Will CV Wigneswaran who Issued the “Rise Tamil” Call Denounce the Sword Brandishing “Aavaa”Gangsters in Jaffna?

By

Don Manu

When Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran denounced last month the right of any Sinhalese to erect a Buddha statue in the north and east of Lanka and held it as a reprehensible assault on Tamil Eelam culture, perhaps he never realised how soon he would find, in the AAWA gangsters staunch comrades in arms willing to follow through his verbal denunciation with violence, both word and deed said and done in the name of protecting Jaffna culture.

Would he, at least now, denounce the existence of this new sword brandishing and culture ranting grouping that he may have unwittingly spawned with his racial and religious bigotry expressed in his ‘Eluha Thamil’ letter addressed to all Tamil-speaking people on the eve of September’s ‘Rise Tamils’ march? Or would he opt to wait till the cocky cubs are weaned from swords and graduate to the T- 56? Wait until the guns are turned on him? Even as TULF leader Appapillai Amirthalingam was to discover on that fateful night of July 13, 1989 at his safe house down Bullers Road, Colombo 7 when he was gunned down by a Tiger assassin after having tea and sandwiches with him?

Continue reading ‘Will CV Wigneswaran who Issued the “Rise Tamil” Call Denounce the Sword Brandishing “Aavaa”Gangsters in Jaffna?’ »

Real Test in the Future Lies in the Courts and not in the mere Tabling of COPE report in Parliament.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

There is a whiff of ‘victory’ in the air. We are being told that this Friday’s report of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) on the bond fraud of the country’s premier financial institution, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka was a singular gain for democracy.

An artful crafting of a ‘win’

Former Central Bank Governor, Arjuna Mahendran was found by the COPE to be ‘directly responsible’ in allowing a dealer linked to his son-in-law to massively profit from the Bank’s bond auction of public funds last year. As we may remind ourselves, this deal occurred once again early this year despite the public outrage that it gave rise to, the first time around. The gargantuan profits thus collected are a matter of record.

Regardless, the wilder and more obnoxious surmises were to the effect that the COPE report was a direct result of democratic changes ushered in by the Unity Government. This is, of course, far from the truth. Let us distance ourselves from this sublimely artful crafting of a ‘win’ when what is evidenced is quite the converse.

Continue reading ‘Real Test in the Future Lies in the Courts and not in the mere Tabling of COPE report in Parliament.’ »

Perpetual Treasuries Spends Billions of Rupees in Last two Months Buying up Millions of Shares in Three Entities.


Perpetual Treasuries, the controversial primary dealer at the centre of the Central Bank bond scam, is on a buying spree. In the past two months, the company has directly and through related parties bought large volumes of shares in at least three entities.

Perpetual Treasuries and Perpetual Equities have bought around ten million NDB shares amounting to at least 1.6 billion rupees. More than six million of these shares were bought last month. One of the related parties of Perpetual is Thurston Investments.

The company has also invested heavily in Central Finance, entering the top ten shareholders, and in DFCC, stockbrokers said. The current directors of Perpetual Treasuries are Geoffrey Joseph Aloysius, Chitha Ranjan Hulugalle, Ajahn Gardiye Punchihewa and Hettiyadura Shiran Sanjeewa Fernando.

Continue reading ‘Perpetual Treasuries Spends Billions of Rupees in Last two Months Buying up Millions of Shares in Three Entities.’ »

Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Blocks Tamil Website in Sri Lanka Until Defence and Media Ministries Complete Investigations.

The Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (TRC) yesterday blocked a Tamil website following complaints from the Media Ministry and the Justice Ministry, TRC Director General Sunil Sirisena said.

Continue reading ‘Telecommunication Regulatory Commission Blocks Tamil Website in Sri Lanka Until Defence and Media Ministries Complete Investigations.’ »

Govt will have to Succeed in a “Life and Death” Constitutional Referendum in the Near Term.

By Mark Freeman and Asanga Welikala

Time and again, countries that have experienced repression and armed conflict have an opportunity to transition to a better future. Yet, only a minority succeeds. The challenges may appear obvious, but the path forward is rarely so. And, as the initial optimism generated by the 2015 elections comes to an end, the Sri Lankan case is proving no exception.

Many Latin American states overcame military dictatorships, but still experience very high levels of violence and inequality. The transitions in many former Soviet states produced authoritarianism and massive expropriations of state property. Many African states collapsed into anarchic civil war in the 1990s while trying to transition away from despotism. Many post-authoritarian Asian countries have experienced positive economic growth, but remain plagued by corruption. And today, many states in the Arab region struggle to create stable and accountable governments – and curb open armed conflict – despite widespread demand for change.

One recurring problem, now on display in Sri Lanka, is the size and complexity of reform programmes.

Often, too much is attempted too quickly in what are highly complicated, and often highly combustible, environments. Achieving individual public goods – democracy, improvements in public services, rapid growth and so on – cannot happen without significant trade-offs elsewhere. Yet despite this, many transitional governments continue to get caught up in the illusion that “all good things go together”, acting as though their transition’s window for deep reform will last indefinitely.

Continue reading ‘Govt will have to Succeed in a “Life and Death” Constitutional Referendum in the Near Term.’ »

“Is Military Intelligence Behind Motor Cycle gangs Operating in Jaffna”-Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Dodges the Question.

Sri Lanka’s Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake walked out of a press conference when asked about the role of the military intelligence in the on-going unrest and tensions in the Jaffna peninsula.

The Minister was present at the weekly Cabinet Press Briefing held in the parliament complex Wednesday to give the police version of events leading to the killing of two Jaffna university students and the subsequent unrest.

After repeating the police version that they fired in the air after the students riding a motorbike with a small 100-cc engine failed to stop at a police check point, the minister faced a barrage of queries on the credibility of his information.

The minister had said that the police were on an operation against motorcycle gangs in the peninsula when the incident took place.

Continue reading ‘“Is Military Intelligence Behind Motor Cycle gangs Operating in Jaffna”-Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake Dodges the Question.’ »

COPE Endorses Rajapaksa Govt Method of Central Bank Issuing Treasury Bonds via Direct Placement.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The Committee on Public Enterprises in parliament has 26 members and of them only three – Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Chandrasiri Gajadeera and Weerakumara Dissanayake are members of the Joint Opposition. The other 23 are members of the yahapalana coalition that brought President Maithripala Sirisena into power. Yet the recommendations of COPE were made almost unanimously with only Ranjan Ramanayake not being available to endorse the recommendations. The COPE report itself is however divided into two with a ‘majority report’ consisting of the main document voted for by 16 members and ‘minority observations’ consisting of footnotes to the main document submitted by nine UNP members. There was no minority report as such because all that the dissenting minority did was to tag their own observations as footnotes to matters stated in the main report.

As regards the COPE report, the UNP has been abandoned by their allies. Even the four TNA members who don’t usually take any interest in national matters held with the anti-UNP group in COPE and the nine members of the UNP were left to fend for themselves. The Prime Minister in his usual flippant manner was trying to make light of the COPE report but it was a kick in the teeth nevertheless as the UNP is now left holding the bond baby alone on the street. After holding out valiantly, the UNP made a colossal political mistake by finally endorsing the recommendations (which also included certain assertions) of the committee. The recommendations were somewhat long winded and repetitive but can be summarised as follows: (This article is based on the Sinhala version)

1. There is evidence to show that former Central Bank Governor Arjina Mahendran intervened or influenced the bond issue made on 27 February 2015 and that appropriate legal action should be taken against him.

2.Some bond transactions between February 2015 and May 2016 lacked transparency and are of such nature as to bring the integrity of the Central Bank into question.

3.It can be observed that through the transactions carried out during this period one primary dealer – Perpetual Treasuries had made enormous profits.

Continue reading ‘COPE Endorses Rajapaksa Govt Method of Central Bank Issuing Treasury Bonds via Direct Placement.’ »

Culture & Gender: A Tale of Two Women [On the occasion of Lakshmi de Silva’s 90th birth anniversary]

by Dayan Jayatilleka

This essay can be understood at two levels. One is thematic and the other, personal. The essay is a note on the theme of Culture and Gender. It is also a tapestry of stories of the working out of the dialectic of these factors.

Chandra

Chandra de Silva nee Samarasinghe

The essay seeks to illustrate the points that complex and conflicted though the relationships between men and women may be, when the relationships operate on the terrain of shared cultural norms and codes, the effects and outcomes of these contradictions can be contained. This is far more fraught when the relationship is not sustained by such commonality.

In a developing society with culture wars, one may find oneself stranded behind the lines in the ‘other’ camp and in a different historical time zone of non-contemporaneity, but the effects and consequences of such dislocation/relocation are very different depending upon gender. A woman gets the worst of it, pays the higher price, while a man can weather the change.

Lakshmi de Silva

Lakshmi de Silva


Even in terms of the transmission of effects, female children will be more affected than males. At the heart of all these matters is the principle of equality of status–the key variable. Finally, an irony is that a woman will find as much if not more hostility from those of her own gender in the cultural camp of the other.
Continue reading ‘Culture & Gender: A Tale of Two Women [On the occasion of Lakshmi de Silva’s 90th birth anniversary]’ »

How the COPE Report on Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam Saw the Light of Day Despite Obstruction by the UNP

By the “Sunday Times” Political Editor

At no time before has the United National Party (UNP) used its might so strongly in Parliament to try and block what it perceived was a report not to its liking.

The first occasion was in June last year. The previous Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) had completed its probe on the controversial Central Bank bond issue of February 2015. Its then Chairman, Communist Party’s D.E.W. Gunasekera was to table the report but the seventh Parliament was dissolved on June 26, 2015 by President Maithripala Sirisena. The Committee, like all other appointed parliamentary committees, became defunct and the report was rendered invalid. That report had already made some adverse findings on the Central Bank for the handling of the bond issue of 2015.

Yet, the 19-page 2015 COPE document which was not official, had received wide play in the media. The Sunday Times was even reported to the Speaker for breach of Parliamentary Privileges by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on charges that it published the contents of that report. The report made indictments on the then Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran and his son-in-law Arjun Joseph Aloysius. It said that Governor Mahendran and Perpetual Treasuries Limited, a company held by his son-in-law Aloysius (who resigned two months before the transaction) but was still co-owner of the holding company “had a related party transaction.”

However, President Sirisena did not grant an extension of service to Mahendran as Governor when his term expired in June last year amid high drama. The President had wanted the Deputy Governor appointed but the Prime Minister was insistent that Mahendran continue; then, there was a name sent from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) when the President was adamant he would not extend Mahendran; that name was sent back asking for more names and eventually the current holder of the post, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, was chosen as the compromise choice. Mahendran was thereafter inducted to the PMO and was a member of official delegations that travelled abroad with the Prime Minister and was introduced to heads of state in the glare of television cameras.

Continue reading ‘How the COPE Report on Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam Saw the Light of Day Despite Obstruction by the UNP’ »

COPE Finds EX-CBSL Governor Arjuna Mahendran “Directly Responsible” for Treasury Bond Scam


By Dharisha Bastians

Following an 18-month investigation into the Central Bank’s Treasury Bond auctions, the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) ruled yesterday that former Governor Arjuna Mahendran was “directly responsible” for a transaction in February 2015 that allowed a company linked to his son-in-law to rake in large profits from the auction.

“According to facts and evidence presented before this committee, there is reasonable suspicion of former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s intervention or influence in the February 27, 2015 treasury bond transaction,” COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti said reading from his 55-page report as he tabled it in Parliament.

“Former Governor of the Central Bank Arjuna Mahendran must be held directly responsible for this transaction,” the Chairman read.

Continue reading ‘COPE Finds EX-CBSL Governor Arjuna Mahendran “Directly Responsible” for Treasury Bond Scam’ »

Indian Ex-Actress Rambha Seeks Chennai Family Court Action to Resolve Estrangement with Toronto Based Lankan Tamil Industrialist Husband Indrakumar.

BY S VENKAT NARAYAN

Vijayawada-born Telugu actress Rambha approached the family court in Chennai on Tuesday, seeking direction to her estranged husband Indrakumar Pathmanathan, a Toronto-based businessman of Sri Lankan origin, to live with her and to restitute her conjugal rights.

Married in 2010, they have been living separately in recent years.

The multilingual star began her career in Tamil films in 1993 and has acted in over 100 films in seven languages with top male heroes. Vijayalakshmi alias Rambha, married Indrakumar, 47, in April 2010 in Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh. She gave up acting after marriage.

Indrakumar is founder and chairman of Magickwoods, a kitchen and bathroom related products manufacturing firm in Canada and other countries.

Continue reading ‘Indian Ex-Actress Rambha Seeks Chennai Family Court Action to Resolve Estrangement with Toronto Based Lankan Tamil Industrialist Husband Indrakumar.’ »

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Wants Parliament to Endorse COPE Report On Treasury Bond Scam and Discuss Implementation of Proposals.

by Saman Indrajith

Implementation of recommendations of the COPE report on the Treasury bond scam should be on the advice of the Attorney General, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe told Parliament yesterday.

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe soon after COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti presented his report on findings of the Treasury bond scam said: The presentation of this report to Parliament is a victory of Parliament system. We agreed to present this report by the Budget debate.

Let us endorse these recommendations. We proposed that amendments be included if there was such a need.

We have a trust in COPE chairman. He and his committee have come up with recommendations. We can discuss them. We all agree with recommendations. We will discuss what is to be done with regard to recommendations. It is the responsibility of Parliament to endorse the recommendations outlined in the report of the COPE. We could discuss what action should be taken to implement them. The Yahapalana government under President Maithripala Sirisena could accomplish this task.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Wants Parliament to Endorse COPE Report On Treasury Bond Scam and Discuss Implementation of Proposals.’ »

Parliamentary Tradition Forbids COPE Chairman Handunnetti From Relating What Happened to him at COPE Meetings

by Saman Indrajith

COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti was not permitted to tell the House of harassments and intimidation he had undergone at the COPE sessions while investigating the Treasury bond scam.

After tabling the COPE report, MP Handunetti tried to narrate what he had been subjected to by UNP MPs. He had already promised on a previous date that he would tell the House of his experiences. “These recommendations are important. They came from various parties. There was difference of opinion with regard to the recommendations. I have been accused of… (UNP Members shout at Handunnetti)

Leader of the House Minister Lakshamn Kiriella: This is not a debate. Those who clap for COPE chairman have forgotten how it had been done during the Mahinda Rajapaksa government. Thirty COPE reports were relegated to the dustbin.

Handunnetti: Please let me finish. I request from the Deputy Speaker not to let me undergo the difficulty I suffered at the COPE meeting in this House, too.

Deputy Speaker: You presented the report as COPE Chairman. But you cannot be permitted to discuss what happened at committee meetings.

Continue reading ‘Parliamentary Tradition Forbids COPE Chairman Handunnetti From Relating What Happened to him at COPE Meetings’ »

COPE Recommends Legal Action Against Ex-Governor Arjuna Mahendran and Other Central Bank Officials Responsible for Treasury Bond Scam


by Saman Indrajith

COPE Chairman Sunil Handunnetti informed Parliament yesterday that his committee had found that former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran was directly responsible for the Treasury bond scam and recommended legal action against him and the other Central Bank officials responsible for it.

Handunnetti, presenting the report on Treasury bond scam, said that the committee observed that there was enough ground to believe that former CB Governor Mahendran had interfered with or exerted his influence on the bond sales from Feb. 27, 2015 to May 2016.

He said that the incident had led to an erosion of confidence in the Central Bank.

The COPE has observed that Perpetual Treasuries recorded massive profits and recommended that if the company’s profit making has resulted in any loss to the Central Bank or the government, then it should be recovered from it by initiating legal action.

Continue reading ‘COPE Recommends Legal Action Against Ex-Governor Arjuna Mahendran and Other Central Bank Officials Responsible for Treasury Bond Scam’ »

Lankan President Sirisena Quotes Indian PM Modi to Justify his Criticism of Non-Governmental Organizations.

By P K Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has quoted Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to justify his tirade against the disruptive activities of Non-Government Organizations (NGOs).

In a speech delivered on Thursday at an armed forces investiture ceremony, Sirisena accused the media and NGOs of disregarding the requirements of national security and described them as “traitorous”.

“I am used to criticism and vituperative politics. But I cannot be dictated to because of the agendas of some NGOs and certain media organizations. Those who give wrong interpretations of our work must not poke their noses into the affairs of the government,” Sirisena said.

Pledging his faith in the armed forces ,the President said: “I will never lose confidence in the armed forces and will always be committed to do the utmost for the welfare, honor and dignity of the three armed forces and our heroic soldiers. I am not ready to compromise national security in order to please NGOs,” he declared.

He then quoted Indian Prime Minister Modi telling him about the disruptive activities of the NGOs in India.

Continue reading ‘Lankan President Sirisena Quotes Indian PM Modi to Justify his Criticism of Non-Governmental Organizations.’ »

Law and Order Minister Sagala Rathnayake walks Out of Press Meet When Asked Whether “AAVAA” Gang in Jaffna is Linked to Military Intelligence

By Uditha Jayasinghe

An embattled Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Rathnayake yesterday walked out of a media conference when asked questions on whether the group called ‘AAVA’ operating in Jaffna was linked to military intelligence but called on the media to report the death of two Jaffna students responsibly warning that it could spiral into an issue that might undermine a budding reconciliation process.

Facing a barrage of questions from the media at the weekly Cabinet briefing on whether the student riding the motorbike was shot from the front, the Minister insisted such a determination could only be made after investigations, including forensic reports, were completed. Attempting to deal with questions fired at him from all sides, Rathnayake insisted that the accident report indicated a shot fired from the rear could still have hit the student in the chest.

“This is not a judge and jury here. This is merely a press conference and I cannot speculate just to answer your questions. Only preliminary reports have been done at the moment and when investigations are completed I will share them with the public. However, I assure you they will be done transparently,” he said.

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Jaffna University Arts Facultry Students Union President Sends Back to Northern Governor Cooray a Letter Written in Sinhala Alone


By P K Balachandran

The President of the Jaffna University Arts Faculty Students’ Union ,K.Rajeevan, on Wednesday returned a letter sent to him by the Northern Province Governor, Reginold Cooray, because it was written in Sinhalese, the language of the majority in community in Sri Lanka.

It was a copy of a letter the Governor had written to Sri Lankan President Maithipala Sirisena requesting the latter to conduct an inquiry into the incident on October 20, in which two Jaffna University students were killed.

Earlier in the day, teachers and students of the university had submitted a memorandum to the Governor calling for an impartial inquiry.

The memorandum was in three languages, English, Sinhalese and Tamil. When the Arts Faculty Students Union President Rajeevan received the copy of the Governor’s letter to the President, he promptly sent it back to the Governor with the following scribbled on it in English: “We could not understand what you are saying here. We are trying to say that Sri Lankan official languages are Sinhala and Tamil.”

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India Makes The “House Dream” Become a Reality for War Affected People of North-East Sri Lanka


By Thulasi Muttulingam

When the severely war-affected people of Sri Lanka’s north and east made it out of the refugee camps containing them from 2010 onwards, they had a new dilemma to face: Where to live?

“We became displaced in 1983 and had been on the move ever since. We thought we’d return in three days, which turned into three weeks and then three years… it was eventually nearly 30 years before we could see our beloved land again.

“When we finally saw our village in 2010, we found our houses destroyed, our wells caved in, and our lands overtaken by forest,” says K. Palasivarasa (74), a farmer from the country’s war-torn Wanni region.

Sri Lanka’s long-drawn brutal civil war drew to a close in May 2009. Many of those who had made it out alive had battled constant displacements, death and destruction among themselves, before finally making it to Sri Lankan Army run territory, where they were then placed in refugee camps. The camps took years to close as the people’s lands had to be cleared of landmines and other hazards first.

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Sri Lanka’s New Counter-Terrorism Law May be Worse than the Prevention of Terrorism Act It Seeks to Replace

By

Meera Srinivasan

Even as Sri Lanka drafts a new law to counter terrorism, human rights activists and lawyers here fear it might be worse than the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) they want repealed and replaced.

One of the key demands around regime change in Sri Lanka in January 2015 — when former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was unseated —was to repeal the PTA. “After the new government came to power, all of us expected a shift, but now people are disappointed,” says senior human rights lawyer K.S. Ratnavale. The government, he observes, was not willing to dismantle the security apparatus. “They seem unwilling to release political prisoners as well. They are about 160 now.”

The PTA was enacted in 1979, under President J.R. Jayawardene, primarily to crush the emerging armed struggle of Tamil youth protesting the state’s apparently discriminatory policies. Modelled on South Africa’s apartheid-era legislation and laws that the British used against Irish militancy, the PTA became a permanent law in 1982.

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Prasanna Vithanage is a Film Director Representing the Social Conscience That Should be Present in all of us Collectively

By Nanda Pethiyagoda

Thanks to the Colombo District Court that was not silent but judged fairly that the injunction brought against screening Usaviya Nihandayi produced by H D Premasiri and Prasanna Vithanage and directed by Vithanage, be set aside. The film is now screened for public viewing.

It was scheduled to be screened at the Regal Cinema and other halls from October 4 but had to be held back till the enjoining order brought forward by the chief protagonist of the film, the magistrate, was over-ruled by the judiciary. .

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Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill Passed by Parliament With a 66 Majority:112 For, 46 Against, 65 Absent


By Saman Indrajith

The Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill was passed in Parliament yesterday with a majority of 66 votes.

The bill received 112 votes in favour and 46 against while 65 MPs were absent.

MPs of the Joint Opposition and the JVP voted against the bill.

All TNA MPs including the Opposition Leader R. Sampanthan were absent.

Joint opposition MPs were wearing black armbands in protest against the Bill.

Continue reading ‘Value Added Tax (Amendment) Bill Passed by Parliament With a 66 Majority:112 For, 46 Against, 65 Absent’ »

“You are Calling me a Thief but all the Thieves are on your side”-Premier Ranil Tells Joint Opposition.

By Dharisha Bastians

The Central Bank’s controversial bond auctions in 2015 and 2016 under former Governor Arjuna Mahendran continued to haunt the UNF-led Government yesterday, dominating heated debates in Parliament amid allegations that ruling party members were attempting to influence a legislative oversight committee to change its report on the controversy.

Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Chairman Sunil Handunetti yesterday vowed to “reveal all” when he tabled a report on a 21-month investigation into the controversial treasury bond auction, amid apologies from Government committee members and calls by the Joint Opposition for the resignation of the Prime Minister over the scandal.

Making a brief intervention in the House last evening, Handunetti said he would tell the country everything that happened during COPE deliberations on the CBSL bond report.

Continue reading ‘“You are Calling me a Thief but all the Thieves are on your side”-Premier Ranil Tells Joint Opposition.’ »

At Crunch Time, President Sirisena May Choose Military over the UNP and PM for Social and Political Survival.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“There is great disorder under the heavens. The situation is excellent.”
(Mao Zedong)

Lenin famously identified three conditions for a revolution. The rulers should feel unable to rule in the old way. The masses should feel unable to live in the old way. There must be a split among the rulers. The Sri Lankan situation shows signs that these three conditions are in, or are coming into existence.

The President’s speech is but a symptom that the rulers feel that they cannot go on in the old way. It doesn’t take a military intelligence report for the President to perceive this. All it must have taken was a look at the recent results from the Multi-Purpose Cooperative Societies (MPCS) elections from diverse provinces. The UNP is losing ground — lots of it and quite fast — to MR and the JO.

The official SLFP has neither brought in votes to the coalition nor retained (still less expanded) its own vote base. President Sirisena knows that the vote and the daily eruption of protests are symptoms of the anti-Govt/anti-UNP sentiment surging throughout the Sinhala majority areas. (As the Philippines shows, US military visits cannot deter political nationalism.) He is scrambling to contain the grassroots situation which has reached or passed the tipping point, or at its most optimistic, scrambling to preempt it.

The President is also beginning to realize that the real ruptural ‘Event’, the real ‘revolution’ involving real struggle, real pain, real suffering, real sacrifice, real villains, real heroism and real heroes, was the war, not the January 8 election; that in the national consciousness, an election result cannot equate, still less be larger than or stand against, the legitimacy, historical rootedness and emotional resonance of a great victory in a long war. It can only stand with it, its historical legacy and agency (the military). If it is a choice, it is the election and not the war, the regime and not the war-winning military, which will prove small and ephemeral. President Sirisena knows that Maj. Gen Kamal Gooneratne’s book was a social phenomenon, while the books on the Jan. 8 “events” have hardly left a trace.

Continue reading ‘At Crunch Time, President Sirisena May Choose Military over the UNP and PM for Social and Political Survival.’ »

Sri Lanka’s “Charlie’s Angel” Dilrukshi Went Wrong Because She was Neither Ranil’s Angel nor Maithri’s Angel

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

When head of the Bribery Commission Nelum Gamage, during the administration of President D. B. Wijetunga was carrying out investigations into accusations of bribery regarding a chief officer of the Railway Department and powerful figures of the United National Party (UNP), she received a message from DB. What DB told Nelum Gamage was to immediately halt the investigations into the chief at the Railway and the powerful UNP figures and close the files. Nelum Gamage was an honest government official.

What she did was to include in the file of the chief at the Railway Department the written request by President DB. Due to this D.B. Wijetunga got angry. Nelum Gamage’s mother Yasa De Lanerolle was a very trusted friend of the Opposition Leader, Madame Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

Powerful members of the UNP went in queues to carry tales to Wijetunga that she was under Madame’s control. However, Nelum Gamage was appointed to that post, while R. Premadasa was President. Premadasa knew of the close relationship between her mother and Madame Bandaranaike. On one instance Yasa received injuries in a bomb attack which targeted the Madame. Even then she did not give up on Madame.

Knowing this, Premadasa appointed her daughter to the post of head of the Bribery Commission subsequent to reading her character certificate, while in government employment. However, due to the influence of Wijetunga, she could not serve further at the Bribery Commission. D. B. Wijetunga removed her from her post as head.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s “Charlie’s Angel” Dilrukshi Went Wrong Because She was Neither Ranil’s Angel nor Maithri’s Angel’ »

Posters in the Name of “AAVA” Gangsters Appear in Jaffna Saying Sword Attack on Two Police Officers was Retaliation for Shooting of Two Undergrads.

A group calling themselves the ‘AAVA Gangsters’ has claimed responsibility for the sword attack on two police officers in the Chunnakam market area. The group said the incident was a retaliation for the death of two Jaffna university students who were allegedly shot the by police.

The group warned the police and the public to expect such incidents in the future as retaliation against activities that were destroying the culture and society of Jaffna.

A rough translation of the poster put up on the walls of Jaffna claimed responsibility for other sword attacks in Jaffna and reasoned that those attacked were violent towards women.

Continue reading ‘Posters in the Name of “AAVA” Gangsters Appear in Jaffna Saying Sword Attack on Two Police Officers was Retaliation for Shooting of Two Undergrads.’ »

“How Did Motor Cyclist in Front and not Pillion Rider Get Shot if Police were Firing at Fleeing Undergrads”? Asks Opposition Leader Sampanthan in Pariament

by Saman Indrajith

The TNA yesterday demanded that an investigation be conducted into the killing of two Jaffna university students to find out how the rider of the motorcycle, and not the one on the pillion, had suffered gun shot injuries if they had been fleeing.

Making a special statement, TNA leader R Sampanthan said: “On Oct 20, 2016 two Third-year students of the University of Jaffna were shot at by the Police at Kulappidi Junction, Kokkuvil. They were both riding a motorcycle at that time.

“Initially the Police reported these two young men had died as a result of a road accident. But the next morning it became clear that they had been shot by the police on the road. The rider of the motor cycle had died with gun shot injuries while the pillion rider died due to head injuries sustained as a result of the crash. The Police have since then changed their position and stated these two students did not stop at the police check point that therefore they opened fire.

Continue reading ‘“How Did Motor Cyclist in Front and not Pillion Rider Get Shot if Police were Firing at Fleeing Undergrads”? Asks Opposition Leader Sampanthan in Pariament’ »

Two Policemen were Injured When They Tried to Prevent Shopkeeper Being Attacked by Sword Wielding Gang in Chunnakam.


Law and Order and Southern Development Minister Sagala Ratnayake told Parliament yesterday the recent incident where two policemen received cut injuries at Chunnakam was not part of an organised campaign against police.

The minister said the policemen had had been caught in a clash between a trader and some of his rivals.

Continue reading ‘Two Policemen were Injured When They Tried to Prevent Shopkeeper Being Attacked by Sword Wielding Gang in Chunnakam.’ »

UNP Trying to Protect “Ali Baba and Ten Thieves” in Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam Charges JVP in Parliament

By

Ajith Siriwardana

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) today accused the UNP members in the parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) of attempting to protect “Ali Baba” and recommend action only against a few of the thieves involved in the bond scam.

“Ali Baba and ten thieves are involved in this scam. But the UNP report does not highlight any misdemeanors of the main thief. This is what happened to the Rajapaksa regime as well. So we are not surprised about this,” JVP MP and COPE member Bimal Ratnayake said.

“In our report, we have recommended action against all those involved in the bond scam. We have no issue with anyone. Legal action should be taken against Central Bank officials and the Perpetual Treasuries.”

He said UNP members in the COPE committee were attempting to draft a new report to protect corrupt officials while the majority of the COPE members had agreed to accept the report compiled by COPE headed by Sunil Handunnetti.

Continue reading ‘UNP Trying to Protect “Ali Baba and Ten Thieves” in Central Bank Treasury Bond Scam Charges JVP in Parliament’ »

President Maithripala Sirisena Speaks Frankly About his Controversial Speech and its Background in an Exhaustive Interview

By
Ajanta Kumara Agalakada

The recent controversial speech made by President Maithripala Sirisena at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) has become a subject of much debate among the people. The following is a discussion held with the President and what he shared with our sister paper ‘Sunday Lankadeepa’.

Excerpts

Q Your controversial speech made recently has become a subject of much talk among the people of the country. Two groups have emerged opposing and supporting your views. What was the real objective of your speech?

Any individual should first of all try to comprehend the content of my speech. Only excerpts of my 45-minute speech was published in media. Anyone who read or listened to parts of my speech would not understand what I meant to express, or its intent. It is very obvious that those who have made adverse remarks over my speech cling only to parts of it and try to express their own views.

What some media institutions attempted to portray before the people through my speech are in fact quite different from what I meant. For instance I have not criticised the commissioners anywhere in my speech. I know the heads of these commissions, including those of the Bribery Commission; perform their duties with devotion, impartially and honestly. They are former Judges.

I also spoke of CID and FCID. I only mentioned about these three bodies. It is important for those in these Commissions to be aware of the affairs of the government and the country as well as the duties of their offices, when taking decisions. A Degree in political science is not essential for their service. However, even students who are studying in grade seven and eight learned in Civic Studies the importance of maintaining equilibrium among the Legislature, Executive and the Judiciary.

Continue reading ‘President Maithripala Sirisena Speaks Frankly About his Controversial Speech and its Background in an Exhaustive Interview’ »

COPE Recommends Arrest of Arjun Aloysius and Other Perpetual Treasuries Directors Reveals Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera.

By

Yohan Perera and Kelum Bandara

Members of the Parliamentary Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) today held former Central Bank (CB) Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s son-in-law Arjun Aloysius and other directors of Perpetual Treasuries responsible for the controversial CB Bond Scam, UNP member of COPE and Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera said.

The COPE recommended to arrest Aloysius and the other directors and take action in accordance with the penal code, he said

Continue reading ‘COPE Recommends Arrest of Arjun Aloysius and Other Perpetual Treasuries Directors Reveals Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera.’ »

UNP Members in COPE Demand That Auditor-General Withdraw Findings in Report Holding Arjuna Mahendran Responsible for Central Bank Bond Scam

By Saman Indrajith

Chairman of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) Sunil Handunnetti walked out of its meeting yesterday evening as UNP members repeatedly asked Auditor General Gamini Wijesinghe in a threatening manner to withdraw his department’s findings which held former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran responsible for the Central Bank bond scams.

COPE sources said UNP MPs’ last ditch efforts to save Mahendran succeeded to some extent yesterday as they managed to get Chairman Handunnetti to delay his report earlier scheduled to be submitted to Parliament today.

The Chairman’s report on the investigation into Mahendran’s involvement in the bond scams was finalised on Friday and out of 26 members of the COPE, ten had already signed approving it, a senior COPE member told The Island.

Continue reading ‘UNP Members in COPE Demand That Auditor-General Withdraw Findings in Report Holding Arjuna Mahendran Responsible for Central Bank Bond Scam’ »

ALL LIVES MATTER: NORTHERN KILLINGS AND NORTH-SOUTH PROTEST

DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

I never knew him personally but Weerasooriya of Uhumiya was my batch-mate as a first year arts student at Peradeniya. I was on campus early that morning in November 1976 when the shots, the gun smoke and the tear gas wafted through the green hills of Peradeniya.

Years later when I taught at Colombo University, a student was shot dead before my eyes, outside the hostel at Havelock road. I have been both a university student activist and a university teacher.

I am therefore doubly appalled by the killing of two students at Jaffna University and am heartened that university students all over Sri Lanka are demonstrating in protest against the killings and in solidarity with their counterparts.

Continue reading ‘ALL LIVES MATTER: NORTHERN KILLINGS AND NORTH-SOUTH PROTEST’ »

Students in 10 Southern Universities Protest Along with North -Eastern Counterparts Demanding Fair Probe Into Jaffna Undergrads Killed by Police

BY

MEERA SRINIVASAN

Students across Sri Lankan universities protested on Monday, condemning the recent death of two Jaffna University students in alleged police shooting and demanding a fair investigation.

Thousands of students took to the streets in Jaffna town, blocking A9, the main highway to the island’s north, urging speedy action against the perpetrators. Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), which began investigations on Friday, arrested five policemen in this connection, and remanded them.

Continue reading ‘Students in 10 Southern Universities Protest Along with North -Eastern Counterparts Demanding Fair Probe Into Jaffna Undergrads Killed by Police’ »

Chairman Handunnetti Walks Out of COPE Meeting Protesting Against UNP MP’s Attempt to Change Auditor-General’s Findings in bid to Protect Ex- CB Governor.

By Dharisha Bastians

Fireworks ensued at the meeting of the Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) yesterday, with Chairman of the oversight body stepping aside in protest against UNP members allegedly exerting undue influence on a draft report on the Central Bank Treasury Bond issue and delaying the report’s presentation to Parliament, which was initially expected today.

COPE Chairman Sunil Handunetti walked out of the meeting, when the committee sat for its third day of deliberations on the report on its investigation into the Central Bank Treasury Bond auctions in 2015-2016. COPE members now expect the report to be presented in Parliament later this week.

The COPE Chairman, who is a member of the Opposition JVP, said he had told UNP MPs who were the only parliamentarians present at yesterday’s deliberations to appoint their own temporary chair as he was unable to sit through the proceedings any longer

Continue reading ‘Chairman Handunnetti Walks Out of COPE Meeting Protesting Against UNP MP’s Attempt to Change Auditor-General’s Findings in bid to Protect Ex- CB Governor.’ »

CIABOC Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe in a Hard-hitting Interview Discloses in Detail Why she Resigned

BY A “Ceylon Today” Special Correspondent


President Maithripala Sirisena publicly warned that he would take action against the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) as well as the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) for ‘pursuing a political agenda’ at a function held on 12 October in Colombo. The President irately said those institutions should not operate according to any political agenda at the expense of justice.

In response to this statement, then Director General of CIABOC, now Additional Solicitor General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, tendered her resignation. After many rounds of discussion held with several parties, the President finally accepted her resignation on 19 October. Former DG of CIABOC expressed these comments during an exclusive interview with Ceylon Today on Friday.

Following are excerpts:

Q: Did you tender your resignation in order to defy the comments made by the President?

A: Yes indeed. I have always given my utmost to the cause. I am a person who believes that we could fully eradicate corruption in this country. I still believe in that. All we need is a strong commitment. I associated a zero tolerance policy at the Commission when disbursing my obligation. Although the President’s comments were not made against me directly, he undermined the independence of the Commission in which I served as the Director General. Mind you, he is the first citizen of the country, making this comment on an independent Commission, and not any common man on the street. Also, I wanted to make this remark, during my tenure the President had never called me and interfered into any affair. I should give that credit to him. I believe that he was misinformed on certain facts.

Continue reading ‘CIABOC Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe in a Hard-hitting Interview Discloses in Detail Why she Resigned’ »

4 Men Remanded in Puttalam for Lashing 25 Year old Woman 100 Times at Mosque for Infidelity under “Sharia Law”.

By

W.C.B.Fernando

Four men from Nallandaluwa, Puttalam were arrested for beating a woman 100 times with a coconut frond.

The twenty-five-year-old woman said she had been asked to come to the mosque in Nallandaluwa and beaten by the men, who said she was being punished under Sharia law for infidelity.

The men had accused her of having an affair with man.

Continue reading ‘4 Men Remanded in Puttalam for Lashing 25 Year old Woman 100 Times at Mosque for Infidelity under “Sharia Law”.’ »

CV Wigneswaran Wary of Hoisting Tiger Flag at Pro- LTTE Event in London Because it would Cause Problems in Sri Lanka.

By

P.K.Balachandran

The Chief Minister of Sri Lanka’s Tamil-majority Northern Province, C.V.Wigneswaran, refused to hoist the LTTE’s flag at a function organized by the pro-LTTE organization Tamil Coordination Committee (TCC) at Harrow in London on Sunday.

When the Chief Minister came to know that in the meetings of the TCC, the Tiger flag is invariably hoisted and homage (Veera Vanakkam) is paid to the dead LTTE cadres (Maaveerars), he said he would not be able to speak at such a function as that would lead to problems back home in Sri Lanka.

An Australia-based lieutenant of his, who had been a bridge between the TCC and Wigneswaran, then got in touch with the organizers and asked them to cancel the flag hoisting ceremony. There upon, the Chief Minister attended the function and delivered an address.

Continue reading ‘CV Wigneswaran Wary of Hoisting Tiger Flag at Pro- LTTE Event in London Because it would Cause Problems in Sri Lanka.’ »

Indian Public and Private Sector Business Delegation led by Foreign Secy Jaishankar Meets Lankan PM Wickremesinghe Twice

By

P.K.Balachandran

Indicating the importance of their on-going visit to Sri Lanka, the Indian public and private sector business delegation headed by Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar met Sri Lankan Prime Minster Ranil Wickremesinghe for the second time on Monday, to carry forward the discussions the group had had with Sri Lankan governmental and private sector stakeholders spread over two days on increasing bilateral trade and investment.

The Indian technical team is spearheaded by the Investment & Technology Promotion (ITP) Division in the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Continue reading ‘Indian Public and Private Sector Business Delegation led by Foreign Secy Jaishankar Meets Lankan PM Wickremesinghe Twice’ »

Highly Respected,Incorruptible Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Became the “Fall Gal” in Politics and had to go

By

Don Manu

Dilrukshi Dias Wickramesinghe never wanted to be the Bribery Commission’s Director General. She had steadily risen through the ranks at the Solicitor General’s office and was quite happy to be serving as the Deputy Solicitor General when she was handpicked by the new political masters just after the presidential poll last year for the job as the nation’s number one corruption hunter.

It was one that would thrust her into the limelight and would win her many powerful enemies. It would also make her place her neck on the line, in the line of selfless public duty.

Continue reading ‘Highly Respected,Incorruptible Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Became the “Fall Gal” in Politics and had to go’ »

Govts May Come and Go in Sri Lanka but Anti-Reform, Anti-Liberties Mindset seems Firmly Entrenched.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Governments may come and go in Sri Lanka but the anti-reform and anti-liberties mindset seems firmly entrenched. This is now proven beyond all shadow of a doubt. The only difference therein is that of gradation.

So the gullible may gladly murmur ‘this is better than what was there before.’ That, in fact, happens to be the case. But if we are reduced to talking merely of degrees of state abuse, surely this defeats that much heralded ‘people’s revolution’ last year? And if so, then we must recognize the unpleasant reality for what it is

Misleading rhetoric of victims versus suspects

The problem here is not necessarily confined to the political leadership. Indeed it is safe to say that whatever may be the faces in seats of power, this anti-reform mindset is continued by their fawning followers masquerading as policy advisors. Sometimes it is evidenced, (more disconcertingly) even by those supposed to act as members of oversight bodies exercising checks on abuse.

Continue reading ‘Govts May Come and Go in Sri Lanka but Anti-Reform, Anti-Liberties Mindset seems Firmly Entrenched.’ »

Remanding of Ex-UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake for Six Weeks at one Stretch on Charges of Alleged Forgery has Caused Shock Waves.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The remanding of Tissa Attanayake for nearly six weeks has sent shock waves through both sides of the political divide. Attanayake was the general secretary of the UNP during what was probably the worst period in its history. All of us journalists know him as a friendly and approachable politician. It was through Attanayake and his secretary that all the Sunday political columnists got their ‘gossip’ about the UNP. This was not leaked information.

Every political party officially gives out the gossip relating to their organisation every week to the Sunday columnists and it was Attanayake who ran this operation for the UNP for many years. He left the UNP on the eve of the last presidential election sounding the warning that fielding a common candidate from outside the UNP would result in UNP members being subject to gross injustice. In the two years that has lapsed up to now his words have been proved right time and again and he has many sympathisers within the UNP who are appalled at the treatment meted out to the man who had shouldered party responsibilities during a difficult period.

Continue reading ‘Remanding of Ex-UNP General Secretary Tissa Attanayake for Six Weeks at one Stretch on Charges of Alleged Forgery has Caused Shock Waves.’ »

Police Sergeant and Constable Slashed with Swords in Chunnakam by Unidentified Motor Cyclists.

By
Selvanayakam Kapilan, Romesh Madushanka

Two officers attached to the Government Intelligence Service were hospitalised today with injuries due to a sword attack by two unidentified motorcyclists who had allegedly slashed them in Chunnakam, Jaffna.

The injured officers receiving treatment at the Tellipalei Hospital were transferred to the Jaffna Teaching Hospital for further treatment.

Continue reading ‘Police Sergeant and Constable Slashed with Swords in Chunnakam by Unidentified Motor Cyclists.’ »

President Sirisena Had Discussed Issue with UNP on Oct 11th Before Accusing CIAOBC, FCID and CID of Pursuing Political Agenda.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President Maithripala Sirisena has recently received a detailed briefing as regards the ongoing high profile Avant Garde Maritime Service (AGMS) investigation pursued by the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC).

Well informed sources told The Island that President Maithripala Sirisena had sought an explanation in this regard from a retired high ranking military officer. Subsequently, President Sirisena called senior officials in charge of ongoing high profile investigations, including the AGMS case, for a meeting. Sources said that an irate President Sirisena had expressed his disappointment at not being properly briefed and misled by those handling major investigations.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Had Discussed Issue with UNP on Oct 11th Before Accusing CIAOBC, FCID and CID of Pursuing Political Agenda.’ »

Indian Foreign Secy Jaishankar in Sri Lanka on an Economic Diplomacy Initiative to Discuss Potential Indo-Lanka Partnerships in Transport,Energy and Infrastructure.

By Meera Srinivasan

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar called on President Maithripala Sirisena on Sunday morning and discussed potential Indo-Lanka partnerships in areas such as transport, energy and infrastructure.

Jaishankar, in Colombo on an economic diplomacy initiative, is accompanied by an official delegation of top officials from public sector companies such as GAIL, NTPC, IOC and RITES. A team from the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) is also accompanying him, official sources in Colombo said.

Jaishankar, who arrived in Colombo on Saturday on a three day-visit, is holding a series of meetings with key government officials and business heads in Colombo. “His meeting with the President lasted a little over 20 minutes and was largely focussed on the economic diplomacy initiative,” a senior official with the Sri Lankan government told The Hindu.

Continue reading ‘Indian Foreign Secy Jaishankar in Sri Lanka on an Economic Diplomacy Initiative to Discuss Potential Indo-Lanka Partnerships in Transport,Energy and Infrastructure.’ »

President Sirisena may Create New Ministry for Defence and National Security Matters with Trusted Minister in Charge.

By Niranjala Ariyawansha

Highly reliable Presidential Secretariat sources said yesterday that President Maithripala Sirisena is contemplating the creation of a new ministerial level position tasked with responsibility for defence and national security matters.

The new position is being created because of deep concerns arising out of a spate of recent allegations relating to matters of State security and the military forces.

The President had wanted a trusted person to handle these matters especially because of controversies surrounding members of the security forces being arrested in connection with several crimes, including killings, during the tenure of the previous regime, the source said.

The name of a prominent and powerful Minister who contested under the UNP ticket has been strongly tipped for the new position.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena may Create New Ministry for Defence and National Security Matters with Trusted Minister in Charge.’ »

“Mass Movement for Social Justice” Convenes Conference in Jaffna to Focus on Prevailing Caste Oppression in Tamil Society


By Thulasi Muttulingam

Caste oppression has a long and convoluted history in Jaffna. There is also, nearly a century’s worth of recorded history of progressive elements within the community agitating against the caste system.

Serious ground was beginning to be gained by the anti-caste movement in the 60s and 70s before ethnic conflict and consequent militancy drove the movement underground for nearly three decades. Now post 2009, issues of caste oppression have risen again like a spectre (the LTTE had banned most of its outward manifestations) – and so too have the pushback against it.

October 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of a historic march from Chunnakam to Jaffna by thousands of men and women protesting caste oppression.

“The walkers came from all walks of life,” said S.K. Senthilvel, one of the stalwarts of the anti-caste movement in Jaffna. “We were youths at the time following behind leaders like N. Shanmugathasan, K.A. Subramaniam and V.A. Kandasamy. Our march was joined by nearly all castes of the Tamil community as there are progressive members among the oppressing castes too. Even Muslims who did not have to face caste oppression themselves joined us on that historic march, to lend us their solidarity.”

The historic march which took place on 21 October 1966 was overtaken by police brutality. Many of the leaders were beaten up and jailed. Nevertheless, a consciousness had arisen – both in the minds of the anti-casteists as well as the casteists they were addressing – that caste oppression would no longer be acceptable or unchallenged.

50 years later, on 15 October 2016, a conference was convened in Jaffna by a coalition of leftist groups calling themselves the Mass Movement for Social Justice, to review the past as well as to strategise the way forward.

Continue reading ‘“Mass Movement for Social Justice” Convenes Conference in Jaffna to Focus on Prevailing Caste Oppression in Tamil Society’ »

President Sirisena Intervened Directly to Stop Police Covering up Shooting of Two Jaffna Undergrads in Kokkuvil as a Motor Cycle Accident.


President Maithripala Sirisena intervened directly to stop police covering up the murder of two Jaffna university student and got five police officers immediately interdicted.

Shortly after police headquarters dismissed the death of two students as a fatal motorcycle accident, Sirisena got the information department to issue a fresh statement setting the record straight.

“Five police officers suspected for the case have been arrested and immediately interdicted,” the information department statement said contradicting Inspector-General Pujith Jayasundara’s headquarters.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Intervened Directly to Stop Police Covering up Shooting of Two Jaffna Undergrads in Kokkuvil as a Motor Cycle Accident.’ »

Investigation Into Colombo Night Club Attack Allegedly Involving Daham Sirisena Stumped Due to Victim “Inability” to Identify Perpetrators

Police investigations into the attack on a nightclub in Colombo two weeks ago, where a security guard was injured and property was damaged by an unidentified group, has ended without a trace of the persons responsible for the attack.

OIC Maradana Police- Chief Inspector Sarath Perera told the Sunday Times that there was no formal complaint about the incident, and the President’s office had informed they were conducting their own investigations to ascertain whether any persons connected with the President’s House or its security were involved in the incident. Therefore, the police investigations have ended.

Continue reading ‘Investigation Into Colombo Night Club Attack Allegedly Involving Daham Sirisena Stumped Due to Victim “Inability” to Identify Perpetrators’ »

UNP MP’s in COPE Refuse to Accept Central Bank Report Approved by 8 Committee Members;Final Vote with all 26 Members Likely

The Parliamentary Oversight Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) finding that former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran was directly responsible for a controversial Treasury bond scam in 2015 is being hotly challenged by the United National Party MPs on the committee.

It is learnt that the COPE report has also recommended that Mr. Mahendran and officials involved be investigated and the monies recovered from the former Governor.

A UNP COPE member who said he was not authorised to speak pointed out that the final draft report “has not yet been approved”.

Continue reading ‘UNP MP’s in COPE Refuse to Accept Central Bank Report Approved by 8 Committee Members;Final Vote with all 26 Members Likely’ »

Two Jaffna Varsity Undergrads Killed in Police Shooting at Kulappiddy Junction in Kokkuvil.5 Policemen Arrested and Interdicted.

Two students of Jaffna University died on Thursday night in an incident of alleged police shooting. Sri Lanka’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID) commenced investigations on Friday.

The two students, Natarajan Kajan and Pounraj Sulakshan, were travelling on a motorbike near Kulappiddy junction in Kokuvil area of Jaffna peninsula.

“The post-mortem examination report revealed that there was a gunshot injury in the body of the rider,” police spokesman Ajith Rohana told The Hindu on Friday. Following the alleged police shooting, five policemen suspected in the case were arrested and “immediately interdicted,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Two Jaffna Varsity Undergrads Killed in Police Shooting at Kulappiddy Junction in Kokkuvil.5 Policemen Arrested and Interdicted.’ »

COPE Report Finds Ex-Governor Arjuna Mahendran Responsible for Treasury Bond Scams and Recommends Legal Action Against Those Involved.

by Saman Indrajith

Parliamentary watchdog committee, COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises), yesterday approved its Chairman’s report holding former Central Bank governor Arjuna Mahendran responsible for Treasury bond scandals. The report recommends legal action against those involved in the scams and the recovery of losses from them, according to a senior COPE member.

The COPE met around 9.30 am in Parliament yesterday, following heated exchanges over the Mahendran issue the previous day, and the division continued resulting in UNP members of the committee saying that they would not agree with Chairman, JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti’s report. Of the 14 members of the COPE, who met yesterday, eight representing the UPFA and the JVP endorsed the Chairman’s report. They are Mahindananda Aluthgamage, Lakshman Seneviratne, Chandrasiri Gajadheera, Priyankara Jayaratne, Lasantha Alagiyawanne, Weerakumara Dissanayake, Bimal Ratnayake and Dr. Nalinda Jayatissa.

Continue reading ‘COPE Report Finds Ex-Governor Arjuna Mahendran Responsible for Treasury Bond Scams and Recommends Legal Action Against Those Involved.’ »

Only 14 of 26 MP’s Attend COPE Meeting in which 8 MP’s Approve Report on Treasury Bond Scam but 5 UNP MP’s want to Submit Separate Report.

By
Disna Mudalige

A stormy session ensued at yesterday’s COPE meeting over its final report on the Central Bank (CB) Treasury Bonds investigation.

During a special meeting attended by 14 out of the 26 members of the COPE, the report was endorsed by eight members, while five UNP MPs declined to accept it.

The UNP MPs have stated that they would present a separate report to the House.

The COPE presided by its Chairman JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti met at 9.30 a.m. at the Parliamentary Complex to finalise the report, which is expected to be tabled in the House next Tuesday.

Continue reading ‘Only 14 of 26 MP’s Attend COPE Meeting in which 8 MP’s Approve Report on Treasury Bond Scam but 5 UNP MP’s want to Submit Separate Report.’ »

Tamil National Alliance Unequivocally Condemns Incident in Jaffna in which Two Undergraduates were Killed

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) unequivocally condemns the incident that took place in Jaffna today, killing 2 university students.

The leader of the TNA, and The Leader of the Opposition, Hon R Sampanthan MP met His Excellency the President Maithripala Sirisena while attending an event in Trincomalee this morning and raised concerns regarding the incident.

Since then, a special police unit has been deployed to Jaffna to investigate the incident on the orders of the President and the police officers who had allegedly involved in the incident has been taken into custody.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Unequivocally Condemns Incident in Jaffna in which Two Undergraduates were Killed’ »

MP’s from UNP in COPE Fight 7 Hour Battle with MP”s from JVP and SLFP to Absolve Ex – CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran of Wrong Doing

By Saman Indrajith

The UNP team within the Parliamentary watchdog committee COPE fought a losing battle for seven hours yesterday against the JVP and the SLFP over the report on former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran’s involvement in the treasury bond scams.

The UNPers, from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm yesterday, tried their level best to absolve Mahendran’s of wrongdoing, but failed to change the content of the COPE Chairman’s report, according to a senior COPE member.

The UNP team of MPs attacked the very foundation of the COPE report being prepared with the intention of presenting to Parliament on Oct 25. Minister Sujeewa Senasinghe ably assisted by Ajith Perera led their attack while their colleague Dr Harsha de Silva tried to bolster those arguments theoretically.

They sought to justify the method Mahendran had adopted to auction the treasury bonds.

Continue reading ‘MP’s from UNP in COPE Fight 7 Hour Battle with MP”s from JVP and SLFP to Absolve Ex – CB Governor Arjuna Mahendran of Wrong Doing’ »

NMSJ Wants President Sirisena to Appoint a Person More Efficient than Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe as CIABOC Director-General

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Alleging that President Maithripala Sirisena had caused a serious crisis at the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC), the National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) yesterday stressed that the President was now responsible for ensuring its smooth functioning.

President Maithripala Sirisena castigated the CIABOC, Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID) and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at an event attended by the military top brass at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) on Oct 12.

President Maithripala Sirisena would have to appoint a person more efficient than Mrs Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe who quit the post of Director General, CIABOC in the wake of the President accusing the institution of pursuing a political agenda, NMSJ declared yesterday.

Addressing the media at its Nawala office, NMSJ leader Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya, Saman Ratnapriya and Rev. Father Stanley Fernando emphasized the need to continue with all investigations undertaken by Mrs Wickramasinghe.

Continue reading ‘NMSJ Wants President Sirisena to Appoint a Person More Efficient than Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe as CIABOC Director-General’ »

Allocations for President Sirisena’s Office Increased from Rs 2. 1 Billion in 2016 to Rs 6.4 Billion for 2017

By Saman Indrajith

The government yesterday presented to Parliament its estimated expenditure for the next year in which the expenses of the President’s office rose by three times while defence allocation has been pruned down.

The appropriation bill presented to Parliament by Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake has estimated the total government expenditure of over Rs 1,819 billion (Rs 1,819,544,000,000). The amount is a decrease when compared with the government expenditure in 2016 of Rs. 1,941 billion.

The limit on borrowings for 2017 has been set at Rs 1,489 billion (Rs 1,489,205,436,000).

The allocation to the President’s Office which was Rs 2.3 billion in 2016, has been increased to around Rs 6.4 billion (6,452,679,000) in the next financial year, indicating a three-fold increase. Of this amount, around Rs 1.9 billion will go towards Recurrent Expenditure, while the rest will be for Operational and Development activities under the President’s Office.

Continue reading ‘Allocations for President Sirisena’s Office Increased from Rs 2. 1 Billion in 2016 to Rs 6.4 Billion for 2017’ »

UN Rapporteur On Minority Issues Rita Izsak-Ndiyaye Recommends Independent Minorities Commission For Sri Lanka

By P K Balachandran

The US Special Rapporteur on Minority Issues, Rita Izsak-Ndiaye, has suggested to the Sri Lankan government to set up a fully-empowered Minority Rights Commission under the constitution which is now being drafted.

Speaking to the media at the end of her nine day tour of the island in which she met a cross section of people both from the minority communities and the majority Sinhalese-Buddhist community, Izsak-Ndiaye said that in the short term, government should set up a “dedicated minority rights mechanism” with representatives of the minorities to coordinate policies and actions on minority issues.

She urged the government to consider “affirmative action” to give adequate representation to under-represented communities in the government, judiciary, armed forces and law enforcement. Representation here should be along ethnic, religious, linguistic and gender lines. She pointed out the minorities are aggrieved that they are not adequately represented in national institutions and decision making structures.

Continue reading ‘UN Rapporteur On Minority Issues Rita Izsak-Ndiyaye Recommends Independent Minorities Commission For Sri Lanka’ »

Police Searching Kumar Welgama MP”s Estate for Bulletproof Vehicles was an Immature Act says President Sirisena

President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday told the Lankadeepa that searching UPFA MP Kumar Welgama’s estate for illegally keeping bulletproof vehicles was an immature act.

The President said the government was inconvenienced due to such immature acts.

“Whatever people say, I should say that it is an immature act,” he said.

President Sirisena said if police received information about keeping government vehicles illegally, there were ample methods and technical apparatus to search for them without engaging in immature acts.

Continue reading ‘Police Searching Kumar Welgama MP”s Estate for Bulletproof Vehicles was an Immature Act says President Sirisena’ »

India Offers to Set up Solar energy Plant in Sampoor but Sri Lanka Says “No Thanks. We can do it on our own”.

By P K Balachandran

Sri Lanka has rejected India’s offer to set up solar energy plants at Sampur in Eastern Sri Lanka.

The Indian offer had been by Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he met Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC summit in Goa earlier this month.

The Secretary to the Sri Lankan Ministry of Power, Suren Batagoda, told Express on Thursday, that the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) will execute the solar power project at Sampur, and India will set up a 500 MW power plant at Kerawelapatiya near Colombo on the West coast using Liquefied Natural Gas as the fuel.

Continue reading ‘India Offers to Set up Solar energy Plant in Sampoor but Sri Lanka Says “No Thanks. We can do it on our own”.’ »

Maithripala Sirisena by his Speech has Betrayed the People who Elected him President on Jan 8th 2015

By
Dharisha Bastians

When Maithripala Sirisena decided to contest against Mahinda Rajapaksa in the January 2015 presidential poll, he took his life in his hands. He was not the only one, but as Rajapaksa’s direct challenger, Sirisena would be most-hated, and therefore, most at risk.

With the fate of Rajapaksa’s last challenger still fresh in Opposition memory, precautions were taken to protect the ‘Common Candidate’ from instantaneous reprisals the morning after the election, should the results favour the incumbent. Opposition strategists believed that the few hours the Rajapaksa regime would be forced to spend locating the common candidate could mean the difference between life and death for Sirisena. So once he had cast his vote in Polonnaruwa on 8 January 2015, Maithripala Sirisena and his family went into hiding for the night, in a remote coconut estate in Kurunegala. To conceal the movement of the future first family, the small convoy of vehicles carrying the Opposition candidate moved into the property under the cover of darkness.

Less than two years into his presidency, Maithripala Sirisena appears to have forgotten who he was hiding from on that dangerous day in January, 22 months ago. He has forgotten the fear that gripped the Common Opposition camp when campaigning ended 48 hours before the election.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala Sirisena by his Speech has Betrayed the People who Elected him President on Jan 8th 2015’ »

Agitated Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne Acknowledges that President Sirisena is Wary of Repercussions from Military Establishment


By Uditha Jayasinghe

Loyalists of President Sirisena yesterday attempted to flip the narrative on his controversial speech criticising anti-graft commissions by insisting that the President was venting his frustration at the slow progress of crucial investigations and acknowledged the Head of State was wary of repercussions from the military establishment.

A visibly agitated Cabinet spokesman Dr. Rajitha Senaratne took political analysts and State media to task during the weekly Cabinet briefing, lambasting them for what he termed as “misunderstanding” the context of the President’s speech made at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute (SLFI) last week. He also invited them to listen to the full speech as he had done to clear any issues.

President Sirisena had “clarified” his speech at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday night, Dr. Senaratne told reporters, launching an extensive explanation including the background of what motivated his headline grabbing remarks.

Continue reading ‘Agitated Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne Acknowledges that President Sirisena is Wary of Repercussions from Military Establishment’ »

After 48 Hours of Silence Govt Confirms President Sirisena has Accepted Resignation of CIABOC Dir-Gen Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe

In an apparent refusal to walk back his onslaught against the Government’s anti-corruption agencies, President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday accepted the resignation of Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe.

Director General Wickramasinghe tendered her resignation on Monday (17) hours before President Sirisena returned from the BRICS summit in Goa, India.

After nearly 48 hours of silence on the issue, Government sources confirmed yesterday that the President had accepted her resignation.

Continue reading ‘After 48 Hours of Silence Govt Confirms President Sirisena has Accepted Resignation of CIABOC Dir-Gen Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe’ »

Nationwide Power Cuts in Sri Lanka Following Breakdown in China-built $1.4 Billion Coal Power Plant at Norachchoalai


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka has imposed daily power cuts nationwide following breakdown at a China-built power plant in Norocholai, a coastal town 140 km north of Colombo.

The coal power plant, which came up at an investment of $1.4 billion, is Sri Lanka’s largest and has a capacity of 900 MW. The Power Ministry resorted to load-shedding following a technical problem, according to Sulakshana Jayawardena, Director (Development), Ministry of Power and Renewable Energy. “Everybody blames the plant, but it is actually a transmission failure,” he told The Hindu on Tuesday, a day after the one-and-a-half-hour power cut-plan came into effect.

Continue reading ‘Nationwide Power Cuts in Sri Lanka Following Breakdown in China-built $1.4 Billion Coal Power Plant at Norachchoalai’ »

Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to Visit Colombo this Weekend With Delegation to Promote Indian Investment and Commerce in Sri Lanka

By P.K.Balachandran

Indian Foreign Secretary S.Jaishankar is to visit Sri Lanka with a business delegation this weekend, to promote Indian business and investment in the island nation in accordance with the Narendra Modi government’s policy of using diplomacy to promote India’s trade and investment abroad.

An unstated but important aim of the visit, which is to begin on Saturday, is to compete with China, which has a large economic footprint in Sri Lanka and other countries in India’s neighborhood.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government in Sri Lanka has shed its initial reservations about Chinese investments and interests in Sri Lanka, and is going all out to woo Chinese investments in several big ticket infrastructure and industrial projects.

Indian officials however made it clear that Jaishankar will not be discussing the proposed Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) with Sri Lanka. ETCA, a controversial subject in Sri Lanka, is being negotiated by the Commerce Ministries of India and Sri Lanka and only two meetings have taken place so far.

Continue reading ‘Indian Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar to Visit Colombo this Weekend With Delegation to Promote Indian Investment and Commerce in Sri Lanka’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Ready to Contest Presidential Elections with Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Consent and Support


By

Priyantha Kodippili


(Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was interviewed by the “Sunday Lankadeepa”. The following are excerpts translated into English)

Q Are you aware of the present political situation in the country?

Although I am not directly involved in politics, I am quite aware of the day to day happenings in the country. I am concerned about what the people have to say. I observe that the various measures taken by the government are moving at snail’s pace. There is speculation that the efforts of the previous regime in various fields of development are at a standstill. The government does not have a proper framework to develop the country. They only expected to oust the former government.

In my view, the security of the State is in jeopardy due to the policies adopted by the present government or else due to a weak spearhead leading the security activities of the country. In particular, the approach taken by the current government to handle security concerns in the North is disappointing.

It is the same when it comes to development projects. The main slogan of those who once vied to capture power was centred on the anti-Chinese campaign. However, their actions went against their words when they had a taste of power. These ad-hoc decisions adversely affected the development process of the country, bringing all activities to a standstill.

Although we received monetary assistance from the World Bank to develop Colombo, Galle and Kandy, we were defeated before we could do justice to our undertaking. We completed three years of the five-year project, and had two more years to go. But after no progress was made on this project, funds remained idle. There should be something grave to keep the projects idle when funds are available.

This is the nature of today’s politics. People are only busy in taking political rivals to the FCID, Bribery Commission and courts. Many in the present government are engaged in big time corruption. But none of them is tried nor grilled. The authorities hunt only those who criticize their policies.

Q The present government came to power on the promise of taking the criminals to court. How can it be wrong?

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Ready to Contest Presidential Elections with Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Consent and Support’ »

Indian Envoy Y.K. Sinha had Meeting with President Sirisena One day After Maithri’s Controversial Speech.

By

Upul Joseph Fernando

Subsequent to the controversial statement made by President Maithripala Sirisena that summoning Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Navy Commanders to Court regarding the Avant Garde Accusation was wrong, the following day which was Thursday, Indian High Commissioner Y.K. Sinha had met Maithri.

Although sources from the Indian High Commission said the meeting was to discuss Maithri’s trip to India, we cannot say whether Maithri’s controversial speech was also subject to discussion on that occasion.

India is a country that has an eye on the behaviour of the Security Forces of Sri Lanka. The reason is Sri Lanka is a neighbouring country to India.

Continue reading ‘Indian Envoy Y.K. Sinha had Meeting with President Sirisena One day After Maithri’s Controversial Speech.’ »

Catholic Church Inspired Fisherfolk Launch Protest Campaign Against Dredging of Sand in Negombo-Dikowita Seas for Colombo Port City Project

by Shamindra Ferdinando

Catholic clergy assisted the Negombo police Monday evening (Oct 17) in ending a protest at Kurana level crossing near the Negombo Town Hall on the Colombo-Chilaw road.

Protesters, mostly fishermen, blocked the road for several hours against the government decision to allow dredging of sand in the Negombo-Dikowita deep seas to reclaim land from the sea to build the proposed Port City. Thousands of students, office workers as well as foreigners were affected by the protest.

Fishermen’s organisations launched the protest campaign close on the heels of Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith urging President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe not to permit dredging of sand.

The Cardinal warned of an ecological disaster and destruction of livelihoods of fishermen if the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration implemented the controversial project undertaken by the previous government.

Continue reading ‘Catholic Church Inspired Fisherfolk Launch Protest Campaign Against Dredging of Sand in Negombo-Dikowita Seas for Colombo Port City Project’ »

Over 50 Policemen in Unsuccessful 2 hour Search for 2 Bullet Proof Vehicles in UPFA Kalutara Dist MP Kumara Welgama’s 250 Acre Estate in Matugama


by Hemantha Randunu

The Police Special Investigation Unit (SIU) yesterday morning descended on a 250-acre estate belonging to MP Kumara Welgama (UPFA, Kalutara District) at Horawala, Matugama, claiming they had information that two bullet proof cars were hidden there. They left-empty handed after an exhaustive search.

The team carried out the search for about two hours. A senior police officer told The Island that a team headed by an ASP had carried out the search operation on a court order obtained from Fort Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne.

The police team comprising about 50 officers and men entered MP Welgama’s property at 9.45 am, causing quite a stir in the area.

Continue reading ‘Over 50 Policemen in Unsuccessful 2 hour Search for 2 Bullet Proof Vehicles in UPFA Kalutara Dist MP Kumara Welgama’s 250 Acre Estate in Matugama’ »

Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe’s Resignation Shows There are Still Public Servants with Integrity and a Backbone

By

Rasika Jayakody

In an interesting turn of events, Dilrukshi Dias Wickremasinghe, the dynamic Director General of the Bribery Commissioner, tendered her resignation on Monday morning, without citing any reason.

The nearest reason for the Bribery Commission Director General’s resignation was the controversial speech made by President Maithripala Sirisena, addressing a military welfare event in Colombo, last week.
In his speech, the President criticised the conduct of the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID), the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Bribery Commission saying they followed a ‘Political agenda’ when they took legal action against former heads of security forces. The President’s remark, without doubt, created a major controversy in the political sphere as some analysts described it as a veiled attack on the UNP.

Shortly after the President’s speech, it was rumoured that the Bribery Commission Director General was preparing to step down from her position. However, the situation seemed under control when a group of ministers, led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, met the President for a special meeting, on Thursday night. Following the positive outcome of the meeting, many believed that Wckremasinghe would not resign from the position and the independent bodies, appointed under the 19th Amendment, would function as usual.

Wickremasinghe’s resignation came as a shock to the UNP as the party MPs were of the view that the Bribery Commission Director General had decided to remain in the position after consultations with the Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe’s Resignation Shows There are Still Public Servants with Integrity and a Backbone’ »

Champika Ranawaka says Colombo Port City Project Will Go Ahead Despite Protests by Affected Fisherfolk


Minister of Megapolis and Western Development Patali Champika Ranawaka, addressing media yesterday at the Department of Government Information, said the government had no special reason to halt the Colombo Port City Project and would go ahead with it.

He was referring to protest by fishermen in Negombo yesterday, alleging that dredging and sand mining from the seas around in their areas for the Colombo Port City Project was depriving them of a livelihood.
Minister Ranawaka said that if the fishing communities were being adversely affected by the sand mining they would be compensated.

Continue reading ‘Champika Ranawaka says Colombo Port City Project Will Go Ahead Despite Protests by Affected Fisherfolk’ »

Daily Wage of Plantation Workers to go up by Rs 110 from 620 to 730 Announces Labour Minister John Seneviratne

Labour and Trade Union Relations Minister John Seneviratne yesterday announced that following discussions in Colombo between plantation employees and the trade unions, an agreement had been reached to increase the wages of estate workers to Rs. 730 a day and provide them 300-days work a year.

An agreement was also signed yesterday effective for two-years from October 15, 2016.

The Minister said now the plantation workers were paid a daily wage of Rs. 620 and it was revised every two years in keeping with a mutual agreement between the employers and trade unions.

Continue reading ‘Daily Wage of Plantation Workers to go up by Rs 110 from 620 to 730 Announces Labour Minister John Seneviratne’ »

Does President Sirisena Prefer to Appoint Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as Prime Minister Ahead of Ranil Wickremesinghe?


By

Gomin Dayasri

Vote to Regret – be it North or South. Blame attaches to the Vote, tailed by regret,directed at the candidate that succeeds in picking your vote. Time for jubilation was short as the expectations were too high: fallout was rapid.

Did you fault yourself in voting for a regime change or otherwise, overthrowing a regime that was corrupt to the rim and brought another to office, corrupt to the edge? Watched, in vain, your valued vote that courageously dispatched home, over-baked parliamentarians: returned to a higher office of ministerial rank in a government of Mr. Good Governance via the national list. He trusted defeated candidates for disloyalty to Rajapaksa matters little – since you have learnt to suffer any indignity gracefully.

Realised your folly belatedly, too late to revise or rectify. Fire burns in the loins with seething anger as prices rise in the market square that makes them non-affordable.

Would you vote again to punish the regime that cheated you to restore good governance: by bringing a discredited bunch back to office? Are you a subscriber to lax governance?You rightfully wanted to teach a lesson that you never learnt? That is the nature of democracy, silly!

Don’t plead for lack of options — (what could we do? Who else is to vote?) You are the master of your own household, use your grey cells, if any.

Elections are orchestrated and the results manipulated by the party in office. It is important to set a trend by winning early rounds at local authority elections. It creates a drift, as it did at the miniscule cooperative election results, inching towards the Joint Opposition.

Continue reading ‘Does President Sirisena Prefer to Appoint Gotabhaya Rajapaksa as Prime Minister Ahead of Ranil Wickremesinghe?’ »

Ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga Returns Urgently from UK to Resolve Coalition Govt Crisis Between President and Prime Minister

By

Dharisha Bastians

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who was in London on a visit and scheduled to return to Sri Lanka only later this week, has decided to return early in view of the deepening political crisis within the ruling coalition,Daily FT learns.

Former President Kumaratunga, who played a major role in effecting the defection of Maithripala Sirisena from the Rajapaksa Government, will return to the island today, authoritative sources told Daily FT.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Chandrika Kumaratunga Returns Urgently from UK to Resolve Coalition Govt Crisis Between President and Prime Minister’ »

President Sirisena is Perhaps Trying to Make a Point.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

There were two disturbing developments last week. First, it was President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech at an event held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, where he expressed his ‘displeasure and disgust’ at the hauling before the court of the former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and three former commanders of the Navy, in a case filed by the Bribery Commission.

The President’s speech sent shivers across the country, for it implied a clear departure from the pledges, he made during the election – and had tried to live by with a varying degrees of success since in power.

Many observers viewed it as a growing rift between the President and the UNP, the main constituent party of the Unity Government, being played out in public. The President later said he had been ‘misquoted’ and ‘quoted out of context.’

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena is Perhaps Trying to Make a Point.’ »

Bribery Commission Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Tenders Resignation to President Sirisena Immediately After Returning From Malaysia

By Dharisha Bastians

Director General of Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe tendered her resignation yesterday, as the fallout continues from President Maithripala Sirisena’s furious outburst against Government agencies investigating corruption last week.

Wickramasinghe, a former Additional Solicitor General and President’s Counsel, tendered her resignation to President Sirisena yesterday, after she returned from overseas. She told a television news program that she had tendered her resignation, but declined to provide reasons for her decision.

The Director General, who functions as the chief executive of the independent anti-graft Commission, is the first top official to quit since President Sirisena’s speech last Wednesday, in which he claimed the Commission and other police units investigating corruption were acting on a political agenda.

Several attempts were made to contact Wickramasinghe for comment yesterday, but she remained unreachable.

Continue reading ‘Bribery Commission Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Tenders Resignation to President Sirisena Immediately After Returning From Malaysia’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran was tipped off by a Balapitiya source about Alleged Plot to Kill him and TNA Leader Sampanthan through a “Contract” for 25 million Rupees.

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan

Northern Province Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran revealed that he had received an e-mail in Sinhala, from a person in Balapitiya around the end of September and later,a telephone call , presumably from the same person, claiming that he had come to know of a conspiracy to get a contract killer to assassinate Sampanthan, on payment of Rs 25 million and blame it on the LTTE, to make out the organization is still active.

The CM said the man confirmed that he was the one who sent the email. “He gave details as to how he came to know about it. Who was to be contracted for the killing and so on.”

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran was tipped off by a Balapitiya source about Alleged Plot to Kill him and TNA Leader Sampanthan through a “Contract” for 25 million Rupees.’ »

Narendra Modi is Wrong in Calling Ravana a “Terrorist” Whereas he was the Real Hero of the Ramayana


By

Goolbai Gunasekara

It was with a sense of considerable anger that I read Prime Minister Modi’s comments on Ravana, the great King of Sri Lanka.

PM Modi seems to be unaware that many activists in India have diametrically opposite views to many men of India who view the Ramayana as a justification for feminine subjugation. They have done this for centuries.

Indian men often name their daughters Sita hoping they will be replicas of the humble and subservient heroine of the Ramayana. Rarely do Indian men name their daughters Draupadi after the feisty heroine of the Mahabharata, who dared to argue with men.

Continue reading ‘Narendra Modi is Wrong in Calling Ravana a “Terrorist” Whereas he was the Real Hero of the Ramayana’ »

“There is no Problem Between the President and Prime Minister” says SLFP Cabinet Minister SB Dissanayake

By Dasun Edirisinghe

The SLFP yesterday denied any rift between President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, in an attempt to quell rumours after the President’s public outburst against the CID, FCID and CIABOC.

Addressing the media at the party headquarters in Colombo, SLFP Treasurer and Minister of Social Empowerment and Welfare S. B. Dissanayake said a section of parliamentarians including the members of the Joint Opposition was dreaming of forming a government by next April, but nobody could topple the present regime.

“There is no problem between the President and Prime Minister though the Joine Opposition was jubilant,” he said, adding that the government would continue.

Continue reading ‘“There is no Problem Between the President and Prime Minister” says SLFP Cabinet Minister SB Dissanayake’ »

Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Resigns as Director-General After President Sirisena’s Tirade on Politicization

By P K Balachandran

The Director General of the Sri Lankan Commission on Bribery and Corruption, Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, sent in her resignation on Monday, following President Maithripala Sirisena’s public outburst last Wednesday against the “politicization” of the commission’s working.

Dilrukshi Wickramasinghe, appointed in February 2015, is generally believed to be the choice of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. But the Prime Minister and the President belong to two different political parties, the former to the United National Party (UNP), and the latter to the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SFLP). The UNP-SLFP coalition, which was formed to defeat former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2015 and to run the government jointly thereafter, is now showing cracks thanks to clashing political interests and agendas.

Continue reading ‘Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Resigns as Director-General After President Sirisena’s Tirade on Politicization’ »

Bribery-Commission Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Resigns After President Sirisena’s Verbal Onslaught.

The Director-General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption, Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe, tendered her resignation a short while ago.

Continue reading ‘Bribery-Commission Director-General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Resigns After President Sirisena’s Verbal Onslaught.’ »

Businessman Thirukumar Nadesan Arrested by Police FCID Over Basil’s Malwana Land Issue is Released on Cash bail by Pugoda Magistrate


Businessman Thirukumar Nadesan, who was arrested by the FCID this morning in connection with a controversial land in Malwana, was released on bail by Pugoda Magistrate D. A. Ruwanpathirana.

He was released on a cash bail of Rs. 50,000 and two sureties of Rs. 1 million each.

Continue reading ‘Businessman Thirukumar Nadesan Arrested by Police FCID Over Basil’s Malwana Land Issue is Released on Cash bail by Pugoda Magistrate’ »

Police Fire Tear Gas in Galkanda at Negombo Coastal Fisherfolk Protesting Against Massive Sandmining for Colombo Port City Construction.

Police have fired tear gas at fishermen congregating at the Galkanda crossing on the Negombo-Puttalam railroad.

The fishermen have been protesting there since morning.

Continue reading ‘Police Fire Tear Gas in Galkanda at Negombo Coastal Fisherfolk Protesting Against Massive Sandmining for Colombo Port City Construction.’ »

Phone Records Wiped out of Ex-Soldier found Hanging in his house After Confessing to Killing Lasantha Wickrematunge

Police teams have found that records on the phone belonging to the soldier who killed himself last week, after claiming responsibility for the death of Lasantha Wickremetunga, have been wiped out.

Police have contracted the help of the mobile phone provider, to track down records of the deleted short message service (sms) and phone conversations the retired soldier had, in the days leading up to his death.

The body of 51-year-old Illandarige Jayamanne was found hanging in his house, alongside a note claiming responsibility for the murder of Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickremetunga.

Continue reading ‘Phone Records Wiped out of Ex-Soldier found Hanging in his house After Confessing to Killing Lasantha Wickrematunge’ »

Is President Sirisena Trying to Reach Separate Peace with Joint Opposition as an Exit Strategy for Himself?

By

C.A.Chandraprema

To say that President Maithripala Sirisena caused a flutter with his outburst against the CID, FCID and Bribery Commission at a ceremony held to distribute land and houses to disabled soldiers at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute, would be an understatement. Various people have come up with various interpretations of why the president lashed out at these institutions. Some say that this was in retaliation for the release of CCTV footage of the attack on the ‘Clique’ night club in which his son Daham is alleged to have been involved. The CCTV footage could not have been leaked to the press without the police being involved. Earlier, the President’s own media director Wasanthapriya Ramanayake had stated to this column that there is a direct link between these police units and sections of the media and that a conversation he had with an FCID officer over the telephone had been reported on a website operated from overseas within two hours.

We wrote about that episode involving the President’s media director on an earlier occasion. Ramanayake would have informed the President of his experiences. Most people think the FCID obtains statements only from those shown on TV giving ‘voice cuts’ outside the FCID premises, but in reality, the place is like a busy factory with statements being obtained every day from dozens of government employees up and down the hierarchy. Ramanayake told this writer that before he was asked to give a statement, many employees below him in the Information department had been brought to the FCID and that they were working their way upwards and that this process had generated a great deal of resentment among government servants. He said he is convinced that the FCID was doing this deliberately to turn government servants against the government.

This was the kind of feedback that President Sirisena was getting even from his closest staffers. Several incidents piling up one on top of the other would have led to the President’s outburst. Even in October last year the President had criticized the CID for having summoned Wasantha Karannagoda to record a statement and had wanted to be kept informed whenever a head or former head of a branch of the armed services is summoned to record a statement. The President was obviously sensitive to the fact that he was the commander in chief of the armed forces and also the Defence Minister and when key members of the armed forces are hauled before the CID and FCID the public resentment is aimed more at him than any other member of the government. During his outburst a visibly angry President lashed out at the way members of the intelligence services had been kept in remand for months without proper charges being brought against them.

What had obviously angered him most was the fact that former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and three former Navy Commanders had been taken to courts by the Bribery Commission without keeping him informed. He was obviously acutely aware of the toll that such incidents were taking on his role as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces.

Continue reading ‘Is President Sirisena Trying to Reach Separate Peace with Joint Opposition as an Exit Strategy for Himself?’ »

Namal Rajapaksa Charge Sheeted and Served Summons for Alleged Offence of Contempt by Not Appearing Before Bribery Commission.

By S.S.Selvanayagam

Summons and charge sheets were served in Court last Friday to Hambantota District Parliamentarian Namal Rajapaksa for the alleged offence of contempt of the Bribery Commission.

The bench, comprising Chief Justice K. Sripavan and Justices Priyasath Dep and Buwaneka Aluvihara, fixed the matter for 30 November for Rajapaksa to consider whether to plead guilty to the charges.

The Supreme Court on 15 September directed the Bribery Commission to file a charge sheet against Rajapaksa over the alleged offence on or before 3 October. The Court rejected preliminary objections raised by Rajapaksa over the commencement of contempt proceedings.

The Court on 3 August directed the Bribery Commission and Rajapaksa’s Counsel to submit written submissions on the alleged offences on or before 29 August.

Continue reading ‘Namal Rajapaksa Charge Sheeted and Served Summons for Alleged Offence of Contempt by Not Appearing Before Bribery Commission.’ »

MA Sumanthiran MP is Confident of Modifying Draft Anti – Terrorism Laws Through Parliament Oversight Committees

By
P.K.Balachandran

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA), which is highly dissatisfied with the Sri Lankan government’s new draft law to replace the existing draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), is confident about getting it modified when it comes before the oversight committees of parliament.

TNA MP M.A.Sumanthiran told Express on Sunday, that he would take it up when it comes before the two relevant Parliamentary Oversight Committees, the one on Justice and the other on National Security, at the end of this month.

“I am a member of both and am confident of success,” the Supreme Court Senior Counsel turned political leader said. He said he has several Supreme Court observations to back his claim.

Continue reading ‘MA Sumanthiran MP is Confident of Modifying Draft Anti – Terrorism Laws Through Parliament Oversight Committees’ »

No Danger of Imminent Split in Govt Despite President Sirisena’s Shocking Outburst Against Investigative Agencies

By

Meera Srinivasan

President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent outburst against his government’s investigation arms shocked many within political circles here, sparking speculation over a perceived rift between him and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

However, days after the two leaders met in Colombo top political sources said the ruling SLFP-UNP coalition faced no imminent danger of a split.

“The meeting went very well, it was very smooth,” Finance Minister and UNP politician Ravi Karunanayake told The Hindu on Saturday. Confirming reports that the two leaders decided to jointly head a new committee that will look into various priorities of the government, he said contrary to “media rumours” the leaders had no differences. “Our enemy is Mahinda Rajapaksa, not anybody within this government.”

It all began with President Sirisena slamming the country’s Bribery Commission and Police on Wednesday for “working to political agendas”, without keeping him informed.

Continue reading ‘No Danger of Imminent Split in Govt Despite President Sirisena’s Shocking Outburst Against Investigative Agencies’ »

Sri Lankan Muslim Women Hope New Constitution will Raise Minimum Age of Marriage to 18 for Girls

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan Muslim women are banking on the framers of the country’s new constitution to raise the minimum age of marriage for Muslim girls to the national statutory level of 18.

Under the existing Muslim Marriage and Divorce (MMDA) Act 1951, there is no minimum age as such, except for the stipulation that, if a girl is below 12, the permission of the Quazi is required, says the Muslim Personal Law Reforms Action Group (PMLRAG). There is also no requirement for the consent of the girl if she is less than 18.

According to PMLRAG, data on registered Muslim marriages from four divisions in two Eastern districts, show over 143 cases of underage marriage in 2014 and over 118 cases for the first few months of 2015.
All this is because Article 16(1) of the present Constitution allows these discrepancies.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Muslim Women Hope New Constitution will Raise Minimum Age of Marriage to 18 for Girls’ »

Prasanna Vithanage’s Stunning “Usaviya Nihandayi” (Silence in the Courts) is a Complete Success in a New Genre of Sinhala Film.

by Nanda Pethiyagoda

Invited to the premiere of Usaviya Nihandayi produced by H D Premasiri and Prasanna Vithanage and directed by Vithanage at the Regal Cinema on October 4, I returned with my head in a fair whirl and my sensibility determined to unravel the questions and opinions and write a comment on the one hour Sinhala film with English subtitling.

I had to hold my critical horses, however, due to a court injunction delaying the public screening of the film.

First thought and comment: it was a complete success in a new genré of Sinhala film. It was stunning; revealing with no hiding of names or important personages intertwining incidents of rape of two innocent and helpless women by a power that holds their husbands’ fate in its sexually greedy hand.

There is also no shying away from being starkly true to facts with reported questions and answers, often very intimate and explicit.

Continue reading ‘Prasanna Vithanage’s Stunning “Usaviya Nihandayi” (Silence in the Courts) is a Complete Success in a New Genre of Sinhala Film.’ »

Fake Twitter and Facebook Accounts in Ravi Karunanayake’s Name Used to Spread False Story about President Sirisena taking Over Law and Order Ministry

By

Rasika Jayakody

President Maithripala Sirisena’s speech at a military welfare event in Colombo, on Wednesday, created an unexpected controversy in the country’s political sphere.

In his fiery speech, the President hit out at the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID), the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Bribery Commission for carrying out investigations to benefit what he termed as political agendas.

Expressing his strong displeasure over producing former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and three former Navy Commanders before court, the President said the independent commissions should function in a responsible manner, within their frameworks.

Continue reading ‘Fake Twitter and Facebook Accounts in Ravi Karunanayake’s Name Used to Spread False Story about President Sirisena taking Over Law and Order Ministry’ »

Police on Maximum Alert as “Coup” Fears are Heightened After President Sirisena’s Aborted Attempt to take Over Law and Order Ministry

A police alert shortly after President Maithripala Sirisena’s controversial remarks heightened fears of a “coup” similar to the alleged action of his predecessor in trying to remain in power by using force.

Police across the capital were ordered by a senior Deputy Inspector-General to remain on maximum alert with further instructions due on Thursday as the nation grappled with Sirisena’s controversial remarks last week.

President Sirisena signalled his honeymoon with the government of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe may be over after lambasting the country’s top three anti-graft bodies for politically-motivated prosecutions.

Two of the three institutions — the police Criminal Investigations Division and the newly set up Financial Crimes Investigation Division — are under the Law and Order ministry of Sagala Ratnayake, a strong Wickremesinghe loyalist.

Continue reading ‘Police on Maximum Alert as “Coup” Fears are Heightened After President Sirisena’s Aborted Attempt to take Over Law and Order Ministry’ »

PRime Minister Wickremesinghe Heads Damage Control Exercise by Govt to Defuse Self- Inflicted Crisis Caused by “Aiyo” Sirisena’s Intemperate Remarks.


For the first time in his 21-month tenure as President of Sri Lanka, Maithripala Sirisena fired strong salvos at his own United National Front (UNF) Government led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

He warned he would take action if the Criminal Investigations Department (CID), the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) and the Bribery Commission were working on a “political agenda.” He said he was displeased and even disgusted at the manner in which former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa and three former Commanders of the Navy were hauled up before the courts recently.

Sirisena, however, when on Thursday night. He met Premier Wickremesinghe and a group of UNP ministers and a deputy who went to see him to seek clarification on his public remarks. Sirisena said his speech had been reported “out of context” by the media. The UNP delegation trooped into the President’s Paget Road residence around 9 p.m. after the President and Premier had together attended a religious ceremony at the ancient Walukaramaya temple in Kollupitiya. The UNP-President meeting ended at 1 a.m. the next day.

During the discussion, Sirisena insisted that he had not called for either Gotabaya Rajapaksa or the three former Commanders of the Navy be absolved of charges. He said the investigations against them should continue though the meeting saw some tense moments of raised voices. Sirisena insisted that during the concluding stages of his speech at the SLFI, he had in fact asserted that no one would be able to change the present Government. He had only taken exception to the manner in which CIABOC had conducted investigations involving two former ministers and probes in general by the CID and the FCID. As Minister of Defence he had not been kept informed, was his complaint, he said.

The President and the Prime Minister seen at the Walukarama Temple on Thursday night. Soon after that they had a late night meeting to settle the dispute over the President’s outburst on Wednesday.

The self-inflicted crisis for Sirisena really began last Tuesday evening.

Continue reading ‘PRime Minister Wickremesinghe Heads Damage Control Exercise by Govt to Defuse Self- Inflicted Crisis Caused by “Aiyo” Sirisena’s Intemperate Remarks.’ »

On Going Attempt by Mahinda Rajapaksa to Re-brand Himself as the Born Again Ultimate Liberal

By

Don Manu

The scarlet satakaya is still there but gone is the strident oratory, the purpled emotive prose that made 5 million people worship at his altar last year, as the liberator of the nation, Dutugamunu style.

Mahinda Rajapaksa has at long last come to realise that beating the hackneyed drum of Sinhala chauvinism will no longer suffice to ensure a return to power without the support and vote of all sections of the Great Lankan public. No doubt he has come a long way to arrive at this milepost. But he still has a long way to go. But for starters, it will do.

Even as Oscar Wilde discovered in his prison cell at Reading Gaol while staring at his little tent of blue prisoners call the sky, how he had been the spendthrift of his genius, and how its squander had brought him to that horrible pass; so it seems has Mahinda Rajapaksa learnt, from his internment in the political wilderness, how he had been driven by fates and by his acolytes to become the spendthrift of the goodwill a grateful nation bestowed on him on 19th May 2009; and how its reckless squander had landed him beyond the people’s pale.

Surveying the Lankan landscape he once held as his fiefdom, and finding on it the patch of blue Wilde found in the sky, Rajapaksa has voyaged purgatory to soul search his sins and hit upon de Profoundis and realised, if there ever were to be a reincarnation for him, a place of heaven at the helm of Lanka’s tower of power, first he must wear the coarse sack cloth of the penitent, and perform penance on crawling knees and beg forgiveness before those whom he had scalded at the heights of his presidency.

First it was to the Tamils, he said Vannakkam.

Continue reading ‘On Going Attempt by Mahinda Rajapaksa to Re-brand Himself as the Born Again Ultimate Liberal’ »

Proposed New Counter-Terrorism Law Seems to be Worse Than the Prevention of Terrorism Act it Seeks to Replace

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

A draft policy and legal framework aimed at a new law on counter-terrorism to replace Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) may well be a classic case of the cure being far worse than the disease.

A bare reading of the draft immediately gives rise to several questions that gravely impact on the protection of life and liberty. As reported, the Cabinet has forwarded the draft to a parliamentary Sectoral Oversight Committee on National Security. It is hoped that this Committee will give its most anxious consideration to the contents and breadth of what is proposed.

Whole range of new offences

The draft framework proposes a whole range of new offences, apart from the primary offence of terrorism. The additional offences include ‘terrorism related’ offences, ‘associated’ offences as well as an offence of Espionage. These encompass a variety of problematically broad acts.

Continue reading ‘Proposed New Counter-Terrorism Law Seems to be Worse Than the Prevention of Terrorism Act it Seeks to Replace’ »

Initial Post-mortem Report Rules out Foul play in Suicide of Sgt.Maj Jayamanne the Self-Confessed Killer of Lasantha Wickrematunge


By Chris Kamalendran

The Judicial Medical investigation into the death of retired Army Sergeant Major Edirisinghe Jayamanne has ruled out foul play.

Sgt Maj Jayamanne, 52, was found dead at his home in Kegalle on Friday, along with a note, allegedly confessing to the murder of former the Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge.

An initial report on the postmortem examination performed by Dr R. Alagiyawanna on Friday, confirmed that, the deceased exhibited no external injuries to suggest foul play and that, he had committed suicide by hanging himself.

Continue reading ‘Initial Post-mortem Report Rules out Foul play in Suicide of Sgt.Maj Jayamanne the Self-Confessed Killer of Lasantha Wickrematunge’ »

Co-ordinating Committee to be set up in a bid to Appease President Sirisena Annoyed with UNP for Taking him and SLFP for Granted.

By P K Balachandran

The recent public outburst of Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena over being kept in the dark about certain key decisions of the administration led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickemesinghe, has led to the decision to set up a committee to coordinate policies in matters of national and political importance.

The panel will keep track of the investigations into the questionable deals of the Mahinda Rajapaksa government; the treatment meted out to top officials of the Rajapaksa regime; progress in matters relating to the proposed war crimes probe; and the drafting of a new constitution for the country.

President Sirisena had publicly berated the administration for not informing him about the decision to question former navy chiefs and temporarily incarcerate former Defense Secretary, the war winning Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Sirisena said that as the C-in-C and Defense Minister, the investigators were duty bound to inform him.

Continue reading ‘Co-ordinating Committee to be set up in a bid to Appease President Sirisena Annoyed with UNP for Taking him and SLFP for Granted.’ »

Minister Faiszer Mustapha whose firm earlier Provided Legal Advice to Uva Chief Minister now Tries to Defend him in Parliament

by Saman Indrajith

There’s a pithy Sinhala saying about teachers, students and urination: Gura hitagena hujja karana kota golayo duva duva hujja karanava (If the teacher urinates while standing, then the students would urinate while running). Soon after the President firing verbal salvos against the FCID, CID and the CIABOC we see his SLFP ministers in the government queuing up to give voice cuts criticizing those institutions, but in a nastier way.

This was also seen after the President criticized the proposals on the VAT. All SLFP ministers in the Yahapalana government found fault with the VAT quite forgetting their collective responsibility as Cabinet Ministers. It was the same case with regard to the Treasury Bond scandal and former Central Bank Governor Arjuna Mahendran. After the President said Mahendran should resign from the post, his cohorts in the government immediately offered amplification of their master’s voice.

The mee-haraka and ela-haraka (a buffalo and a cow) when yoked make an odd couple and this oddness inherent in the Yahapalana regime is pretty obvious. Splits and disagreements within the ranks were to be expected. Local Government and Provincial Council Minister Faiszer Musthapha being forced to eat humble pie by his UNP colleagues in Parliament is just one example.

Continue reading ‘Minister Faiszer Mustapha whose firm earlier Provided Legal Advice to Uva Chief Minister now Tries to Defend him in Parliament’ »

President Sirisena’s Angry Outburst was Triggered by Bribery Commission’s Recent Action Against AHM Fowzie and Priyankara Jayaratne over Minor Allegations

By

Dharisha Bastians

A meeting between President Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe took place at 5.30 PM on Thursday. Daily FT learns that the meeting between the President and Prime Minister had been amicable, despite the prevailing tension. The two leaders had resolved to iron out their issues, aides said, speaking confidentially. The President’s speech on Wednesday had taken the Premier by surprise, highly placed sources said. Wickremesinghe held talks with senior officials and a party MP ahead of his meeting with the President on Thursday to discuss the major tension points within the ruling coalition that may have led to Sirisena’s outburst.

Adding a strange twist to the prevailing political drama, actor politician and Deputy Minister Ranjan Ramanayake reportedly played mediator during the crisis, to convince both President Sirisena and Prime Minister Wickremesinghe that the alliance had to be safeguarded at all costs. Ramanayake, often known as ‘One Shot’ after a character in his films, briefed the Prime Minister for one hour about the corruption allegations against members of the ruling coalition.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Angry Outburst was Triggered by Bribery Commission’s Recent Action Against AHM Fowzie and Priyankara Jayaratne over Minor Allegations’ »

Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Denies Existence of ” Secret Pact” Between President Sirisena and Rajapaksa Family

By Dharisha Bastians

Former Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has hailed President Maithripala Sirisena’s fiery speech on Wednesday that drew sharp criticism from civil society and opposition political parties and exposed a major rift in the ruling UNF-SLFP coalition.

Speaking to the BBC Sinhala Service from China, where he is currently attending a defence summit, the powerful former official in the Rajapaksa Government said he was “happy the President had finally understood the truth” state institutions probing corruption allegations.


Denying that he had spoken with Sirisena before the President’s outburst earlier this week, the former Defence Secretary vowed that there was no ‘secret pact’ between the current President and the former ruling family.

Continue reading ‘Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Denies Existence of ” Secret Pact” Between President Sirisena and Rajapaksa Family’ »

Suspicious Suicide of Ex-army Intelligence Operative with Letter in Pocket “Confessing” to Murdering Lasantha Wickrematunga

by Hemantha Randunu

Investigations into the murder of former Sunday Leader editor Lasantha Wickrematunga took a new turn with a retired sergeant major of the army intelligence unit committing suicide by hanging himself at his home in Kegalle after allegedly signing a letter admitting to the killing, police headquarters sources said yesterday.

The dead sergeant major was identified as Edirisinghe Jayamanne (52), a resident of Karandupana, Kegalle.

A note believed to have been written by the retired sergeant major said: “It was I who killed Sunday Leader Editor Lasantha Wickrematunga, My friend Malinda Udalagama, who has been arrested for it is not responsible for the murder. Please release him.”

Continue reading ‘Suspicious Suicide of Ex-army Intelligence Operative with Letter in Pocket “Confessing” to Murdering Lasantha Wickrematunga’ »

Formation of Hindu Political Group “Siva Senai” seen as a Regressive step in Sri Lankan Tamil Politics

By PK Balachandran

The formation of a Hindu political group “Siva Senai” (Siva’s Army), with the vowed purpose of defending Sri Lankan Tamil Hindus from “other religious groups” and securing for the Hindus their rightful place in Tamil political parties commensurate with their dominant status in Tamil society, is seen by observers as a regressive development in Sri Lankan Tamil politics.

Veteran columnist D.B.S.Jeyaraj sees it as an attempt to bring back an inter-religious division in Tamil politics which was there in the first three decades of post-independence Sri Lanka. Jeyaraj remembered that in the 1970 parliamentary election in Kakesanthurai, C.Suntharalingam, an orthodox Hindu, had challenged Samuel. J.V.Chelvanayakam, the Christian leader of the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Katchi (ITAK), by asking voters to choose between the “Siluvai” and the “Soolam” – the Cross and Trishul. But the largely secular Tamils chose neither and voted for Chelvanayakam. the Christian leader of the secular Federal Party.

Tamils generally ignored communal appeals and sent many Christians like Alfred Duraiappah, C.X.Martyn and Joseph Pararajasingham to parliament, Jeyaraj said.

Continue reading ‘Formation of Hindu Political Group “Siva Senai” seen as a Regressive step in Sri Lankan Tamil Politics’ »

Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera Says Officials Probing Corruption May have Political Agendas and not be Independent

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

UPFA General Secretary and Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development Minister Mahinda Amaraweera said on Thursday that though a number of independent commissions had been appointed to look into corruptions, the officials of those institutions would not always be independent and they might have political agendas.

He was addressing the media at the opening ceremony of a Boat Exhibition at Dikowita Fisheries Harbour.

Clarifying President Maithripala Sirisena’s statement that he would take action against the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID) as well as the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) for pursuing a political agenda, Minister Amaraweera said President Sirisena had given an opportunity for those institutions to work independently and he was not interfering in any of the work carried out by them.

Continue reading ‘Fisheries Minister Mahinda Amaraweera Says Officials Probing Corruption May have Political Agendas and not be Independent’ »

Indignant Civil Society Representatives Urge President Sirisena to “Read the Yahapalanaya Manifesto”Instead of Demoralising Bribery Commission and Police


President Sirisena’s criticism of corruption investigating bodies has drawn a sharp response from civil society representatives, who held a media briefing yesterday to condemn the remarks and attempts to demoralise the Bribery Commission and Police.

Speaking to reporters at the news conference, Co-convenor of late Sobitha Thero’s National Movement for a Just Soeicty and trade union leader Saman Ratnapriya said the remarks were “deeply problematic.”

“The whole country is shaken by these statements,” Ratnapriya charged, adding that President Sirisena’s remarks seemed to be a throwback to the Rajapaksa era. He urged President Sirisena to ‘go back and read the Yahapalanaya manifesto”.

Ratnapriya said the Purawesi Balaya was expressing “disgust” and condemnation of the President’s remarks.

Continue reading ‘Indignant Civil Society Representatives Urge President Sirisena to “Read the Yahapalanaya Manifesto”Instead of Demoralising Bribery Commission and Police’ »

President Sirisena Trying to Protect Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaka and Family Over Corrupt Acts Committed During Their Tenure

By Dasun Edirisinghe

Purawesi Balaya, a collection of civil society organisations which campaigned for President Maithripala Sirisena’s successful presidential bid, yesterday found fault with the President for his allegations against the Financial Crimes Investigation Division (FCID), Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Addressing the media at the Centre for Society and Religion in Maradana, head of the National Movement for Social Justice Prof. Sarath Wijesooriya said they would have to take to the streets against the present government if the present trend continued.

“President Sirisena is trying to protect former President Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family over corrupt acts they committed during their tenure,” he claimed, adding that they did not expect the government to shield those who were responsible for corruption under the previous regime.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Trying to Protect Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaka and Family Over Corrupt Acts Committed During Their Tenure’ »

20 MP’s Have sold their Duty Free Import Vehicle Permits to “Affluent”Persons to Purchase Toyota Land Cruisers.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

One-time head of the Customs Revenue Task Force Nagananda Kodituwakku yesterday revealed that 20 vehicles which had been imported by affluent persons using vehicle permits issued to sitting members of Parliament were registered by the Commissioner General of Motor Traffic.

Appearing on Sirasa ‘Pathikada’ anchored by Bandula Jayasekera, attorney-at-law Kodituwakku said that he had obtained all relevant information pertaining to importation of the vehicles as well as their registration from Customs and Commissioner General of Motor Traffic on the basis of Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Kodituwakku revealed the names of all 20 members of parliament who had sold permits as well as the buyers. He also mentioned the tax exemption received by new owners.

All members of parliament voted for the RTI Act in the wake of high profile campaign spearheaded by several NGOs.

Continue reading ‘20 MP’s Have sold their Duty Free Import Vehicle Permits to “Affluent”Persons to Purchase Toyota Land Cruisers.’ »

An “Independent” Election Commission Must Conduct Local Authority Polls without Delay Regardless of Govt Manipulation.

By S. Ratnajeevan H. Hoole
Member, Election Commission

I belong to the so-called Independent Election Commission. I do not know why they call us Independent because I do not see that word in any of the legal instruments that appointed us. That, however, is the perception of the public. They expect us to act independently and hold the long overdue local government (LG) Elections immediately. It is a normal expectation in a democracy.

In the meantime, many contradictory statements with different dates by the Minister for Provincial Councils and Local Government (Faiszer Musthapha), the President, and the PM, among many others, have added to the confusion. The Island editorial (13.10.2016) gives as reason “The entry of a new political force led by the Rajapaksas into the fray will make the situation worse for the ruling coalition” and bets its bottom dollar that “the government will postpone the mini polls indefinitely on the pretext of finalising electoral reforms.” The evidence seems to suggest that The Island is right.

The Joint Opposition periodically visits the Commission demanding LG Elections. Everyone outside the government blames us saying we are independent and must hold elections. The JO at a public meeting even accused our Chairman of being partial to the government. We are the punching bag.

Continue reading ‘An “Independent” Election Commission Must Conduct Local Authority Polls without Delay Regardless of Govt Manipulation.’ »

India’s Hindu Party “Shiv Sena” Supports Formation of “Siva Senai” in Sri Lanka to Promote Cause of Hindus.

Shiv Sena in Mumbai has extended its support to a new Sri Lankan Tamil outfit called ‘Siva Senai’, triggering concerns among the mainstream politicians of the island nation that sectarian outfits will reopen wounds of a 20-year-old civil war that ended only in 2009.

The Siva Senai, based out of Vavuniya in the Tamil-dominated northern Lanka, is led by Maravanpulavu Sachithananthan.

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The party takes its name from Lord Shiva and plans to fight “coercive conversion” from Hinduism to Buddhism, the dominant Sinhalese religion.

Mumbai’s Shiva Sena leader Sanjay Raut told News18 that his party extends support to the new Lankan outfit. “Our party is a Hindu party. We support the cause of Hindus all over the World. We support Siva Senai,” he said.

Sinhalese leaders fear the militant nature of the new Siva Senai could break the status-quo prevailing in Northern Lanka while Tamil leaders are wary that outfits like Senai would split Tamil unity.

The ‘Siva Senai’ was launched recently by a group of Hindus in Sri Lanka at Tamil dominated town Vavuniya in Northern Province.

Continue reading ‘India’s Hindu Party “Shiv Sena” Supports Formation of “Siva Senai” in Sri Lanka to Promote Cause of Hindus.’ »

President Sirisena’s Public Outburst Against Officials Investigating Corruption Reveals Cracks Between SLFP and UNP in Govt

By PK Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s public outburst against the arrest or questioning of top defense officials associated with the Rajapaksa regime without his knowledge, has brought out a major fault line in the coalition government which is running the island nation.

Ever since the traditional arch rivals, Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the United National Party (UNP), formed a coalition in January 2015, collective decision making has proved to be problematic. President Sirisena, heading the SLFP, has often overturned key decisions taken by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe heading the UNP.

The President, who is attempting to secure full control of the SLFP from his predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa, has to address the concerns of his party and its traditional voter base. In that process, he has used his Executive powers to overturn several unpopular decisions taken by the UNP, which dominates the cabinet by virtue of its greater strength in parliament.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena’s Public Outburst Against Officials Investigating Corruption Reveals Cracks Between SLFP and UNP in Govt’ »

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Concerned over Massive Sandmining Along Negombo and Dikowita Coasts for Colombo Port City Project.

Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith heeding representation made by Fishermen and People’s Organisations distrubed by the large scale dredging of sand from seashore for the filling up of the Port City, appealed to authorities to address their concerns.

The text of Cardinal Ranjith statement;

Representations have been made to me by fishermen and people’s organisations in the Negombo and Dikowita coastal belt, expressing grave concern at the massive dredging of sand from seashore planned for the filing up of the Port City Project. They are terrified about the huge operation now being prepared for this and the possible ecological disaster that might happen within this area. They also state that already the areas in which the fish lay the eggs and are breeding grounds are being severely affected by this sand mining.

Continue reading ‘Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Concerned over Massive Sandmining Along Negombo and Dikowita Coasts for Colombo Port City Project.’ »

President or Govt Can Take Action if Unhappy with Functioning of Police FCID says its chief DIG Ravi Waidyalankara

By

Sandun A Jayasekera

While declining to comment on the views expressed by President Maithripala Sirisena on the FCID at a function held at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute on Wednesday, its Chief DIG Ravi Waidyalankara said action could be taken in case the President or the Government was not happy with the manner in which the FCID functioned.

Continue reading ‘President or Govt Can Take Action if Unhappy with Functioning of Police FCID says its chief DIG Ravi Waidyalankara’ »

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Protests to President and Prime Minister About Dumping Colombo City Garbage in Ja-Ela.

Colombo Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has once again led an outcry against transferring of Colombo garbage to Ja-Ela.

In a joint communiqué addressed to President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe,Cardinal Ranjith has drawn their attention to the fact that the land that has been proposed by the Colombo Municipal Council for dumping its garbage at Ja-Ela is in a thickly populated area surrounded by streams and rivers flowing into the Negombo lagoon.

The communiqué signed by several other prominent people of the area, including Ven. Balagalle Dhammaseeha thera, Ven. Narampanawe Wimalajothi thera, State Minister of City Planning and Water Supply Sudarshani Fernandopulle and Rev. Fr. Priya Jayamanne, has also pointed out that most of this in the area also consume well water.

Continue reading ‘Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Protests to President and Prime Minister About Dumping Colombo City Garbage in Ja-Ela.’ »