DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
The 90th Birth Anniversary of Ranasinghe Premadasa
Any personality who has entered History demands a twin evaluation. What did he mean in his time, place and circumstance? What is his importance outside of and beyond his own specific context? His contribution then; his relevance now: only thus can we recognize his significance. By these twin criteria, how does he compare with his predecessors and successors to date? In the case of Premadasa this recognition has been made almost impossible by the most massive, sustained and protracted ideological operation launched against a single individual in 20th century Sri Lanka; a campaign using all the modes of warfare – siege, subversion, sabotage, attack, attrition – by a grand alliance of privilege and prejudice. The hegemonic ideology, the ideology of the hegemonic social strata, has borne down heaviest on the figure of Ranasinghe Premadasa, in life and in death. In death he is still dangerous, because they are never sure, can never be sure, that Premadasa really is dead – and if so, how long he will stay that way.
Given the continued centrality of the ethnic conflict, a particularly persistent and pernicious piece of propaganda is that it was Premadasa as Prime Minister, who with his obstreperous conduct wrecked relations with neighbouring India – for which we paid a heavy price. The implication is that this ‘inability’ to understand so subtle and intricate a subject as diplomacy – and to hold his tongue – stemmed from a coarseness of character, which in turn was sourced in class and caste. But Premadasa was reacting to India’s coercive diplomacy which was itself a reaction by Delhi to the crude mishandling of Tamil affairs and of foreign and strategic policy by the pro-West Jayewardene administration. These were decisions the Prime Minister had nothing to do with and were handled by elite echelons of the Government, persons with no discernible class/caste disabilities, cultivated men.
Continue reading ‘Ranasinghe Premadasa,Recovery of UNP and “Swadeshiya”Social Democracy’ »
Anti-Muslim violence continued in the form of scattered attacks in the Kurunegala district of the North-Western or Wayamba Province and in Dehiwela and Panadura in the Western Province.
Damaged door at Modern Princess, an Abhaya shop- pic: by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
pic via: twitter.com/DushiYanthini
A gang of hoodlums transported in vehicles carrying Buddhist flags and banners went on the rampage throwing stones and small pieces of metal at Islamic places of worship and Muslim owned Businesses.
The gang suspected of belonging to the Bodhu Bala Sena was armed with clubs and rods but there were no reports of physical violence anywhere. The gang also attempted to torch a Mosque but the rapid deployment of Police and Special Task Force Personnel to the trouble spot prevented the mob from setting alight the Mosque.
Continue reading ‘Anti-Muslim Attacks Continue: Two Mosques , Four Businesses and Two Houses Stoned in Kurunegala District, Dehiwela and Panadura’ »
The tense situation prevailing in the Kalutara district of Sri Lanka’s Western Province after the occurrence of anti-muslim vioence last week took a sharp turn for the worse in the early hours of the morning on Saturday June 21st when a large,well-known Muslim owned apparel store cum showroom in the Panadura town was gutted extensively.
Just passed #Nolimit #Pandadura and it’s such a sad sight!-pic via: twitter.com/sumaiyarizvi
The “No Limit” apparel store cum showroom in Panadura which is said to be the largest of its kind in the clothing store chain owned by a well known Muslim businessman was burnt down in a “mysterious” fire that blazed for over three hours.
Continue reading ‘Muslim Owned “No Limit” Large Clothing Store at Panadura in Western Sri Lanka Burnt Down in “Mysterious” Pre-dawn Fire’ »
Police would not prevent a Bodu Bala Sena event scheduled to be held today(june 24) at 3.00 p.m. opposite the Sri Dalada Maligawa as it was a religious event, police spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana said yesterday.
However, the SSP warned that action would be taken if the event was used to incite racism and create religious disharmony.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena to Hold “Religious Event” with 300-400 Buddhist Monk Participants Opposite Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy on June 24th.’ »
While Sinhala Zionist Bodu Bala Sena thugs were burning, looting and destroying Muslim owned properties in Aluthgama, Beruwela and Dharga Town on Sunday 15 and Monday 16 June 2014 under cover of curfew, in a despicable show of fathomless venom here in Colombo, Jathika Hela Urumaya, JHU,was busy demonizing Muslims to create smokescreen to cover up BBS barbarity.
On Sunday 15 June 2014, JHU National Organizer Nishantha Sri Warnasinghe, in a tongue in the cheek pronouncement, said in Colombo that Muslim extremists who use Puttalam, Katankudi and Beruwala as a protective hub should be identified and deported.
He never spoke a word about the carnage unleashed by his BBS friends in Aluthgama, Beruwela and Dharga Town.
Continue reading ‘Jathika Hela Urumaya is Demonizing Muslims to Create Smoke Screen and Cover Up the Bodu Bala Sena’s Barbarity.’ »
President Mahinda Rajapaksa observed that an attempt is being made once again to put Sri Lanka’s peace and reconciliation at risk, at a time the country was enjoying stability after the defeat of separatism and racism of the LTTE with certain international forces too who had conspired to destabilise the country attempting to further complicate the situation.
Issuing a special statement from Badulla on the current situation in the country, the President said he had ordered Police and Security Forces not to allow any group to take the law into their hands and to strictly enforce the law against anybody who violates the general law of the country.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Issues Special Statement From Badulla Assuring “Maximum Legal Action Against Attempts to Spread Communal or Religious HatredAmong Communities”’ »
Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga – Mar 30, 2013
Former President Chandrika Kumarathunga today called for an impartial inquiry into the incidents in the South without delay and to direct the law enforcement authorities to take strict legal action against the instigators and perpetrators of the savage violence.
Kumarathunga said that she was deeply concerned about the outbreak of communal violence and Anti-Muslim attacks that occurred in several areas of the country, in the past week.
“I am appalled by initial reports that the violence seems orchestrated and followed a public meeting and a provocative march by violent extremists who pursue their narrow personal goals, in the name of Buddhism. It is a matter of great concern that the law enforcement authorities have failed to deal with the hate mongering and blatant violation of the Law for nearly 18 months,” she said in a statement.
Continue reading ‘Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga Urges Sri Lanka Govt “to Take Immediate Action in Every way Possible to Halt the Religious and Communal Violence”.’ »
Five Asian nations (Sri Lanka, Burma, Vietnam, China and North Korea) are currently ranked in the bottom twenty of the World Press Freedom Index released by Reporters Without Borders.
Local media organizations in these countries are either owned by the state, have links to prominent political figures or are simply outright censored in the publication or production of their news. With control over the media near absolute, the need for social media is greater now more than ever.
Continue reading ‘Journalists in Asia Fight Govt Controlled Media and State Imposed Censorshio by Utilizing Social Media Platforms.’ »
cartoon by: Hasantha Wijenayake
A Government Minister says American leaders must be killed for the atrocities they have committed, particularly in the Middle East.
Education Minister S.B. Dissanayake said that Iraq and Libya were doing well till the U.S. invaded those countries and killed their leaders.
Continue reading ‘Former US Presidents Bush Snr and Bush Jnr Must “be Beaten and Dragged on the road and Killed for the Atrocities they Committed” says Sri Lankan Minister S.B.Dissanayake.’ »
A tense situation occurred in Ibbagamuwa last night when a group, carrying swords and cricket bats, threatened Muslim shop owners in the area and damaged a mosque.
M. Mohammed, a shop owner in the area. told ‘Asian Mirror’ that the group threatened Muslim shop owners with them and damaged a few shops. They had also assaulted a worker who was working for a Muslim owned shop in Ibbagamuwa.
They had then attacked a prominent mosque in Ibbagamuwa and damaged its glass door, eyewitnesses said. They also said the attackers came in a Three-wheeler.
Continue reading ‘Gang With Swords and Cricket Bats Threaten Muslim Businessmen and Damage Shops and Mosque in Ibbagamuwa in North Western Province.’ »
The Sri Lankan Government today assured Muslim countries that it had taken prompt action to deal with the situation which arose in the south last week.
The assurance was given by Minister of External Affairs Professor G.L. Peiris when he met with a group of Ambassadors and High Commissioners at the Ministry today for a discussion on current issues.
The meeting was arranged after Muslim countries had collectively raised concerns over the violence targeting Muslims in the south and other parts of the country.
Continue reading ‘Prof.GL Peiris Tells Envoys of Muslim Countries in Colombo that there is a Vicious Campaign to Malign the Govt.’ »
Egypt has been widely condemned after finding three Al Jazeera English journalists guilty on charges of aiding the Muslim Brotherhood and reporting false news.
Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed were found guilty by a Cairo court on Monday and jailed for seven years. Mohamed was jailed for three additional years for possessing ammunition.
Continue reading ‘Jail Sentence on Three Al Jazeera(English)Journalists by Egypt Receives Worldwide Condemnation.’ »
D. J. Walter Scott
At least six fishermen jumped into the sea and escaped miraculously after the Sri Lankan Navy sunk their boat by dashing onto it and allegedly opening fire in the early hours of Thursday. The fishermen were fishing in the high seas then.
The Sri Lankan Navy, which had arrested 46 fishermen — 24 from Kottaipattinam in Pudukottai district with six boats and 22 from Rameswaram with 5 boats late on Wednesday — “behaved rudely,” according to fishermen who returned here.
The fishermen said there was a marked change in the Sri Lankan Navy’s style of operation while arresting Indian fishermen as they chased them in the high seas and damaged their trawlers by hitting against them.
Continue reading ‘Six Tamil Nadu Fishermen Claim to have Miraculously Escaped by Jumping into the sea when Sri Lankan Navy Fired and Sunk Their Boat.’ »
A Sri Lankan movie, portraying the post-war travails in the island-nation, was on Saturday taken off screens after cinemas running the film allegedly received threat calls from pro-Tamil nationalist groups.
The producers of the movie, ‘With You, Without You’ (Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka), an Indo-Sri Lankan collaboration directed by noted Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage, have now written to Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa seeking her intervention to put the movie back on the screens.
Continue reading ‘Screening of Prasanna Vithanage’s Award Winning Film”With You, Without you”Stopped in Tamil Nadu Due to Threats from Tamil Extremist Groups.’ »
Popular film director and producer Ramanarayanan, who directed a record-breaking 125 movies in nine Indian languages in a career spanning 36 years, died of cardiac arrest at a hospital in Singapore on Sunday June 22nd.
His mortal remains are expected to be brought to Chennai for final rites on Tuesday.
Continue reading ‘Record Breaking Tamil Nadu Film Maker Ramanarayanan Who Directed 125 Movies in 9 Languages Passes Away in Singapore’ »
The government yesterday announced tough measures to deal with attempts at provoking violence by individuals or organisations.
Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana, addressing the media in Colombo, yesterday, said the police would not, however, interfere with the people’s right to conduct religious ceremonies.
In this regard, the SSP said that laws and policies would be adopted from countries like Singapore and Japan, if necessary. He urged the Muslims not to get involved in rallies that were planned with an ulterior motive to discredit the country.
Continue reading ‘Police Arrest Five Persons Who Questioned “No Limit” Apparel Store Chain Management Why They Were Not Closed on Muslim Hartal Day!’ »
While anti-Muslim attacks continue to occur in the Southern provinces of Sri Lanka two anti-Muslim attacks were reported in the Northern town of Jaffna in a fresh turn of events.
Demonstration in Jaffna-pic: TamilWin
The prayer room used by Muslims for worship at the University of Jaffna in Thirunelvely was vandalised during night by unknown persons who poured waste engine oiland defiled the premises.
In a separate development a gang of helmeted hoodlums riding on motor cycles thre stones on a Mosque in Jaffna after nighfall and damaged several windows.
Continue reading ‘Mosque and Prayer Room Attacked in Jaffna After Tamils and Muslims Unitedly Demonstrated Against Anti-Muslim Violence in Aluthgama.’ »
Bodu Bala Sena and several Sinhala-Buddhist organizations have started a social media campaign promoting JHU stalwart Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka as the next “President of Sri Lanka”.
BBS backed social media pages state that Sri Lanka needs a ‘Sinhalalese President’ to rescue the nation from “various challenges” that have emerged not only from without, but also from within.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Starts Campaign on Social Media Promoting Jathika Hela Urumaya Leader Champika Ranawaka as the Next “Sinhala” President.’ »
(Text of an Editorial in the “Sunday Times”of June 21st 2014 Under the Heading“Buddhism betrayed by extremist monks”)
It is the supreme irony of our time that, in claiming to defend Buddhism, a handful of monks with their hate speech and instigation to violence have managed to do quite the opposite. The mob attacks this week on Muslim houses and businesses in Aluthgama, Beruwala and Dharga Town drew international censure. Attracting equal, if not more alarm was video footage of a radical Buddhist monk spewing revulsion and animosity at the Muslim community during a public rally just hours before violence broke out. It is not the first time he has done this.
The international reporting has made little distinction between the country’s ordinary Buddhists, the majority of whom do not condone the attacks, and the extremist groups that fuelled it. “Sinhala Buddhism” — as it has come to be known — is being labelled, per se, as “extremist”.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Should be Worried that Some Extremist Monks are Increasingly Questioning his Leadership in Public Pronouncements-Sunday Times’ »
Today the Bodu Bala Sena stands in the dock indicted with the heinous charge of attempting to return this nation to the blood-soaked barbaric age of violence from which it had risen so recently. It stands accused of repeated anti-Muslim attacks that have now resulted in inevitable bloodshed and death; and it stands condemned for outraging the religious sensitivities of the Buddhists by presenting to the world’s reproach and contempt, its distorted, savage and warped version as the sworn practical translation of the Buddha’s noble doctrine of Ahimsa.
With the anguish and pain of the harrowing thirty-year-old racial war which wracked the nation apart and left thousands of her citizens dead, still bleeding fresh in the nation’ traumatised memory, the reprehensible actions of the Bodu Bala in Aluthgama last Sunday night once more brought Lanka closer to the perilous precipice to shiver precariously on its brink, facing the abysmal vista of another possible conflagration to engulf the nation in religious flames.
Continue reading ‘For First Time in Sri Lanka’s 2500 Year old History a Group of Ordained Buddhist Monks Have Actively Participated in an Attack on a Religious Minority.’ »
The meeting room inside his Kirulapona temple smells of salmon. The strong aroma of Thai food served in the adjacent room, by a foreign patron, pervades the air. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera has just finished his lunch at 2.30 in the afternoon, after marathon three hours of media interviews with the local press corps.
He sits across the table, ready for an afternoon session of media interviews. The room looks Spartan – though, his detractors accuse the monk and his controversial Buddhist organization, the Bodu Bala Sena, of being patronized by the government. The only gear worthy of mention is a desktop computer and an advanced CD writer, which can burn a dozen CDs at one go. The monk and the BBS are media savvy.
However, two days ago, facebook brought down the group’s literature on the site, after a string of complaints that they constituted hate speech.
Before we begin the interview, the monk dials back a missed call. At the other end is a Minister, whom he calls, “Ape Amethithuma (Our Minister).”
Continue reading ‘Unapologetic Gnanasara Thero of Bodu Bala Sena Threatens to Lead Boycott of Muslim Businesses in Sri Lanka.’ »
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene
The atrocity that is Aluthgama 2014 happened at the instigation of outsiders brought into the area. That much is clear. As said by stricken Sinhala and Muslim residents, ‘this had no involvement with our communities, we live next to each other; but when outsiders came and attacked, everyone was attacking each other.’
Carefully planned communal violence
Put baldly, a simple altercation between two local groups, a Buddhist monk with his driver and a few Muslim youths, spiraled out of control due to carefully strategised tensions which had been simmering long before. The catalyst for the communal violence in Aluthgama and Beruwala soon after this minor altercation was an unabashedly racist speech spewed by the BBS’s Galagoda-atte Gnanasara Thero on Sunday.
Repeatedly raising his arm in militant gestures and pushing yellow robes which were falling off his shoulders in a sight that any genuine Buddhist would have repudiated in shuddering distaste, he urged the annihilation of ‘Marakkalayos’ (Muslims) in Sri Lanka, exhorting that the Sinhalese should not stay silent anymore but collectively organize against Muslims.
Continue reading ‘Except for the Amarapura Mahanayake Thero the Silence of Mahanayakes of Buddhist Chapters on Aluthgama Violence is Unsettling.’ »
With the Aluthgama incident the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) has come under severe criticism from numerous quarters regarding the behaviour of General Secretary of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Galaboda Aththe GnanasaraThero.
In an interview with The Sunday Leader the leader of the BBS the Venerable Kirama Wimalajothi Thero said that he did not condone the actions of the Ven. Gnanasara Thero and said that by what they had done brought disrepute to Buddhism.
He said that Ven. Gnanasara Thero’s actions were contrary to Buddhist teachings and he had warned the BBS to refrain from such impulsive behaviour in the future.
Here are excerpts of the interview:
Q: Is it true that you have resigned from the BBS?
A: No there is no truth to that and it is just a rumor. Since around six months back I had stayed away from actively getting involved in BBS matters due to the commitment I have regarding my writing and other academic matters, which got neglected due to my involvement with the BBS work.
Continue reading ‘BBS Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero Must Not Ignite Tensions Among Races By His Emotional Outbursts Says BBS Leader Kirama Wimalajothi Thero’ »
“The Muhammedans, an alien people, who in the early part of the 19th century were common traders, by Shylockian methods became prosperous like the Jews […] What the German is to the Britisher that the Muhammedan is to the Sinhalese. He is an alien to the Sinhalese by religion, race and language […] The whole nation in one day have risen against the Moor people. The causes are economic and spiritual…”
- Anagarika Dharmapala ~ Letter of 15th June, 1915 (in A. Guruge, ed, Return to Righteousness (1991), p. 540-541
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) and its many monks take their ‘professional’ duty – the promotion of Sinhala Buddhism – quite seriously. And recently, they decided to spread a bit of their Sinhala Buddhism, in Aluthgama, Beruwala and a few surrounding areas in Southern Sri Lanka.
Gnanasara thera called his audience to finish off the Muslims if a single Sinhalese is touched. A singer, Madhumadawa Aravinda, invoked the lines of the late Tibetan S. Mahinda himi (“… es gedi walata hena gahalada sihalunne”). And the mobs did the rest. Around 4 people (Muslims) were killed, over 80 were injured, many houses and shops were torched, there was terror.
pic via: BBC Sinhla
pic by: BBC Sinhala
Violent and forceful retaliation and defence came from the Muslim community. All of this occurred while the President and the Defence-Secretary were absent, away, overseas. Apparently the trend did not stop there, for reports emerged of attacks directed at a mosque in Jaffna and the ‘No Limit’ store in Panadura as well.
Continue reading ‘“Aluthgama” Shows that the Bodu Bala Sena Project is Approved by the State, Endorsed by the Govt and Largely Supported by Many Sinhala Buddhists’ »
Tariq A. Al Maeena
The region is deeply engrossed in events around Iraq and the implication of a wider scale sectarian conflict that may spill across several borders. Lost in the quagmire of such a troubling issue is the conflict against minorities, and particularly Muslim minorities, in several countries.
The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) a body of 45 Muslim member countries was formed some 45 years ago to deal with such issues. Although its founding members agreed on the charter that principally ‘aims to preserve Islamic social and economic values; promote solidarity amongst member states; increase cooperation in social, economic, cultural, scientific, and political areas; etc,’ there have been several revisions and the recent scope of OIC activities has gone beyond the boundaries of just Muslim states.
In the recently convened 41st Session of OIC Foreign Ministers in Jeddah, the current secretary general of the organisation stated in his opening speech that ‘One of the primary concerns of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation is to address the phenomenon of terrorism, religious and sectarian extremism, the rights of Muslim minorities outside the Muslim world, and concepts of human rights, and rights of women and children and religious practice as all of these concepts have been codified in major international conventions and declarations on whose basis countries are judged, condemned, classified and sanctioned.’
Continue reading ‘45 Muslim Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Must Send Clear Warning to President Mahinda Rajapaksa of Economic Sanctions if Terrorism Against Minorities Continues.’ »
(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Nation”of June 21st 2014 under the heading “The IGP must Resign)
These are days of frayed tempers, perceived grievances, real threats and real fears that can cloud and blow away reason. This is the hour of the rumor-monger. This is the hour of the extremist. This is the hour of the passionate, the hour or the irrational.
The word on the street is ‘Aluthgama’. Indeed it is the word on every street where matters of yesterday, today and tomorrow, matters of the nation and its destiny, matters of unrest and fear and other related matters are discussed. Aluthgama moved from the Kalutara district to Colombo and Badulla. ‘This is 83-July all over again,’ some said. Not true, but we could get there.
Continue reading ‘If Azath Salley can be Arrested for “Hate Speech”Why is Rev.Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Still Free?’ »
In the wake of fears that communal tensions may once again be on the rise post-Aluthgama and Beruwala violence, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), already under intense criticism and scrutiny over its alleged role in the unrest, asked the country’s citizens to stop engaging in provocations and violence ‘immediately’.
Addressing a media briefing at BBS headquarters in Colombo, BBS General Secretary, Ven Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera appealed to Sinhalese not to be misled by rumors and to avoid clashes. “The only victors of clashes would be external enemies bent on destroying this country,” he told journalists.
Addressing leaders of the Muslim community and telling them to rein in elements within their ranks Gnanasara Thera said, “We have stopped. It is time for you to stop also.”
Continue reading ‘“We Have Stopped.It is Time for you to Stop Also”-Bodhu Bala Sena’s Gnanasara Thero Message to Muslim Community Leaders at Press Conference.’ »
Government ministers have called for the arrest of the General Secretary of the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) the Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero in connection with the violence in Aluthgama last weekend.
Veteran left-wing politician and Member of Parliament, Vasudeva Nanayakkara says Gnanasara Thero, together with the other members of the organization, should be taken into custody by the law enforcement authorities for instigating racial tension between the Buddhists and Muslims of this country, which led to the devastating incidents in Aluthgama last week.
“The first action should be taken against the BBS and its captain, Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero. He is the face of all the evil that was unleashed. Therefore action must first be taken against the person who planned and got this whole operation going, the BBS, the Venerable Gnanasara and whoever closely supported them and they should be arrested,” said Nanayakkara.
Continue reading ‘Vasudeva Nanayakkara Wants Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero and Other Budu Bala Sena Leaders Arrested Immediately in Connection with Aluthgama Violence.’ »
My recollection of Mr JM Rajaratnam dates back to the eighties. It was a time many of us arrived here in New Jersey on student visa. We lived in urban cramped apartments amidst the loss of leaving our parents, place of birth and homes families and friends.
Hearing about us new arrivals Mr JM Rajaratnam conveyed his liking to meet all at his home. It was in fact for first time many of us dined in a proper home headed by a father and mother. The entire family welcomed us with wide open arms and of love.
Continue reading ‘JM Rajaratnam: A Man of Remarkable Simplicity, Kindness and Spirited Commitment’ »
MERVYN DE SILVA 15TH DEATH ANNIVERSARY JUNE 22, 2014
Mervyn de Silva
I will be falling in my duty if I do not pen a few words of appreciation about Mr.Mervyn de Silva who I admired very much for his knowledge, genuine friendliness and most of all his ability to call a spade a spade.
Whenever I met him, which happened to be at least twice a month during the last 25 years, I always made it a point to have a serious chat even for a minute. I valued his ability to provide an unbiased interpretation of the current political issues and his forecast on such matters were always accurate.
It is with a very heavy heart that I recollect some past meetings and I begin to feel that I have lost a very useful and genuine friend. First I came to know Mr.de Silva through my cousin the late Mr.Lakshman Rajapaksa. Both of them were regulars at the Orient Club. Being a Royalist he was also very close to late Mr. George Rajapaksa, his fellow alumni.
Continue reading ‘Mervyn De Silva the Uncrowned Media King of Sri Lanka’ »
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has said that proscription of extremist organisations isn’t a problem, but such action does not guarantee that there won’t be further religious strife.
The President said so in response to leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) and Industry and Commerce Minister Rishad Bathiudeen, MP, (Vanni District) at last Thursday’s UPFA party leaders’ meeting at Temple Trees.
Among those present at the party leaders’ meeting were Ministers, Basil Rajapaksa, Nimal Siripala de Silva, Dinesh Gunawardena, Rauff Hakeem, Wimal Weerawansa, Champika Ranawaka, Dallas Alahapperuma, Susil Premjayantha, Dew Gunasekera, Tissa Vitharana and Prabha Ganeshan.
Continue reading ‘Proscription of Extremist Organizations Does not Guarantee there wont be further Religious Strife-President Rajapaksa tells Rishad Badhiutheen’ »
It is evident that after the anti-Muslim action in Alutgama and Beruwela on June 15 and the days following, the Sri Lankan Muslim problem has entered a new phase. There is no need for me to recapitulate the well-known details pointing to the government’s complicity in the anti-Muslim action. Indeed it is more than complicity, and what happened should be properly regarded as a governmental anti-Muslim racist pogrom.
What happened is not novel because it is the kind of thing that has been going on for the last couple of years or so. What is novel are the sustained and meticulously planned attacks on Muslim business establishments. This fits into the racist paradigm to which I have referred in earlier articles. According to this paradigm the Sinhalese, more particularly the Sinhalese Buddhists, should be at the apex of a hierarchical structure, a programme that required the kicking down of the Tamils. It is now the turn of the Muslims to be kicked down.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Muslim “Problem” has Entered a new Phase after the Anti-Muslim Action in Aluthgama and Beruwela’ »
(Text of an Editorial appearing in “The Island”of June 21st 2014 under the heading “Unstoppable Psychos”)
Prabhakaran is long dead and his mindless violence is a thing of the past. But, the country is not yet free from terrorism as has been seen from Sunday’s violence. Close on the heels of anti-Muslim attacks in Alutgama and Beruwala has come a dastardly assault on a Buddhist monk—not by non-Buddhists but by a group in yellow robes, according to the victim.
Ven. Watareka Vijitha Thera was abducted, assaulted and dumped on a road in the early hours of Thursday. Prior to the attack he had complained to the police that his life was in danger following an incident where he was threatened by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS), which also disrupted a multi-religious event he was attending. Subsequently, he was roughed up in public. Two policemen assigned to protect him were withdrawn about two weeks before Thursday’s incident. Why was he deprived of security in spite of threats to his life? An explanation is called for.
Continue reading ‘Govt Must Order Crackdown on the “Psychos”responsible for Aluthgama/Beruwela Violance and Attack on Vijitha Thera-The Island’ »
(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Hindu”of June 20th 2014 under the heading”A dangerous road in Sri Lanka”)
Anti-Muslim violence in what were once idyllic tourist spots on the southern Sri Lankan coast has once again underscored the majoritarianism that has dominated the politics of the country since the end of the war against the LTTE in 2009. Four people were killed and scores injured, and houses and businesses looted and burnt over two days. The violence, clearly instigated by a recently formed extremist Buddhist organisation called the Bodu Bala Sena, affected the seaside towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala.
It was serious enough for the government to declare a curfew and call out the Army and a special police force to maintain the peace, perhaps for the first time in that part of the country since the violent JVP insurrection of the 1980s. But for over two years, the Sri Lankan government had chosen to ignore the provocative activities of the BBS, doing nothing to rein it in despite a body of evidence that the group was involved in previous incidents targeting mainly the Muslim minority, and also Christians. Instead, both President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his powerful brother, Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa, visited the office of the BBS on separate occasions, signalling powerful patronage and giving it a stamp of legitimacy.
Continue reading ‘No Formal Condemnation of the Violence or of those Behind it has been Forthcoming from sri Lankan Govt-The Hindu’ »
Rt.Revd. Dhiloraj R.Canagasabey
The Church of Ceylon has released the following media release through the Bishop of Colombo Rt. Revd. Dhiloraj R. Canagasabey:
“I am deeply perturbed and concerned—at the large scale violence unleashed on members of the Muslim community last weekend (15th June 2014), in Aluthgama, Beruwala, Dharaga Town, Walpitiya and Welipenna areas. My thoughts and prayers are with the all those affected in their time of sorrow. This violence was wholly avoidable; that it was allowed to happen brings us shame as a country and as Sri Lankans.
God is especially concerned for the victims of this world. Therefore, in the grace of God I express solidarity with all those who have suffered from the violence, and especially with our fellow Muslim who have been thrown into climate of uncertainty and fear. Many Christians across the country have also been the target of violence in the past and can empathize today with the targeted victimisation of the Muslims in Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Christians Being Targets of Violence in the Past Empathize Today with the Targeted Muslims in Sri Lanka-Anglican Bishop of Colombo’ »
Leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), Justice Minister Rauff Hakeem yesterday told US Ambassador Michele J. Sison that Muslims in the country will lose faith in the government if it fails to take immediate legal action, against Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera.
He said this when the US Ambassador met him at his residence.
He also stressed on the need of taking legal action against those other culprits who were involved in recent attacks.
Continue reading ‘US Envoy Michele J.Sison meets Muslim Congress Leader Rauff Hakeem at the Justice Minister’s Residence’ »
It is unthinkable that an earthly being would ever get the police approval to hold a rally of nearly twenty thousand angry Buddhist youth in Aluthgama, just three days after a communal scuffle between the local Muslims and Buddhists. Had the congregation been the university students or trade unions, the police would definitely have asked the Court for a restraining order. However, the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) held that rally that was followed by a bitter ethnic conflagration.
But, its General Secretary, Galabodaaththe Gnanasara Thera is non-repentant. In his temple in Kirulapone, he tells this writer that he was suing for peace when his supporters, who were leaving after listening to his provocative speech, which had all the fury and instigation of a hate speech, were attacked by Muslims. “Then all hell broke loose!” he said.
His version of events could sound hardly convincing for many; even the Buddhists in predominantly Muslim towns of Aluthgama and Beruwala, blame the monk and his ultra nationalist Buddhist organization for causing troubles there.
Continue reading ‘Rise of Buddhist Extremist Bodu Bala Sena Among Sinhalese is Reaction to Rise of Islamic Extremist Tawheed Jamath Among Muslims.’ »
(Text of a press release issued by the Human Rights Watch under the heading “Sri Lanka: Justice Key to End Anti-Muslim Violen-Secure Environment, Long Term Plan Urgently Needed)
(New York, June 20, 2014) – The Sri Lankan authorities should urgently investigate recent deadly violence against minority Muslim communities, Human Rights Watch said today. The violence, which began on June 15, 2014, after a rally led by the ultranationalist Buddhist Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) organization, left at least four Muslims dead, 80 injured, and numerous homes and businesses destroyed in the town of Aluthgama and surrounding areas.
Senior government officials, including President Mahinda Rajapaksa, have made public statements denouncing the violence and promising compensation to the victims. However, the government needs to seriously investigate who is responsible for attacks on the Muslim communities, Human Rights Watch said. The police have so far detained at least 40 people in the rioting; an additional 16 people were arrested and released on bail.
Continue reading ‘“Take a hard look at the role and Relationship Between Extreme Buddhist Groups like the BBS and the Sri Lankan Security Forces”-Human Rights Watch’ »
Similar to how the United States nurtured Taliban, which later targeted strategic locations in New York, US Ambassador Michele J. Sison is nurturing the Sri Lankan Jihadist groups thus jeopardizing the security of not only Sri Lanka and the US but of the entire world, Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka said.
“The US is repeating the mistakes it made in Afghanistan by distorting the Aluthgama incidents and very soon will suffer dire consequences. By nurturing and fostering militant Muslim groups against a democratically elected government instead of helping to hunt down the militant elements within the Muslim community, the US has only strengthened the global Taliban movement,” said the minister who is also the General Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU).
Continue reading ‘“US Ambassador Michele.J.Sison is Nurturing Muslim Jihadist Groups in Sri Lanka”-JHU Minister Champika Ranawaka’ »
The recent unfortunate incidents that erupted in Aluthgama and Beruwala areas will have an adverse impact on the country’s tourism sector in the backdrop of Middle East being the fourth largest inbound tourist market for Sri Lanka, according to tourism industry stakeholders.
“We are already feeling the impact. During the last few days, there had been a number of cancellations by Middle Eastern tourists and new bookings have dried up,” an official of a leading travel sector operator told Mirror Business on grounds anonymity.
Continue reading ‘Anti-Muslim Violence Impacts on Sri Lankan Tourism:Cancellations by Middle Eastern Tourists,New Bookings Dry up.’ »
FIVE years after the end of a bloody civil war that pitted Sri Lanka’s ethnic-Sinhala-dominated government against members of its Tamil minority, fears are growing about mounting violence along another of the country’s fault-lines—religion. On June 15th Sinhala Buddhist mobs rampaged through three towns on the southern coast, burning and attacking Muslim businesses and homes. Families cowered in marshes and took refuge in mosques as crowds banged on doors, baying for Muslims to come out. Some carried clubs, others flung petrol bombs.
The violence sputtered for nearly two days. Four people, three of them Muslims, were killed, and about 80 were injured. Calm was restored only when the army stepped in on June 17th. Outnumbered, the police and their special forces had struggled to beat back the mobs. Angry Muslims say many stood by and did nothing.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara is a Rabble-rouser like the Burmese Monk Wirathu-Economist’ »
Pre- emptive action by the Police and Courts in Badulla has prevented the Bodhu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya from instigating anti-Muslim violence in the salubrious capital of Uva province as in the case of Aluthgama in the Western province .
BBS in Badulla in May 2014-pic via twitter.com/Camp4justice
Plans by the ethno religious fascist Bodhu Bala Send Sihala Ravaya to conduct a rally in Badulla on Wednesday June 18th 2014 and foment violence against Muslim people was foiled by the pre-emptive action of the Badulla Police.
The Police went before courts and sought an order preventing the Bodhu Bala Sena (BBS) rally being held as it was part of a conspiracy to engineer anti-Muslim violence under the guise of a “spontaneous ethnic riot”.
Continue reading ‘Commendable Court Order Curtails Anti-Muslim Activities of the Bodhu Bala Sena in Badulla.’ »
Although Prime Minister DM Jayaratne has informed Parliament that the situation in Aluthgama, Dharga Nagar, Beruwela and other areas have been normalised , the actual reality in the troubled region is different say informed sources who visited those places recently.
According to these sources armed gangs of thugs and hoodlums describing themselves as Sinhala Buddhist patriots are roaming about freely in the areas despite the heavy Police and Special Task Force (STF) presence and in spite of a curfew being in progress.
These gangs suspected of being linked to the Bodhu Bala Sena and Sihala Ravaya organizations are generally stationed near key junctions and intersections in the area. They seem to be positioning themselves in a manner that would enable them to block access to areas like Aluthgama and Dharganagar from certain directions.
Continue reading ‘Armed Anti-Muslim Gangs Continue to Roam Freely in the Aluthgama Area Restricting Access to Muslim Victims of Violence’ »
“The Bodu Bala Sena was never involved in any violent activities and we will never approve of such moves,” says Chief Executive Officer Dilantha Withanage in an interview with Chamitha Kuruppu for “DailyFT”.. “We are trying to warn the people that in another decade or two there will be clashes between religious groups in the country. Unfortunately, it is happening right front of our very eyes.”
Following are excerpts:
Q: What happened in Aluthgama?
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Says Violence was Started by 1000 Muslims Hiding in a Mosque and Pelting Stones at People After Aluthgama Rally’ »
by Dharisha Bastians in Aluthgama
Everything smells smoky in Dharga Town, Aluthgama, the morning after.
Welipana Road, Aluthgama Town-Pix by Lasantha Kumara
Dozens of Special Task Force personnel stand guard on the edges of the Muslim settlement, separated from the Sinhalese village by a few metres. On doorsteps and street corners, people huddle in little groups, speaking in whispers and shooting wary looks at outsiders flocking to the village at dawn, many of them lugging camera equipment.
Life at a standstill in Dharga Town
With the curfew imposed on Sunday night still in effect, life is at a standstill. But in the eerie early morning calm, tension wrought by last night’s mayhem hangs heavily in the air. The charred and still smouldering ruins of a motorbike shop mark the entrance to Dharga Town, where the worst of the sectarian violence that erupted on the streets had unfolded the previous night.
Continue reading ‘The Anguish and Agony of Aluthgama: On The Spot Report’ »
DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA
There are scarier things, worse things, than Black July ’83. Aluthgama signaled the possibility of such things.
The sequence of events, the lethal violence, the horror of Aluthgama were reminiscent of July ’83 –and to go by Tarzie Vittachchi’s Emergency ’58, the anti-Tamil riots of that year. That is the element of dark continuity, which we must never forget in our haste to define the present as the worst of times. But there is also the element of discontinuity which makes Aluthgama potentially far more dangerous.
If we are to fight this phenomenon successfully, it is necessary to correctly identify the beast. So far it has been misidentified as the scarier mask of the ruling clan, the dark avatar of Sinhala Buddhism or the instrument of neoliberal capitalism. It may be all of these or some of these, but these are not the most important or dangerous aspects of its present-day manifestation, the BBS, and the Aluthgama outbreak.
Continue reading ‘Monks, Mobs, Military: The Triple “M” Strategy of Bodu Bala Sena to Capture State Power’ »
Dharisha Bastians in Beruwela and Aluthgama
Pix by Ishara S. Kodikara (AFP) and Shilpa Samaratunge
The watcher at the Al Humeisara Central College in China Fort is compulsive about keeping the tall gates padlocked at all times. He ushers authorised vehicles in and hurriedly shuts the gates behind them, casting furtive looks on the road outside.
Inside the closely-guarded gates, schoolroom desks and chairs are stacked in corners. All the signs of mass displacement abound – large water tanks, truckloads of relief items and make-shift first aid centres. Infants and toddlers snooze in the stifling noon day heat on the floors of fly-infested classrooms. Some of them are only a few weeks old.
The children seem to be the only ones removed from the anger and sorrow that is pervasive in the schoolyard. Thrilled to be skipping school and surrounded by dozens of playmates, they put the Al Humeisara swing sets and climbing frames to good use.
It could be Vavuniya or Batticaloa five or six years ago. Except that the camp lies barely 60 kilometres from the capital Colombo and this is not a war zone.
Continue reading ‘Sorrowful Stories of Woe Related by The Victims of Anti-Muslim Violence in Aluthgama-Beruwela’ »
( International Movement Against All Forms Of Discrimination And Racism (IMADR) President Dr Nimalka Fernando made submissions at the 26th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.This is the text of her oral submission)
Dr. Nimalka Fernando-pic courtesy of: rightsnow.net
Thank you Mr. President,
We strongly condemn the violence unleashed in South Western Sri Lanka which resulted in the death of 3 persons and the serious injury of approximately 80 people. It is outrageous that the Government of Sri Lanka ignored our appeals over the past year and allowed the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) to continue to operate committing hate crimes against Muslims and Christians.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena Violence Against Muslims Issue Raised at 26th Session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva by IMADR President Dr.Nimalka Fernando’ »
(This is the text of an editorial appearing in the “Saudi Gazette”of June 19th 2014 Under the heading “Buddhist bigotry in Sri Lanka too”)
There is an increasingly alarming similarity between the crimes of bigoted Buddhists against Burma’s Muslim minority and a rising tide of violence against the Muslims of Sri Lanka.
Government sources in Colombo protest that there is no resemblance, arguing that the big difference is that no one has been killed in attacks on mosques and Muslim homes in Sri Lanka. Though unofficial reports have suggested that there has been at least one Muslim fatality, there can be no doubting the savagery of attacks on Muslim properties.
Continue reading ‘Alarming Similarity Between Buddhist Bigotry Against Burma’s Muslim Minority and Rising Tide of Violence Against Muslims of Sri Lanka’ »
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka has sent a letter to President Mahinda Rajapaksa urging him to investigate actions of all extremist groups and those carrying out a campaign of hate,intimidation and violence against Muslims,Christians and other religious minorities.The letter jointly signed by Muslim Council President NM Ameen and Secretary Asker Kan is reproduced in full below -
19th June 2014
His Excellency Mahinda Rajapaksha
Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
The Muslim Council of Sri Lanka calls upon your Excellency to immediately investigate the actions of all extremist groups and ban those who have been carry out a campaign of hate, intimidation and violence against Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities. The incitement and provocations have been well documented and are available in the public realm. The consequences as witnessed in Aluthgama and Beruwela this week, but also during periodic flare-ups in several other places, have been dire.
Continue reading ‘Muslim Council of Sri Lanka Urges President Rajapaksa to investigate the activities of the Bodu Bala Sena,Sihala Ravaya and Ravana Balakaya.’ »
Sri Lankan people don’t want another Black July!
The on-going attacks on the Muslim community are deliberately carried out by a small group of extremists.
We should not allow such violence in the name of the Sinhalese and Buddhist people.
Let us not allow another community being harmed in the name of one ethnic community.
Continue reading ‘Let the Govt Bring Before the law all Extremist Groups and their Leaders Including the Bodu Bala Sena-Demand by Sri Lankan Intellectuals and Artistes.’ »
Sri Lankans who have for years become familiar with Navaneethem (Navi) Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, would have heaved a sigh of relief as the retirement of the South African diplomat was announced this week. She will step down from her post in August.
Pillay was a formidable foe to contend with in Sri Lanka’s diplomatic stand-off with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). She was also instrumental in ensuring that resolutions against the country were adopted at the Council over the past three years.
Pillay’s successor was formally announced on Tuesday. He is Zeid Al-Hussein, a Jordanian diplomat with years of experience within the United Nations system. His outlook on Sri Lanka will come under intense scrutiny as the country gears itself for another tousle at the UNHRC early next year.
Navanetheem Pillay was widely perceived in this country as being hostile to Sri Lankan interests and being under the influence of western powers which carry clout in the United Nations. That she was also an ethnic Tamil did not help enhance her claims of impartiality.
Continue reading ‘Zeid Al-Hussein has no Choice but to Go Ahead with UN Proceedings Instituted Against Sri Lanka by Navanetham Pillay.’ »
Thahira Cader & Shilohni Sumanthiran.
(This article is written with the intention of understanding the local education system from a student’s perspective)
According to Bloom’s taxonomy, a comprehensive education should encompass three key aspects: knowledge, skills and attitudes. A person’s knowledge is reflected in his desire to constantly seek information, and in the way he reflects on and responds to his discoveries. Simple skills such as analytical skills and teamwork should be developed to enhance individual character and personality; enabling people to think on their feet and tackle the challenges of the twentieth century.
Yet, in a world that is obsessed with ‘educational qualifications’, we have lost sight of the fundamental purpose of education itself. Common perceptions are that education ends when a person transits from childhood to adulthood and begins to work. We view education as a means to an end. The reality however, is that the process of learning is a continuous one. A progressive education demands that we stay up to date with the views and methodologies of our rapidly evolving world. It should ceaselessly challenge intellect and curiosity, and drive people to push at its boundaries; innovate; create; imagine.
Continue reading ‘Re-inventing the Education System in Sri Lanka From the Perspective of Students.’ »
President Mahinda Rajapaksa has promised an investigation into the violence in Aluthgama and Beruwala since Sunday night and pledged compensation for those who have suffered property losses by the rioting.
Last afternoon upon his return from Bolivia, President Rajapaksa flew into Beruwala town, which has been rocked by religious clashes, for discussions with Buddhist and Muslim clergy and leaders.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa in Beruwala~pic via: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa
“No one can be allowed to cause damage to another person or his property. I will let the law take its course and they will submit a report to me quickly,” he told Buddhist monks and Muslim religious leaders at the Divisional Secretariat in Beruwala yesterday.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Promises Investigation into Aluthgama and Beruwela Violence and Compensation for Victims.’ »
Taking the good with the bad, Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao yesterday described Sri Lanka’s economy as “remarkable,” but warned increases in Government revenue, attention to law and order as well as reform in State-Owned Enterprises are crucial to become an upper middle income country.
On his first-ever visit to Sri Lanka, Nakao met President Mahinda Rajapaksa upon his return from Bolivia on Wednesday morning, as well as several ministers and senior officials, to discuss global, regional and bilateral issues, including challenges and opportunities for the Sri Lankan economy over the short to medium term. He then visited the Colombo Port that the ADB is helping to fund.
Continue reading ‘Visiting Asian Development Bank President Takehito Nakao Emphasises the Importance of Upholding Law and Order for Sri Lanka to Attract Investment.’ »
Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Takehiko Nakao called on President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday at the President’s House.
During the discussion, President Rajapaksa briefed Nakao on Sri Lanka’s post-war development. The President explained how the Government immediately attended to the resettlement of the internally-displaced persons and the rehabilitation of ex-combatants.
“The war was never against the Tamil community, it was against terrorism,” President Rajapaksa said.
President Rajapaksa also described the development projects the Government undertook immediately after the war to develop the Northern Province.
Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Tells Asian Development Bank Chief Takehito Nakao to go to North and “see the development yourself”.’ »
The Resolution opposing the much-debated investigation to be conducted against Sri Lanka by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights was passed in Parliament yesterday with a majority.
With the 33 members of the United National Party abstaining, the Government received 144 votes in favour, while the 10 members representing the TNA voted against. JVP members left the House before the vote began. Notable absentees at the time of voting were Minister Rauff Hakeem and all seven other SLMC members and Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.
Continue reading ‘Resolution Opposing UN Probe on Sri Lanka Passed with 144 Votes.Only 10 TNA MP’s Vote Against.UNP Abstains.JVP, SLMC,ACPC Skip Voting’ »
The cancellation of training programs organised by Transparency International on investigative journalism for journalists working for Tamil publications in Sri Lanka, forcing them to discontinue the programs, shook the House yesterday when Leader of the Opposition Ranil Wickremesinghe questioned the Government’s “authority over legitimate public events and forceful cancellations”.
Highlighting the “phony media freedom prevailing in the country” and the asking for reasons to “deprive the Tamil journalists from receiving training on investigative journalism,” Wickremesinghe charged: “This gives a clear picture on the so-called peace, reconciliation, rule of law, democracy and freedom of expression in this country. I wish to receive a statement from Prime Minister on the series of incidents related at a time when the Government is even under international charges on violation of human rights.”
Continue reading ‘Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Lambastes Defence Ministy Role in Forceful Disruption of Workshop for Tamil Media Journalists.’ »
18th June 2014, Colombo, Sri Lanka: The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) strongly condemns the violence unleashed in Aluthgama, Beruwela and Dharga Town over the past few days. More than five years after the end of the war and thirty years after the 1983 pogrom, lessons have yet to be learnt on coexistence, non-violence, peace and reconciliation. The recent events are the latest and most serious manifestation of the politics of hurt, hate and harm that constitute the gravest challenge to pluralism, the rule of law and democratic governance in our country and epitomise the depth of the crisis of the Sri Lankan State.
CPA urges the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL) to take immediate and all necessary steps to provide protection to the affected communities, investigate the heinous acts and hold to account all perpetrators and those complicit in such acts. It is of paramount importance that steps are taken to prevent the continuation of such violence and in this regard the authorities must hold all those involved to account, sending a strong message to all Sri Lankans and to the rest of the world that violence and hate have no place in post-war Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘“Unwillingness/Inability to Categorically Condemn Bodu Bala Sena and Other Extremist Groups is Disappointing”-Centre for Policy Alternatives.’ »
Upul Joseph Fernando
Government sources say that Basil Rajapaksa has proposed to debate the UNHRC resolution to probe Sri Lanka’s human rights violations in Parliament. He has proposed this after thoroughly studying the impact of the probe on internal politics of the country.
However, coalition Party Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU)’s stand on the probe is different. They say that it is not easy now to rouse pro-government patriotism through the UNHRC proposal because people pay more attention to the cost of living and corruption today.
They point out that the UNHRC proposal has failed to gain votes at the Western and Southern Provincial Council elections. They argue that the people may be afraid of the UNHRC probe and they may think that the government has failed to solve the problem.
They have warned that the people think the country will have to undergo an economic embargo and they may be compelled to vote to with the opposition to prevent it.
Continue reading ‘How Mahinda Rajapaksa with the help of Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Tamara Kunanayakam Complained to the UN in Geneva About the UNP Govt of Sri Lanka.’ »
“The best weapon of a dictatorship is secrecy, but the best weapon of a democracy should be the weapon of openness.”
A couple of weeks ago this columnist wrote about the socio-political disaster that is looming on the horizon. Although much hackneyed phrases and clichés have described what has been happening in Sri Lanka, especially in the last ten years, the dramatically accelerated tide of affairs of politics has lent itself for scrupulous probe by all those who think rationally and reasonably about politics and matters of governance. It is rather redundant to hanker over the harsh repercussions of family-centered rule of a country in the Twenty First Century. What is more pertinent and desirable is a close look at the way that family-rule has eaten into the body politic of Sri Lanka, depths it has gone into in order to fortify itself, the extent to which it has stretched its powers to protect itself against would-be invaders and the kind of armor it is using to shield itself and above all, how a totally diabolical and dishonest ideology and a distorted and fraudulent political philosophy are being preached by the Family Patriarch while posing himself as the savior of the Nation. Yet the stranger spectacle is how a people or for that matter, a vibrant literate community of men and women, is enduring the shame and indignity of an enslaved subject people.
Continue reading ‘“Familiocracy” (Pavulvadaya) is Reaching a Crescendo in Sri Lanka: It’s High Time it was Challenged’ »
The police arrested 44 persons, in connection with the clashes that took place in Aluthgama on Sunday. Of those arrested, 25 have been remanded.
SSP Ajith Rohana told Ceylon Today, the Colombo Crime Division had deployed three police teams to arrest another 55 persons who were involved on Sunday’s mayhem.
It is reported that, 39 of arrested are from the Aluthgama area while other two are from Beruwala and Matugama.
Continue reading ‘Police Arrest 44 and Remand 25 in Connection with Aluthgama Violence and Curfew Violations.’ »
Bodu Bala Sena, or Buddhist Strength Force- pic via BBC-(file pic)
Attempts by the Ethno Religious Fascist Bodhu Bala Sena to instigate Anti-Muslim violence by holding a rally through a proxy organization in the town of Mawanella seems to have gone awry due to preventive action taken by the Police.
Continue reading ‘Police Obtain Court Order to Prevent Anti-Muslim Rally Being Held at Mawanella by a Proxy Organization of Bodhu Bala Sena’ »
Deadly violence in Aluthgama spearheaded by armed mobs engulfing religious tensions figured prominently in the proceedings of Parliament yesterday, with Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe making a special statement and Prime Minister D.M. Jayaratne giving the Government’s reassurances.
Wickremesinghe warned of the possibilities of the violence spreading to other parts of the country, especially “Mawanella where a sathyagraha is organised by Mahasen 696,” an organisation with a violent past.
Reading out a notice he received from Mawanella calling on Sinhalese people to gather for a sathyagraha, Wickremesinghe said: “According to this notice they condemn the Aluthgama incident and a special sathyagraha is organised near the Mawanella clock tower. I don’t know why the Police has allowed this. I seek the Prime Minister’s attention to stop this at least prior to any other incidents.”
Continue reading ‘Opposition Leader Wickremesinghe Makes Special Statement in Parliament on About Aluthgama Incidents and Seeks Special Report While Prime Minister Jayaratne Describes it as a “Minor Matter”.’ »
R. Sampanthan MP
Rajavarothayam Sampanthan M.P.
(Full Text of Address to Parliament on June 17th 2014 by Tamil National Alliance Leadr and Trincomalee District MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan)
I wish to make a statement to place on record the position of the Tamil National Alliance regarding the Motion that has been put forward for debate and related matters of public importance. It is indeed ironic that the government now at this late stage seeks the imprimatur of Parliament for its own dire failings. This government, which has so brazenly turned Parliament into an object of ridicule – by enticing unscrupulous members of the opposition to cross over for personal gain and by providing executive posts to almost half the members of the house – now turns to Parliament on a question of fundamental importance to the country. It is plainly clear to the entire country that this turn to Parliament is nothing but a cheap political sleight of hand, and it is a great misfortune to the people of this country that their government is more interested in playing immature political tricks than in dealing with important matters of national reconciliation and foreign policy with sobriety and wisdom.
Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva has already announced the country’s “non-cooperation” with the envisaged investigation. What then is the point of this exercise in Parliament? Is the government so insecure with its isolationist policy that it wishes to share the blame with Parliament and use Parliament to rubber stamp the obnoxious pronouncement by the government’s representative abroad?
Continue reading ‘Forthcoming United Nations Investigation is Against Both the Crimes of the LTTE and the Crimes of the Regime”-R.Sampanthan M.P.’ »
Things still aren’t going well for Mr. Obama. As a result, Americans and people throughout the world continue to suffer.
The Veterans Affairs (VA) scandal is appalling, and it would be naive to think that Mr. Obama will be able to turn things around. Indeed, his administration is now plagued by a plethora of scandals that are unlikely to go away before he leaves office. From the VA to Obamacare to the IRS to Benghazi and more, Mr. Obama seems intent on having words like “disaster” and “incompetence” become synonymous with all eight years of his presidency.
Continue reading ‘Barack Obama’s Abysmal Legacy:Eight Disastrous Years of Incompetence?’ »
(Text of a Press Release Issued by the National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka)
The National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka (NCEASL) strongly condemns the blatant attack on members of the Muslim minority, in Aluthgama and Beruwela on the 15th of June 2014 that reportedly left Muslim-owned shops in the area torched, mosques damaged, 80 people injured with at least 7 people admitted to the hospital with gunshot wounds and 3 dead.
It is with concern that the NCEASL notes that authorities in the area, permitted the Bodu Bala Sena to hold a rally in Aluthgama on Sunday, despite the tense situation that prevailed in the area during the week.In recent months Muslims and Christians alike have been subjected to hate speech and numerous attacks and violence against their places and practices of worship.
Continue reading ‘National Christian Evangelical Alliance of Sri Lanka Strongly Condemns Attack on Muslims in Aluthgama and Beruwela.’ »
The on going anti-Muslim violence instigated by the ethno religious fascist outfit Bodhu Bala Sena has resulted in a Tamil Security guard at a Muslim owned poultry and livestock farm being brutally murdered by a gang of armed goons claiming to represent Sinhala Buddhists of Sri Lanka.
A gang of intoxicated armed men invaded during night the farm owned by a Muslim entrepreneur Hijasin Mustapha(31) in Henegama falling under the jurisdiction of the Matugama Police.
Continue reading ‘58 Year Old Tamil Watcher of Muslim Owned Farm at Henegama Brutally Murdered by Sinhala Gang Claiming to be from Bodhu Bala Sena.’ »
While the situation in Aluthgama and Beruwela showed signs of comparative improvement on Monday June 16th without any reports of anti-Muslim violence in those areas fresh violence erupted against Muslims in another nearby town in Sri Lanka’s western province.
Welipenna a town with a mixed ethnic populationabout 59 to 60 km south east of Colombo witnessed anti -Muslim violence overnight.
According to Police a mob of about 150 persons had entered Welipenna and targeted houses and businesses owned by Muslims.
Continue reading ‘Anti-Muslim Violence Erupts in Welipenna 59 KM South -East of Colombo;Over 15 Houses, Businesses Targeted. One Feared Dead.’ »
Col R Hariharan
“Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero addressing the rally in Aluthgama yesterday, referred to Muslims in derogatory terms and accused sections of the Government of being in collaboration with the Muslim Community. “They keep calling us racist and religious extremists. Yes, we are racists,” he charged as the crowd cheered him on. “This country still has a Sinhala police a Sinhala army. If a single Sinhalese is touched, that will be the end of all them,” he screamed.” – From Dharisha Bastiyan’s report in the Sri Lankan online portal Daily FT on June 16, 2014
The above media quote provides the simple answer to question “Why violent attacks continue against Muslims in Sri Lanka? The words quoted above are from the speech of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)’s founder leader Gunasara Thero at a rally organized in Aluthagama on June 15.
1000s in Chennai protest near Sri Lanka mission over attacks on Muslims in Aluthgama and elsewhere ~ calls Rajapaksa gov to ban BBS (placard in Tamil)
Sri Lanka has allowed Buddhist chauvinism to get into “direct action” against Muslim minority that is inciting the violent attacks against them. Evidently, as earlier instances have shown the government had been reluctant to take action to curb such provocative events for fear of antagonizing the Sinhala right wing which is an important segment of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “vote bank.”
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has Allowed Buddhist Chauvinism to get into “Direct Action”Inciting Violent Attacks Against the Muslim Minority.’ »
By Latheef Farook
The unwanted and unnecessary attack was mayhem of an unprecedented scale in and around Aluthgama which later spread to Dharga town and Beruwala following the highly inflammatory speech by Sinhala racist outfit Bodu Bala Sena’s General Secretary Ven .Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero, the Buddhist Zionist who is hell bent on shedding Muslim blood.
These unfortunate killings, injury, indiscriminate burning of residential and commercial properties, looting of personal belongings and arson on the Muslim population were not something unexpected when Gnanasara Thero, was allowed to address a gathering of his extremist supporters.
Allowing him to address such a gathering in this communally tense environment was catastrophic.
Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena General Secretary Ven.Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero is a Buddhist Zionist Hell Bent on Shedding Muslim Blood.’ »
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay expressed her deep concern yesterday (June 16) at the communal clashes between Sinhala and Muslim communities in Aluthgama, Sri Lanka, in which two, or possibly three, people have reportedly been killed and 80 were injured.
“The Government must urgently do everything it can to arrest this violence, curb the incitement and hate speech which is driving it, and protect all religious minorities,” the High Commissioner said.
President Mahinda Rajapaksa meets Navanethem “Navi” Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, at Temple Trees in Colombo, Sri Lanka-Aug 30, 2013-pic: facebook.com/PresidentRajapaksa
“I am very concerned this violence could spread to Muslim communities in other parts of the country.
Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay Wants Sri Lanka Govt to Arrest Violence, Curb Hate Speech Incitement and Protect Religious Minorities.’ »
Ruwan Laknath Jayakody
The Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) yesterday blamed the police for Sunday’s violent upheaval in Aluthgama and said the immature behaviour and delayed action of police officers had aggravated the clashes.
“Do not make us have to tell the people to boycott Muslim businesses,” General Secretary of the BBS, Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera, warned, deeming the present state of affairs both grave and pathetic.
Insisting on the presence of Muslim, Catholic and Buddhist extremists in society, he called upon the Muslims to acknowledge the gravity of Muslim extremism and take steps to root out such extremism.
Continue reading ‘Arrogantly Defiant Gnanasara Thero of Bodhu Bala Sena Wants Muslims to Acknowledge Gravity of Muslim Extremism and Take Steps to Root it out.’ »
Tamil Nadu Actor and celebrity campaigner Khushbu on Monday quit the DMK citing lack of recognition for her work in the party. Her announcement came a few hours after the party high-command decided to reorganise the district units.
Movie Star Khushboo, and DMK Leader Kalaignar M. Karunanidhi in January 2013
She joined the DMK in 2010 against expectations that she would take to politics through the AIADMK. For many years, Khushbu anchored a popular reality show, ‘Jackpot,’ on the Jaya TV, fuelling speculations that she would eventually join the AIADMK.
Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu Actress and Celebrity Politician Khushbu Quits the DMK Saying her Work for the Party was not Recognized.’ »
Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) yesterday demanded the government take immediate action to resolve the tense situation in Aluthgama, warning that the party will take stern political decisions if the government failed to ensure the security of the people.
SLMC Leader and Minister of Justice, Rauff Hakeem, told a press conference yesterday, he was ashamed to be a minister, as proper steps have not been carried out to prevent the Aluthgama incident.
Continue reading ‘Rauff Hakeem Threatens Legal Action Against Organization Responsible for Aluthgama Chaos Without Naming Bodhu Bala Sena.’ »
Related events over the past few weeks have raised serious questions whether Sri Lankan journalists in general and Tamil media personnel in particular have the basic right of conducting or participating in a training workshop designed to improve or develop their professional skills.
Police wanted to cancel investigative journalism training for Tamil speaking journalists & leave premises immediately-pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai
Inter-linked incidents in Polonnaruwa, Negombo and Colombo where three top tourist hotels prevented a reputed Non –governmental organization the Transparency Internatiol of Sri Lanka from holding investigative training workshops for Tamil journalists on their premises due to threats and intimidation have been severely condemned by national and international media rights organizations.
Continue reading ‘Three Top Tourist Hotels in Sri Lanka Refuse to Let Tamil Journalism Workshop be Conducted on Premises Due to “Threats”.’ »
Sri Lankan director Prasanna Vithanage speaks to Subha J. Rao about making movies in the war zone and his love affair with Tamil films
When Sri Lankan filmmaker Prasanna Vithanage, known for his searing commentaries on war, was in college, he made quite a few Tamil friends. “They introduced me to Ilaiyaraaja, Bharathirajaa, Balachander… They set me on a life-long love affair with Tamil films,” says the director, whose latest film, With You Without You (Oba Nathuwa Oba Ekka), is to release in select Indian cities on June 20.
The film, adapted from Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s novella A Gentle Creature, originally written in 1876, has been recast to suit a modern-day post-war situation. It explores the relationship tangles between a Sinhala pawnbroker and a Tamil girl. The film is the final one in Prasanna’s war trilogy after Death on a Full Moon Day and August Sun.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Film Maker Prasanna Vithanage Whose Film”With You Without You”Releases in India on June 28 Enjoys Life-Long Love Affair With Tamil Films’ »
The government will take appropriate action against those who give evidence against it at a future war crimes probe, based on the evidence the adversaries give .
“This is a serious situation and we are watching it closely. We shall take appropriate action based on the evidence the detractors give,” Government Spokesman and Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella told Ceylon Today.
He said the government was aware of the Tamil Diaspora and others, both overseas and in Sri Lanka, including the TNA, going all out to discredit the government which defeated the most ruthless guerilla group in the world ,which no other government could do.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Will Take Appropriate Action Against Those Giving Adverse Evidence Against Country at International Probes Depending Upon the Nature of Testimonies.’ »
The Government has suspended plans by the military to acquire 25 different plots of land in the Northern Province.The Land Commissioner General’s Department has issued a directive to the Northern Provincial Land Commissioner not to go ahead with the proposed acquisition of lands in the Jaffna, Kilinochchi and Mullativu districts.
The request to acquire the lands for the Army was made by the Defence and Urban Development Ministry.
Continue reading ‘Govt Suspends Moves by Defence Ministry to Acquire 25 Different Tracts of Land for the Army in Jaffna,Kilinochchi and Mullaitheevu Districts.’ »
Popular Telugu film character actress “Telangana” Shakuntala passed away on Saturday following a cardiac arrest at her home in Hyderabad.
The 63-year-old was rushed to a private hospital in the early hours and was declared “brought dead”, family sources said.
Continue reading ‘Popular Telugu Actress “Telengana “Shakuntala Known as “Swarnakka”to tamil Film Fans Passes Away’ »
A proposal to distribute lucrative wind power contracts to local investors without calling for open tenders has run into a storm with energy experts strongly criticising the move. They fear the contracts will be dished out to political henchmen — a growing practice — and that, under existing terms and conditions, the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will have to buy wind energy from the plants at inflated costs. These prices will eventually be passed on to the consumers who are already paying the highest tariffs in the region.
The latest plans were revealed in a Cabinet memorandum submitted by the Ministry of Power and Energy in April. The document, a copy of which was obtained by the Sunday Times, envisages the setting up of a wind energy park in Mannar to generate 375 megawatts (MW) of power but divides the plan into three segments.
Continue reading ‘Is Govt Planning to Hand Out Lucrative Wind Power Contracts to Political Henchmen By not calling for Open Tenders to set up Mannar Wind energy Park?’ »
With the appointment of the 12-member team by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights, the encirclement of Sri Lanka is just about complete. The Western steam roller has been set in motion and Narendra Modi is in power in India with a plainly-to-be-seen desire not to alienate Jayayalitha Jeyaram of Tamil Nadu even though he does not need her support to keep the government going. Never before in Sri Lanka’s post-Independence history have we been encircled like this – not even in 1987.
In 1987 when Sri Lanka for the first time faced direct intervention by India, we were not really encircled, it was just one country – India – browbeating us. What we are facing now is a real encirclement with the USA, the EU, the UN and in some ways even India being a part of the noose that is tightening around Sri Lanka. The only missing ingredient is unilateral economic sanctions by the US and EU. If Sri Lanka can survive this, we can survive anything.
If China abandons us now, our goose is cooked and what we will be looking at is a relatively short term situation where a regime change is effected in this country, the fallen leaders are marched off to the Hague to face war crimes trials, a government amenable to the US-EU and India takes power, and the country is divided in all but name – and most probably in name as well between the Sinhalese and the Tamils. So how is Sri Lanka to respond to an external threat of this magnitude?
Continue reading ‘Encirclement by West Leaves Sri Lanka Dependent Upon Friendship of China and Russia for Survival.’ »
N Sathiya Moorthy
Twenty-five long years after its bloody conclusion, the JVP’s Anura Kumara Dissanayake has now reportedly apologised for the 1987-89 insurgency. Another senior party leader K.D. Lal Kantha has however ‘clarified’ that the ‘apology’ was not for the ‘armed struggle’ per se but only for the ‘innocents killed during that period’.
There is a lesson in this for the TNA. The party and even the Northern Provincial Council (NPC), which is not tired of passing one resolution after another against the Centre, can take a leaf out of the JVP’s ‘apology’, however constricted the definition is. Most that died during the JVP insurgency were fellow-Sinhalese. There were Tamils and Muslims, too. The JVP should ask itself if it should address individual communities, too, given the conflicting issues and approaches that caused those deaths.
Though reduced to a miniscule minority in electoral politics after post-insurgency mainstreaming and democratisation, the party could also consider ‘apologising’ to the Sri Lankan State and the families of the security forces’ personnel who lost their lives in the ‘armed struggle’.
Continue reading ‘TNA Should Emulate the JVP and Issue Public Apology”for the LTTE Massacering Innocents of all Communities in Sri Lanka.’ »
A special operation to deport 1,475 Pakistani asylum seekers, registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and living in Sri Lanka, is underway by the immigration authorities, Ceylon Today learns.
A team of officials from the Department of Immigration and Emigration launched the operation to round up Pakistani asylum seekers on Thursday. Sources said the assistance of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has been obtained for the operation and an undisclosed number of Pakistani nationals have been taken into custody by the authorities.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Launches Operation to Round Up and Deport UNHCR Registered 1475 Pakistani Asylum Seekers Living in the Island.’ »
(Text of a Statement Issued by the Free Media Movement of Sri Lanka)
The Free Media Movement (FMM) condemns without any reservations the protest and threatening behavior of the protesters against the journalist’s workshop held at Gold Sands Hotel, Negombo, Gampaha District on 7th June 2014. The protesters, who enjoyed the protection of the Police, had been transported to the Negombo to disrupt the workshop according to eye witnesses. The FMM states without any hesitation that this so-called protest was state sponsored. It was a part and parcel of the on going suppression of independent journalism in Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Tamil Media Workshop on Investigative Journalism Threatened for the 3rd time; Hotels Refuse Accommodation to Tamil Journalists.’ »
Chaotic scenes unfolded in Aluthgama last evening with riot police using tear gas in efforts to disperse a violent mob, after ethno-religious tensions flared in the town leading to several assaults, arrests and damage to property.
Police Spokesman SSP Ajith Rohana told Daily FT that three persons had been arrested after the driver of a car carrying a Buddhist monk was allegedly assaulted, which subsequently led to an assault on the monk. The incident was sparked by a traffic accident, police sources said.
Continue reading ‘Mobs Attack Muslim Shops in Aluthgama on Poson Poya Day Protesting Alleged Attack of a Buddhist Priest by Muslim Youths.’ »
SD Bandaranayake, one of Sri Lanka’s colourful Political personalities passed away on June 3rd 2014 at the ripe old age of 97. The funeral of the man who represented the Gampaha constituency for thirty years in Parliament will be conducted on Saturday June 7th at the Chandrajothi school grounds in Yakkala.The laird of “Madugas Walawwa” in Yakkala was a vibrant Politician who shot to fame in 1957 for stopping the JR Jayewardena led march to Kandy at a place called Imbulgoda along the Colombo-Kandy road.SD Bandaranayake was dubbed the “Imbulgoda Veeraya”or hero of Imbulgoda after the incident.
When I heard of SD Bandaranayake’s death I was shocked because I had been under the impression that the hero of Imbulgoda had died some years ago.Had I known that SD Bandaranayake was alive I would have definitely tried to visit him when I was in Sri Lanka last year after 25 years of absence from the land of my birth. It was only after his death that I came to know that SD had been ailing for some time and had died peacefully at a private hospital.
Continue reading ‘Former Gampaha MP S.D. Bandaranayake the Colourful Maverick Known as “Imbulgoda Veeraya” Passes Away at 97 Years of Age’ »
UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay has expressed ‘deep regret’ about Sri Lanka’s announcement that it will not cooperate with the investigation into alleged war crimes and major rights violations during the last seven years of the war, to be launched by her Office next month.
“The High Commissioner deeply regrets the Government’s categorical statement to the Human Rights Council on Tuesday that it will not cooperate with the investigation, thereby defying the express call of the Human Rights Council in Resolution 25/1 for the Government to cooperate with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) investigation,” OHCHR Spokesman Rupert Colville told the Daily FT.
Colville said there have been other instances when UNHRC-mandated investigations have been carried out without the cooperation of the Government Concerned.
Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Commissioner Navanetham Pillay ” Deeply Regrets”sri Lanka Defying UN HRC Resolution by Refusing to Cooperate with Investigation.’ »
One of Sri Lanka’s best friends in the UK, Lord Naseby, has once again punched holes in the British policy towards Colombo and questioned why London was working against democratically elected government here.
Lord Naseby delivering a speech at the British House of Lords on Wednesday (11) said:
Continue reading ‘Lord Naseby Rises to Sri Lanka’s Defence in Rousing Speech at the House of Lords in Britain.’ »
The JVP has moved swiftly to counteract a Government decision to allow Parliament to decide on whether Sri Lanka should cooperate with a UN inquiry by demanding that the ruling party conducts a domestic probe into human rights abuses within three months.
The Marxist part has submitted an amendment to the resolution handed in by nine UPFA MPs on Wednesday (11) that includes an undertaking by the Government to conduct credible investigations into a range of rights violations, prosecute those responsible and report back to Parliament within three months.
Continue reading ‘JVP Seeks Domestic Probe Within Three Months into Human Rights Abuses in Amendment Submitted to Nine Govt MP Sponsored Resolution.’ »
In recent weeks, Sri Lankan cricketer Sachithra Senanayake has leapt into the limelight from being a relatively low-profile national sportsman into the newspapers, websites and television screens of the international media.
Senanayake’s sudden flight to fame began when he was reported by the umpires and the match referee for a suspected illegal action during the fourth one-day international against England at cricket’s headquarters, Lords.
This is not an unfamiliar scenario for the Sri Lankan team now, as star spinner Muttiah Muralitharan was similarly targeted during a tour of Australia and called for ‘chucking’ during a Boxing Day Test match. That controversy was eventually resolved with Muralitharan’s action being declared legal.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Nation Will Rally in Defence of Sachitra Senanayake as it Rallied Around Muttiah Muralitharan Earlier.’ »
It now seems to be generally agreed that Sri Lanka could enter into a collision course with India if the SL Government continues to shilly-shally over reaching a political solution to the ethnic problem on the basis of devolution. Adverse reactions from India and the Western powers could turn out to be seriously detrimental to Sri Lanka’s interests. What strategy should our Government follow in this situation? I concluded my last article On Collision Course with India? in the Island of June 7 – after pointing out that international relations are determined by power and morality – as follows: “Sri Lanka has no military or economic power worth talking about, and the only way it can come through unscathed is by occupying the moral high ground, in dealing with India and the international community, and above all in dealing with the ethnic problem,”
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Without Hard Power or Soft Power Must Rely on Moral Power in Handling International relations.’ »
After months of stony silence on the subject, President Mahinda Rajapaksa finally addressed the question of a controversial UN investigation his Government will be facing during a function in Medirigiriya, Polonnaruwa on Tuesday.
And he passed the buck.
It will be Parliament that will be the final decider on Sri Lanka’s cooperation with the UN investigators, President Rajapaksa said, since it was in the Legislature that the people’s will resided.
“They want to come here and investigate things. They want to dig this and dig that. They want to go everywhere. To find out if we have committed war crimes,” thundered the President, as he addressed schoolchildren at the Medirigiriya Maha Vidyalaya, where he was ceremonially opening a science laboratory, typically named ‘Mahindodhaya’ (Awakening through Mahinda).
Continue reading ‘Is The Rajapaksa Regime Rattled About UN Probe Despite the Bravado and Rousing Speeches About Defence of the Motherland ?’ »
More than six months after the historic elections to Sri Lanka’s Northern Provincial Council, its first Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran says he has not been able to do much, for his hands are tied. From a reluctant entrant to Sri Lankan politics to Chief Minister who won a massive mandate in the elections, it has been quite a journey for the former judge of the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka.
Reflecting on developments post elections, he says heavy militarisation across the province has made even basic administration a daunting task in the region that continues to bear the scars of a brutal war. The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which he is now part of, was aware of the limitations of the 13th Amendment, and expected some interference from Colombo. However, the scale of interference from the military, despite being in the spotlight of the world, is worrisome for what it portends, not only for the North-East but for the rest of the country, he tells Meera Srinivasan in this interview.
Seven months after the newly-elected Northern Provincial Council first met, what are your impressions as Chief Minister of the province?
Continue reading ‘“Resolutions Passed by the Northern Provincial Council are”Pressure Valves”Releasing the Frustration Felt by our People”-CV Wigneswaran.’ »
The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will leave no stone unturned to provide evidence against the government, if an international war crimes probe is held against it by the international community.
” This is a very serious situation and it is up to the representatives of the war affected people of the North and the East to provide evidence against the government in the event of a war crimes probe being held at international level,” TNA spokesman and Jaffna District MP Suresh Premachandran told Ceylon Today last night.
Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Will Provide Evidence Against the Sri Lankan Govt if an International War Crimes Probe is held.’ »
(Text of a Press Release Issued by the Action Committee for Media Freedom)
The Action Committee for Media Freedom believes that the government has to take full responsibility for the mob attack on the investigative journalism workshop organized by Transparency International for Tamil and Muslim journalists in the North, East and Colombo.
The workshop was to be held from June 6th till the 8th at the Goldisands Hotel in Negombo. However, a group of thugs who had arrived at the hotel on the 7th evening had threatened the organizers and the journalists participating in the event and had asked them to leave the hotel.
Continue reading ‘Disruption of Journalism Workshop and Intimidation of Media Personnel Vehemently Condemned by Media Freedom Action Committee’ »
(Text of a Press Release Issued by the Transparency International of Sri Lanka)
The Transparency International of Sri Lanka (TISL) vehemently condemns the disruption of a workshop they had organized on investigative journalism for the second time and urges the government to take stern action against those who were responsible.
Continue reading ‘Transparency International Condemns Disruption of Investigative Journalism Workshop Organized by It.’ »
The Russian Foreign Ministry has confirmed that an employee of the Sri Lankan Embassy in Russia has died on the night of June 11 in Rostov-on-Don during a dispute with employees of a transport company engaged in transporting the baggage of a Sri Lankan delegation, which had arrived in this city, according to a statement posted on the Ministry website.
“In the course of the conflict, the driver of a lorry ran over an administrative-technical employee of the Embassy, Ronaviru, who died at the scene of the accident. Second Secretary of the Sri Lankan diplomatic mission, Ratnayake, received a traumatic injury of the chest,” the report says.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Embassy Employee Ronaviru Killed and Second Secretary Ratnayake Injured in Russia in a Dispute with a Transport Company’ »
Erik Solheim, the Norwegian peace facilitator, has stated that he will go before the war crimes inquiry on Sri Lanka initiated by the U.N. Human Rights Council and give testimony as to how many people were killed in Sri Lanka. In his recent statements, he argues that the war could have been solved through peace talks without military action he has claimed “We were very close to peace in Sri Lanka”.
These statements by a senior minister of the Norwegian government, deeply involved in the protracted conflict in Sri Lanka, throws up issues of importance for the field of conflict resolution and the ethics that have to be followed by a neutral facilitator.
To be a facilitator or a peace broker is a job which requires very high ethical and moral standards. The facilitator should not make value judgments as to the course of the conflict, its ups and downs, the conduct of the parties and the violence perpetrated by both sides. Of course he should and would have expressed his views to both parties but never in public. A facilitator or mediator wins the trust and confidence of both parties by maintaining a public silence about his own opinions as regards the conduct of a conflict, for his task is to bring the parties to the table and to seek all means of resolving the conflict. In this light, Solheim’s public utterances bring into question the issues of accountability in conflict resolution.
Continue reading ‘Is it Proper for Norwegian “Neutral”Peace Facilitator Erik Solheim to Reveal Confidential Information Before a UN Probe on Sri Lanka?’ »
A number of high profile women have joined together at an event at the Canadian High Commissioner’s residence in London this evening to give their voices to Sri Lankan rape victims. Bianca Jagger, MIA, Cara Delevingne (by video link) and Bond Girl Maryam D’abo read out the testimony of victims of rape in Sri Lanka, speaking their words as it would not have been safe for them to do so themselves.
@MIAuniverse in support of #StopTorture #TimeToAct
The news comes as Foreign Secretary William Hague announced that he would investigate claims that victims of rape were being deported from the UK back to Sri Lanka . However, those at the event felt more needed to be done in support of these victims.
Continue reading ‘Singer “MIA” Maya Arulpragasamm,Activist Bianca Jagger, James Bond girl Maryam D’abo and Model Cara Delevigne Read Out Testimonies of Sri Lanka Rape Victims at London Event’ »
The Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict begins today, June 10-13, 2014, on the banks of the Thames here in London. The Summit is organized by Foreign Secretary William Hague and Special Envoy of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Angelina Jolie.
According to the UK government, it will be the biggest meeting ever held on this subject and the conference will launch an International Protocol to help strengthen prosecutions.
Delegations from over 140 countries are here to participate, along with legal experts, academics, religious leaders and many others. There are many survivors present.
Continue reading ‘Why has the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict forgotten the Sri Lankan survivors?’ »
President’s Counsel and UNP MP Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe yesterday said that the government had no option but to face the proposed UN investigation conducted in terms of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council resolution 25/1.
The former President of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) Rajapakshe was responding on behalf of the UNP to the SLFP’s decision that Sri Lanka’s participation in the investigative process would be decided by parliament.
The government had absolutely no discretion in this matter, MP Rajapakshe said, urging the government to successfully counter serious accusations or face the consequences.
Continue reading ‘“Govt Must Face UN Probe or Face Consequences;Opinion of Parliament is Irrelevant”-Wijedasa Rajapakshe’ »