Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirja Udayanthi, also known as Shashee Weerawansa Remanded in Hospital and Travel Ban Imposed


BY Ishara Rathnakara

Former Minister, Wimal Weerawansa’s wife, Shashee Weerawansa, who was arrested for providing false information and presenting forged documents to obtain passports, was banned from travelling abroad by Colombo Magistrate Gihan Pilapitiya, yesterday (23).

It is said that Shashee Weerawansa had obtained a diplomatic passport by providing false documents and CID had told the Court that this diplomatic passport was issued due to a written request by former Minister Wimal Weerawansa to the former Controller General of the Department of Immigration and Emigration (DIE), Chulananda Perera.

Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirja Udayanthi, also known as Shashee Weerawansa, who was arrested last Sunday (22) for obtaining forged documents, is currently undergoing treatment at the Neville Fernando Hospital in Malabe.

Continue reading ‘Ranasinghe Randunu Mudiyanselage Shirja Udayanthi, also known as Shashee Weerawansa Remanded in Hospital and Travel Ban Imposed’ »

NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa Grilled by CID Over Demonstration led by him at Kaduwela in 2011


BY Cassendra Doole and Rathindra Kuruwita

Leader of the National Freedom Front (NFF) Wimal Weerawansa was grilled by the CID yesterday (23) in connection with an alleged demonstration he led in 2011 in Kaduwela. He arrived at the CID around 9:30 a.m. with a group of lawyers.

“Those who worked tirelessly towards freeing the country from the Tigers are now being taken into custody.

Allegations against me are not connected to my wife” said Weerawansa.

Continue reading ‘NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa Grilled by CID Over Demonstration led by him at Kaduwela in 2011’ »

Submissions from Poets Invited for Annasi & Kadalagotu Vol V


Hey poet, submissions for the Annasi & Kadalagotu Vol V are open until 15 March. Poets are encouraged to send in their most recent, previously unpublished work to publisher@kadalagotu.com.

Annasi & Kadalagotu, coined by Capt Elmo Jayawardena, author of ‘Sam’s Story’ (Gratiaen Prize 2001) and co-founded by Imaad Majeed, is a small-press publishing house based in Colombo, focusing on contemporary Sri Lankan poetry.

The flagship publication is the Annasi & Kadalagotu chapbook, of which three volumes have been published, featuring the work of poets such as Natasha Nathanielsz, Benny Lau, Anis Mustafa, Arun Dias-Bandaranaike, Dawpadee Kaushalya, Tharindu Jayamanne, Hyshyama Hamin, Renton de Alwis, Timaandra Wijesuriya, Menaca Calyaneratne and Eesha Coswatte.

Continue reading ‘Submissions from Poets Invited for Annasi & Kadalagotu Vol V’ »

Tamil Expatriates Wanting to Invest in North After War Ended in 2009 Were Unable to do so Due to Excessive Red Tape.

By Zacki Jabbar recently in Jaffna

Some members of the Tamil diaspora had come in their numbers with enough funds to invest in the North, following the end of the war, but the unprecedented red tape had resulted in them making a hasty retreat, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Yarlpanam (CCIY) said.

Asked by The Island why the Tamil diaspora was not making big investments in the North of Sri Lanka though the war had ended nearly six years ago, the President of the CCIY , K. Vignesh replied that many rich Tamil businessmen domiciled abroad had returned with high hopes of investing in their motherland shortly after May 2009.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Expatriates Wanting to Invest in North After War Ended in 2009 Were Unable to do so Due to Excessive Red Tape.’ »

FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Suspected of Being “Underground” as Officials are Unable to Locate him for Deportation to Australia.

By

Jayantha Samarkoon

Kumar Gunaratnamat the Immigration dept-January 30, 2015

Kumar Gunaratnamat the Immigration dept-January 30, 2015

The Immigration and Emigration Department said today that they had been unable to locate Frontline Socialists Party (FSP) central committee member Premakumar Gunaratnam, whose tourist visa had expired on January 31.

Continue reading ‘FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Suspected of Being “Underground” as Officials are Unable to Locate him for Deportation to Australia.’ »

Singaporean Foreign Minister Shanmugam meets Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Colombo

The Minister for Foreign Affairs and Minister for Law of Singapore, K. Shanmugam, who is on a two day visit to Sri Lanka from 23 to 24 February 2015, met with Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera today at the Foreign Ministry.

The visit, marking the first high-level interaction of the Singapore Government with the new Sri Lankan Government, since it assumed office last month, demonstrates the keenness of Singapore to reinforce and reaffirm the continuity of the close and robust bilateral relations between the two countries. Minister Shanmugan characterized Singapore’s relations with Sri Lanka as a friendship that was “constant.”

Continue reading ‘Singaporean Foreign Minister Shanmugam meets Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera in Colombo’ »

“We Have Located Over 2 Billion Dollars Stashed Abroad Secretly by Members of Previous Administration”-Mangala Samaraweera Tells NYT

By

Gardiner Harris

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — Paintings at Temple Trees, this country’s White House, are still leaning against walls waiting to be hung, and the gated grounds are no longer teeming with guards and stewards who served the home’s previous occupant like supplicants at a royal court.

sketch by: by Hasantha Wijenayake

sketch by: by Hasantha Wijenayake

But more than a month after taking over this iconic home after a shocking electoral triumph, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said in an interview in his office here Saturday that while he has managed to reset relations with the United States, India and China, he has only just started to grapple with the profound issues of releasing hundreds of political prisoners and handing back thousands of acres of land seized mostly from minority Tamils during this country’s long civil war.

His first two weeks in office were taken up by a visit from the pope and the urgent need to produce a budget, he said.

“So it’s only been three weeks,” he said. “We just started.”

Continue reading ‘“We Have Located Over 2 Billion Dollars Stashed Abroad Secretly by Members of Previous Administration”-Mangala Samaraweera Tells NYT’ »

People Smugglers with Links to Rajapaksa Regime were Operating Refugee Boats to Australia Alleges Ranil Wickremesinghe

By

Amanda Hodge

SRI Lanka’s new Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, claims the Australian government’s silence on alleged human rights abuses was the price it paid to secure co-operation from the former Rajapaksa government on stopping asylum-seeker boats.

AU MR MR

AU

In an exclusive interview with The Australian, the veteran politician also said that Tony Abbott’s close relationship with the Rajapaksas was “a mystery” to Sri Lankans, and that Australia’s new Immigration Minister, Peter Dutton, would be unlikely to get the warm welcome received under the previous government.

In a weekend interview at the Prime Minister’s official Temple Trees residence in Colombo, Mr Wickremesinghe confirmed the involvement of “people connected to the previous government” in people-smuggling operations.
Continue reading ‘People Smugglers with Links to Rajapaksa Regime were Operating Refugee Boats to Australia Alleges Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

26,865 out of 34,561 Acres Land held by Army in North and East Released by End of 2013; Military Battalions Deployed in North Reduced by 48 from 152 to 104

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The army has released 26,865 out of 34,561 acres of land held by five security forces commands in the Northern and Eastern Provinces since the conclusion of the war in May 2009 up to Dec. 2013.

Land has been released in stages with the people living in area covered by Security Forces headquarters, Jaffna being the main beneficiary.

The releasing of land commenced in late Oct, 2010 in the Jaffna peninsula.

According to Defence Ministry records, of 33,156 acres held by the Jaffna command, 26,729 acres had been released as at Dec. 2013.

Continue reading ‘26,865 out of 34,561 Acres Land held by Army in North and East Released by End of 2013; Military Battalions Deployed in North Reduced by 48 from 152 to 104’ »

Ex-DIG Edward Gunawardena Challenged and questioned Over his “Version” of the Jaffna Library Burning by a former Police officer

(Following is the text of an open letter sent by former Sri Lankan Police officer K.Krishnadasan to senior DIG of Police Edward Gunawardena about assertions made by the retired DIG about the burning of the Jaffna public library in a book written by him.Mr.Krishnadasan who claims to be an eyewitness to the burning questions Ex-DIG Gunawardena about references in his book that the library was burnt down by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)organization. Mr.Krishnadasan also poses some challenging questions to Mr.Gunawardena about the retired DIG’s role and conduct in Jaffna at the time of the Jaffna library incident)

JL020913


Rtd S/DIG Mr Edward Gunawardena
Subject: FW: Re. Burning of Jaffna Public Library

Hi Sir

My name is K. Krishnadasan. I served in the Sri Lanka Police Service from June 1967 until December 1986,and I migrated to Australia and have happily settled down with my family in Sydney. I did not have an opportunity to work under you during my career in the Police. You functioned as our ADT at the Echelon Square Police Training School In June 1967 until I passed out in December 1967 and was posted to Matara as my first station. My last major posting wasHQI Batticaloa, from October 1983 to March 1986. Thereafter I served a few months at Police HQ when you were S/DIG Administration, before migrating to Australia. By the way Sir, I am also an old Josephian like you.

I am writng this in response to Rtd SSP Mr Tassie Seneviratne’s article which appeared in the Sri Lankan news-papers recently.Mr Tassie Seneviratne is a good friend of mine and he is currently holidaying in Sydney. Since I was an eye witness to the burning of the Jaffna Public Library, he requested me to write to you giving details of my version of the event. I wish to relate to you the circumstances under which I was an eye witness to the burning of the library.

Continue reading ‘Ex-DIG Edward Gunawardena Challenged and questioned Over his “Version” of the Jaffna Library Burning by a former Police officer’ »

“Citizenfour” Film About “US Whistleblower” Edward Snowden Wins Best Documentary Feature Award at 2015 Oscar Event

By

Jake Coyle

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The long take of “Birdman” has stretched all the way to the Academy Awards, where the jazzy, surreal comedy about an actor fleeing his superhero past, took Hollywood’s top honour in a ceremony punctuated by passionate pleas for equality.

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On a stormy night in Hollywood, the 87th annual Academy Awards — which came in humbled by backlash to its all-white acting nominees — bristled with politics and heartfelt speeches about women’s rights, immigration, suicide prevention and race.

In a battle of B-movies for best picture, the Oscars awarded “Birdman” best picture, opting for a movie that epitomizes much of Hollywood — showy, ego-mad, desperate for artistic credibility — over one (“Boyhood”) that prized naturalism and patience. “Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)” also won best director for Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, best original screenplay and best cinematography.

“Maybe next year the government will inflict immigration restrictions,” said Innaritu, recalling last year’s best director winner, Alfonso Cuaron. “Two Mexicans in a row. That’s suspicious, I guess.”

Continue reading ‘“Citizenfour” Film About “US Whistleblower” Edward Snowden Wins Best Documentary Feature Award at 2015 Oscar Event’ »

Oscar Awards 2015: ‘Birdman’ wins best picture, Inarittu Best Director; Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne Get Top Actor Prizes

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BY

Joe Neumaier and Ethan Sacks With Nancy Dillon

“Birdman” took home the top prize at Sunday’s 87th Annual Academy Awards, another feather in the cap in a big night night for the indie drama.

The cinematic wet kiss to actors and their artistic demons took home four statuettes, besting presumed favorite “Boyhood,” a 12-years-in-the-making drama of American youth, and the insurgent threat of “American Sniper,” the lone blockbuster among the eight nominees for top film.

“Birdman” helmer Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu also took home the best director Oscar, quipping that he was wearing the real briefs that Michael Keaton donned in his movie for luck.

Continue reading ‘Oscar Awards 2015: ‘Birdman’ wins best picture, Inarittu Best Director; Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne Get Top Actor Prizes’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Challenges Mahinda Rajapaksa to Contest Elections Against Him as UPFA Prime Ministerial Candidate

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has dared former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest the next general election as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate.

Addressing a meeting of UNP Puttalam District activists at Wennappuwa on Saturday, Wickremesinghe said he would reduce Rajapaksa’s votes to five million from 5.8 million if the latter entered the fray.

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Wickremesinghe said: “There has been a call for Rajapaksa to come forward as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate. Last time 6.4 million people voted to make me the prime minister. I have contested with Rajapaksa only once. He became the president with the help of Prabhakaran. Now, he is talking big. If he enters the fray with me I will reduce the number of his votes to five million.
Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Challenges Mahinda Rajapaksa to Contest Elections Against Him as UPFA Prime Ministerial Candidate’ »

“I am Deeply Sorry that FUTA has Turned Controversy into Effort to Attack me Personally”

By Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

I am deeply sorry that the Federation of University Teachers, in an otherwise very sensible statement regarding the current controversy over the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission, has misrepresented my position in the matter.

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha

It has claimed that ‘the misrepresentation of FUTA’s call for her resignation, as a form of political victimization by the State Minister of Higher Education is either deliberately mischievous or astoundingly naïve’. I have never commented on FUTA’s call for her resignation, which is a perfectly legitimate exercise. It is FUTA’s duty to bring possible abuses to the notice of the authorities, and it is the duty of the authorities to inquire into allegations, which is a measure FUTA says it would welcome.

I am deeply sorry that FUTA has turned this controversy into an effort to attack me personally, because I believe strongly in many of their ideals, and was delighted by the statement concerning the manner in which official bodies relating to the university sector should be established. At a very lively discussion at the Senate room in Peradeniya, in which many academics participated despite FUTA calling, because of my presence, for a boycott of an event to celebrate Lakshman Kadirgamar, it transpired that I had already included much of what they suggested in my initial draft for a new Universities Act.

Continue reading ‘“I am Deeply Sorry that FUTA has Turned Controversy into Effort to Attack me Personally”’ »

Ex-Minister and NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Shashi Arrested by CID while Warded at Neville Fernando Hospital in Malabe


By Harischandra Gunaratna

Shashi Weerawansa, wife of former UPFA Minister and National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa was taken into custody by the CID at the Neville Fernando Hopsital, Malabe yesterday evening.

The Police Media Unit said last night that she would be referred to a Judicial Medical Officer in Colombo prior to being produced before a Magistrate.

Shashi was under investigation in connection with a charge that she had submitted forged documents to the Controller of Immigration and Emigration when she applied for a diplomatic passport.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Minister and NFF Leader Wimal Weerawansa’s wife Shashi Arrested by CID while Warded at Neville Fernando Hospital in Malabe’ »

Has There Been a “Sell-out” in Mangala’s Deal with UN Human Rights Chief Zeid to get War Crimes Report on Lanka Deferred?

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

The UN Human Rights Council on Monday approved a recommendation by the High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’Ad Al Hussein to defer the publication of his report on alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka till the Council’s 30th session in September instead of presenting it at the 28th session that starts next month.

Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera speaking at @CarnegieEndow in DC-pic: twitter.com/SumitAndTheCity

Foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera speaking at @CarnegieEndow in DC-pic: twitter.com/SumitAndTheCity

This was in response to a written request from Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera. The US and Britain were quick to ‘welcome’ the pledges made by Samaraweera on behalf of the government and agree with the move. So what was the deal between Samaraweera and the rights chief?
Continue reading ‘Has There Been a “Sell-out” in Mangala’s Deal with UN Human Rights Chief Zeid to get War Crimes Report on Lanka Deferred?’ »

“Chief Minister or Northern Provincial Council Cannot be Criticised for Bringing the Genocide Resolution”-MA Sumanthiran MP


By
Ananth Palakidnar

The Tamil National Alliance Parliamentarian M. A. Sumanthiran, defending the NPC’s genocide resolution as democratic and timely, emphasized on the need for the war victims to prepare themselves to gather more evidence in order to strengthen the OHCRC’s OISL report to be released in September this year. He also added that an internal investigation with the OHCR’s supervision, unlike the local investigations in the past, is essential to ensure a constructive UN investigation into the alleged war crimes in the country.

MA Sumanthiran MP

MA Sumanthiran MP

Excerpts from the interview:
Q: What is your view on the recent ‘genocide resolution’ passed by the Northern Provincial Council?

A: The resolution is timely and the facts which have been listed out in it are nothing but true. It was a sheer democratic action and very well drafted, taking into consideration the grievances of the people directly affected by the war. Various comments could surface with regard to the resolution, but it was aimed at seeking justice for the people who have been affected by the ruthless war in the North.

The Chief Minister of the Northern Province or the Northern Provincial Council (NPC) cannot be criticized for bringing about the genocide resolution, since the NPC represents the people who were very much affected by the war. So the NPC, which represents those people and being a democratic institution, has done its part in the right manner in bringing out the resolution.

The Chief Minister has clearly pointed out the atrocities committed systematically towards the Tamils since the country gained independence. Therefore without addressing the genuine grievances of the people affected by the communal upheavals in the past, we cannot talk of reconciliation.

Therefore, the genocide resolution was brought out to identify the perpetrators who had committed the war crimes and bring justice to the war victims. The resolution is not at all meant to hurt the feelings of those who strive for peace and reconciliation in the country.
Continue reading ‘“Chief Minister or Northern Provincial Council Cannot be Criticised for Bringing the Genocide Resolution”-MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Genocide Resolution by Wigneswaran Shows new Found Courage of Tamil Separatism Under Present Regime.

By Udaya P. Gammanpila

The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) passed a resolution on 10 February urging the United Nations to probe alleged genocide of Tamils committed by all successive governments of Sri Lanka in the post-independence history. It was presented by the Chief Minister (CM) Wigneswaran, himself. Two days later, the CM visited President Sirisena with the Governor of the Province. According to the media, the CM had explained the circumstances under which the resolution was passed and the President in turn had said that he understood the political compulsions faced by different political parties.

If this report is true, President Sirisena must be in ignorance due to lack of proper advice. Firstly, the resolution is not only against the Rajapaksa administration but against all governments in the post-independence history. Further, there is a special reference in the resolution to President Sirisena. The resolution doubts President Sirisena holding a genuine local investigation as he was the acting Defence Minister during the last phase of the war and the then Army Commander General Fonseka was the coalition partner of the President. Comparison between the contents of the resolution and the message conveyed to the President by the CM clearly reflects his duplicity. Hence, without being fooled by sugary words of the CM, let us analyze the intention of the TNA.

Continue reading ‘Genocide Resolution by Wigneswaran Shows new Found Courage of Tamil Separatism Under Present Regime.’ »

More Evidence Available of Involvement by Washington in the Removal of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lankan President

by

By K. Ratnayake

Sri Lanka’s presidential election on January 8 resulted in the ousting of Mahinda Rajapakse and the installation of Maithripala Sirisena as president. While the new government’s leaders and their pseudo-left backers claim this outcome was the result of an “uprising of the people” against Rajapakse’s autocratic rule, it was in reality a regime-change operation as the Socialist Equality Party (SEP) alone has explained.

US MS MR

Right from the outset, it was clear that Sirisena’s sudden emergence as the “common opposition candidate” was the result of carefully-orchestrated, behind-the-scenes intrigues. On November 20, one day after Rajapakse announced the election date, Health Minister Sirisena quit the government and declared that he would be standing in the election backed by the opposition United National Party (UNP) and other parties.

The WSWS has already detailed the involvement of Washington, acting through former President Chandrika Kumaratunga and UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Obama administration was deeply hostile to Rajapakse’s ties with Beijing and determined to ensure that Sri Lanka is fully integrated into the US “pivot to Asia” and military build-up against China.

More evidence has now come to light on Washington’s hand in Rajapakse’s removal.

Continue reading ‘More Evidence Available of Involvement by Washington in the Removal of Mahinda Rajapaksa as Sri Lankan President’ »

“People were Transported in 222 Buses for the Weerawansa/Mahinda Rally at Nugegoda”Charges Rajitha Senaratne

by Zacki Jabbar

The “Official SLFP” and not small organizations such as the one headed by Wimal Weerawansa would decide on who its prime ministerial candidate would be , a leading member of the party said yesterday.

 Cabinet Spokesman and Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne, who along with President Maithripala Sirisena now wield considerable influence in the SLFP, told the “Sunday Island” that last weeks rally in Nugegoda organized by the NFF leader Wimal Weerawansa and two other left parties calling for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to be named the SLFP’s next Prime Ministerial candidate would not be able to apply any pressure on the “Official SLFP”. 

“Who is Weerawansa to decide on who our Prime Ministerial candidate should be? He, heads a very small party, which people normally refer to as Three Wheel Pakshaya . Even the other two left parties who joined Weerawansa in organizing last weeks Nugegoda meeting fall into the same category,” he pointed out.

Continue reading ‘“People were Transported in 222 Buses for the Weerawansa/Mahinda Rally at Nugegoda”Charges Rajitha Senaratne’ »

Asanga Abeygoonsekera the Best Director the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute Ever Had Being Removed by new Govt Causes Rude shock.


By

K.Godage

pic via: facebook.com/asanga.abeyagoonasekera

pic via: facebook.com/asanga.abeyagoonasekera

It was indeed a rude shock to learn that Asanga Abeygoonasekera, who was the Director at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute, had been removed as he had been considered a ‘Political Appointee’, this brings up the question as to the matter of defining who a political appointee is; is it a person who has been appointed only because of his or her political connections (the jobs for the boys syndrome?).

Someone appointed without following accepted procedures for whatever is the appointment, someone appointed only because of his or her political connections. This must be defined by government, for there are persons who are eminently suitable for particular positions and should be appointed in their own right in the national interest.

I have followed the work of the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies from the time it was established, not only because I had worked closely with the late Lakshman Kadirgamar but also because of my own interest in the subject. I had worked closely with Minister Kadirgamar when I was Additional Foreign Secretary and he it was who always wanted to establish a Think Tank for the Foreign Ministry and to also professionalize the Foreign Service.

Continue reading ‘Asanga Abeygoonsekera the Best Director the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute Ever Had Being Removed by new Govt Causes Rude shock.’ »

If Maithripala Sirisena Does not want the SLFP, the Party must Decide Whether it wants him

By

Malinda Seneviratne

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) is suffering from an identity crisis. The signs are all over the place. The SLFP has more Members of Parliament than any other party, and yet finds itself in the Opposition. The man who secured the support of a majority of voters is the leader of the SLFP, and yet neither he nor the party seems to be calling any shots as of now. We have an unprecedented situation where a mandate has been effectively transferred to someone, who didn’t trust himself to go before the people.

Maithripala Sirisena, as of now, does not seem to care about the SLFP. Right now, it makes sense for Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the United National Party (UNP) and Prime Minister, to wish that the SLFP would implode. In this, as of now, President Sirisena appears to be playing the role of ‘accessory after the fact of implosion’.

First of all, the SLFP MPs themselves appear lost. They’ve pledged support to the man they campaigned against. Their political futures are tied to that of the President. They have enough political experience to understand that the SLFP will not get the 5.8 million that former president Mahinda Rajapaksa got on January 8, 2015.

A considerable number of those who voted for Rajapaksa are themselves ‘lost’. They party they supported and the man they voted for both seem to be outside the political equation as of now. The party had backed ‘the other candidate’. The party is shunning ‘their’ candidate. ‘Their candidate’ is a member of the SLFP, but is not treated as though he is. Indeed, he is operating as though he does not belong to the SLFP and vice versa.

Continue reading ‘If Maithripala Sirisena Does not want the SLFP, the Party must Decide Whether it wants him’ »

General Sarath Fonseka’s Son in Law Dhanuna Tilakaratne Who Surfaced After Being “Underground” for 5 Years Speaks Out


By

Prasanna Sanjeewa Tennakone

General Sarath Fonseka’s son-in-law Dhanuna Tilakaratne made newspaper headlines when a warrant was issued for his arrest in the wake of the arrest of his father-in-law who was also the former Army Commander soon after the 2010 Presidential poll. Police could not arrest him as he went underground. Five years later, Dhanuna suddenly surfaced and appeared before Courts. In this candid interview, Dhanuna gives interesting details of his life as a fugitive from law for five years.


Excerpts:


Q Can you give us a brief sketch of your profile?

I am Dhanuna Tilakaratne. I had my primary and secondary education at Royal College, Colombo. Thereafter, I proceeded to the United States for my higher education. I obtained the IT Management Degree from a university there. Following graduation, I worked as an IT Consultant in the States for four years. On my return to Sri Lanka, I started a business venture called Lanka Adventure Training Company.

Continue reading ‘General Sarath Fonseka’s Son in Law Dhanuna Tilakaratne Who Surfaced After Being “Underground” for 5 Years Speaks Out’ »

Northern CM Wigneswaran Acts Rashly and Recklessly in Presenting and Getting Passed Infamous Genocide Resolution in NPC


By
Don Manu

If it came as a surprise that the Northern Chief Minister Vishvalingam Wigneswaran had helped write the now infamous genocide resolution, had presented it and had it passed by the Northern Provincial Council unanimously, resolving that the Sinhalese are a demon tribe of barbaric genocidal racists bent on exterminating the Tamil people from the face of Lanka, then what astonished was the implication that this once sober judge who graced the Supreme Court bench and delivered legal pronouncements that were admired and respected for its sagacity and impartiality, had evidently flipped his lid after barely 16 months of placing his judicial bottom on a political hot seat.

Gone, in the text of his resolution, was his logical reasoning that had distinguished his judgments, fled was his trained trait to support his decisions on solid evidence and absent was his keen objectivity that had embellished his legal decrees that it seemed clear he had not only left his full bottomed wig on the judicial bench when he retired from it but had also divested himself of his sense of propriety and fidelity to the truth with it.

The Northern Provincial Council’s declaration — made on the tenth of this month to the world at large and to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in particular — that the Sinhalese were led by a successive bunch of psychopathic leaders who considered Hitler’s “Final Solution” as the most expedient method of settling the Tamil problem, also called upon the UN body to add ‘genocide’ to the charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity and to submit a report at the March session of the UN Human Rights Council. Thereafter it should refer its findings to the International Criminal Court for prosecutions, Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran declared in the resolution.

Continue reading ‘Northern CM Wigneswaran Acts Rashly and Recklessly in Presenting and Getting Passed Infamous Genocide Resolution in NPC’ »

Champika Ranawaka Annoyed with Govt for not Taking Action Against Corruption, Fraud and Drug Dealing

By Niranjala Ariyawansha

It has been reported to Ceylon Today that Chief Secretary of the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU), Minister of Power and Energy Champika Ranawaka, is extremely displeased with the government as they are still following an inactive procedure by not taking legal action against those accused of corruption and fraud, which have been revealed so far.

Certain sources say the JHU has decided to give a leeway of another month or so, to see whether investigations will be launched into frauds and corruption under these circumstances.
Even after that, if the government does not take action, it is reported that the JHU is prepared to take steps against the inaction.

The JHU has convened a meeting today of civil activists who have dedicated themselves to bringing the new government into power, as an initial step against corruption, at the Solis Hall in Pita Kotte.

Continue reading ‘Champika Ranawaka Annoyed with Govt for not Taking Action Against Corruption, Fraud and Drug Dealing’ »

Nugegoda Rally Triumph Without Mahinda Showed Even “Hamlet”Can be Staged Successfully Without the Prince of Denmark

By

C.A.Chandraprema

The event last week which infused a new dynamic into the body politic was undoubtedly the Nugegoda rally organized by Dinesh, Vasu, Wimal andUdaya. If anybody thought it was not possible to stage Hamlet without the prince, they were proved wrong last Wednesday. The rally in Nugegoda organized by four small political parties turned out to be the biggest gathering ever held in the Nugegoda town. The present writer lives only a little distance away and has certainly never seen anything like it in Nugegoda in the past three decades since coming into the neighbourhood.

Not only was the supermarket car park and the main road a sea of heads, people were watching the proceedings from the rooftops, balconies, staircases of the commercial buildings, the tops of the few available tress and even from the posts carrying high voltage electrical cables along the main street. What was most significant was the enthusiasm and emotion of the crowd.

The only scene that the present writer can remember which was even remotely like Nugegoda was the arrival of J.R.Jayewardene and the new cabinet at the Dalada Maligawa in Kandy in 1977 in the wake of the UNP’s unprecedented victory that year. The enthusiasm of the crowd then was somewhat similar to the atmosphere in Nugegoda last Wednesday. But in 1977, what enthused the crowd was the arrival of JRJ and his entire cabinet in Kandy.

However neither Mahinda Rajapaksa nor any member of his family came to Nugegoda; yet the people came in their thousands and cheered themselves hoarse every time the name Rajapaksa was mentioned by a speaker. The sound amplification system was not functioning properly and what was said could not be heard clearly in some parts of the venue. Dayan Jayatilleke read out a message from Mahinda.

Continue reading ‘Nugegoda Rally Triumph Without Mahinda Showed Even “Hamlet”Can be Staged Successfully Without the Prince of Denmark’ »

Is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Return as Prime Ministerial Candidate of SLFP led UPFA a Viable Option?

By

Rasika Jayakody

MRH


“Is this President Sirisena’s government? If this government belongs to President Sirisena, how on earth do the SLFP supporters get hammered in villages? How do SLFP supporters lose their jobs? What we ask President Sirisena is to have his own government by having Mahinda Rajapaksa as the Prime Minister. The SLFP cannot form a government at the next election without making Mahinda Rajapaksa the Prime ministerial candidate. President Sirisena will soon realize that forming a government with Mahinda Rajapaksa is way better than forming a government with Ranil Wickremesinghe.”

This is the most interesting remark made by National Freedom Front Leader Wimal Weerawansa at the rally which was held in Nugegoda, a few days ago, to support former President MahindA Rajapaksa. Weerawansa, who was a harsh critique of Maithripala Sirisena in the latter’s run up to the executive presidency towards the end of the last year, last week sounded as if he was trying to help Sirisena by making his political foe the Prime Minister of the country.

The rally was organized by four non-SLFP political parties that come under the umbrella of the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA). Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Udaya Gammanpila were the chief organizers of the rally.

Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only Executive President in the country’s political history who was removed from office by the people through a vote. He lost the recently held presidential election by a margin of over 400,000 votes, despite the resounding majority he secured from rural Sinhala-Buddhist areas in the country. He was rejected not only by ethnic and religious minorities of the country, but also by the urban middle class who occupy main cities and suburbs, forming a sizable proportion of the country’s electorate. They were utterly dissatisfied with Rajapaksa’s way of governance that was characterized with family-bandyism, nepotism, culture of impunity and hooliganism. However, the rural Sinhala-Buddhist majority still consider Rajapaksa as the charismatic leader who freed the country from the clutches of terrorism, which ruined the country for almost three decades. It is quite evident that the country’s electorate is strongly divided – probably in an unprecedented manner – over the Mahinda Rajapaksa factor and its future role in the political sphere of Sri Lanka.

Is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s return to the country’s national politics as the Prime ministerial candidate of the SLFP-led UPFA a viable option at this juncture? This is an interesting question.

Continue reading ‘Is Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Return as Prime Ministerial Candidate of SLFP led UPFA a Viable Option?’ »

Full Text of Resolution Presented by Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Passed by Northern Provincial Council Charging Sri Lankan Govts with Genocide of Tamils and Demanding UN Probe and ICC Action

1

Resolution:

Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils

This resolution provides an overview of the evidence demonstrating successive Sri Lankan governments’ genocide against Tamils, and respectfully requests the ongoing United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) to investigate the claim of genocide and recommend appropriate investigations and prosecutions by the International Criminal Court.

NPC 02 11 15

The Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide (Genocide Convention) was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 9th December, 1948, and acceded to by Sri Lanka in 1950, and provides:

In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

Continue reading ‘Full Text of Resolution Presented by Chief Minister Wigneswaran and Passed by Northern Provincial Council Charging Sri Lankan Govts with Genocide of Tamils and Demanding UN Probe and ICC Action’ »

Urgent reforms in Fisheries Sector Necessary For EU to Lift Sri Lanka Ban –Mangala Samarawera


(Text of speech in Parliament on February 18th 2015 by Foreign Affairs Minister Mangala Samaraweera)

Hon. Presiding Member, as you maybe aware, at the end of January, I was in Brussels, the home of the European Union. The objective of my visit was largely to revive positive relations and begin a new chapter in Sri Lanka-European Union relations, based on mutual respect and understanding.

But, I was also in Brussels to specifically address two very urgent issues of great national importance: firstly, the EU-IUU fishing ban which was announced on the 14th of October last year and which came into force three months later, on the 14th of January this year, exactly one week after the new President was sworn into office.

Secondly, I went there to discuss the question of the GSP Plus tariff concession, which was withdrawn from Sri Lanka nearly five years ago as a result of the previous Government’s persistent reluctance to embrace good governance and ensure basic human rights.

When engaged in high seas fishing, countries have obligations to comply with the international regulations that help ensure the sustainability of common resources. These international regulations help ensure that fish stocks are sustainable and attempt to limit environmental damage. In Sri Lanka’s case, the relevant regulations are those agreed upon at the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission or better known as the IOTC. According to the Environmental Justice Foundation, global losses associated with IUU which stands for Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing are valued at between US Dollars 10 million to 23.5 billion annually.

Continue reading ‘Urgent reforms in Fisheries Sector Necessary For EU to Lift Sri Lanka Ban –Mangala Samarawera’ »

Rajapaksa Regime Reflected the Titles of BAW Jayamanne Films From “Kadavunu Prondduva”(Broken Promise) Onwards

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The days are ticking away, and the countdown of the 100 days that began on January 9, is gathering interest, especially among politicians who see opportunities in breasting the tape with success behind them, and many others who are keen to see a finish bereft of full achievement for the champions of the 100-day challenge.

The country is suddenly in the midst of a new race, where the campaign for a coming general election is becoming the focus on all sides of the political divide; where the 100-day trophy is being fought for, with a growing reduction of interest in the true depth of the 100-day promise. The media are having a great time, mainly as cheerleaders for those who can only see what is yet undone in the 100 days, presenting its own image of of public feeling – with convenient anger at the slow pace of arrests and imprisonments; with a refusal to explain the delays of a legal process that had been made a creaking and crawling shame in civilized society in the past decade and more. The Freedom of the Media that is now available is to be valued, but questions do arise as to how the freedom should be used – not to support the government or supposed deal makers, but rather to make the public more aware of the realities of governance that was controlled for years by the knaves and jokers in the pack.

We are fast coming back to the talk of conspiracies – both local and foreign – that led to the defeat of the Rajapaksa regime, and the increasing charge that the defeat on Jan. 8 was mainly the work of minorities that are non-Sinhala Buddhist … and not the result of the majority thinking of Sri Lankan voters. It sounds as if new policies would emerge soon seeking to disenfranchise all minorities in this land. That seems a major goal of the 100-day watchers and not of the slow runners in the race.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksa Regime Reflected the Titles of BAW Jayamanne Films From “Kadavunu Prondduva”(Broken Promise) Onwards’ »

Police Baton – Charge and Tear – Gas Galkande Great Western Estate Workers Protesting Custody Killing by Police of 21 Year old Manoj Marimuthu


By M. Devarajah and A. Shanthakumar

Manoj Marimuththu

Manoj Marimuththu

President Maithripala Sirisena’s government is responsible for a blatant assault on basic democratic rights, with Sri Lankan police attacking plantation workers and youth who protested against the death in police custody of a young man near Hatton, in the central hills district.

The police repression followed the death of Manoj Marimuththu, 21, from the Great Western Galkanda Estate, who was arrested on January 31 at Talawakelle town, near Hatton. The police claimed that he was in possession of babul—a local mild drug-related betel product. While being taken to the police station by two officers in a three-wheel taxi, Marimuththu supposedly jumped out, ran to a nearby irrigation tank and drowned himself.

This story is highly suspicious. The police station is only about 200 metres from the market place where Marimuththu was said to be arrested, but the irrigation tank is some 500 metres away. According to local residents, no one saw the police carrying out the arrest.
Continue reading ‘Police Baton – Charge and Tear – Gas Galkande Great Western Estate Workers Protesting Custody Killing by Police of 21 Year old Manoj Marimuthu’ »

Pro-Govt NUW Trade Union Sabotages Plantation Workers Strike at Glenruig Estate in Maskeliya

By M. Devarajah and W.A. Sunil

The pro-government National Union of Workers (NUW) sabotaged a determined strike of 600 plantation workers from the Glenuige Estate at Maskeliya in central Sri Lanka who were fighting against increasing their workloads. The workers are due to return to work.

Workers from the Deeside plantation of the Glenuige Estate started their strike on Tuesday for two demands: to reduce the daily target for plucked tea from the current 18 kilograms to the previous level of 16 kilograms from which it was increased last April; and to be paid for the extra two kilograms plucked since April.

The management had asked workers to increase the target for only two months, saying the Maskeliya Plantation Company that owns the estate was making losses. No payment was made for the increased production. Moreover, the company is now seeking to make the increased target permanent.

Workers started the strike over the heads of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC), the Upcountry People’s Front (UPF) and NUW as these unions invariably side with management. A worker told the WSWS: “Management and the unions are working hand in glove. That is why we took a decision to launch the strike independently.”

Continue reading ‘Pro-Govt NUW Trade Union Sabotages Plantation Workers Strike at Glenruig Estate in Maskeliya’ »

Sri Lankan Tamils have to Accept a Political Solution Based on a Tripartite Understanding with India and Sri Lanka.

By

Izeth Hussain

UN NE IN US UNHRC

I wonder whether the Sri Lankan Tamils are in a unique position compared to other ethnic groups all over the world. They can be assured of the sympathy and support of their fellow Tamils in Tamil Nadu, though the extent of that sympathy and support can vary greatly over a period of time. That fact could mean that although the SL Tamils are a minority in the national context they are in a majority over the Sinhalese in the regional context. This is said to be one of the reasons why the Sinhalese are a majority with a minority complex and the Tamils a minority with a majority complex. This is regarded as one of the reasons why the SL Tamil ethnic problem has been so peculiarly recalcitrant to solution.

There are many ethnic groups in adjoining states that are divided, quite often by lines of demarcation that were drawn for the administrative and other convenience of colonial powers. Mutual sympathy and support between them would be quite normal. It has to be expected consequently that when one component of an ethnic group is perceived to be subjected to discriminatory treatment, the other across the border would try to do something to help. In the case of the SL Tamils their perceived ill-treatment causes a fall-out in Tamil Nadu, which then proceeds to exert pressure on New Delhi to take corrective action. There is nothing odd or objectionable about any of this. What makes the SL Tamil ethnic problem unique is a contextual factor: India like any other multiethnic, multi-religious, multi-lingual country can break up, and Tamil Nadu restiveness over perceived maltreatment of SL Tamils could spawn separatist movements there.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Tamils have to Accept a Political Solution Based on a Tripartite Understanding with India and Sri Lanka.’ »

Upali Wijewardena: Memories of Sri Lanka’s Unforgettable Indigenous Tycoon


By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

If Philip Upali Wijewardena was among the living he would have reached the Seventy-seven on February 17th. Alas, this was not to be as he disappeared 32 years ago on Feb 13th , just four days before his 45th birthday . This article written years ago is updated and posted here as tribute to Upali in this eventful week of two significant anniversaries in the life and times of the man..

Upali Wijewardene (1938-1983)

Legally, Wijewardena is presumed dead though his body was never found. He was traveling in his own Lear jet from Malaysia to Sri Lanka when the plane disappeared. The disappearance continues to linger in the collective memory of the nation as an unresolved mystery.

There are people who ask me even now, “I say, what really happened to Upali? Don’t know, no?”

Indigenous tycoon
Continue reading ‘Upali Wijewardena: Memories of Sri Lanka’s Unforgettable Indigenous Tycoon’ »

“Return of Rajapaksa as Prime Minister is Unikely but not Impossible” -The Economist

FOR many Sri Lankans the most remarkable feature of Maithripala Sirisena’s four-day trip to India this week, his first as president after a stunningly unexpected election victory in January, was that he took a commercial flight.

MR TE COVER

His predecessor, Mahinda Rajapaksa—who, with his family, had given the impression of intending to rule for the long run—usually poached an aircraft from the national fleet. The trip was intended to change perceptions in other ways, too. The most important one was to restore a broken friendship with India without upsetting China, a big creditor in Sri Lanka and, under the Rajapaksas, an increasingly important ally.

Sri Lanka’s treatment of ethnic Tamils in its north had troubled many in India, especially Tamils. Mr Rajapaksa made matters worse by breaking promises to devolve more power to the north after a brutal civil war. And last year he infuriated India by letting a Chinese submarine dock twice at Colombo, the capital.

Continue reading ‘“Return of Rajapaksa as Prime Minister is Unikely but not Impossible” -The Economist’ »

“Mahinda! Mahinda! Apata Oney Mahinda! (“Mahinda!Mahinda!We want Mahinda!”)-Chanting Crowds Echo Clarion Call to Medamulana From Nugegoda

BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

THE RISING: NUGEGODA FEB 18TH

“Come on up for the rising
Come on up, lay your hands in mine
Come on up for the rising
Come on up for the rising tonight”

- Bruce Springsteen: The Rising

There was a WANTED poster out for Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday at Nugegoda, and it wasn’t one for crimes of corruption, human rights violation, dictatorship pasted by the JVP. It was a WANTED poster made of over a hundred thousand persons, which said that he was Wanted by the people, by the nation, as the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka.

DJ MR BS

I must have attended an Opposition rally in Sri Lanka which was larger than the one in Nugegoda on February 18th but I can’t remember which, where and when. It must have been back in the 1960s, when my father took me for the United Front rallies of the SLFP-LSSP-CPSL. A more objective source, unrelated to the UPFA, told me on the phone last night that he saw parallels in the largest of the rallies of the DUNF when Lalith and Gamini led it.

Whichever the more appropriate parallel, Nugegoda was quite distinct in my experience, for a different reason. It was the most emotional, energetic and enthusiastic crowd I have seen at a public meeting in Sri Lanka, and that emotion wasn’t against anyone. It was for someone and something. This, together with the numbers, made the event a turning point, and potentially historic.

The main players at Nugegoda were not the personalities who organized it or addressed the gathering. It was the people. They were packed tightly together, spilling over and swarming the area, more enthusiastic than an American football crowd, waving Sri Lankan flags and posters of Mahinda Rajapaksa.

There was another main player at the Nugegoda meeting and he wasn’t even there. That was Mahinda Rajapaksa. It would have been the classic case of what Prof AW Singham named in his book “The Hero and the Crowd”, except that this time the hero wasn’t there and was there at the same time. The absent presence was of course, Mahinda, whose name was roared out by the crowd; welling up from its bowels.

It was as if the personalities on the stage were facilitators and conductors of that energy that came from the crowd. It was an energy that ran along an invisible circuit extending from Nugegoda to Medamulana and back.

Continue reading ‘“Mahinda! Mahinda! Apata Oney Mahinda! (“Mahinda!Mahinda!We want Mahinda!”)-Chanting Crowds Echo Clarion Call to Medamulana From Nugegoda’ »

3 Judge Supreme Court Bench Presided over by Chief Justice K. Sripavan Issues Notice on Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Returnable on March 31st

By

Nelka Medagedara

A Supreme Court bench presided over by Chief Justice K. Sripavan yesterday issued notice on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa returnable on March 31.

ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Maithripala Sirisena &  Chief Justice K. Sripavan

ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa, President Maithripala Sirisena & Chief Justice K. Sripavan

The other Judges comprised, Justices Priyasath Dep and Eva Wanasundara.

The SC issued notice after having considered a fundamental rights petition filed by Peratugami Party Leader Duminda Nawagamuwa.

Continue reading ‘3 Judge Supreme Court Bench Presided over by Chief Justice K. Sripavan Issues Notice on Ex-President Mahinda Rajapaksa Returnable on March 31st’ »

“Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only Viable Prime Ministerial Candidate for the UPFA”-Dinesh Gunawardene

By

C.A.Chandraprema

MEP parliamentarian Dinesh Gunawardene was one of four party leaders who organised the meeting in Nugegoda last Wednesday with a view to bringing Mahinda Rajapaksa back into politics. That meeting drew a crowd never before seen at a political meeting held in Nugegoda despite the fact that Mahinda Rajapaksa was not scheduled to appear on the stage. In this interview, Gunawardene speaks to C.A.Chandraprema on why Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only viable prime ministerial candidate for the UPFA at the next parliamentary election.*

Excerpts:

Q. President Maithripala Sirisena himself has characterised the attempt that you and three other UPFA coalition leaders are making to bring Mahinda Rajapaksa back into politics as an attempt to split the SLFP. How would you respond to that?

A. The fact that Mahinda Rajapaksa got 5.8 million votes cannot be forgotten by any realistic politician. Those votes were cast in Mahinda’s favour against Maithripala Sirsena and the UNP. So there is a political division whether one likes it or not. Mahinda Rajapaksa remains the most popular political leader in the country today. The people who were with the UPFA are with Mahinda Rajapaksa and he is still the leader of the patriotic and progressive forces.

Continue reading ‘“Mahinda Rajapaksa is the only Viable Prime Ministerial Candidate for the UPFA”-Dinesh Gunawardene’ »

Callous Approach by Govt of Ex-President Rajapaksa Towards the Sampur Power Project

By

N Sathiya Moorthy

It could not have been better. Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s maiden overseas visit, to India, was a very positive one. Not only did he have reportedly good meetings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Indian leaders in Delhi, his visit would also herald a return visit by an Indian VVIP for the first time in 28 years.

The fact that President Sirisena has come to replace predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa may have set the tone and tenor for future ties between the two nations cannot be over-stressed. That a Prime Minister in India could consider a Sri Lanka visit without possible hiccups since the slain Rajiv Gandhi made the historic 1987 trip to sign the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord also owe to Sirisena’s elevation. Yet, it does not stop there.

What’s of immediate bilateral concern and interest in the larger geo-strategic sphere is the signing of a nuclear cooperation agreement between the two countries during President Sirisena’s visit. It is much different from the one India has with the US. It needs to be clarified that the agreement does not cover the installation of any Indian nuclear plant in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Callous Approach by Govt of Ex-President Rajapaksa Towards the Sampur Power Project’ »

“Success of Pro-Mahinda Rally at Nugegoda has Jolted the UNP and not the SLFP”-Susil Premajayantha.

by Dasun Edirisinghe

Newly appointed National Organiser of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party Susil Premajayantha yesterday said former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had not yet made known whether he would contest a parliamentary election again though several UPFA constituents at a public rally in Nugegoda on Wednesday evening demanded that Rajapaksa be nominated the prime ministerial candidate of the alliance.

“It is too early to nominate the Prime Ministerial Candidate, but they would always be ready to consider the opinions of the constituent parties,” he said.

Commenting on the rally held under the theme ‘Make Mahinda PM’ jointly organised by the MEP, DLF, NFF and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya, Premajayantha said it had been a successful rally.

Continue reading ‘“Success of Pro-Mahinda Rally at Nugegoda has Jolted the UNP and not the SLFP”-Susil Premajayantha.’ »

Lakshman Kadirgamar Succeeded as a Politician Through his sympathetic Understanding of all Points of View

By

Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha M.P.


(Text of a Spech Delivered by Prof Rajiva Wijesinha at Peradeniya University on 18th February, 2015)

Lakshman Kadirgamar (April 12, 1932 – August 12, 2005)

Lakshman Kadirgamar (April 12, 1932 – August 12, 2005)

I am immensely honoured to have been invited by Mrs Sugandhi Kadirgamar to be Chief Guest at the ceremony to hand over to Peradeniya University the portrait of the Hon Lakshman Kadirgamar, easily the best Foreign Minister Sri Lanka ever had, and also an old friend.

I met him first at Oxford, where he lived for many years after he had graduated from that university. He had had a most distinguished career there, which included having been President of the Oxford Union. I met him in September 1973, in the vacation after I had just failed to get on the Standing Committee of the Union – having been knocked out by less than half a vote in the new Single Transferable Vote system that had been introduced, which militated against those who had a wide range of friends, in favour of those with strong support from particular constituencies.

I sometimes wonder whether my deep commitment to pluralism has been influenced by that experience.

Continue reading ‘Lakshman Kadirgamar Succeeded as a Politician Through his sympathetic Understanding of all Points of View’ »

Mahinda Hints at a return to Active Politics in Special Message Read out by Dayan Jayatilleka at Mammoth Nugegoda Rally

By

Ajith Siriwardane

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa in a message to those who attended the massive rally in Nugegoda on Wednesday urging him to return to active politics said he could not ignore the hands of honour and affection extended to him by the people and the leadership forces of the UPFA led by the SLFP.

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Cartoon by Nimal Jayantha., Lankadeepa, 05th Feb 2015

The message read out to the applause of a large crowd by former ambassador and academic Dr. Dayan Jayathilaka said: “I would like to emphasise that I cannot ignore the aspirations of the people who think about the country and had dedicated themselves for the country.

I would like to state again that I would embrace with honour and comradely the hands of comradeship extended by the people and the leadership forces of the UPFA led by the SLFP.”

The message said that the thing he told the people who came to meet him was that what he suffered was not a defeat but the result of a conspiracy.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Hints at a return to Active Politics in Special Message Read out by Dayan Jayatilleka at Mammoth Nugegoda Rally’ »

Editor in Chief of “The Sunday Leader” English Weekly Tenders Resignation Protesting Over Recent Moves to Restrict Editorial Freedom

Senior Journalist Shakuntala Perera has tendered her resignation as Editor in Chief of “The Sunday Leader” English weekly newspaper published in Colombo. She has done so in protest against recent moves by the ownership/management to impose restrictions curbing her editorial freedom. The full text of the letter submitted by Ms.Shakunatala Perera to Chief Executive Officer Mr.Nalin Jayatilake is published here

Mr. Nalin Jayatilake
CEO
13.02.15.

Dear Mr. Jayatilake,

This has reference to your intimation on 11.02.15 to me that I must with immediate effect, forward all articles finalized for publication to both you as the CEO and Mr. Asanga Seneviratne, before leaving my desk for placement in the said pages and print thereon.

You indicated the pressure brought upon the management, following the article carried in the newspaper on 08.02.15 ‘High-Flying Corruption in Aviation’ by Nirmala Kannangara, hence the decision. I am sorry about this pressure that has come upon you in the course of upholding the public interest and the public’s right to know the truth about their country and government.

Continue reading ‘Editor in Chief of “The Sunday Leader” English Weekly Tenders Resignation Protesting Over Recent Moves to Restrict Editorial Freedom’ »

“Smokes, Drugs and Cheap Sex”: How Sri Lankan Soldiers on UN Peacekeeping Mission Exploited the People of Haiti.

By
Kathie Klarreich – 100Reporters

A United Nations presence in Haiti has become as familiar as the country’s barren hillsides. Troops of some sort have been there almost continuously since 1993, including five peacekeeping missions. The most recent, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH, arrived in 2004 to provide a peaceful transition following months of armed conflict. Like its predecessors and most of the UN’s 16 peacekeeping missions worldwide, MINUSTAH, composed of troops from dozens of countries, is also charged with the protection of local citizens.

Violence continued to ravage Haiti’s capital for several years after MINUSTAH deployed but life was quieter in other parts of the country, earning Haiti the moniker “vacation location.” In the seaside town of Jacmel, 50 miles south of Port-au-Prince, the Sri Lankan MINUSTAH peacekeepers were so relaxed that they interspersed their routine security patrols with soccer games, ocean dips and fresh fish fries.
And cheap sex. For less than $5, the Sri Lankan soldiers exploited the very population they were sent to safeguard. They conveniently disregarded the trampled condition of the fence surrounding their military base so that Haitian boys and girls could crawl under and over it, which they did with great frequency. In their wake, they left behind condoms, which were noted by UN investigators when they finally cracked down on the security breach and the flagrant violation of UN policy.

Continue reading ‘“Smokes, Drugs and Cheap Sex”: How Sri Lankan Soldiers on UN Peacekeeping Mission Exploited the People of Haiti.’ »

Public Outcry at Massive Nugegoda Rally for Mahinda Rajapaksa to Compete for Prime Minister Post


By Jayashika Padmasiri

Several United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA) strongmen yesterday called on former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to re-enter politics and compete for the Prime Ministerial post at the next general election.

MR FB NR

Facebook status update by Namal Rajapaksa MP-with 31k “Likes” as of Feb 19, 08:00 AM-facebook.com/NamalSL

This request was made at a mass rally held yesterday at Nugegoda, chiefly organised by politicians Wimal Weerawansa, Dinesh Gunawardena, Udaya Gammanpila and Vasudeva Nanayakkara. Amongst other politicians present were T.B Ekanayake, Salinda Dissanayake, Manusha Nanayakkara, Kumara Welgama, C.B. Rathnayake, Mahinda Yapa, Jayantha Katagoda, Dilum Amunugama, Vidura Ratnayake and several Provincial and Local Council members and former diplomat Dayan Jayatilleke.

Continue reading ‘Public Outcry at Massive Nugegoda Rally for Mahinda Rajapaksa to Compete for Prime Minister Post’ »

Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Keeping President Sirisena Under his Thumb says Weerawansa at Nugegoda Rally

By

Dasun Edirisinghe

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe was keeping President Maithripala Sirisena under his thumb and the latter was helpless, National Freedom Front (NFF) leader and former minister Wimal Weerawansa said yesterday. What the country had at present was a UNP government in all but name and the SLFP had no say in it. “If the SLFP is part of the government as some people claim how come SLFP members are being attacked all over the country?”

The NFF leader was addressing a massive rally held under theme: ‘Make Mahinda PM’. It had been organised jointly by the NFF, the MEP, Democratic Left Front led by Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Pivithuru Hela Urumaya led by Udaya Gammanpila.

Weerawsansa said people should not be misled by the claim made in some quarters that there was a national government.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Wickremesinghe Keeping President Sirisena Under his Thumb says Weerawansa at Nugegoda Rally’ »

Basil Rajapaksa now in the USA Granted Leave of Absence from Sri Lanka Parliament for Three Months.


By Saman Indrajith

Former Minister of Economic Development Basil Rajapska was granted leave of absence from parliament for three months from yesterday (18).

The leave motion was moved by Leader of the Opposition Nimal Siripala de Silva.

JVP leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake demanded to know what purpose the leave had been taken for. “The House is granting leave thus it has a right to know whether the MP is taking leave for educational or medical purpose. Is it study or medical leave?”

Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa, who agreed with MP Dissanayake, said that it should have been better if the reason for taking leave, too, had been mentioned in the motion.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa now in the USA Granted Leave of Absence from Sri Lanka Parliament for Three Months.’ »

Beijing Proposes Tripartite Partnership Between Sri Lanka, India and China

by

Atul Aneja

Steering clear of a perception of China-India rivalry, Beijing has proposed at triangular partnership with India and Sri Lanka, ahead of a month-end visit to Beijing of the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera.

CHSLIFL

Asked to comment on the visit to India by Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, “We are happy to see close and friendly development of India-Sri Lanka relations”.

She added: “We believe the sound relations among the three countries are conducive to the three countries and to the whole region. Therefore we are happy to see development of relations between Sri Lanka and India.”

Continue reading ‘Beijing Proposes Tripartite Partnership Between Sri Lanka, India and China’ »

Full Text of August 1987 Interview with LTTE Leader Prabakharan That was Re-produced by “Frontline” in Feb 6, 2015 Issue


By

T.S.Subramanian

The signing of the Indo-Sri Lanka Agreement on July 29, 1987, in Colombo by Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene marked a turning point in the history of Sri Lanka as well as in India-Sri Lanka relations. Under it, the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) was despatched to the island’s Northern and Eastern provinces. The situation went haywire with the beginning of a military confrontation between the IPKF and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) from October 10, 1987, and a marked reluctance on the part of Colombo to implement the agreement. The IPKF-LTTE military conflict saw the death of about 1,200 Indian soldiers and 660 LTTE cadres. An LTTE suicide bomber assassinated Rajiv Gandhi when he was campaigning at Sriperumbudur, about 30 km from Chennai, on May 21, 1991.

FL 0218

This changed the LTTE’s fortunes forever. It caused a tremendous revulsion towards the organisation in Tamil Nadu. It was proscribed in India and other countries. Prabakaran was killed in a climactic battle with the Sri Lanka Army on May 18, 2009. Five years later, Rajapaksa, under whose presidency the LTTE was wiped out, lost the election in Sri Lanka, thanks largely to Sri Lankan Tamils and Muslims voting against him. Frontline has covered the Sri Lankan issue consistently and exhaustively right from the magazine’s inception.

V. PRABAKARAN, the LTTE leader, is a key player in the dramatic developments represented by the Indo-Sri Lanka agreement and its implementation. He was invited to New Delhi before the agreement was signed, raised apprehensions and objections, met Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi for a frank discussion of the situation and the problems, and returned to Jaffna in early August. On August 4, Prabakaran made a speech that drew wide attention: in it, he analysed the situation from the LTTE’s standpoint, expressed his dissatisfaction with the agreement but also his closeness to India and said the LTTE would hand over arms basically because it “loves India” and did not want to clash with the IPKF. A week later, a Frontline team comprising writer T.S. Subramanian and photographer D. Krishnan met him for this session in Jaffna. Soon after this, fresh Indian assurances led to the LTTE deciding to go ahead with the handing over of arms.

For his first extended interview after returning to Jaffna from Tamil Nadu in January 1987, Velupillai Prabakaran, the Supreme Commander of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, meets representatives of Frontline and The Hindu in the second week of August in Jaffna. The interview, conducted in Tamil, lasts over an hour.

The LTTE leader looked cool and relaxed. He sets the ball rolling by suggesting that we should go to the Eastern province where the Sri Lankan soldiers, he alleges, are still harassing Tamil civilians.

Q;There was a media story that when the Sri Lanka armed forces began their offensive against the Vadamarachchi region of the Jaffna peninsula on May 26, you were trapped in Velvettiturai and you managed to escape. Is this version true?

Prabakaran (smiling): I moved to Jaffna on the night of May 25. They began the offensive the next day morning. They attacked Velvettiturai thinking that I was there.

Continue reading ‘Full Text of August 1987 Interview with LTTE Leader Prabakharan That was Re-produced by “Frontline” in Feb 6, 2015 Issue’ »

Sri Lankan Customs Prevent Release of Indian News Magazine “Frontline” on Grounds of National Security due to Reproduced Interview with LTTE Leader Prabhakaran.

By

Disna Mudalige

The Frontline Magazine has not been banned in Sri Lanka, but the Customs Department has stopped the release of bulk of the latest issue of the Magazine, Media Ministry Secretary Karunarathna Paranaithana told Daily News yesterday.

The Secretary said the Customs officials have done so due to a contempt material found in the magazine that would be detrimental to the national security.

When asked about the nature of the contempt material, the Secretary said the latest issue of the magazine has reproduced an interview with Prabhakaran which was initially published in 1987.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Customs Prevent Release of Indian News Magazine “Frontline” on Grounds of National Security due to Reproduced Interview with LTTE Leader Prabhakaran.’ »

“The Problem is that the Prime Minister Thinks he knows Everything and will not Delegate”-Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha

By

Zahrah Imtiaz

Turmoil erupted once again in the coalition government as yet another State Minister, Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha, in charge of Higher Education, threatened to resign. Faizer Musthapha, State Minister for Civil Aviation, resigned not too long ago. The common issue among the increasingly disgruntled ministers is that Prime Minister, Ranil Wickremesinghe, insists on running a one-man show, not too different from the leadership of the previous regime.

pic via: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader

pic via: facebook.com/ranil.wickremesinghe.leader


Following are excerpts from an interview with Prof. Wijesinha

Q:There are rumours that you have resigned from your portfolio as State Minister. Is it true?

A: I told the President that the whole situation is untenable. There are several reasons for this. First, I was upset I was not made a Cabinet Minister as promised in the manifesto.

Q:Was there a promise in the manifesto that you would be made a Cabinet Minister?

A: There is a promise that the Cabinet would consist of representatives of all parties in Parliament. I never asked for this, but two people of enormous significance, myself and present State Minister of Education, V. Radhakrishnan were left out. The Prime Minister called on Saturday and so I mentioned this to him and he asked ‘did former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga promise you?”

Continue reading ‘“The Problem is that the Prime Minister Thinks he knows Everything and will not Delegate”-Prof.Rajiva Wijesinha’ »

“Genocide” Resolution by Northern Provincial Council is Calculated Act to Whip up Ethnic Frenzy


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

It is sad that the Tamil political leadership is not learning from their misadventures in the past. The “genocide” resolution that was passed by the Northern Provincial Council is a calculated act to whip up ethnic frenzy in a country that is going through a democratic transition, trying to reconcile with its past and reform its democratic institutions. It was a calculated act because the resolution had been put on back-burner after it was first tabled in October last year by NPC hardliners.

Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran & TNA Leader R. Sampanthan

Chief Minister CV Wigneswaran & TNA Leader R. Sampanthan

Then, R. Sampanthan, the TNA leader himself cautioned NPC members against dabbling with contentious issues, claiming that the TNA hierarchy would decide on those matters of national importance. The official position of the TNA on the resolution was articulated in a statement issued by the party at that time.

It said “it would be improper and inappropriate for the Northern Provincial Council or any other political body to make pronouncements in the form of resolutions or otherwise on matters of evidence and law currently being considered by the OSIL (OHCHR Investigation on Sri Lanka).

Continue reading ‘“Genocide” Resolution by Northern Provincial Council is Calculated Act to Whip up Ethnic Frenzy’ »

“Christianophobia”: Continuing Persecution and Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in the Middle East

By Rupert Shortt

The beheading of 21 Coptic Christians in Libya by forces sympathetic to Islamic State over recent days is sadly not an isolated case. On the contrary, it is the latest of countless outrages perpetrated against Christians in or near the Church’s Biblical heartlands over many years.

The latest victims were migrant workers from Upper Egypt. The announcement by the authorities in Cairo of retaliatory bombing raids on terrorist training camps in Libya should not blind us to an inconvenient truth – that more than 600,000 Christians have left Egypt over the past 30 years under both Islamist and supposedly secular regimes. Many got out because their homes or churches or businesses had been firebombed.

Before travelling to Egypt to research my book Christianophobia, I interviewed immigrant Copts in Britain whose stories formed a pattern. One, a senior GP, explained how no Christian medical student at his university in Asyut, Upper Egypt, had been placed in the “Good”, “Very Good” or “Excellent” classes in their final exams. The injustice convinced him that he would never prosper in his own country, especially with the rise during the 1970s of the militant Gama Islamiya, whose members dominated some campuses. “They started attacking Christian students,” he told me, “barging into our rooms and tearing down pictures of the Virgin Mary and other religious materials. A fight ensued. I and other Christians were expelled from university accommodation, but the Muslims who caused trouble were allowed to remain.”

Continue reading ‘“Christianophobia”: Continuing Persecution and Ethnic Cleansing of Christians in the Middle East’ »

90th Birthday of Prof. Siri Gunasinghe one of the most Influential Contributors to Modern Sinhala Culture

By

Dr. Sarath Amunugama

Siri Gunasinghe, one of the most influential contributors to modern Sinhala culture, reaches the age of ninety this week. This short essay seeks to outline some of his many gifts as well as to extend my sincere thanks for a wonderful friendship that spans over five decades.

As young undergraduates who entered the idyllic setting of the Peradeniya University in the late fifties, we were blessed with the opportunity of associating not only some of the finest minds in the country but also teachers on whom learning sat lightly. There was not a trace of pomposity in them and they were always ready to help their young students to match up to their potential, be it in the tutorial class or outside in music, theatre, poetry or games, through friendly interaction.Of all these teachers Siri was outstanding for his knowledge, varied interests and most of all for his élan or style. Just back with a doctorate from the Sorbonne, he brought a delightful Gallic informality much to the envy of other teachers and the delight of us, his close young admirers and supporters.

Continue reading ‘90th Birthday of Prof. Siri Gunasinghe one of the most Influential Contributors to Modern Sinhala Culture’ »

“The Water Buffalo, A Memorial and Dirty Dishwater”-Three Poems by Siri Gunasinghe

Three Poems by Siri Gunasinghe Translated by Professor Ranjini Obeyesekere

Siri Gunasinghe-(b: February 18, 1925 (age 90), Galle, Sri Lanka)

Siri Gunasinghe-(b: February 18, 1925 (age 90), Galle, Sri Lanka)

Water Buffalo, in Yala-pic: by PhantomMenace-Colombo/Singapore

Water Buffalo, in Yala-pic: by PhantomMenace-Colombo/Singapore

1. The Water Buffalo

My beard on fire

in haste, I was running, running down in the dawn,

bearing the burdens of life

all on my back;

at the edge of the road, in a large clump of grass

like a fat merchant spread eagled on his easy-chair

I saw you lie.

Both eyes closed;

and at the earth-shattering

battering of my feet

you did not even start.

Ears turned down;

my sky-thundering

lightning-like haste

did not surprise you.

Teeth unbrushed

face unwashed,

in the mountain’s moist lap

of lush marsh grass

mud splashed.

What if, like you

I too

could laze?

Continue reading ‘“The Water Buffalo, A Memorial and Dirty Dishwater”-Three Poems by Siri Gunasinghe’ »

Inaugural Colombo Bird Race on February 21st 2015 From 6.30 am to 10.30 am

The Federation of Environmental Organizations of Sri Lanka (FEO) in partnership with the Field Ornithology Group of Sri Lanka (FOG SL) and supported by Otara, will launch the inaugural Colombo Bird Race on the 21st of February 2015.

Our objective is to raise awareness of the spectacular range of our urban wildlife in and around Colombo and generate an interest in conserving green spaces within our city. Colombo with its old growth avenues and wetlands is home to a remarkable range of resident birds species. These species numbers are further enhanced during the winter months by migratory birds.

Continue reading ‘Inaugural Colombo Bird Race on February 21st 2015 From 6.30 am to 10.30 am’ »

Only Truth and Accountability will bring Closure and Save the Government: Corruption, Human Rights Abuses, and War Crimes

By Jude Fernando

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it—always” Mahatma Gandhi

“Freedom for the wolves has often meant death to the sheep.”

― Isaiah Berlin

While the government may be able to successfully introduce constitutional reforms to curb the powers of the Executive and rehabilitate the electoral system, its economic policies will not produce many tangible results in just 100 days, as the public may expect. The government’s survival in the next general election is likely to be largely determined by how it responds to the two-pronged issue of justice: corruption under the Rajapaksa regime, and accountability for allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes committed during the last phase of the Sri Lankan civil war.

These two issues are equally important and interconnected, and prioritizing one over the other could cost the government the next election. The reasons for the Rajapaksa regime’s rise and fall, and the public’s trust in the Maithripala regime’s promise of good governance, are inextricably related to these two issues.

One can understand the Rajapaksa regime’s survival for ten years – despite its record of abuses of power and dismantling of democracy – and its subsequent fall, only in relation to the means by which it maintained power. Its skillful manipulation of public fears legitimized its denial and procrastination of fulfilling domestic and international obligations. In doing so, it was able to avoid accountability for allegations of human rights abuses during and after the war, and deflect attention away from its failure to provide meaningful devolution of power to the country’s northern and eastern regions.

The Maithripala government cannot save the country from such a dark political legacy if those accused of corruption escape scrutiny. Nor can it ignore domestic and international demands for accountability and transitional justice. To do so risks falling prey to diabolical extremists who have made the rather preposterous claim that giving into those demands is hostile and diametrically opposed to the existential interests of the Sinhala community. It is equally important not to provide opportunities for those sinister forces conspiring to prevent the Tamil community from collaborating with government.

The government’s responses to these challenges will determine its success in restoring good governance and justice, although these challenges do not necessarily arise from the same context and require different responses. The consequences of revealing the truth about corruption is no different to revealing the truth about human rights abuses and war crimes.

Continue reading ‘Only Truth and Accountability will bring Closure and Save the Government: Corruption, Human Rights Abuses, and War Crimes’ »

“Maha Siva Rathri”: The Great Night of Lord Siva Observed this year on Feb 17

By

Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Mahasivarathri or ‘the great night of Lord Siva’ is a celebration of Siva’s spirit, celebrated by Hindus the world over.

It falls on the fourteenth day of the lunar fortnight and is considered the most important day for Siva worshippers and marked with special celebrations.

Hindus around the world celebrating “MahaSivarathri” this year onFebruary 17th

Sivarathri means ‘the spiritual night of Lord Siva,’ who has 1,008 names, being the God of Destruction tasked to destroy evil and ignorance. Sivarathri symbolizes the regeneration of the human soul by being one with the divine. The festival is celebrated during the Tamil month of Maasi which lasts from mid February to mid March.
Continue reading ‘“Maha Siva Rathri”: The Great Night of Lord Siva Observed this year on Feb 17’ »

Biyagama SLFP Members Defy National Organizer Premajayantha and Unanimously Pick Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister Candidate

By Kamal Bogoda

In Godakawela, Ratnapura District-Jan, 2015-pic via: twitter.com/PresRajapaksa

In Godakawela, Ratnapura District-Jan, 2015-pic via: twitter.com/PresRajapaksa

At the first meeting attended by new National Organiser of the SLFP Susil Premajayantha at Biyagama with over 1,000 party members, it was unanimously decided by the SLFP Central Committee there that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa should be the Prime Ministerial Candidate at the next general election.

Continue reading ‘Biyagama SLFP Members Defy National Organizer Premajayantha and Unanimously Pick Mahinda Rajapaksa as Prime Minister Candidate’ »

JVP Vehemently Condemns the Resolution Adopted by the Northern Provincial Council

The resolution adopted by the Northern Provincial Council is another extension of the arm of communalism. When masses stretch their hands for national unity the communalists unable to comprehend the new political situation that has been created or willfully wriggle into the dark caves of communalism states a media release issued by the Political Bureau of the JVP.

The JVP states:

Recently, the Northern Provincial Council adopted a resolution for an international investigation for war crimes rejecting any local inquiry mechanism. It also proposed that the investigation report should be presented to the Human Rights Council in March. This proposal would not have any legal commitment but the JVP focuses on several political factors the resolution brings out.

Continue reading ‘JVP Vehemently Condemns the Resolution Adopted by the Northern Provincial Council’ »

Western Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga will Participate at Nugegoda Rally Calling for Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM Candidate

Western province Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga yesterday declared that he would participate at today’s Nugegoda meeting organised by some of UPFA’s constituents calling for former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s return to active politics.

The National Freedom Front (NFF), the MEP and the Democratic Left Front (DLF) want the SLFP to declare Mahinda Rajapaksa as the UPFA’s prime ministerial candidate.

Ranatunga said that he couldn’t turn his back on the former President after having faithfully supported his recent presidential election campaign.

Continue reading ‘Western Chief Minister Prasanna Ranatunga will Participate at Nugegoda Rally Calling for Mahinda Rajapaksa as PM Candidate’ »

President Sirisena Tells Indian Leaders that his Govt wants to be Friends with both India and China.

By S Venkat Narayan

NEW DELHI, February 17: Visiting Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena has conveyed to India’s leaders here that his government wishes to be friends with both India and China, but will not be aligned with either. It will stay non-aligned vis-a-vis New Delhi and Beijing.

In his talks with President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders here on Monday, Sirisena pointed out that he was paying his first overseas visit as President to India. And he would worship at the Mahabodhi temple in Bodh Gaya and at Hindu deity Lord Venkateswara’s temple at Tirupati today on the auspicious occasion of Maha Shivaratri.

President Sirisena said his government wished to maintain cordial relations with China as well.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena Tells Indian Leaders that his Govt wants to be Friends with both India and China.’ »

Gen.Rambukpotha Replaces Gen.Ratnayake as Army Commander on Feb 22nd;15 Generals and 3 Brigadiers Transferred.

Major General Jagath Rambukpotha will be appointed as the Commander of the Army with effect from February 22, informed sources said.

Current Army Commander Daya Ratnayake is to be retired from the position on February 21.

Prior to the decision taken to replace Gen.Ratnayake with Gen.Rambukpotha as army Commander Gen.Daya Ratnayake transferred Fifteen Major Generals and three Brigadiers of the Army with immediate effect

Continue reading ‘Gen.Rambukpotha Replaces Gen.Ratnayake as Army Commander on Feb 22nd;15 Generals and 3 Brigadiers Transferred.’ »

India Scores Over China as Sirisena and Modi Sign Sri Lanka’s First Civil Nuclear Agreement

By

Suhasini Haidar

In a sign of a closer strategic partnership between Sri Lanka’s new government and India, President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Narendra Modi concluded a civil nuclear cooperation agreement on Monday, which is Sri Lanka’s first nuclear partnership with any country.

Calling the bilateral agreement on civil nuclear cooperation “another demonstration of our mutual trust,” Mr. Modi said India and Sri Lanka had also agreed to expand defence and strategic cooperation, including a “trilateral format” with the Maldives.

Mr. Modi is expected to visit Colombo in mid-March, and sources told The Hindu that he was likely to include Male in his itinerary.

Continue reading ‘India Scores Over China as Sirisena and Modi Sign Sri Lanka’s First Civil Nuclear Agreement’ »

TNA Eastern Councillors to Decide Whether to Accept Portfolios in Provincial Administration-Party Leader Sampanthan

by

Chaminda Perera

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader and Member of Parliament R. Sambandan yesterday refuted media reports that the party has appointed a committee to take a decision on whether it should accept Ministerial portfolios in the Eastern Provincial Council.

Continue reading ‘TNA Eastern Councillors to Decide Whether to Accept Portfolios in Provincial Administration-Party Leader Sampanthan’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Sends Special Message to SLFP Conclave Insisting he would do Nothing to Cause Division in Party.

A strong show of unity was evidenced at a special meeting of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party’s (SLFP) Executive Committee and National Working Committees held yesterday (Saturday) at ‘Ape Gama’ Battaramulla. In addition to key appointments of office bearers and the setting up of a National Advisory Council (Anushasaka Sabhawa), the party reaffirmed support for newly elected President Maithreepala Sirisena.

While the party unanimously elected Anura Priyadarshana Yapa as General Secretary, Kurunegala District MP S.B. Nawinna was appointed party Treasurer. Susil Premajayantha was appointed as the party’s National Organizer, a post that had been left vacant after the resignation of Parliamentarian Basil Rajapaksa.

Health Minister and Cabinet Spokesman Rajitha Senaratne was selected as the party’s new Vice President.

The National Advisory Council comprises of former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, former Prime Ministers D.M. Jayaratne and Ratnasiri Wickramanayake and two others to be appointed by the party’s leader.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Sends Special Message to SLFP Conclave Insisting he would do Nothing to Cause Division in Party.’ »

UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Gets UN Probe on Sri Lanka Report Release Deferred by 6 Months From March to September.


(Text of Press Release issued on February 16th 2015 by the Office of the UN high Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva)

Zeid Ra'ad Zeid Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights during the press conference. 16 October 2014. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights during the press conference. 16 October 2014. UN Photo / Jean-Marc Ferré

GENEVA (16 February 2015) – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on Monday explained his recommendation to the Human Rights Council to delay the consideration of a long-awaited report into alleged human rights violations during the conflict in Sri Lanka for six months until September 2015.*

The High Commissioner stressed that the deferral of the report was “for one time only,” and guaranteed that the report would be published by September. His request for deferral was granted by the Council on Monday afternoon.

Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Chief Zeid Gets UN Probe on Sri Lanka Report Release Deferred by 6 Months From March to September.’ »

15 Overseas Tamil Groups Write to UN Human Rights Chief Endorsing Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s “Genocide of Tamils” Resolution

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

Sri Lanka’s efforts to delay the presentation of a controversial report on accountability issues have suffered a serious setback with 16 Tamil groups based in Europe, America, Australia and South Africa demanding that the on-going external investigative process should go ahead as scheduled regardless of President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s defeat at Jan. 2015 poll.

They want the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein to present the report at the next Geneva session in March, 2015 as his predecessor Navaneetham Pillay promised in June last year.

President of US Tamil Political Action Council (USTPAC) Dr. Karunyan Arulanantham, in a letter dated Feb 14, 2015, addressed to Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein has emphasized that the on-going process shouldn’t be halted merely on the basis of President Maithripala Sirisena’s assurance to conduct an impartial and transparent domestic investigative process. Arulanantham declared that Tamils had no faith in Sri Lankan institutions.

Continue reading ‘15 Overseas Tamil Groups Write to UN Human Rights Chief Endorsing Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s “Genocide of Tamils” Resolution’ »

New Delhi Must Make it Clear to Tamil Politicians in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu that India is Opposed to Genocide Resolution by NPC


BY DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

INDIA-USA-CHINA: THE NEW GOVERNMENT’S FOREIGN POLICY

“…we’re going to talk today about President Sirisena’s thoughts about how to move Sri Lanka away from 30 years of war with the Tamils…” Secretary of State John Kerry, Feb 12, 2015

Given that India is Sri Lanka’s only neighbor and that it is a huge country and an Asian power, it is correct that Sri Lanka regards the management of its relations with India as the top priority. Therefore, it is appropriate that the President Sirisena, preceded by the new Government’s Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera should make New Delhi their first destination. President Sirisena is quite correct to follow this up with a visit to China in March.

President Maithripala Sirisena with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Monday, Feb 16th-pic: via The Hindu

President Maithripala Sirisena with Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House, in New Delhi on Monday, Feb 16th-pic: via twitter.com/MEAIndia

However, the new Foreign Minister visited Washington DC, and indeed London, before he visited Beijing. This is most unfortunate, given that Sri Lanka’s main identity should be as an Asian country and that China is perhaps the most important Asian power and certainly one of the two top Asian powers, with the other being India. Given the multifaceted strategic partnership, support and solidarity that China has always and unhesitatingly extended Sri Lanka for decades, it would have been both sagacious and ethically correct for Foreign Minister Samaraweera to visit Beijing after his visit to our neighbor New Delhi and before his visit to any other capital, and most certainly before he visited Washington DC. His failure to do so and his visit to the UK and USA prior to China is a clear indication of the external relations doctrine of the new Cabinet.

I emphasize the term ‘the new Cabinet’, because I believe that notwithstanding his occasional pronouncements during the elections, President Sirisena is naturally inclined to be a friend of China and to balance between India and China, rather than tilt to India, the USA or any emergent Indo-US axis. However, the new Cabinet is emerging as an autonomous power center, because President Sirisena has chosen not to exercise his Constitutional right to chair Cabinet meetings, and it is the Prime Minister who does so.
Continue reading ‘New Delhi Must Make it Clear to Tamil Politicians in Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu that India is Opposed to Genocide Resolution by NPC’ »

Sri Lankan President Sirisena Arrives in New Delhi Amidst Great Expectations of a “New Beginning” in Indo-Lanka Ties.

By

Suhasini Haidar

With a promise for a “new beginning” in India-Sri Lanka ties, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena arrived in New Delhi on Sunday evening, ahead of a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday.

This is Mr. Sirisena’s first visit abroad after he defeated Mahinda Rajapaksa in January, and his spokesperson Lakshman Kiriella described it as a visit “mainly to establish a good rapport with New Delhi.”

Relations with the Rajapaksa regime had suffered a strain over its closeness with China, and reached a flashpoint over Sri Lanka’s decision to allow Chinese submarines to dock in Colombo harbour twice in 2014.

Asked about the new government’s view on the issue, Mr. Kiriella said: “Our relations with China will not be detrimental to India.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan President Sirisena Arrives in New Delhi Amidst Great Expectations of a “New Beginning” in Indo-Lanka Ties.’ »

TNA Leader Sampanthan says “Genocide of Tamils” Resolution by NPC Reflects Consensual Thinking Among Members

By

Meera Srinivasan

New Delhi must continue pushing Colombo towards the implementation of the 13th Amendment, senior Tamil leader R. Sampanthan said.

Speaking exclusively to The Hindu on Friday, the Leader of the Tamil National Alliance – the main party representing Sri Lanka’s northern Tamils – said he wished both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena well for “successful talks” in New Delhi.

President Sirisena is scheduled to leave for India on Sunday on his first State visit after assuming office on January 9, following a victory over his predecessor Mahinda Rajapaksa.

The TNA supported Mr. Sirisena in the presidential elections, in a rare convergence of diverse political forces, including Sinhala-nationalist and Muslim parties. While the President got a considerable share of the rural Sinhalese votes, the votes from northern Tamils, Muslims in the east and plantation Tamils were crucial to his victory.

Observing that the northern Tamils had made “a substantial contribution for regime change”, the TNA veteran said they looked upon President Sirisena, “who is not extremist or nationalist in thinking” to bring about some “radical changes.”

Continue reading ‘TNA Leader Sampanthan says “Genocide of Tamils” Resolution by NPC Reflects Consensual Thinking Among Members’ »

Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Must Ensure the UN Probe Report on Sri Lanka is Released in March Instead of Trying to Delay It-The Island

(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Island” of February 16th 2015 Under the heading”Geneva report as acid test”)

A government effort to secure UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s assistance to have the March 25 release of UNHRC war crimes report on Sri Lanka delayed has come a cropper.

The UNSG reportedly told Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera at a recent meeting in New York that it was an issue for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

Minister Samaraweera has said in Washington that the situation at home is fragile and, therefore, the government is seeking a postponement of the release of the report at issue till September.

We thought the situation was quite stable here. The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government is backed by all parties represented in Parliament. Its budget has been passed with a huge majority. There is no way the SLFP can unsettle the government with President Maithripala Sirisena at its helm.

When the two main parties cooperate in this manner how can the situation be described as fragile?

Continue reading ‘Sirisena-Wickremesinghe Govt Must Ensure the UN Probe Report on Sri Lanka is Released in March Instead of Trying to Delay It-The Island’ »

Finance Minister Karunanayake is Playing to the Gallery by Portraying Himself as a Robin Hood Through his Interim Budget


By a Special Correspondent,Daily FT

It is extremely disappointing, and distasteful, to see the hypocrisy displayed by most politicians in their attempts to win the public vote.

For example, the United National Party which has always called for increased efficiency in the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) is now openly stating, at various public fora, through their senior party members, that they are not pressing for radical change in the SOEs, right now, because it would jeopardise their chances of winning at the general elections.

How long, and to what low, can one go in compromising its entrenched beliefs just to win an election? The UNP is abandoning its traditional free market thinking in pursuing its desire come into power at any cost more or less in the same way that Esau sold his birth right to Jacob for a bowl of stew.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Karunanayake is Playing to the Gallery by Portraying Himself as a Robin Hood Through his Interim Budget’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe Should Learn From Chandrika Kumaratunga on not Giving in to Pressure Groups.

By

C.A.Chandraprema

At the time the then joint opposition started their campaign last year, the UNP despite being by far the biggest opposition party was regarded only as the first among equals in the opposition line up. But after winning, they have managed to maneuver themselves into a dominant position in the new government. That was something they did well. But where they have not fared too well is in not being able to rein in the lunatic fringe of the opposition coalition they led.

If the UNP has any ambitions of ruling this country beyond the 100 day honeymoon period, then they will have to rein in the adventurers, radicals and anarchists who are in partnership with them. They should halt the present trend of heads of institutions being removed through trade union action. The UNP actually started this trend because they played the lead role in removing the Chief Justice Mohan Peiris through a combination of street action and executive fiat.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe Should Learn From Chandrika Kumaratunga on not Giving in to Pressure Groups.’ »

Rajapaksas are not the First Rulers to Self-Destruct Through Hubris

by

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“…half ready to believe

That a crippled trust might walk.”

Seamus Heaney (The Cure at Troy)

Walter Benjamin called fairytale ‘the first tutor of mankind’ (Illuminations). One of the most evocative warnings about the dangers of ignoring limits comes precisely from a fairytale – the much-narrated story of the fisherman, his wife and the wish-granting fish.

In the tale, doom does not come unheralded. As the wife ups her demands, nature responds with increasing rage. On his last visit, the hapless fisherman is greeted with a devastating storm and a sea which “came in with black waves as high as towers and mountains…” Doom is avoidable and inevitable; a different path is possible but the fisherman’s wife is too possessed by hubris to see it.

The Rajapaksas are not the first rulers to self-destruct through hubris; nor will they be the last. Had Mahinda Rajapaksa paused to ponder the once mighty Vellupillai Pirapaharan’s humiliating end, instead of celebrating it unceasingly, he may have understood how much of it was self-wrought.

Continue reading ‘Rajapaksas are not the First Rulers to Self-Destruct Through Hubris’ »

Vijaya Kumaranatunga was a Symbol of True Ethnic Reconciliation.

By

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera

Vijaya Kumaranatunga was brutally assassinated on February 16, 1988. This year marks the 27th death anniversary of Vijaya who was the founder of Sri Lanka Mahajana Party (SLMP) which used to be the third largest party at a point in Sri Lanka’s political history.

Vijaya and the founding members of the SLMP, Ven. Podaramulle Thero, T. B. Illangarathna, Chandrika Bandaranayake Kumaratunga with many others created this party as an alternative to the UNP and SLFP.

Unfortunately, the SLMP almost died down as it lost many members, totally about 117 who were assassinated during the 1988 insurrection. Vijaya was the first to be killed from the SLMP.

I pen down an appreciation in honor of the close friendship my father Ossie Abeyagoonasekera shared with him. Vijaya was commemorated by my father until his death in 1994.

Continue reading ‘Vijaya Kumaranatunga was a Symbol of True Ethnic Reconciliation.’ »

Conduct of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ruwan Wiijewardena Made him Present Resolution on Genocide of Tamils Stated Wigneswaran

By

S.Thavarajah

(Text of a press release issued by Northern Provincial Council Leader of Opposition S. Thavarajah on Feb 15 2015)

S. Thavarajah, Leader of Opposition, Northern Provincial Council

S. Thavarajah, Leader of Opposition,
Northern Provincial Council

Chief Minister C. V. Wigneswaran has told the President Maithiripala Sirisena that the resolution “Sri Lanka’s Genocide Against Tamils” passed by the Northern Provincial Council on the 10th of this month was not aimed at President Sirisena or his Government but was targeting previous administrations, particularly the Rajapaksa regime.

When he was called for a meeting by the President two days after passing the resolution on the 12th of February, 2015 in order to get clarification on the resolution, he had held the hands of the President and assured him that the resolution was not against the President and the present Government, according to media reports.

During the course of his speech, before presenting the resolution in the council, he read out a statement vehemently attacking the Government and the Prime Minister, in a harsh oratorically worded Tamil language.
Continue reading ‘Conduct of Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ruwan Wiijewardena Made him Present Resolution on Genocide of Tamils Stated Wigneswaran’ »

Group of MP’s and Local Body Heads Create Ruckus at SLFP meeting Demanding that Mahinda Rajapaksa be made Prime Ministerial Candidate

By Anura Balasuriya

There was confusion at the ‘Ape Gama’, Battaramulla on Saturday during a meeting of the SLFP Executive Committee and the National Working Committee with members representing the local bodies holding a protest demanding that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa be made the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate or they would not support any other candidate.

They challenged the hierarchy to form a government without Mahinda Rajapaksa if it could.

As President Maithripala Sirisena left the premises the confusion reigned.

Continue reading ‘Group of MP’s and Local Body Heads Create Ruckus at SLFP meeting Demanding that Mahinda Rajapaksa be made Prime Ministerial Candidate’ »

What Sri Lankan President Sirisena Hopes to gain from Indian Prime Minister Modi During his New Delhi Visit.

by

Colonel R Hariharan

Sri Lanka’s newly elected President Maithripala Sirisena is visiting New Delhi on February 16, his first port of call after becoming President.

President Maithripala Sirisena being welcomed by India's Minister of State for shipping P Radhakrishnan in New Delhi on Sunday, Feb, 15-pic: facebook.com/maithripalas

President Maithripala Sirisena being welcomed by India’s Minister of State for shipping P Radhakrishnan in New Delhi on Sunday, Feb, 15-pic: facebook.com/maithripalas

Narendra Modi’s spectacular rise as a national leader from the sidelines of Gujarat state, hopping over seniors in the party hierarchy, to lead the nation is a real life example for many ambitious politicians to emulate.

Did Modi provide a role model for the newly elected Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena’s success?

Continue reading ‘What Sri Lankan President Sirisena Hopes to gain from Indian Prime Minister Modi During his New Delhi Visit.’ »

President Sirisena “Insults and Warns”the UNP by Undermining Ranil’s Nephew Ruwan the State Defence Minister


By

C.A.Chandraprema

Had the SLFP executive committee meeting held yesterday been mishandled, it could have resulted in a seismic shift in the political landscape of Sri Lanka. But President Maithripala Sirisena steered clear of making any contentious changes. He remains the party chairman, Anura Priyadarshana Yapa the general secretary, Susil Premajayantha has been appointed national organiser and S.B.Nawinna the treasurer.

An Advisory Council made up of former presidents and prime ministers has also been set up. The SLFP has been retained in one piece. There was little room really, to make any contentious appointments as MPs like Vidura Wickramanayake were openly saying that if any ‘unsuitable’ persons who had not been in the SLFP for a long time were recommended for high positions in the party, he would contest such positions himself. Wickramanayake even said that Maithripala Sirisena was a ‘prisoner’ of the UNP.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena “Insults and Warns”the UNP by Undermining Ranil’s Nephew Ruwan the State Defence Minister’ »

Thousands of Ordinary People Flock to Tangalle Every week to pay their Respects to Mahinda Rajapaksa.

By Vasana Surangika Vithanage and Sunanda Gardiyawasam

What is Mahinda Rajapaksa doing now, is a question that many people ask.

Now he speaks to thousands of people who visit him daily at his Carlton residence in Tangalle. Bus loads of people visit him daily. He is the leader who reconnected the North and South of Sri Lanka. He is definitely the leader who could claim the credit for winning the war. But, people brought Mahinda to the level of an ordinary citizen within nine hours, after his defeat at the 2015 presidential poll.

He had to retire prematurely as the fifth President of Sri Lanka. This is the nature of politics. Defeat, as usual, teaches us more important lessons.He was the celebrity of Sri Lanka for the past nine years. He lived in Temple Trees and travelled around the country surrounded by people, officials, servants and security. After a month since his defeat, we visited him in Tangalle, to see how he is spending his retirement.

One must visit him in Tangalle during the weekend to witness the respect he gets from the people as a genuine village baiya as he called himself during the budget debate. Earlier, people travelled to the South from the North to worship God Kataragama, but now they stop at the Carlton bungalow in Tangalle, to get a glimpse of the former leader of Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Thousands of Ordinary People Flock to Tangalle Every week to pay their Respects to Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s Genocide Resolution is First Step on a Roadmap to Political Exit from the Sri Lankan State.

By DR DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

THE WRITING ON THE WALL: HOW SRI LANKA IS TO BE DISMANTLED

If a woman files a formal complaint or publicly accuses a man of repeated conjugal rape, attempted murder and the serial killing of her children over the years, it is hardly likely that she plans to reconcile with him and remain within the marriage. On the contrary it is a sure sign that she is intent on leaving him and wants the authorities to intervene.

CVW NPC EELAM SL

If the charges are untrue, then we would conclude that the woman is wittingly maligning the husband and causing damage to his image and harm to his standing in society, to the maximum extent possible.

So it is with an elected body which passes a resolution claiming “historic and recent genocide”. That is not a step taken by any group that wishes to say within a single sovereign state or envisages itself doing so. It is a step on a roadmap to political exit from the state.

To those who see nothing wrong with Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s political behavior I would commend the opening paragraph of the Editorial of the respected newspaper The Hindu, which summarizes the recent ‘Genocide’ resolution of the Northern Provincial Council and its implications, thus:

‘The Tamil question has been brought centre-stage with the elected council of Sri Lanka’s Northern Province passing a resolution accusing successive governments in Colombo of carrying out genocide against the minority community over six decades. Moved by Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran in the Provincial Council, the resolution demands that the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights investigate “historical” and “recent” instances of genocide and submit its report at the session of the Human Rights Council next month. It also asks the UN Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court. Thirdly, it asks courts in countries with universal jurisdiction over the alleged events and perpetrators, “including but not limited to the United States”, to prosecute the crimes. The resolution roundly rejects any domestic investigations.’ (‘Playing Poker in Sri Lanka’, Editorial, The Hindu, Feb 13, 2015).
Continue reading ‘Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s Genocide Resolution is First Step on a Roadmap to Political Exit from the Sri Lankan State.’ »

President Sirisena re-structures Upper Echelons of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party with Fresh Appointments.

By Niranjala Ariywansha & Skandha Gunasekara

Effecting dramatic changes to the upper echelons of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, President Maithripala Sirsena yesterday removed a few Mahinda Rajapaksa confidantes from their positions, while also dismissing former Tamil rebel, turned politician, Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan aka Karuna, when the Executive Committee met yesterday at Battaramulla.

Parliamentarians A. H. M. Fowzie, W. D. J. Seneviratne, Nimal Siripala de Silva and Janaka Bandara Tennakoon were appointed as Senior Vice Presidents of the party while Minister of Health, Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of Lands M. K. A. D. S. Gunawardhana,MPs Kumar Welgama, C. B. Ratnayake, S. B. Dissanayake, Piyasena Gamage, Mahinda Yapa Abeywardhana, Felix Perera and Sarath Amunugama were appointed as a Vice Presidents of the Party.

Continue reading ‘President Sirisena re-structures Upper Echelons of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party with Fresh Appointments.’ »

Has State Minister of Higher Education Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha Resigned Over the Kshanika Hirimburegama “Forced” Resignation Issue?

State Minister of higher Education Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha has resigned from his ministerial portfolio, reliable sources told Ada Derana.

Rajiva Wijesinha

Rajiva Wijesinha

The MP, who defected from the UPFA government to support Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential Election, was reportedly distraught in the wake of the pressure exerted on UGC Chairperson Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama to resign.

According to sources, Prof. Wijesinha has informed Minister of Highways Higher Education and Investment Promotion, Kabir Hashim, regarding his decision.

However, attempts to contact Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha regarding the matter were unsuccessful.

Continue reading ‘Has State Minister of Higher Education Prof. Rajiva Wijesinha Resigned Over the Kshanika Hirimburegama “Forced” Resignation Issue?’ »

State Minister Rajiva Wijesinha Protests to President About Higher Education Minister Kabir Hashim Forcing UGC Chairperson to Resign Due to Pressure from FUTA


State Minister of Higher Education Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe today said that it is “completely wrong” to bow down to pressure from groups and remove the UGC Chairperson, without even probing the allegations against her.

Prof. Kshanika Hirimburegama had resigned as the Chairperson of the University Grants Commission (UGC), amid pressure from the Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA).

She had tendered her resignation to President Maithripala Sirisena through the Minister of Highways, Higher Education and Investment Promotion, Kabir Hashim, on 9 February.

Hirimburegama had said that she received a letter from Minister Kabir Hashim stating that the President has ordered her to resign with immediate effect. However, Prof. Wijesinghe had expressed “shock” at the sudden move which took place while he was away abroad.

Continue reading ‘State Minister Rajiva Wijesinha Protests to President About Higher Education Minister Kabir Hashim Forcing UGC Chairperson to Resign Due to Pressure from FUTA’ »

Chandrika, Mahinda, Ratnasiri, DM Jayaratna and Alavi Maulana Appointed as “Advisers” of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.

Some members of the SLFP Working Committee (WC) staged a walkout protesting against being kept in the dark about the new appointments to the party hierarchy, at yesterday’s Central Committee meeting.

SLFPLOGO

After the new appointments were approved with President Maithripala Sirisena in the chair as SLFP leader, the WC members raised issue over them being sidelined from the process of appointing office bearers.

After President Sirisena left the ‘Janakala Kendaraya’ at Battaramulla, where the event was held, the WC activists walked out and protested outside the premises.

Continue reading ‘Chandrika, Mahinda, Ratnasiri, DM Jayaratna and Alavi Maulana Appointed as “Advisers” of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party.’ »

Former President Premadasa’s “Right Hand” Paskaralingam back in Sri Lanka to Assist Prime Minister and Finance Minister


by Maheen Senanayake

“Mr. R Paskaralingam is back in the country and is helping the PM’s office, the Finance Ministry and several other institutions,” Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake and Assistant Leader of the UNP said yesterday.

“He has a wealth of knowledge to share and all of us have much to learn from him,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Former President Premadasa’s “Right Hand” Paskaralingam back in Sri Lanka to Assist Prime Minister and Finance Minister’ »

No Confidence Motion Against Amaratunga was Aborted as 69 MP’s Would have Lost Pensions if Parliament was Dissolved.

By Rasika Jayakody

MP Pensions are clearly more important than accusations against Minister John Amaratunga of encouraging an attack against the Chairman of the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha (File Photo) MP Pensions are clearly more important than accusations against Minister John Amaratunga of encouraging an attack against the Chairman of the Wattala Pradeshiya Sabha (File Photo)

No confidence motion, which was presented against Public Order Minister John Amaratunga with the signatures of 114 MPs in the House, certainly came as a shock to the UNP-led Maithrpala Sirisena government. It was a clear indication that the United People’s Freedom Alliance, which is the main opposition coalition at the moment, still wields the majority power in Parliament. By presenting a no-confidence motion with the endorsement of 114 MPs, the opposition showed that it could still ‘topple’ the government although the government managed to get its interim budget passed with a majority of 163 votes – a majority that set a new record in the country’s political history.

It was no coincidence that the handing over of the no-confidence motion and the second reading vote of the interim budget of the new government fell on the same day. The opposition, which had already decided to vote in favour of the budget, knew that the budget would receive almost unanimous endorsement from the House, giving a strong political edge to the United National Party. The opposition needed a simultaneous exercise to show its strength in Parliament, while supporting the interim budget which introduced a string of subsidies and price reductions to the general public of the country. That was where the no-confidence motion against Minister John Amaratunga came into play.

Continue reading ‘No Confidence Motion Against Amaratunga was Aborted as 69 MP’s Would have Lost Pensions if Parliament was Dissolved.’ »

One man Parties led by Vasu, Dinesh, Wimal and Udaya need Mahinda Rajapaksa more than Mahinda Needs Them.

By Malinda Seneviratne

A group of essentially one-man parties have organized a rally. They’ve invited the 5.8 million who voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa in a losing cause on January 8, 2015 to attend. They have asked for a show of force.

Vasudeva Nanayakkara, Dinesh Gunawardena, Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila are all fiery speakers no doubt, but in terms of political endowments such as membership, party machinery and vote-getting ability outside of alignment with a major party, they are impoverished.

Today, with all MPs from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) pledging support to President Maithripala Sirisena and given their long standing antipathy to the United National Party (UNP), they do not have that political big tree so necessary for them to cling on to if they want to remain politically relevant.

They clearly need Mahinda Rajapaksa more than Mahinda Rajapaksa needs them.

Continue reading ‘One man Parties led by Vasu, Dinesh, Wimal and Udaya need Mahinda Rajapaksa more than Mahinda Needs Them.’ »

Are the UN Human Rights Commissioner and Human Rights Council Betraying the Victims of War by Doing a Horse Deal with Sri Lanka?

By

S. V. Kirubaharan

Sri Lanka is neither a rich country nor an arms-producing country.

Most of the arms used to kill over 200,000 Tamils were provided by certain deals with countries known as champions of human rights.

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met UN Ban ki-moon on 13 February 2015-pic: twitter.com/MEA_Sri_Lanka

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera met UN Ban ki-moon on 13 February 2015-pic: twitter.com/MEA_Sri_Lanka

Mahatma Gandhi of India, the father of non-violent struggle has still not been given a Nobel Peace prize. Then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Winston Churchill made some humiliating remarks about Mahatma Gandhi, saying he may have practiced non-violence but the out-comes of his actions were violent.
Continue reading ‘Are the UN Human Rights Commissioner and Human Rights Council Betraying the Victims of War by Doing a Horse Deal with Sri Lanka?’ »

Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran meets President Sirisena and “Explains” his Northern Provincial Council Resolution on “Genocide of Tamils”.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Former Supreme court judge and current Northern Province chief minister CV Wigneswaran met with President Maithripala Sirisena at the presidential secretariat in Colombo on Thursday February 12th and discussed a number of issues including the controversial resolution passed by the Northern provincial council accusing successive sri Lankan regimes of committing genocide of the Tamils of Sri Lanka in the past.

In a meeting described as “cordial and courteous” by official sources the Northern chief minister had reportedly explained the circumstances under which the resolution was drafted and presented by him to the northern council and how it was passed with the support of all TNA councillors and three Tamil members of the UPFA in the council.

Chief Minister Wigneswaran had held the hands of President Sirisena and assured him that the resolution was not aimed at President Sirisena or his Government but was targeting previous administrations particularly the Rajapaksa regime.(Incidently President Sirisena was a senior minister in the Government of Mahinda Rajapaksa until crossing over in November last year)

Chief minister Wigneswaran had also told President Sirisena that the resolution was an “expression of the emotions and feelings of the Tamil people” and was aimed at ensuring that the Tamil question remained a live issue on the international radar.

Continue reading ‘Northern Chief Minister Wigneswaran meets President Sirisena and “Explains” his Northern Provincial Council Resolution on “Genocide of Tamils”.’ »

Love’s Lingo ♥ by Poet Kaviyarasu Vairamuthu ♫

Katrin Mozhi – Rendered by Sujatha – Music – Vidyasagar – With an English Translation of Poem by Vairamuthu Featuring “LOVE” Sculpture by Robert Indiana at – 55th Street and 6th Avenue – NYC.

LOVE

lingo of the wind
is it tune or sound

lingo of flower
is it scent or color

lingo of shore
is it surf or wave

love’s lingo
is it what
glows in the eyes
or that
smothers in a kiss
Continue reading ‘Love’s Lingo ♥ by Poet Kaviyarasu Vairamuthu ♫’ »

“Kalyana Ranasinghe Way”: New York City street renamed after Sri Lankan American hero

via US Embassy, Colombo, Sri Lanka

For the first time in history, a road in the United States has been named after a person from Sri Lanka. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently named a street ‘Kalyana Ranasinghe Way’ to honor Mr. Kalyana Ranasinghe, a Sri Lankan American who died on duty working for the New York City Traffic Police last November. He was memorialized by the Police Commissioner in a touching tribute

Kalyana Ranasinghe

Kalyana Ranasinghe


Continue reading ‘“Kalyana Ranasinghe Way”: New York City street renamed after Sri Lankan American hero’ »

Politically Motivated Charges of Genocide by Serbia and Croatia Against Each Other were not Upheld Legally by the International Court of Justice After 16 Years of Hearing

By Natasha Kuhrt

Although the International Court of Justice has taken 16 years to decide that neither Serbia nor Croatia have a case against each other, the judgment is nevertheless of interest for several reasons.

Firstly, it reminds us that the ICJ is primarily a judicial organ (part of the United Nations system) but that it is sometimes asked to rule on what are primarily unresolved political issues between States (e.g. Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence).

ICJ UN LOGO

Furthermore, decisions of the ICJ have no binding force except between the parties and only for that case.

Secondly, it reminds us of the politically charged nature of the definition of genocide even in a court of law.

Why?
Continue reading ‘Politically Motivated Charges of Genocide by Serbia and Croatia Against Each Other were not Upheld Legally by the International Court of Justice After 16 Years of Hearing’ »

Tamil Civil Society Forum Does not want the UNHRC to Give Time and Space to the Sri Lankan Govt

(Text of letter sent on behalf of the Tamil Civil Society Forum to the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva)

Vavuniya,
12 February 2015

His Excellency Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Palais des Nations
CH-1211 Geneva 10,
Switzerland

Your Excellency,

OISL Inquiry

We write on behalf of the Tamil Civil Society Forum (TCSF), a network of more than 100 civil society activists from the North – East of Sri Lanka, in relation to the upcoming UN Human Rights Council session in March 2015 at which the report of your office’s inquiry on Sri Lanka (OISL) is due. TCSF has been an active campaigner for peace with truth and justice in Sri Lanka. As the OISL team is aware we have been engaged with the inquiry and hence take a keen interest as to its outcome.

We write to emphasise that the international investigation process set in motion through the UNHRC resolutions of 2012, 2013 and 2014 with the resolve to usher in accountability in Sri Lanka, has to continue despite the change in Government.

The Sri Lankan Government that took office under President Maithripala Sirisena on 09 January 2015 has spoken of its intentions to create a domestic mechanism to inquire into crimes committed during Sri Lanka’s civil war. It is quite clear from the reasons that are being given for this desire to set up a domestic mechanism that such announcements are driven by instrumental reasons in so far as they seek to postpone the release of the OISL inquiry report in March and/or seek a postponement of any action that the report may recommend.

Such a postponement this Government hopes, will help permanently dislodge the call for international investigations.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Civil Society Forum Does not want the UNHRC to Give Time and Space to the Sri Lankan Govt’ »

Generational Litany of Woes About the Decline and Fall of the English Language

THE English language, we all know, is in decline. The average schoolchild can hardly write, one author has recently warned. Well, not that recently perhaps. It was William Langland, author of “Piers Plowman”, who wrote that “There is not a single modern schoolboy who can compose verses or write a decent letter.” He died in 1386.

English has been getting worse ever since. In 1387, Ranulph Higden, a Benedictine monk and historian, found the culprit in language mixing: “By commiyxtion and mellyng, furst wiþ Danes and afterward wiþ Normans, in menye þe contray longage ys apeyred and som useþ strange wlaffyng chyteryng, harryng, and garryng grisbyttyng.” That is to say (in case your Middle English is rusty) that English speakers had taken to “strange, articulate utterance, chattering, snarling and harsh teeth-gnashing”, bad habits he put down to the mixing together of Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Norman French.

The wailing throughout the history of the language, by people convinced that the end is nigh, can be a bit exhausting over a full survey. But it holds a lesson: language is not constant. Change is—and anxiety about change is constant too. In 1577 Richard Stanihurst praised the English spoken by old English settlers in Ireland. Because of their distance from the mother country, they had not been affected by “habits redolent of disgusting newness”.

Continue reading ‘Generational Litany of Woes About the Decline and Fall of the English Language’ »

Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Questioned by CID over the Issue of Arsenals Maintained by Avant -Garde and Rakna Lanka Security Firms

The police Criminal Investigations Department (CID) questioned former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday on the weapons armoury maintained by a security firm which he had launched while he was in office.

pic courtesy of: defence.lk

pic courtesy of: defence.lk

Rajapaksa, the brother of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, was questioned at his residence in Colombo over the armoury maintained by Avant-Garde Security firms and his alleged links with Rakna Lanka Ltd.
Continue reading ‘Ex-Def Secy Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Questioned by CID over the Issue of Arsenals Maintained by Avant -Garde and Rakna Lanka Security Firms’ »

Will Mahinda Rajapaksa Speak at the Feb 18th Nugegoda Rally Organized by the Dinesh-Vasu-Wimal-Udaya Quartet?

By

Shamindra Ferdinando

The SLFP as well as UPFA constituents, the Communist Party and the LSSP have distanced themselves from an ambitious project meant to bring back former President Mahinda Rajapaksa to active politics ahead of dissolution of parliament in late April.

Authoritative political sources told The Island that the SLFP wouldn’t take part in the campaign spearheaded by three former cabinet ministers, Dinesh Gunawardena (MEP), Wimal Weerawansa (National Freedom Front) and Vasudeva Nanayakkara (Democratic Left Front) to field former President Mahinda Rajapaksa as the UPFA Prime Ministerial candidate.

UPFA Western Provincial Council member Udaya Gammanpila, too, has thrown his weight behind the campaign.

Although, the Dinesh-Wimal-Vasu led coalition has said that the former President will come on their stage on Feb 18th, Rajapaksa has not yet indicated his willingness to do so.

Continue reading ‘Will Mahinda Rajapaksa Speak at the Feb 18th Nugegoda Rally Organized by the Dinesh-Vasu-Wimal-Udaya Quartet?’ »

Racism has Always been Most Powerfully Concentrated Within the SLFP

by

Izeth Hussain

In the aftermath of the recent Presidential election a new political configuration seems to be taking place, which requires careful assessment as it could be of immense importance for Sri Lanka’s future. Obviously, a convergence has been taking place between the two major parties, the UNP and the SLFP, as I have noted in earlier articles, which could portend the emergence of a third party, a neo-Fascist one. Alternatively, the SLFP could transmogrify into a basically neo-Fascist Party while the UNP becomes a basically democratic Party. But, before proceeding further, let me make some observations on the convergence that has been taking place.

I believe that the convergence is due to changes of a structural order, not a transitional phenomenon that flows from political expediency, for instance from a drive to get more votes at the next round of elections. In the economic realm the changes are dictated by the inequities of contemporary capitalism, changes which will be recognized as necessary by both major parties. In my last article I referred to the emphasis placed on direct taxation as against indirect taxation in the mini-Budget, a people-friendly measure that accords more with the ethos of the SLFP but it comes from the UNP. Underlying it is the structural factor that in contemporary capitalism there is an innate dynamic for the rich to become richer and the poor poorer. Equity demands that that drive be countered: it could be dangerous to Governments regardless of whether they are left-wing or right-wing. That is the logic behind the shift to direct taxation.

Continue reading ‘Racism has Always been Most Powerfully Concentrated Within the SLFP’ »

India,Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu must Sign Memorandum of Understanding to End Refugee Status of Sri Lankan Refugees in India


By

S.C.Chandrahasan

(Text of letter addressed to the Prime Minister and concerned Ministers of India, Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and concerned officials and the President of Sri Lanka and concerned persons focusing on issues relating to ending the protracted refugee status of Sri Lankan Tamil refugees accommodated in India)

We welcome the visit of Honourable Mr.Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka to India for a meeting with Honourable Mr.Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India during third week of February. We note with appreciation that issues pertaining to Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India would be discussed during this meeting.

Preceding the visit, the governments voiced their respective concerns, exchanged documents and sought additional information from each other regarding return of Sri Lankan refugees to their homeland. Refugees perceive this as a positive step in the context of long lasting demand of ending refugee status. We believe, a consensus has emerged among the governments on two points, i.e., (1) return should be voluntary based on well informed decision made by the concerned refugees, and (2) substantial resource commitment from Government of India guaranteeing economic resettlement in Sri Lanka.

It is our plea that the discussion amongst the governments – India, Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu – should progress and eventually sign a MoU that shall facilitate provision of a package, implementation mechanism, constituting a fund and administrative framework for ending refugee status of Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in India. As these require considerable time, we suggest certain interim measures could be taken up by the respective governments. These actions would immediately address some of the requests of the refugees. This is primarily to improve living prospects while they are in India and prepare the ground for resettlement in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘India,Sri Lanka and Tamil Nadu must Sign Memorandum of Understanding to End Refugee Status of Sri Lankan Refugees in India’ »

“We need Friends to Build a Peaceful,Prosprous and Secure Sri Lanka”-Mangala Samaraweera


(Remarks by Mangala Samaraweera, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka about Sri Lanka – US Relations at the National Press Club, Washington DC on 12 February 2015)

Mr. John Hughes,
Excellencies,

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you Mr. Hughes for the introduction. I am delighted to be here in Washington. It has been a good two-day visit and what better way to wind up than talking at the prestigious National Press Club, known as the place where news happens. I am aware of your Club’s storied history and I am indeed honored to be amongst all of you.

Let me start by quoting Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s words at Sri Lanka’s Independence Day celebrations here in Washington a few days ago. He said “After the most successful election in your country’s history, Sri Lankans can stand proud alongside Americans as keepers of the democratic dream.”

Coming here after a very productive meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry this afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I believe I can safely say Deputy Secretary Blinken’s words underscore the importance of our friendship and resonates with an era of renewed relations between Sri Lanka and the United States.

Continue reading ‘“We need Friends to Build a Peaceful,Prosprous and Secure Sri Lanka”-Mangala Samaraweera’ »

Govt must Start Dialogue with the TNA About a Permanent Solution to the Tamil National Question


By

M.A. Sumanthiran M.P.

This year’s Independence Day marks a new era in Sri Lanka’s political history. For the first time in a long time, Sri Lankans are hopeful. They dared to vote for change and they now expect to see it. Promises of an era of good governance, an end to the norm of rampant corruption, the revival of the Rule of Law and an end to the state of lawlessness, are no longer quite so empty.

M.A. Sumanthiran MP paying tribute to S.J.V. Chelvanayagam in Batticaloa~May 2013

M.A. Sumanthiran MP paying tribute to S.J.V. Chelvanayagam in Batticaloa~May 2013

A hallmark of the rule of the Rajapaksa regime was its blatant flouting of the law and the Constitution. This included its persistent refusal to implement the 13th Amendment to the Constitution – presently, the only concession in Sri Lanka’s Constitution towards any kind of power sharing.

The 13th Amendment is part of the Constitution – which is the supreme law of the country – and the previous government was in blatant violation of the law and the Constitution in its refusal to implement it. Perhaps in order to distract from the fact that it was in fact refusing to implement in full the highest law of the land, it created great controversy concerning the 13th Amendment, particularly with regard to land and police powers. On examining the content of the 13th Amendment it is clear however, that the bogeyman behind the 13th Amendment is, as bogeymen often are, not real.
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Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera meets US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington

Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera held official talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry in Washington DC on Thursday 12 February 2015.

pic via: twitter.com/MEA_Sri_Lanka

pic via: twitter.com/MEA_Sri_Lanka

Remarks by US Secretary of State John Kerry and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mangala Samaraweera before their meeting.

SECRETARY
KERRY:

Good afternoon, everybody.

It’s my great pleasure to welcome Foreign Minister Samaraweera from Sri Lanka. And this is an exciting moment for all of us here because Sri Lanka on January 8th had an historic election in which there has
been really a vote for change, a vote to move Sri Lanka in a new direction, to open up greater accountability and possibility for the preservation of human rights, for democracy, for fighting corruption and putting together a government that will speak for and to the people. And we’re particularly excited about the 100-day plan that the new government has put forward.

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President Sirisena will Discuss with Prime Minister Modi About Areas of Possible Investment in Sri Lanka by India

By

Meera Srinivasan

In his upcoming meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena is likely to discuss possible areas for Indian investment in Sri Lanka, a senior Minister said.

Briefing the media on Cabinet decisions on Thursday, Plantations Minister and Leader of the House Lakshman Kiriella said investment, education and highways are high on the agenda for discussions.

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Sri Lanka Northern Provincial Council’s resolution on ‘historic genocide’ Reverberates in Tamil Nadu

The resolution passed by the Northern Provincial Council in Sri Lanka seeking a probe into 60 years of ‘genocide’ against Tamils in the island nation found support among some political parties in Tamil Nadu on Tuesday.

While the ruling AIADMK had no immediate reaction, the DMK and the Tamil Maanila Congress (TMC) felt that more time should be given to the new administration of President Maithripala Sirisena to foster ethnic reconciliation.

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“I Urge the International Community Including the Human Rights Community to be Patient” -Mangala Samaraweera

(Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera delivered an address on the theme “Sri Lanka after the Presidential Election,” outlining the priorities of the government at the prestigious Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, in Washington DC on 11th February 2015 to a full house.This is the full text of the speech)

Ambassador Burns,
Mr. Fredrick Grare,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Friends,

I am profoundly grateful and touched by the warm welcome and generous introduction accorded me this evening. It is such a pleasure for me to be back once again in this beautiful and important city as Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister after nearly 8 years on the Opposition benches in Parliament.

Before I start speaking on ‘Sri Lanka after the Presidential Election’, let me congratulate you Ambassador Burns on your appointment as the President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace soon after you relinquished a very distinguished career at the forefront of United States diplomacy.

I wish you many successful years of service providing leadership to this oldest international affairs think-tank in the United States. It is indeed an honour for me to have your gracious presence here today.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The story that I have to tell you today is a happy one. A story that shows, that although Sri Lanka and this great country are situated far away from each other, and our nations are unequal in size, there is much that binds the people of our two nations. Their commitment to democracy, freedom, liberty, good governance and the rule of law and their dedication to uphold, protect and preserve the pluralistic nature of society.

These are the values which the people of Sri Lanka chose to reaffirm at the Presidential election held just over 33 days ago when they used the power of the ballot to elect Mr. Maithripala Sirisena as their President.

Despite an election campaign which was greatly flawed and one-sided, the rainbow coalition of the opposition scored a decisive victory on the 8th of January on a platform promising far reaching democratic reforms. Asia’s oldest democracy reasserted its belief in and commitment to democracy by dislodging an emerging dictatorship in typical South Asian style – laid back and non-violent. Instead of the stones, pellets and bullets of the Arab Spring, Sri Lanka’s ‘Rainbow Revolution’ succeeded through the power of the ballot.

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1,000 Acres of Northern Lands Under Army Control to be Given back to Owners; 1,022 Displaced Families to be Re-settled in 220 Acre Model Village in Valikamam North.


by

Meera Srinivasan

The Sri Lankan government will release 1000 acres of land in its Tamil-majority North Province that were until now under the Army’s control, senior Ministers said following a Cabinet decision on Thursday.

To start with, the government would resettle 1,022 families displaced by the war in a model village that is to come up in 220 acres in Valikamam North, in northern part of Jaffna Peninsula, according to Minister for Resettlement D.M. Swaminathan.

Ever since the war ended in May 2009 thousands of Northern Tamils have been demanding that their land be released so that they could return to the land where their homes once stood. Their homes, several old schools and places of worship were gobbled up by the High Security Zone which only the army had access to.

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Is ITAK Leader “Mavai” Senathirajah Opposed to Chief Minister Wigneswaran’s “UN must Probe Tamil Genocide” Resolution in Northern Provincial Council?

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Illankai Thamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) led Tamil National Alliance (TNA) run Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has reiterated its call for a UN investigation into what it calls genocide committed by successive Sri Lankan governments since 1948, in spite of Mavai S. Senathirajah, General Secretary of both organisations, ruling out a wider UN role here.

National List MP Senathirajah last August dismissed a call by a group of 33 members of the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils for the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to expand its inquiry to investigate alleged atrocities committed by successive governments against Tamil speaking people since 1974.

MP Senathirajah said that the party hadn’t authorised its members to call for a wider investigation. MP Senathirajah promised that an inquiry would be conducted into what he then called an unauthorized act.
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Heroic Saga of an Eastern Warrior: Lt. Col Kausalyan – Batticaloa-Amparai LTTE Political Chief


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj


(Former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) political commissar for Batticaloa and Amparai districts Eliyathamby Nagenthiran Lingarasa alias Kausalyan was assassinated on February 7th 2005. This article published in “The Sunday Leader”then is reproduced to denote his 10th death anniversary…..DBSJ)

Eliyathamby Nagenthiran Lingarasa alias Kausalyan

Eliyathamby Nagenthiran Lingarasa alias Kausalyan

It was the third day of March last year. Around 125 to 150 senior stalwarts of the Batticaloa – Amparai Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) were gathered at “Thenagam” conference hall at Karadiyanaaru in Batticaloa District. Former Eastern commander of the LTTE Vinayagamurthy Muraleetharan alias “Colonel” Karuna was holding the floor. The man who had led the Tigers in the east from 1987 wasrevolting against his leader Velupillai Pirapaharan.

Many of those present could not believe their ears. Karuna “Amman” was related a litany of complaints against the LTTE hierarchy. His chief targets were Intelligence Head Pottu Amman, Financial Controller Thamilendhi and Police Chief Nadesan. What Karuna wanted was for the eastern LTTE component to have autonomous authority. He advocated that the eastern Tigers should be free of central control by the LTTE hierarchy. “We will throw off the northern yoke and create an eastern renaissance,” Karuna said.

Many were flabbergasted. Some who know about Karuna’s mindset were not surprised, but did not expect such open defiance. Whatever their inner thoughts or misgivings almost everyone seemed to agree. Some kept silent, but many articulated their willingness to go along with Karuna openly. Ironically some of the wildly enthusiastic lieutenants were Ramesh, Karikalan, Ram, Ramanan, Kuyilinban, Bawa, etc. All of them later went over to Pirapaharan and turned vehemently against Karuna.

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Ariyanayagam Chandranehru: Tamil Nationalist son of the Eastern soil


By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Former Tamil National Alliance Amparai district MP Ariyanayagam Chandranehru was assassinated on February 7th 2005. This Article published then in “The Sunday Leader”is reproduced here to denote his 10th death anniversary………….DBSJ)

Ariyanayagam Chandranehru

Ariyanayagam Chandranehru

Ariyanayagam Chandranehru was the latest unfortunate casualty caught in the crossfire of a dirty war between the LTTE and its former Eastern commander. The former MP from Amparai district who was gunned down along with the LTTE’s Kausalyan and others on the Batticaloa – Polonnaruwa road on Feb 7th happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Nehru or Chandra as he was generally known was a colourful character with a flamboyant personality. He was an old “sea dog” with about 30 years service as a mariner. Of these at least 20 were as captain of a mercantile vessel.Years of sea going however did not diminish the patriotism of this Eastern son of the soil whose family was steeped in Tamil nationalist politics. He returned home a few years ago to put down roots in his motherland and took to politics in a big way.

Hailing from Thirukkovil in the south of Amparai district Chandranehru was the son of a well – known pedagogue KAW Ariyanayagam who made a name for himself in the Gandhiyan way of Tamil national struggle some decades ago. Ariyanayagam was a founder member of the Federal Party led by the “Gandhi of Eelam” SJV Chelvanayagam.

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