest and not regional interest.
Referring to the perceived fear about Tamil Nadu’s role in India’s foreign policy, he said there was no “Tamil Nadu factor”, adding that people of Tamil Nadu had repeatedly demonstrated so in elections. “I would urge Ms. Jayalalithaa to visit Sri Lanka and get a reality check.”
Continue reading ‘Dr.Subramanian Swamy Wants Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa to visit Sri Lanka and get a “Reality Check”.’ »
There is a need for India and Sri Lanka to engage in a strategic dialogue, chairman of the BJP Committee for Strategic Action Subramanian Swamy said after a meeting with Sri Lanka’s Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa here on Tuesday.
“We discussed a gamut of issues, and felt such a strategic dialogue would be mutually beneficial,” Dr. Swamy said.
Continue reading ‘“Strategic Dialogue Between India and Sri Lanka will be Mutually Beneficial”-Dr.Subramanian Swamy.’ »
Dr. Subramanian Swamy – Chairman, BJP Committee on Strategic Action and Member of BJP’s National Executive Committee in an exclusive interview with spoke candidly on what to expect in changes to India’s foreign policy under Prime Minister Modi’s administration and on India’s support to Sri Lanka.
The Chairman of the Committee on Strategic Action of India’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Former Union Minister Dr. Subramanian Swamy, along with several other BJP members, met President Mahinda Rajapaksa at Temple Trees on July 2-pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa/
Following are the excerpts:
Q In your opinion how do you think Foreign Policy under the Modi-government would change in comparison to the previous government?
Continue reading ‘Dr.Subramanian Swamy says Tamil Nadu will not be Allowed to Override National Interests of India in Favour of Tamil Interests on the Sri Lanka Issue.’ »
“Through me you go into a city of weeping; through me you go into eternal pain, through me you go amongst the lost people”
~Dante Alighieri, The Inferno
pic via: twitter.com/AzzamAmeen
All indications of certain societal decay are present; the symptoms of a terminal sickness are frighteningly manifest in the body politic of the country.
Yet no one, no physician, no surgeon, no psychiatrist or any other medical practitioner or a social scientist has diagnosed the illness.
Every symptom is pointing towards a cancerous malady in the making, the progressive indices of which have been evident for quite some time but has evaded studied investigations by any expert.
I have been telling this for quite some time and written extensively on the subject but there does not seem to be any slowing down of the trend.
Continue reading ‘The Land, the Race and the Faith have Emerged as a Macabre Sketch of Hypocrisy and Insincerity.’ »
The Liberal Party emphatically welcomes the recent gazette notification expanding the scope of the Presidential Commission on Disappearances. Though it is worded in a circumspect, and indeed circumlocutory, fashion, it fulfils the long expressed need for an internal inquiry into possible violations of law during the conflict. Thankfully, coming hard on the heels of the bombastic outburst of Minister Wimal Weerawansa, it unequivocally rejects the stand he took, which had also been undermined by the President’s determination to go on with his South African initiative.
Continue reading ‘Statement of the Liberal Party of Sri Lanka welcoming the expansion of the scope of the Commission on Disappearances and the appointment of international advisers’ »
BY A.R. VENKATACHALAPATHY
Born in 1882, Subramania Bharati’s political career began in the end of 1904. Less than four years later he would be forced into exile, an ordeal that would extend to well over a decade. The years spent in exile in the French enclave of Pondicherry, between mid-1908 and late 1918, subsume the years of the Great War, and it is not entirely coincidental that Bharati should choose to end his exile within a week of the signing of the Armistice. How did the great poet respond to the Great War?
Portrait of Mahakavi Subramaniya Bharathiyaar at Bharathy Public Library in Uyarappulam, Aanaikkottai, Jaffna District, Sri Lanka- pic by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Unlike World War II, this War had little direct impact on southern India, barring the bombing by the German light cruiser Emden. But in an imperial world where India was fully integrated as Britain’s colony, the War did not leave India untouched, and the politics of the time was deeply coloured by its course and Britain’s fortunes in it.
Continue reading ‘How the Famous Tamil Poet Subramania Bharati Responded to the First World War’ »
The news that Ceylon Theatres has opened a state-of-the art 100-seat cinema at the recently-opened Arcade complex and named it the Empire Cineplex made me hunt for the origins of the once-popular cinema by the same name.
We used to frequent the place in Braybrooke Place in the good old days where quality English films were screened. In later years popular Hindi films were also screened at the Empire. A few years back, Ceylon Theatres, the owners of the theatre, decided to close it down and demolish it to build a high rise apartment complex.
Continue reading ‘The New Empire Cineplex and the old Empire Cinema Theatre in Braybrooke Place’ »
The grey slender loris is found only in Sri Lanka and parts of India.
Human activity is threatening the habitat of this nocturnal primate, but one site in Sri Lanka is now seeing a boost in numbers.
Continue reading ‘The grey slender loris: Conservation success in Sri Lanka’ »
Hailing from a filmi family can pose a huge challenge for some. Like Gajesh. He’s the grandson of veteran comedian Nagesh, who set a benchmark in Tamil cinema with his effortless portrayal of roles. And, he’s the son of Anandbabu, who appeared in several memorable roles in the 1990s, and is widely known for his dancing skills.
Gajesh is currently awaiting the release of Kalkandu, which will mark his debut in tinseltown.
Continue reading ‘“Kalkandu” film Hero Gajesh is Grandson of Ace Comedian Nagesh and son of Actor Anandbabu.’ »
Director Gnana Rajasekaran’s Ramanujan is a well researched, well-written and brilliantly directed film dedicated to India’s mathematical prodigy, Ramanujan, whose genius hung like an albatross around his neck, his entire life, says S. Saraswathi.
Still from Ramanujan with (above) director Gnana Rajasekaran
Yet another masterpiece by the man who gave us films like Bharati and Periyar. Gnana Rajasekaran is back with his third historical biopic, Ramanujan, after seven long years and the film is well worth the wait.
This time his vision brings to life one of India’s greatest mathematical geniuses, Srinivasa Ramanujan.
Continue reading ‘Gnana Rajasekaran’s Film on Tamil Mathematical Genius Ramanujan is Well-researched, well-written and Brilliantly Directed.’ »
Javed Yusuf-pic: LMD
Former diplomat, educator and peace activist Javed Yusuf in an interview over recent development says it is very unfortunate that when we as a country are facing a number of challenges on the international front we are shooting ourselves in the foot by creating another problem which has already drawn unfavourable international attention.
Mr. Yusuf is an Attorney-at-Law, Former Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Former Senior Advisor on Arab and Islamic Affairs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Former Secretary General of the Peace Secretariat for Muslims and Former Human Rights Commissioner of Sri Lanka.
Following are the excerpts of the interview:
Q: To begin with, what is the Shoora Council in which you are a member and it is alleged that its activities are not transparent. Why do you think it is being subject to attack by certain groups?
Continue reading ‘“Sudden Targeting of Muslims has come as a Complete Surprise and is a Worrying Phenomenon”- Javed Yusuf’ »
The U.S. Congressional Caucus on Ethnic and Religious Freedom in Sri Lanka held a hearing on July 9  in Washington, D.C. The caucus, created in 2013, is co-chaired by Rep. Danny Davis (D-Ill.) and Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Ohio). It remains to be seen how effective this newly created group will be but — given the recent developments in Sri Lanka — there is no question that there was plenty to discuss at the gathering.
Aside from the persistent ethnic and religious violence that plagues the country, the war-torn island nation is still grappling with a bunch of problems as it struggles to make the transition from a postwar country to a post-conflict one.
Recent anti-Muslim violence outside Colombo last month resulted in the death of several people and the injury of many more — as mobs attacked Muslim homes, places of business, and mosques. The police have been widely criticized for failing to prevent the violence. These developments serve as another reminder that Sri Lanka remains a country in crisis. Indeed, extremist Sinhalese-Buddhist groups operate with impunity while ordinary community members have basic human rights repressed under the deepening authoritarianism of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.
Continue reading ‘Way Things Play out in Sri Lanka Have Ramifications Extending well Beyond a Small Island Nation.’ »
Popular actor Dhandapani known widely as “Kadhal Dhandapani” passed away on July 20th 2014 morning in Chennai due to a cardiac arrest.He made his debut in 2004 as the villainous father of the film’s heroine Sandhya in the successful film “Kadhal”directed by Balaji Sakthivel and produced by Shankar .Thereafter both Sandhya and Dhandapani got the name of the film “Kadhal|added on as a prefix and became known as “Kadhal|Sandhya and “Kadhal|Dhandapani espectively.
Dhandapani hailing from Dindigul in Tamil Nadu was working as a tea maker in a Madurai cafe when he was discovered by Balaji Sakthivel and given a role in “Kadhal”. He never looked back thereon has done many villain roles as well as character roles as a father. In a few films he played humorous parts too
Continue reading ‘Tea maker turned Popular Tamil Actor “Kadhal”Dhandapani dies of Cardiac Arrest at 71 Years of Age.’ »