Coup d’etat Conspiracy Crisis of 1962: The Background

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

This January is the 60th anniversary of what has come to be known as the 1962 Coup or Coup d’etat of Sri Lanka known formerly as Ceylon.News about the coup in Ceylon/Sri Lanka was first relayed over the state radio known then as “Radio Ceylon” on January 28th 1962. It was a Sunday and therefore a holiday.The radio kept broadcasting several news bulletins about the coup intermittently. The news sent shock waves throughout the Country.

Coup d’etat Conspiracy Crisis of 1962: The Background – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

Parliament in 1962

“Radio Ceylon “ said that a group of senior Police and Armed services personnel had conspired and plotted to overthrow the democratically elected Government of Prime Minister Mrs. Sirimavo Bandaranaike on the previous Saturday January 27th 1962.Details of the planned coup had come to light a few hours before the coup was to be enacted. It was also revealed that seven Police and Army officers had been arrested in connection with the coup conspiracy and were being interrogated. Thereafter the newspapers followed up with more sensational details about the coup or coup d’etat conspiracy.There was no TV or Internet in those times.

Continue reading ‘Coup d’etat Conspiracy Crisis of 1962: The Background’ »

Historical Background of Dafthar Jailany Rock cave Mosque in Kuragala

(This article was first posted on tthis Blog in April 2013.It is being re-posted without any changes due to its current importnce)

By Latheef Farook

View of Dafther Jailany Rock Cave Mosque

View of Dafther Jailany Rock Cave Mosque

Qutub Muhiyuddin Abdul Qadir Jailani, also known as Ghouse-e Azam, is one of the greatest scholars in Islamic history held in very high esteem by Muslims throughout the Middle East ,Pakistan, India, Bangladesh,Sri Lanka, Malaysia and even as far as Indonesia.

In view of his extreme piety, depth of knowledge, simple life and miracles performed and other such noble qualities some call him a saint while others describe him as the saint of all saints.
Continue reading ‘Historical Background of Dafthar Jailany Rock cave Mosque in Kuragala’ »

All Devils Drama Being Staged in All Saints Church with Whatever Dramatic Expertise that key Politico-Police Authorities Possess!

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa did say with pride the government’s decision to set up 100 new police stations, at his inaugural speech at the opening of the new session of Parliament.
There may be cause for presidential pride in having many more police stations, but the recent records of police activity, especially on matters relating to public security, does leave much to be desired of the Police.

The reports flowing in about the hand grenade found at All Saints’ Church, Borella – Colombo, do raise many questions about police activity: Is it inactivity or directed activity on this matter?

The limited time it took to search for the person who placed this grenade, the first arrest in this regard – the sacristan of the same church; the Church’s own revelation of the longer CCTV on the same day, with a different player in this grenade match, and the police arrest of that person too; and the stories of weapons or fire-toys found in the home of a retired doctor, who is now said to be the brain or strategist behind this grenade match, is rapidly unfolding into a drama of political direction, where the police is playing more than a lead role!

Continue reading ‘All Devils Drama Being Staged in All Saints Church with Whatever Dramatic Expertise that key Politico-Police Authorities Possess!’ »

The Cardinal’s anger and the fury of the Catholic Church as they plead for justice for the 2019 victims of a cruel attack on supplicants as they were praying in church must become part of a greater people’s struggle.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church marks 1000 days of jihadist attacks on churches and hotels in 2019, the intensification of a grim tussle between the Church and law enforcement authorities over the discovery of a hand grenade at the All Saints Church in Borella this week is remarkable in more ways than one.

The fight between good and evil

First, the extraordinary symbolism of fierce verbal onslaughts on law enforcement authorities by the Church evidenced recently indicates the complete breakdown of public trust of the Catholic populace in the Government. Mind, this is of no little significence in the current political climate that we find ourselves in. It embodies the truth that had been so long articulated, that the sweeping dramas enacted on Sri Lanka’s political stage since that bloody Easter Sunday two and a half years ago, were part of a grand charade, nothing more and nothing less. This included also the arrests of lawyers, poets and critics deprived of the basic safeguards of criminal justice.

Second, we see the Church more explicitly demarcating the fight of good versus evil as a common struggle of Sri Lanka’s citizenry of all faiths and persuasions, drawing links between the victims of the 2019 bombings with lines of people suffering in queues for domestic gas, milk powder and other essentials. ‘These sufferings by the people who are the wealth of the country are seen by the divine and punishment will follow’ the head of the Catholic Church, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith thundered from the pulpit with awful solemnity and echoes of Bibilical retribution.

Continue reading ‘The Cardinal’s anger and the fury of the Catholic Church as they plead for justice for the 2019 victims of a cruel attack on supplicants as they were praying in church must become part of a greater people’s struggle.’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Policy Speech is an Insult to the People of the North and East who Have “Been fighting for their equal citizenship right, their right to self-determination, their right to self-rule, and for their share of powers of governance” – Jaffna District Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran

(Text of Speech made in Parliament by Jaffna District MP M.A. Sumanthiran on 19th January 2022, Regarding the policy statement made by President Gotabya Rajapaksa on 18th January 2022.)

Hon. Presiding member, thank you for the time given to me to say a few words on the policy statement made by his excellency the president in this house.

When the party leaders met last week, there was long discussion as to the sufficiency of time, the opposition sought more time, we thought the president will actually lay out something that we must debate in this house and we thought we need more time for it. And we spent quite a bit of time handling over the insufficiency of the time allocated for this debate.

But listening to His Excellency yesterday, he made a listless speech he made in this house, I am convinced that the time allocated is too much. There was no policy, that was stated. There was a few identification of issues but no answers given. Nothing by way of a message on the inauguration of new session of Parliament that the parliament should get excited about and debate for two more days.

He was right when he identified one issue. When he said “the more serious challenge we face today in economic management is a current foreign exchange problem”. That we all know and then he says “today we are encountering the climax, of a problem for which a number of governments have failed to provide a lasting solution”.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Policy Speech is an Insult to the People of the North and East who Have “Been fighting for their equal citizenship right, their right to self-determination, their right to self-rule, and for their share of powers of governance” – Jaffna District Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran’ »

Full Text of Policy Speech Delivered by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on January 18th 2022 Inaugural Session of the Re-convened Parliament after Prorogation.

Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivered a policy speech at the inauguration of a new session of Parliament on January 18, 2022.

President Rajapaksa outlined the problems faced in the past two years and called on members of parliament and the public to support efforts to improve the country and overcome challenges now facing the country.


The full text of the speech is given below

Hon. Ministers, Hon. State Ministers, Hon. Members of Parliament,

I wish you and all citizens a Happy New year.

In the democratic system, you, who are elected to this distinguished Parliament, represent the people’s voice across different political ideologies.

Therefore, all of you who are elected to this parliament are a unique group accountable to the nation.

Like you, I, who have been elected President by the people’s vote in this democratic system, am accountable to all the people in this country.There is nodifference in such accountability with regard to the people who voted for me or who did not during the election.

Therefore, as the President of this country, I urge all of you to extend your support to duly conduct the responsibilities of the governing and opposition parties both in and outside the parliament to overcome the challenges that the country faces today.

Continue reading ‘Full Text of Policy Speech Delivered by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on January 18th 2022 Inaugural Session of the Re-convened Parliament after Prorogation.’ »

Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga ,Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and the Former State of the Judiciary in Sri Lanka.

By

Victor Ivan

Publication of a biography by former President Chandrika Kumaratunga as a self-expression was important news for me as one who had written a book about her. Further, the news that the keynote address at the book launch was to be delivered by Shirani Bandaranayake, a former Chief Justice, was another reason that aroused my interest. I did not get an opportunity to read the book yet, but I listened to the speech made by her at the book launch. I feel it was a speech not befitting a person who had held such high office as the Chief Justice of the country.

Raising Chandrika to exemplary heights:

There is nothing wrong with Shirani Bandaranayakehaving a sense of deep gratitude for former President Chandrika and expressing it. But, the manner in which it was pronounced by her as a former Chief Justice, and the essence of her speech do not befit the dignity of the high office held by her. According to her, Chandrika is an ideal character of hers; she has not only attached the highest importance to the independence of the judiciary but also made many sacrifices to safeguard the independence of the judiciary. This statement about President Chandrika has been made not by an ordinary party member, but a former Chief Justice.

The impression it creates is not beneficial to the judiciary either. Chandrika is an ideal heroine for her. The most infamous election fraud in Sri Lanka took place during her tenure. It was also during her regime that the parliamentarians of the ruling party were allowed to become tavern owners. The plunder and the rapacious nature of the state administration assumed the character of an unceasing flow during her regime.

Continue reading ‘Former President Chandrika Kumaratunga ,Former Chief Justice Shirani Bandaranayake and the Former State of the Judiciary in Sri Lanka.’ »

Tamil Film Actor Dhanush and his Filmmaker Wife Aishwarya Announce Decision to Divorce After 18 Years of Marriage; Aishwarya is Elder Daughter of Superstar Rajinikanth while Dhanush is Younger Son of Producer Kasthuri Rajah.

Actor Dhanush and his wife Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth, daughter of superstar Rajinikanth, announced their separation on January 17. The couple have decided to part ways after 18 years of marriage. They are parents to two boys, Yatra and Linga, aged 15 and 11 respectively.

On Monday night, both Aishwaryaa and Dhanush posted statements on their Instagram and Twitter handles respectively, making the announcement official.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Film Actor Dhanush and his Filmmaker Wife Aishwarya Announce Decision to Divorce After 18 Years of Marriage; Aishwarya is Elder Daughter of Superstar Rajinikanth while Dhanush is Younger Son of Producer Kasthuri Rajah.’ »

The Sinhala-Buddhist peasants are a free people, who will resist dictates and jackboots. They are also a very practical people, who are not going to be instructed by the military on a subject that the have known for generations while the military has not.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Borrowing in wartime to fight a war would have been fine, but most of the borrowing has been post-war. Borrowing from governments for post-war infrastructure-building is fine, one can always negotiate repayment. Borrowing from the private international markets in the post-war period is not.

Repaying the private creditors when you don’t seem to have funds to pay for fuel and electricity means you are not putting the people first and have lost the moral right to make decisions about the citizens’ lives.


New war

President GR sounded pretty determined when he announced, in his Parliamentary address (18 Jan), a Cultivation War (Vagaa Sangraamaya) as a priority in 2022. Which army will wage this war, who will plan and lead it, and who will be the field commanders (pun intended)?

Meanwhile, what was that “first ever” leadership symposium for middle-grade military officers all about anyway? “The symposium…on areas of Military Leadership in the Contemporary World with the vision of transforming military leadership to effectively manage contemporary national requirements…” (Daily FT)

Most speakers were from the Kotelawala Defence University’s Faculty of Defence and Strategic Studies. A former Army Chief, and the current head of State Intelligence were also expert participants. None were specialists in Management Studies.

Continue reading ‘The Sinhala-Buddhist peasants are a free people, who will resist dictates and jackboots. They are also a very practical people, who are not going to be instructed by the military on a subject that the have known for generations while the military has not.’ »

Seven Page Letter Addressed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Submitted to Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay by Tamil Political Delegation led by TNA Leader R.Sampanthan

By

Meera Srinivasan

Prominent Tamil legislators from Sri Lanka’s north and east have written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking India’s help in ensuring that Colombo addresses the island’s long-pending Tamil question with a lasting political solution.

A delegation of MPs, led by senior Tamil politician and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) leader R. Sampanthan, met the Indian High Commissioner in Colombo on Tuesday, and handed over the letter.

The seven-page letter foregrounds the many unkept promises, made by different governments in Colombo, to implement the 13th Amendment and go beyond it to ensure meaningful power devolution. Signed by TNA’s constituent party leaders — Mavai Senathiraja (ITAK), Dharmalingam Sithadthan (PLOTE), Selvam Adaikalanathan (TELO) — with others including former Northern Province Chief Minister C.V. Wigneswaran and former MP Suresh Premachandran (EPRLF), the letter traces past attempts, from the time of the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, to bring about a constitutional settlement, based on proposals developed by various expert committees.

Continue reading ‘Seven Page Letter Addressed to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi Submitted to Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay by Tamil Political Delegation led by TNA Leader R.Sampanthan’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Makes Special Appeal to MPs from North and East to set aside various political ideologies at least temporarily and support efforts to improve living conditions of people in their areas

By Chandani Kirinde

Striking a conciliatory note, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday called upon all Members of Parliament to support building the country which is facing its most challenging time as a result of the pandemic as well as other external and internal issues.

“The representatives belonging to various political parties in this august assembly have various political views, policy differences. However, we all ultimately wish for the good of the country. During this difficult time of a global catastrophe, we all have a national responsibility as people’s representatives to work together and build this country. I invite all of you to join us in fulfilling this responsibility,” the President said in his policy statement after inaugurating the second session of the 9th Parliament yesterday.

“I, who have been elected President by the people’s vote in this democratic system, am accountable to all the people in this country. There is no difference in such accountability with regard to the people who voted for me or who did not during the election,” the President said, wavering from his usual emphasis on the 6.9 million who elected him to office.

“As the President of this country, I urge all of you to extend your support to duly conduct the responsibilities of the governing and opposition parties both in and outside the Parliament to overcome the challenges that the country faces today,” Rajapaksa emphasised.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Makes Special Appeal to MPs from North and East to set aside various political ideologies at least temporarily and support efforts to improve living conditions of people in their areas’ »

How Actor MGR Became Chief Minister: Cinematic Politics of M.G.Ramachandran

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

India is Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour. Among the Indian states, it is the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu that is closest to he Island.Tamil Nadu meaning “Tamil Land/Country” is home to more than 72 million people. Since 1967 ,Tamil Nadu has been ruled by political parties adhering to what is termed as Dravidian ideology. ‘Dravidianism’ in essence espouses economic development, social justice, equality, elimination of caste discrimination, women emancipation, secularism, rationalism, self-respect, greater cooperation among South Indian states, opposition to Hindi imposition and a Tamil national consciousness.

How Actor MGR Became Chief Minister: Cinematic Politics of M.G.Ramachandran. – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The ‘Dravidian’ political ideology has been ruling the roost in Tamil Nadu for the past 54 years.. Either the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (DMK) or its alternative the All India Anna-Dravida Munnetra Kazhagham (AIADMK) have been enjoying political power in the State.

In spite of this “Dravidian” heritage of rationalism and self-respect, it is Tamil Nadu that has allowed film stars to exercise political hegemony among Indian states. M.G. Ramachandran known as “MGR” became the first film star to take up chief ministership of an Indian state. MGR though ethnically a Malayalee made a name for himself as an actor in Tamil films and followed it up by becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state.MGR the founder-leader of the AIADMK ruled from 1977 to 1987 being elected thrice as chief minister of Tamil Nadu in 1977,1980 and 1985.

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Seven Tamil Parties Write Joint Letter Seeking Indian PM Modi’s Help to Implement the 13th Constitutional Amendment in Full.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

In a significant political move, seven political parties mainly representing the Sri Lankan Tamils of the Northern and Eastern provinces have written a joint letter to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking his help to fully implement the provisions of the 13th amendment to the Constitution. As is well known the Provincial Councils scheme was a consequence of the 13th Constitutional Amendment. The 13 A itself came into being due to the Indo-Lanka Accord of July 29th 1987.

Salient paragraphs from the joint letter pertaining to the specific request made to the Indain Prime Minister are as follows – “It is clear that the Government of Sri Lanka has on multiple occasions promised to fully implement the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. But it did not stop there. The promise also included the very specific undertaking to “build upon the 13th Amendment so as to achieve meaningful devolution.” Even though the Tamil speaking people do not expect a proper and full-fledged devolution under a unitary constitution yet such promises have mostly been given to India, quite appropriately, since it is with India that Sri Lanka has signed an international bilateral agreement, the Indo-Lanka Accord, in which these ideals were set out.”

“However, successive Sri Lankan governments have not only failed in full implementation of the provisions in the Constitution with regard to devolution and parity of status to the Tamil language, but have unilaterally reacquired powers and institutions from the provinces, which continues to date. In addition, lands belonging to the Tamil speaking peoples are continuing to be grabbed by the State under various pretexts, with a view to radically alter the demography of the North and East. This must be halted immediately, or else the provisions of the Indo-Lanka Accord will be rendered nugatory. In this regard, we enclose hereto the list of matters of serious concerns to our peoples namely North and East Tamils and Up Country Tamils for your Excellency’s information.”

“In this situation, we appeal to Your Excellency to urge the Government of Sri Lanka to keep its promises to:

(i) fully implement the provisions of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution

(ii) implement the clear commitments made by all sections of government from 1987 onwards and enable the Tamil speaking peoples to live with dignity, self-respect, peace and security in the areas of their historic habitation, exercising their right to self-determination within the framework of a united, undivided country.”

Continue reading ‘Seven Tamil Parties Write Joint Letter Seeking Indian PM Modi’s Help to Implement the 13th Constitutional Amendment in Full.’ »

“The Rajapaksa government has disregarded its own pledges of reform and continued to target minority Tamils and Muslims” Says Human Rights Watch(HRW)n its World Report 2022

(Text of Media Release Issued by Human Rights Watch on January 13, 2022)

The Sri Lankan government in 2021 suppressed minority communities, harassed activists, and undermined democratic institutions, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2022. The government of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa failed to carry out legal reforms promised to its international partners and blocked accountability for grave violations, including past war crimes.

“President Gotabaya Rajapaksa seems determined to reverse past rights improvements and protect those implicated in serious abuses,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “While promising reforms and justice to deflate international criticism, his administration has stepped up suppression of minority communities.”

Continue reading ‘“The Rajapaksa government has disregarded its own pledges of reform and continued to target minority Tamils and Muslims” Says Human Rights Watch(HRW)n its World Report 2022’ »

Lord Tariq Ahmad to Visit Sri Lanka this Week; “I look forward to meeting people from all communities in Colombo, Jaffna and Trincomalee” Says British Minister of State for South Asia, Commonwealth and UN


By

Lord Tariq Ahmad

Kumar Sangakkara, a sportsperson both our countries greatly admire, spoke passionately about ‘different ethnicities and religions who celebrate their diversity by uniting for a common cause’. Naturally, he was talking about cricket, but I like it as a metaphor for the ties between your country and mine. We hold in our hands the enormous potential to unite – in all our diversity – to create a more secure and prosperous future.

Lord Tariq Ahmad

As the UK’s Minister of State for South and Central Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth I’m visiting Sri Lanka this week to discuss our shared interests and to explore future opportunities. I look forward to meeting people from all communities in Colombo, Jaffna and Trincomalee.

The UK has a renewed focus on the importance of the Indo Pacific region to global trade and investment, and our mutual security. The UK is building a network of economic partnerships and will look to work with Sri Lanka on these issues. I am also keen to support those in Sri Lanka striving for good governance and for strengthening human rights for all citizens.

Continue reading ‘Lord Tariq Ahmad to Visit Sri Lanka this Week; “I look forward to meeting people from all communities in Colombo, Jaffna and Trincomalee” Says British Minister of State for South Asia, Commonwealth and UN’ »

‘Thai Pongal’ the Harvest Festival of Tamils

By P. Krishnaswamy

After the Christmas and New Year festivities, the focus is now on the Pongal harvest festival, popularly known as Thai Pongal, celebrated in the first four days of the month of Thai in the Tamil-Hindu calendar.

Traditionally, it is the festival of farmers who depend on Mother Earth, the sun, rain, other natural elements and cows and buffaloes for a bountiful harvest of their staple food, rice.
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“Discovery”of Grenade at All Saints Church: Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Accuses Police of Ignoring CCTV Footage Showing “Unknown” Person leaving Object in Church Premises and Arresting Church Helper who Found Grenade. Catholic Prelate Tells IGP to go Home if Police Cant Conduct Fair Inquiry

Colombo Catholic Archbishop His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith yesterday (13) accused the Police of not conducting a “truthful” investigation regarding the discovery of a hand grenade at the All Saints Church in Borella and said that Inspector General of Police C.D. Wickramaratne should “go home” if he cannot ensure a transparent investigation is conducted into the matter.

“Instead of searching for the truth, they are creating a story. We reject the Police’s statements and request a transparent investigation. They are trying to trap innocent people. The Inspector General of Police gives big statements to newspapers and makes accusations. Officials should be honest, and not play for politicians. Remove your uniform and go home if you cannot speak the truth,” said the Cardinal at a press conference held yesterday.

A hand grenade was found in the premises of the All Saints Church on Ananda Rajakaruna Mawatha opposite the Welikada Prison in Borella at around 4.40 p.m. on Wednesday (12). The hand grenade was discovered following a tip-off received by the Police and it was later defused by the Police Special Task Force (STF).

Continue reading ‘“Discovery”of Grenade at All Saints Church: Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Accuses Police of Ignoring CCTV Footage Showing “Unknown” Person leaving Object in Church Premises and Arresting Church Helper who Found Grenade. Catholic Prelate Tells IGP to go Home if Police Cant Conduct Fair Inquiry’ »

SLPP Leaders Keep asking the SLFP to leave if they are unable to stay within the Government Without being Crriticalbut the SLFP Continues to Remain Shamelessly in Govt Despite Being Told they are Unwelcome

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) has denied media reports that it has taken a decision yet to leave the current Sri Lanka Freedom People’s Alliance (SLFPA) Government led by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), but SLFP Senior Vice President Emeritus Prof. Rohana Luxman Piyadasa said that the party will definitely contest any future election separately.

Yesterday, certain media reported that the SLFP, a major constituent partner in the current SLFPA Government, is preparing to leave the Government.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Leaders Keep asking the SLFP to leave if they are unable to stay within the Government Without being Crriticalbut the SLFP Continues to Remain Shamelessly in Govt Despite Being Told they are Unwelcome’ »

Evolution of Agriculture and the ‘Thaipongal’ Tamil Harvest Festival

By Thulasi Muttulingam

The Tamil month of Thai was ushered in on Monday Jan 14. It marks the end of the harvesting season of rice for the Tamil farmers who will be celebrating that harvest with their famous festival of Thai Pongal.

Pongal means ‘boiling over’. To signify that they have had a bountiful harvest, the people allow the milk in which they pour the rice to boil over – as a pot bubbling over with its fare is a sign of abundance.
Continue reading ‘Evolution of Agriculture and the ‘Thaipongal’ Tamil Harvest Festival’ »

Finance Ministry Removes Litro Gas Lanka Ltd Chairman Theshara Jayasinghe but Within a few Hours President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Instructs Finance Ministry and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle to Restore Jayasinghe to his Former Post


By Pamodi Waravita

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had instructed Finance Ministry and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle to reinstate Theshara Jayasinghe to his position as Litro Gas Lanka Ltd. Chairman yesterday (13), hours after he was removed from the post by the Finance Ministry, The Morning learnt.

Sources said that a letter issued by the Finance Ministry had removed Jayasinghe from his position. However, they said that following the President’s inspection tour to the Litro Gas storage terminal in Kerawalapitiya, he had instructed Attygalle to reinstate Jayasinghe to his original position.

They added that Renuka Perera, the current Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Administrative Secretary, had been proposed as the new Chairman.

Continue reading ‘Finance Ministry Removes Litro Gas Lanka Ltd Chairman Theshara Jayasinghe but Within a few Hours President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Instructs Finance Ministry and Treasury Secretary S.R. Attygalle to Restore Jayasinghe to his Former Post’ »

India extends to Sri Lanka forex support of more than US$ 900 million with payment of US$ 500 million given under the Asian Clearing Union Settlement Framework being deferred and a US$ 400 million currency swap between the two countries.


In response to Sri Lanka’s immediate requirement of foreign exchange, India on Thursday allowed the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) to defer the payment of about US$ 500 million given under the Asian Clearing Union Settlement Framework.

This was conveyed to the Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Ajith Nivard Cabraal by the Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay here on Thursday.

Continue reading ‘India extends to Sri Lanka forex support of more than US$ 900 million with payment of US$ 500 million given under the Asian Clearing Union Settlement Framework being deferred and a US$ 400 million currency swap between the two countries.’ »

Killing of Five Tamil Students in Trinco Town: Emblematic Case of Impunity

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

A solemn, low key memorial event was held in Trincomalee town on Sunday January 2nd. Relatives and friends laid flowers and lit candles and lamps in memory of five Tamil youths killed in Trincomalee town on Jan 2nd 2006. The incident that happened sixteen years ago for which justice was not done is widely known among human rights circles as the “Trinco – 5” case of Sri Lanka. It is regarded as an emblematic case of impunity. So much so that the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Michele Bachelet mentioned the incident under the section on “Impunity in emblemtic cases” in her Annual report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2021.The relevant excerpt is as follows –

UNHRC

“In previous reports to the Human Rights Council, OHCHR has tracked the investigation and prosecution of emblematic cases as a key measure of Sri Lanka’s commitment to ending impunity. These include the killing of five Tamil students in Trincomalee and of 17 humanitarian workers in Muttur in 2006; the assassination of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2009; the disappearance of journalist Prageeth Eknaligoda in 2010; the killing of protestors by army personnel during a demonstration at Weliwerya in August 2013; the anti-Muslim riots in Aluthgama in 2014 and Digana, in 2018, as well as others. Despite investigations over the years by domestic Commissions of Inquiry and the police, and the arrest of some suspects and trials at bar, not a single emblematic case has been brought to a successful conclusion or conviction.”

Continue reading ‘Killing of Five Tamil Students in Trinco Town: Emblematic Case of Impunity’ »

Families of the Disappeared President Brito Fernando gives astatement to the Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) regarding the complin filed lst year alleging “reasonable suspicion” that a bribe has been obtained to withdraw the indictment against former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda in the abducion nd killing of 11 Youths by Navy case

BY Pamodi Waravita

Families of the Disappeared President Brito Fernando gave a statement to the Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) on Monday (10), following a complaint the organisation had filed at the CIABOC last year, alleging “reasonable suspicion” that a bribe has been obtained to withdraw the indictment against former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda, in connection with the case of the Navy being implicated in the alleged abduction and disappearance of 11 youths in Colombo in the 2008-2009 period.

Continue reading ‘Families of the Disappeared President Brito Fernando gives astatement to the Commission to Investigate into Allegations of Bribery or Corruption (CIABOC) regarding the complin filed lst year alleging “reasonable suspicion” that a bribe has been obtained to withdraw the indictment against former Navy Commander Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda in the abducion nd killing of 11 Youths by Navy case’ »

“Col Charles”: The”tiger” Mastermind Behind LTTE Attacks Outside North-East

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

‘Col. Charles’

14th Death Anniversary of Shanmuganathan Ravishankar alias Col Arulventhan a.k.a Charles

(Shanmuganathan Ravishankar alias Col Arulventhan a.k.a Charles of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE)was killed on January 5th 2008. This article written within a week of his death in Jan 2008 is reproduced here on account of his fourteeth death anniversary)

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) received a tremendous blow when Shanmuganathan Ravishankar alias “Col” Arulventhan a.k.a.Charles was killed with three other tigers in Mannar on Jan 5th . The white hiace van in which he was travelling along the Mannar – Pooneryn road got caught in a claymore mine explosion at a spot between Iluppaikkadavai and Pallamadhu. The time was around 3. 10 – 15 pm.
Continue reading ‘“Col Charles”: The”tiger” Mastermind Behind LTTE Attacks Outside North-East’ »

Indo-Lanka Accord, Thirteenth Amendment and the Tamil March of Folly

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Much concern is now being shown by political parties representing the minority (numerical) ethnicities of Sri Lanka over the 13th Amendment to the Constitution. As is well known it is the 13th Constitutional Amendment which ushered n a certain quantum of devolution to the country through the setting up of Provincial Councils. 13 A itself was due to the historic India-Sri Lanka agreement signed by Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President Junius Richard Jayewardene on July 29th 1987. The Indo-Lanka Accord at that time brought an end to the ongoing armed conflict between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Tamil militant organisations.

Indo-Lanka Accord signing

The accord among other things bestowed upon India the responsibility (shared with Sri Lanka) of ensuring and protecting the security and safety of all communities living in the Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka. Clause 2.16(e) says: “The Governments of Sri Lanka and India will cooperate in ensuring the physical security and safety of all communities inhabiting the Northern and Eastern Provinces.”

While the Sri Lankan Government agreed to implement the proposals outlined in the accord, clause 2.14 stated: “The Government of India will underwrite and guarantee the resolutions, and co-operate in the implementation of these proposals.”

The Indo-Lanka Accord provided India a permanent “say” in the affairs of Sri Lanka as it had to underwrite the resolutions and guarantee their implementation. Also, it was – in theory at least – responsible for the safety and security of all people living in the north and east.

Continue reading ‘Indo-Lanka Accord, Thirteenth Amendment and the Tamil March of Folly’ »

A Constitutional Convention set up after the due amendment of the provisions of the present Constitution relating to constitutional reform is the best Option for Encting a New Constitution


by Dr. Jayampathy Wickramaratne PC

The National Movement for Social Justice (NMSJ) has been faulted for not turning its attention to the process of constitution-making. This is far from the truth. While the NMSJ’s current proposals are on the contents of a new Constitution, it has also initiated a discussion on the process.

Last month, the NMSJ organised a discussion in cyberspace on constitution-making that the writer moderated. Among the issues discussed were: merits and demerits of the present constitutional provisions on constitutional reform; the current government’s approach to making a new constitution; how best to adopt a constitution that has wide acceptance as well as legitimacy; the option of a Constitutional Convention; safeguards against majoritarian constitution-making; public participation; and the role of experts, elites and civil society.

There is presently a discourse on making a new constitution without the involvement of Parliamentarians. One argument for such a process is that when a constitution is made by Parliamentarians, they will give primacy to their own interests.

Continue reading ‘A Constitutional Convention set up after the due amendment of the provisions of the present Constitution relating to constitutional reform is the best Option for Encting a New Constitution’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa amends the Gazette notification thereby shuffling the subjects and functions of Ministers and State Ministers

By Chandani Kirinde

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last night amended the Gazette notification on the subjects and functions of Ministers and State Ministers and did away with the State Ministry of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation, and transferred all functions assigned to it to the Minister of Justice.

Lohan Ratwatte served as the State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation until he resigned last September over allegations that he threatened inmates at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons.

He continues to be the State Minister of Gem and Jewellery Related Industries.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa amends the Gazette notification thereby shuffling the subjects and functions of Ministers and State Ministers’ »

Basil Rajapaksa Violated Collective Responsibility of Cabinet of Ministters in the Yugadanavi Agreement Issue and not Wimal Weeraans,Vasudeva Nanayakkara or Udaya Gammanpila States President’s Counsel Uditha Egalahewa in Court

President’s Counsel (PC) Uditha Egalahewa, arguing on behalf of Ministers Wimal Weerawansa, Udaya Gammanpila, and Vasudeva Nannayakkara, who have submitted an affidavit in support of the petitions filed against the Kerawalapitiya Yugadanavi Power Plant-related agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and US-based energy company, denied that their affidavit is unconstitutional and violates the collective responsibility of the Cabinet of Ministers, alleging instead that it was Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa who had violated the said collective responsibility.

He made these remarks when the petitions against the deal with New Fortress Energy Inc. were called up for hearing at the Supreme Court (SC) yesterday (10).

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Violated Collective Responsibility of Cabinet of Ministters in the Yugadanavi Agreement Issue and not Wimal Weeraans,Vasudeva Nanayakkara or Udaya Gammanpila States President’s Counsel Uditha Egalahewa in Court’ »

The announcement by the Governor of the Central Bank that Sri Lanka has earmarked $ 500 million to repay a maturing sovereign bond on 18 January is reckless for two reasons.


By
Shanta Devarajan

(The writer is a former World Bank Chief Economist for South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa. He is now Professor of Georgetown University)

The announcement by the Governor of the Central Bank that Sri Lanka has earmarked $ 500 million to repay a maturing sovereign bond on 18 January is reckless for two reasons.

First, Sri Lanka is facing an acute shortage of foreign exchange – people queue in long lines to buy cooking gas; there is no powdered milk; food prices are rising rapidly; power cuts are becoming frequent. This $ 500 million could enable people, especially poor people, to buy and cook food for themselves and their children. Instead, the Government is choosing to reimburse bondholders, who are hardly poor.

Secondly, Sri Lanka’s debt is unsustainable. Repaying maturing bonds in full today does not change that. It increases the chances that the country experiences an uncoordinated default in the near future. In this scenario, the country stops paying its bills because it cannot. The consequences of such a badly managed default can be devastating.

Continue reading ‘The announcement by the Governor of the Central Bank that Sri Lanka has earmarked $ 500 million to repay a maturing sovereign bond on 18 January is reckless for two reasons.’ »

Susil Premajayantha,Vidura Wickramanayake,Chandima Weerakkody,Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Kumara Welgama, Jeevan Kumaratunga and Arjuna Ranatunga Among Participants at SLFP Founder SWRD Bandaranaike’s 123rd Birthday Commemoration Organized by Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge

Former State Minister Dr. Susil Premajayantha, who was removed from the said post last week, and several other government parliamentarians attended the slain Prime Minister S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike’s 123rd birth commemoration organised by former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga last Saturday (8).

Kumaratunga had organised one event to commemorate Bandaranaike’s 123rd birthday in front of the Bandaranaike statue at Galle Face Green, while the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) founded by Bandaranaike, had organised another.

Continue reading ‘Susil Premajayantha,Vidura Wickramanayake,Chandima Weerakkody,Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, Kumara Welgama, Jeevan Kumaratunga and Arjuna Ranatunga Among Participants at SLFP Founder SWRD Bandaranaike’s 123rd Birthday Commemoration Organized by Former President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa requests visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to restructure the repayment of Sri Lanka’s debts to China and commence a concessional trade-credit scheme to enable the island nation to import goods from China to make industries here operate smoothly.

The Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, on Sunday sought from the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, a restructuring of the repayment of Sri Lanka’s debts to China and also a concessional trade-credit scheme to enable the island nation to import goods from China to make industries here operate smoothly.

The rescheduling of the repayment of loans would provide “great relief” to Sri Lanka, which had been badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, the President said.

China accounts for a little over 10 per cent of Sri Lanka’s foreign debts.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa requests visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to restructure the repayment of Sri Lanka’s debts to China and commence a concessional trade-credit scheme to enable the island nation to import goods from China to make industries here operate smoothly.’ »

“As people’s representatives we cannot be like blind and deaf people, especially when people are waiting in queues. I am ready to talk about those issues and even resign from my posts,” Says State Minister of Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Nimal Lanza


By Buddhika Samaraweera

Pointing out that it is the voice of the people that emerges from all quarters, including those who represent the Government and criticise certain government policies, State Minister of Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Nimal Lanza said that such criticisms should not be underestimated.

Speaking to the media yesterday (9), he said that it is the responsibility of the people’s representatives to speak about the hardships of the people, even if they represent the Government. He said that as people’s representatives, they are saddened to see people queuing up to buy goods these days and that people should not have to wait in queues like that.

“Everyone has the right to express their ideas. However, all these are the voices of the people that emerge through them. So we should not underestimate it. Instead, such issues should be discussed at length with the Government. As people’s representatives we cannot be like blind and deaf people, especially when people are waiting in queues. I am ready to talk about those issues and even resign from the posts,” he said.

Continue reading ‘“As people’s representatives we cannot be like blind and deaf people, especially when people are waiting in queues. I am ready to talk about those issues and even resign from my posts,” Says State Minister of Rural Roads and Other Infrastructure Nimal Lanza’ »

Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urges Sri Lankan Leadership to re-start stalled negotiations on the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Sri Lanka stating that smaller nations have benefitted immensely from similar FTAs with China


By Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema

During Foreign Minister Yi’s visit, Sri Lanka and China signed four agreements; namely an agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation, the Letter of Exchange on the project of 2,000 subsidised housing units for the low-income category in Colombo, the Handover Certificate of the Technical Co-operation Project for the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH), and the Handover Certificate of the Technical Co-operation Project for the Kidney Disease Mobile Screening Ambulance Vehicles. The financing for the agreement on Economic and Technical Co-operation is ¥ 800, which is equivalent to Rs. 25 billion.

People’s Republic of China Minister of Foreign Affairs and Member of the State Council Wang Yi has urged the leadership of Sri Lanka to restart the stalled negotiations on the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Sri Lanka, stating that smaller nations have benefitted immensely from similar FTAs with China.

Continue reading ‘Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi urges Sri Lankan Leadership to re-start stalled negotiations on the proposed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between China and Sri Lanka stating that smaller nations have benefitted immensely from similar FTAs with China’ »

Mount Lavinia to Kankesanthurai Intercity rail service using recently received Full AC Diesel Multiple Units (AC DMUs) from India under an Indian loan facility inaugurated

By

Azzam Ameen

A ceremony to start Mount Lavinia to Kankesanthurai Intercity services using recently received Full AC Diesel Multiple Units (AC DMUs) from India under an Indian loan facility was held today (09).

According to the Indian High Commission in Colombo, Sri Lankan Minister of Transport Ms. Pavithra Wanniarachchi was the chief guest. Indian Deputy High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Mr. Vinod K Jacob received the Minister of Transport at Colombo Fort Station.

Continue reading ‘Mount Lavinia to Kankesanthurai Intercity rail service using recently received Full AC Diesel Multiple Units (AC DMUs) from India under an Indian loan facility inaugurated’ »

“Every time I meet the President, he tells me ‘Oh we must meet, I’ll let you know a time’. The last I heard that from him was on 10 December 2021.”- TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran in Interview with the “Sunday Morning”


By Marianne David

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M.A. Sumanthiran in an interview with The Sunday Morning outlined the key challenges in the North and East – the economy, continuing militarisation and the national question remaining unresolved – while expanding on the party’s political concerns relating to the proposed new constitution, the hurdles in forging an alliance with Sri Lanka’s Tamil-speaking peoples, devolution and the 13th Amendment. As for international alliances, he spoke on recent meetings with the international community, while vehemently rejecting Chinese involvement and investment in the North and the East and welcoming Indian intervention.

Following are excerpts of the interview:

MA Sumanthiran MP – on Jan 8, 2020

Q: How is the present economic situation affecting the North and East?

A: The North and East has been having its own economic issues for quite some time. Since the end of the war, the economy hasn’t actually revived for a variety of reasons, but the current crisis that afflicts the whole country has naturally had a negative impact on the economy there as well.
There are informal sectors which generate most of the income there, so even the announcement of the relief package by the Minister of Finance on Monday (3) will benefit only a small section of the people such as Government employees in the North and East, most of the people won’t have access to that.
The people are really struggling at the moment to make ends meet. What keeps the NE going is the remittance economy, because almost every family has someone living abroad and remittances come in, but that is not to say that therefore people are able to manage. That’s the only way in which they are able to barely survive.

Continue reading ‘“Every time I meet the President, he tells me ‘Oh we must meet, I’ll let you know a time’. The last I heard that from him was on 10 December 2021.”- TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran in Interview with the “Sunday Morning”’ »

Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishanker’s Telephone Call and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang’s Visit gives the impression that both Asian giants are keen on helping Sri Lanka Resolve its economic Crisis

By P.K.Balachandran

The visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to Sri Lanka from January 8 to 9, and the Indian Foreign Minister S.Jaishankar’s recent phone call to his Lankan counterpart G.L.Peiris, have given the impression that both Asian giants are keen on helping Sri Lanka come out of the economic woods it has been in in the past year.

Due to a variety of factors, including COVID-19 and gross mismanagement, Sri Lanka is now frightfully short of dollars even to import essentials. The disastrous decision to shift wholesale to organic farming immediately, has led to predictions of a food shortage in April 2022. Government’s callousness has led to an unprecedented rise in prices of essentials.

The EconomyNext website quoted the Central Bank Governor, Ajith Nivard Cabraal, to say that the bank had sold about 3.6 tonnes of gold out of a 6.69 tonne stockpile it had at the beginning of 2021, leaving it with around 3.0 to 3.1 tonnes of gold. The gold sale was to boost liquid reserves, Governor Cabraal said.

Sri Lanka’s gross foreign reserves had dropped to US$ 1.5 billion in November 2021 but recovered in December to touch US$ 3.1 billion. And yet the demand on the dollar remains high in an import dependent economy.

Continue reading ‘Indian External Affairs Minister Jaishanker’s Telephone Call and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang’s Visit gives the impression that both Asian giants are keen on helping Sri Lanka Resolve its economic Crisis’ »

‘Vehement, caustic and unpleasantly sharp attacks on the government, the President, Ministers, elected representatives or public officers are not per se unlawful…’ -Supreme Court Ruling in Channa Peiris et al v the Attorney General et al, 1994

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Even as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is reported to have cited a decision by the Sri Lanka Supreme Court (per the late Justice MDH Fernando) regarding collective responsibility of the Cabinet to justify sacking a state minister on the grounds that he criticised the Government, he may apprise himself of a plethora of other decisions by this same Justice. These rulings constitute a clear and present warning to the Government which he heads.

The bitter comedy of cracking down on protests

That is not to say that suddenly voluble state ministers just waking up to the fact that the Government is straying from much vaunted paths of ‘prosperity and splendour’ should not be sacked. In fact, criticisms or no criticisms, it would be good if the entire caboodle of Sri Lanka’s disreputable if not ruffianly Cabinet and State Ministers are sacked intoto. The ejection of Cabinet and state Ministers for Trade and Consumer Affairs who gobble lies at each turn before cameras as the citizenry go without cooking gas and basic essentials, must head that list.

Even so, I am on a different matter here. If the Head of State quotes decisions of the apex court of the land, his advisors cannot indulge in cherry picking or in other words, select some decisions seen as favourable with the discarding of others. That is even more important when those less liked decisions concern protected speech. For, not even at the height of conflict in this country, North or South as the case may be, have Sri Lanka’s law enforcement officers acted with such enormous impunity in cracking down on protestors as they seem to be doing now.

Continue reading ‘‘Vehement, caustic and unpleasantly sharp attacks on the government, the President, Ministers, elected representatives or public officers are not per se unlawful…’ -Supreme Court Ruling in Channa Peiris et al v the Attorney General et al, 1994’ »

Sidney Poitier the Oscar Winning Black Actor who broke down racial barriers in Hollywood and beyond with “ dignity, style and intelligence”.

By

Brian Baxter

Sidney Poitier, who has died aged 94, was the first black actor to win an Oscar in a leading role, in 1964, for his performance in Lilies of the Field. This simple story about a handyman helping German nuns build a chapel in Arizona was enhanced by its star’s humour and vitality.

It led to a string of successes – To Sir, With Love, In the Heat of the Night and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (all 1967) – which made Poitier a box-office star and consolidated his growing fame and wealth. But Poitier’s greatest achievement – alongside his friend and occasional rival Harry Belafonte – was to help alter the racial perceptions that dominated not just Hollywood, but also society in general.

His success came against seemingly insurmountable odds. He was born two months prematurely into extreme poverty in Miami, where his Bahamian parents, Evelyn (nee Outten) and Reginald Poitier, had gone to sell their tomato crop. The family remained in the US for three months before returning to Cat Island, where Sidney spent his early childhood. They moved to Nassau in a vain search for a better life.

Continue reading ‘Sidney Poitier the Oscar Winning Black Actor who broke down racial barriers in Hollywood and beyond with “ dignity, style and intelligence”.’ »

“I had to remove a state minister. If a state minister says this government is wrong, he is saying he is wrong too. Every MP, minister and state minister has a collective responsibility towards the government”- President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

Noting the tenet of collective responsibility and a constitutional cap on the number of cabinet ministries, Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday (07) defended a decision to sack a state minister who had openly criticised the government.

“I had to remove a state minister. If a state minister says this government is wrong, he is saying he is wrong too. Every MP, minister and state minister has a collective responsibility towards the government. If one makes an allegation against another, what that makes clear is his own inefficiency,” said Rajapaksa speaking at an event in Moneragala.

Continue reading ‘“I had to remove a state minister. If a state minister says this government is wrong, he is saying he is wrong too. Every MP, minister and state minister has a collective responsibility towards the government”- President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Susil Premjayantha was Sacked from his Post Due to a State Intelligence Service Report Against the State Minister and not Because of his Fertilizer Ban Comments alone Says SLPP Parliamentarian Tissa Kuttiarachchi

Sacked Sri Lanka Minister Susil Premajayantha has called for a probe whether he was spied upon by intelligence agents after a ruling party member claimed the sacking came in the wake of spy reports.

Premjayantha was sacked shortly after he commented on the fertilizer ban which had put the agriculture sector in crisis at an impromptu interview while he was shopping at a weekly fair.

“I am asking those in senior positions of the government to conduct a probe, on how this member of parliament got access to this intelligence report,” Minister Premjayantha told reporters Thursday.

Continue reading ‘Susil Premjayantha was Sacked from his Post Due to a State Intelligence Service Report Against the State Minister and not Because of his Fertilizer Ban Comments alone Says SLPP Parliamentarian Tissa Kuttiarachchi’ »

Graveside memorial service to mark 13th anniversary of Lasantha’s assassination will be held On Saturday 8 January 9 a.m. at Borella Kanatte

The 13th anniversary of the assassination of The Sunday Leader founder Editor-in-Chief Lasantha Wickrematunge, which falls on 8 January, will be marked with a service at his graveside.

Lasantha Wickrematunge

Family, friends, former colleagues and others will gather at Borella Kanatte at 9 a.m. to mark the anniversary and remember Lasantha.

Assassinated on 8 January 2009, Lasantha was one of Sri Lanka’s leading journalists and an outspoken critic of the then Rajapaksa Government. He was attacked as he drove to work and later died of his injuries. The brazen attack was carried out by two gunmen on motorcycles in the middle of morning-rush-hour traffic.

The investigation into Lasantha’s murder has yielded no tangible results thus far and his killers still roam free, 13 years later.


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“We don’t believe in Sinhala only power and administration. Our adminisration will be a one that represents all communities. Our doors are open. We are ready to work with the political parties that represent the North and East of Sri Lanka. So we are openly inviting the Tamils and the Muslims.”- NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake

By

Susitha Fernando

With the social, political and economic changes in the country over the last two years, specially since the spread of the Covid 19 pandemic, Jathika Jana Balawegaya or National People’s Power (NPP), the broader alliance of Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, has shown impressive progress in its popularity among all section of the society. Having no faith in the two traditional political camps, specially given the repeated allegations of corruptions during both regimes, NPP claims that real progressive change is possible in the country only under its rule. In this backdrop the Daily Mirror interviewed NPP Leader and MP Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

Excerpts of the interview.

Q At the recently held Representative Summit you said that you are ready to take over the power from the Rajapaksas. But at a time the country is going through one of its worst social, political and economic downturns do you have a plan to put the country back on track?

These two traditional parties have led this country to the most disastrous end. To transform this country there is an urgent need to take over the political power. We are ready to give leadership to this new transformation. And we can appoint a Cabinet with people who are extremely qualified in the respective subject areas and have as its members much more qualified individuals compared to both the previous and the present regimes. We have the resource persons for that. And also instead of a Parliament comprising politicians engaging in illegal liquor business, illegal sand and gem mining and criminal activities we can appoint a team comprising members who would serve the people. Making the plan to build the country is not the sole responsibility of the government. The government has to prepare plans for that, give leadership to achieve targets and for that all the sections of the society have to be involved. So it is not going to be the concept of this person or that person, but a collective endevour is needed and we are in the process of initiating an operation to prepare for this collective effort.

Continue reading ‘“We don’t believe in Sinhala only power and administration. Our adminisration will be a one that represents all communities. Our doors are open. We are ready to work with the political parties that represent the North and East of Sri Lanka. So we are openly inviting the Tamils and the Muslims.”- NPP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa acknowledges unique role played by Energy Minister Uday Gammanpila in arriving at Indo-Lankaa agreement on Trincomalee Oil Tank Facilty by saying ” only Gammanpila could have brought it about.”

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lanka and India on Thursday signed a fresh agreement on the 99 giant oil tanks in Trincomalee to supersede the controversial one signed 19 years ago in 2003.

Through the new agreement, 85 of the 99 tanks will be under the control of Sri Lanka, either directly or indirectly, the latter being through a joint venture with India in which Sri Lanka will have a 51% share. Each tank can hold 12,000 mt of oil.

The Sri Lankan Energy Minister Uday Gammanpila described the new agreement as “historic” and the Indian High Commission tweeted to say that it is “a milestone in India-Sri Lanka economic and energy partnership.” The High Commission’s tweet further said: “ Congratulations to all parties on signing the Agreement to develop Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm. Sincerely appreciate the guidance from leadership of India and Lanka and support from all Ministers and officials concerned.”

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa acknowledges unique role played by Energy Minister Uday Gammanpila in arriving at Indo-Lankaa agreement on Trincomalee Oil Tank Facilty by saying ” only Gammanpila could have brought it about.”’ »

The ITAK behaves like the Palestinian Authority (PA) but without the Authority. The Tamil leaders must decide whether the only tangible political gain of 70+ years of the Tamil struggle i.e., the Accord/13A/PCs, will be buried by their own grand-standing and dithering.

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Susil Premjayanth is one of the good ones; educated, intelligent, experienced, a fine speaker and debater be it in parliament or on TV. He is not one of those the protesting peasants refer to rudely as “the buffaloes in Parliament”. An SLPP member, he represents what is best in the SLFP tradition: he is a moderate, progressive centrist. Someone who should have wielded a top portfolio, he has been deprived of his State Ministry by President Gotabaya. By so doing, President GR has fired a stalwart of the political culture and tradition of which his late father was a co-founder.

It won’t help. Not only will Premjayanth get more publicity than before; he will be more openly critical than before. President Gotabaya may have thought he was removing a pebble from his shoe, but he may well have set rolling the pebble which will precede the coming landslide of the SLFP and part of the SLPP—one notes Vidura Wickramanayake’s critical voice—as the economic crisis worsens, the harvest fails, and the SLPP-SLFP’s vote base, the peasantry, hits the streets demanding economic justice and reparation.

Beat the Regime in 2022

The best political satire I’ve seen in recent months doesn’t contain even one clever punchline. It is a new genre, a cross between a silent movie (no dialogue), a news documentary and reality TV. It is shot from within a four-wheel drive, which moves at a moderate pace on a single continuous but short trip, with the camera focusing on the sidewalks with unending lines of grim-faced and often vociferous citizens, waiting for gas, kerosene, milk, etc. From inside the vehicle, the speakers blare Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s campaign song. When the chorus comes along, young voices inside the vehicle join in, and yell out in unison “Goh-taa-bhaya!”. A passenger in the front seat, who isn’t yelling, laughs and places his palm on his forehead after gazing at the queues. It is black humour at its best.

Continue reading ‘The ITAK behaves like the Palestinian Authority (PA) but without the Authority. The Tamil leaders must decide whether the only tangible political gain of 70+ years of the Tamil struggle i.e., the Accord/13A/PCs, will be buried by their own grand-standing and dithering.’ »

Children, Teachers and Educational administrators from the historically Oppressed group of five castes known as “Panchamar” in the North experience casteism in education on a daily basis.

By Mahendran Thiruvarangan

(Mahendran Thiruvarangan is a Senior Lecturer attached to the Department of Linguistics & English at the University of Jaffna)

The last Kuppi Talk article by Erandika de Silva discussed the disjuncture between the emphasis on standardisation and the absence of serious efforts to address the challenges facing students and teachers in the peripheries due to socio-economic inequalities. She drew insights from her own teaching experiences in the North to elaborate on this disjuncture. If uneven resource allocation and development, the civil war, the North’s isolation during the war years, protracted militarization and the ethno-nationalism of the state produce the North and its academic institutions as peripheral, caste and class-based inequalities within the North create peripheries within this periphery. Today’s article focuses on how caste-based inequalities make free education an uneven terrain in the North, and sheds light on the forms of caste-based discrimination observed in educational institutions in Jaffna in the past and present.

Continue reading ‘Children, Teachers and Educational administrators from the historically Oppressed group of five castes known as “Panchamar” in the North experience casteism in education on a daily basis.’ »

Kandy-born Actor-Politico “MGR” Reigned Supreme in Tamil Nadu Cinema and Politics

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(Popular Tamil Nadu Film Actor cum Political Leader M.G.Ramachandran known as “MGR” passed away in Chennai on December 24th 1987.. This article written earlier for the “Spotlight” Column of “Daily Financial Times” is reproduced here to denote MGR’s 34h Death anniversary)

MGR T

There was a time when the magical initials MGR were a household name in the Tamil-speaking homes of countries with a substantial population of Tamils, including India and Sri Lanka. The initials referred to swashbuckling actor M.G. Ramachandran, who starred as an action hero in over 100 Tamil films. MGR, as he was popularly known, had a huge following of fans in Sri Lanka during the time he sparkled on the silver screen. Among his fans in the island were a large number of Sinhalese and Muslims too.

MGR whose full name was Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran had a Sri Lankan connection! He was born in Sri Lanka! Though MGR was an actor of Malayalee ethnicity who made a name for himself in Tamil Nadu, he was born in Hantane, Kandy. His father, a native of present day Kerala state in India, was at that time teaching in an estate school in Kandy. MGR, the youngest child, was born at home in Hantane on 17 January 1917. He grew up in Kandy till he was two. In 1919 the family returned to India.

Rags to riches tale

It is indeed remarkable that MGR born in Kandy to Malayalee parents later made a name for himself as an actor in Tamil films and followed it up by becoming the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu state.

MGR who started acting in minor roles from 1936 got his major break as lead actor in 1947. Thereafter for 30 years till 1977 he was the uncrowned king of Tamil cinema as the biggest box office attraction of them all. He also took to politics and was first elected as a member of the Legislative assembly in 1967.
Continue reading ‘Kandy-born Actor-Politico “MGR” Reigned Supreme in Tamil Nadu Cinema and Politics’ »

Thiagarajah Maheswaran: Blend of Business Acumen and Political Savvy

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

T. Maheswaran

13th Death Anniversary was on January 1st 2022.

Year 2008 dawned on a dreadful note for Tamils in Sri Lanka as one more democratically elected Parliamentarian was assassinated in broad daylight. United National Party (UNP) Colombo district MP Thiagarajah Maheswaran was shot dead at the Shree Ponnambalavaneswarar Sivan temple in Kotahena. 41 year old Maheswaran was to celebrate his 42nd birthday on Jan 10th.

Continue reading ‘Thiagarajah Maheswaran: Blend of Business Acumen and Political Savvy’ »

The Rajapaksas have an almost childlike love for over-the-top accolades. Fortunately for them, the Sinhala-Buddhist Sangha seems to possess an inexhaustible store of such exotic name-boards.

by Tisaranee Gunasekara

“There is something in human history like retribution; and it’s a rule of historical retribution that its instruments be forged not by the offended but by the offender himself.”
Marx (The Indian Revolt)

The 2015 presidential election; as analysts and astrologers proclaimed and predicted a Mahinda Rajapaksa victory, a beggar in Galle made a bet that the winner will be Maithripala Sirisena. At the 2010 presidential election, the beggar had voted for Mahinda Rajapaksa. In the after years, whenever President Rajapaksa, Defence Secretary Rajapaksa or Parliamentarian Rajapaksa was scheduled to go by, the police would forcibly herd all beggars out of the royal-sight. From this personal experience, the beggar in Galle extrapolated a national truth: the Rajapaksas were insulating themselves from the living reality of ordinary people; such a disconnect cannot but lead to eventual electoral defeat.

Just two years into Gotabaya-Mahinda-Basil rule, an even greater disconnect is developing between the ruling family and ordinary Lankans.

Whether those at the milk-powder queue near the Jubilee Post hooted at the passing presidential motorcade – or not – is moot. What matters is the aftermath.

Following the ‘incident,’ the Mirihana police descended on the outlet in force. This visitation gave rise to another spate of rumours. The police issued a statement saying that the President had wished to discover why there was a queue outside a milk-powder outlet. The police visitation was actually a fact finding mission.

Continue reading ‘The Rajapaksas have an almost childlike love for over-the-top accolades. Fortunately for them, the Sinhala-Buddhist Sangha seems to possess an inexhaustible store of such exotic name-boards.’ »

“Jehovah, Thou hast promised,,The isles shall wait for Thee,” – A Hymn for Ceylon- By Rev.W.S. Senior

Jehovah, Thou hast promised
The isles shall wait for Thee,
The joyous isles of ocean,
The jewels of the sea.
Lo! we, this island’s watchmen
Would give and take no rest;
For thus hast Thou commanded
Till our dear land is blessed.

Then bless her mighty Father,
With blessings needed most,
In every verdant village,
By every palmy coast.
On every soaring mountain,
O’er every spreading plain,
May all her sons and daughters
Thy righteousness attain.

Give peace within her borders
Twixt man and man goodwill,
The love all unsuspicious,
The love that works no ill.
In loyal lowly service,
Let each from other learn,
The guardian and the guarded,
Till Christ Himself return.

To Him our land shall listen,
To Him our peoples kneel;
All rule be on His shoulder,
All wrong beneath His heel;
O consummation glorious
Which now by faith we sing;
Come, cast we up the highway
That brings us back our King!

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

Cabinet Minister Sarath Weerasekera Tells media that the Cabinet of Ministers had taken a “collective decision” to remove State Minister Susil Premajayantha but Cabinet Spokesperson Dullas Alahapperuma says Sacking was an Executive decision taken by President Rajapaksa and not one that had been discussed at the Cabinet.


BY Pamodi Waravita

Although Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera told the media yesterday (4) that the Cabinet of Ministers had taken a “collective decision” to remove State Minister of Education Reforms, Open Universities, and Distance Learning Promotion Susil Premajayantha from his portfolio, Cabinet Spokesman Dullas Alahapperuma said at the cabinet decisions press briefing that this decision had not been taken by the Cabinet but by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“The Cabinet took this decision (the removal of Premajayantha) as a collective decision. A Government can be criticised in two ways – negatively and positively. It is not fair to criticise the Government for everything. When cement prices increase, the Government cannot be scolded for it. When President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took the decision to ban the import of fertiliser, there was enough chemical fertiliser for one-and-a-half years. It should have been distributed properly by the officials,” Weerasekera told the media yesterday.

However, speaking at the cabinet decisions press briefing yesterday, Alahapperuma said that their initial reaction to the news of Premajayantha’s removal was also “instant disappointment” as they are close colleagues, but stressed that this was an Executive decision taken by the President and not one that had been discussed at the Cabinet.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Minister Sarath Weerasekera Tells media that the Cabinet of Ministers had taken a “collective decision” to remove State Minister Susil Premajayantha but Cabinet Spokesperson Dullas Alahapperuma says Sacking was an Executive decision taken by President Rajapaksa and not one that had been discussed at the Cabinet.’ »

State Minister of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion Susil Premajayantha Who Criticised Govt’s Agricultural Policy Removed From Post by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has removed State Minister of Education Reforms, Open Universities and Distance Learning Promotion Susil Premajayantha from his Ministerial position with immediate effect.

The same was made known through the President’s Media Division (PMD) today (04).

This comes after Premajayantha levelled several criticisms towards the Government in the recent past.

Courtesy:The Morning

Trinco Oil Tank Facilty Deal Approved by Cabinet:Three lease agreements will give 24 tanks to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), 14 tanks to Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC), and 61 tanks to new joint subsidiary “Trinco Petroleum Terminal (Pvt.) Ltd with LIOC Having 49%

By
Pamodi Waravita

Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila said yesterday (4) that the Trincomalee Oil Tank Development Complex Project was approved by the Cabinet of Ministers on Monday (3) and that the agreement pertaining to this development will be signed with India within a week.

“The initial agreement in 1987 with India was for India and Sri Lanka to develop and maintain the tanks together. In 2003, 99 tanks were leased to India for 35 years. In 2017, an agreement was reached with India to lease the 99 tanks to India for 99 years. As per yesterday’s (3) cabinet approval, Sri Lanka is first getting these tanks back to the Government and through three lease agreements, 24 tanks will be given to the Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), 14 tanks will be given to the Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC), and 61 tanks will be given to a mutual business interest between CPC and LIOC for 50 years. This agreement will be signed in a week or so, after we finalise a date,” Gammanpila said at the cabinet decisions press briefing yesterday.

Thus, Gammanpila said that the mutual business interest between the CPC and the LIOC is a subsidiary, in which 49% of the shares will be given to the LIOC.

Continue reading ‘Trinco Oil Tank Facilty Deal Approved by Cabinet:Three lease agreements will give 24 tanks to Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC), 14 tanks to Lanka Indian Oil Corporation (LIOC), and 61 tanks to new joint subsidiary “Trinco Petroleum Terminal (Pvt.) Ltd with LIOC Having 49%’ »

”I was not informed that I was sacked, just found out from the media. I guess I was put out because I spoke to the media the other day at the market and I was outspoken about the failure of this Government’s implementation of the organic fertiliser drive.” – Axed State Minister Susil Premajayantha


By

Ruwani Fonseka

Former State Minister Susil Premajayantha who was stripped of his Ministerial Portfolio today (04) by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appeared to be unfazed by this development while speaking to the media.

Premajayantha also expressed that he will be returning to his profession as a lawyer.

“These are not big things. I have a profession and from tomorrow onwards I can always return back to that. I became a Minister in the year 2000, so no big deal. I was not informed prior that I was sacked, it is the same to all. We just found out from the media. I guess I was put out because I spoke to the media the other day at the market and I was outspoken about the failure of this Government’s implementation of the organic fertiliser drive. I spoke on behalf of the people,” said Premajayanatha.

Continue reading ‘”I was not informed that I was sacked, just found out from the media. I guess I was put out because I spoke to the media the other day at the market and I was outspoken about the failure of this Government’s implementation of the organic fertiliser drive.” – Axed State Minister Susil Premajayantha’ »

“On the day I was sworn in as this country’s President at the Ruwanweli Seya, I declared that I was a president elected by the majority of Sinhalese. I firmly believe that the protection of Sinhala Buddhists and that heritage is my foremost responsibility” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, recounting how he was elected by a majority of Sinhalese voters, stated that the protection of Sinhala Buddhists and their heritage is his foremost responsibility.

Speaking at the Kotte Raja Maha Viharaya after being bestowed the honorary title of “Sri Lankadheeshwara Padma Vibhushana” by the Kotte Sri Kalyani Samagri Dharma Maha Sangha Sabha last Sunday (2), he had stated: “On the day I was sworn in as this country’s President at the Ruwanweli Seya, I declared that I was a president elected by the majority of Sinhalese. I firmly believe that the protection of Sinhala Buddhists – who have made so many sacrifices to elect me as the first citizen of this country – and that heritage is my foremost responsibility.

Continue reading ‘“On the day I was sworn in as this country’s President at the Ruwanweli Seya, I declared that I was a president elected by the majority of Sinhalese. I firmly believe that the protection of Sinhala Buddhists and that heritage is my foremost responsibility” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Cabinet approves massive relief package worth Rs. 229 billion to people reeling from the soaring cost of living; payment of Rs. 5,000 monthly allowance from January to public servants, pensioners and differently abled soldiers ; Additional Rs. 1,000 per Samurdhi family; “Govt wll initiate talks with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank as well as major donors for debt relief.” says Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa


By Nisthar Cassim

The Cabinet of Ministers yesterday approved a massive but critical relief package worth Rs. 229 billion to people already reeling from the soaring cost of living, with the hope that the stimulus will invigorate the economy especially via the local economy including agriculture among others.

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa told a hurriedly convened media briefing at the Treasury post-Cabinet meeting that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and the rest of the Cabinet were fully aware of the difficulties being faced by the people owing to factors influenced by the COVID pandemic.

“The President previously made several requests for the Cabinet to consider granting relief to the people amidst the challenging conditions. We have done so via multiple moves since the onset of the pandemic and we felt the time was right to come up with this latest stimulus,” Basil added.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet approves massive relief package worth Rs. 229 billion to people reeling from the soaring cost of living; payment of Rs. 5,000 monthly allowance from January to public servants, pensioners and differently abled soldiers ; Additional Rs. 1,000 per Samurdhi family; “Govt wll initiate talks with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank as well as major donors for debt relief.” says Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’ »

Enabling the military to creep into the bedrooms of Sri Lankan citizens is no chance aberration. This is yet another step in the journey towards obliterating civil governance


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

On the very day that the powerfully resonant voice of South Africa’s anti-apartheid advocate and priest Desmond Tutu was stilled (December 26th 2021), Sri Lanka announced a preposterous rule potentially requiring citizens who marry ‘foreigners’ to obtain security clearance from the Ministry of Defence.

Parameters that defined the apartheid State

There is an awful coincidence in these two happenings, continents apart as they may be. This is exactly how totalitarianism flowers, from seemingly benign rules justified on one ground or another, to greater and even greater arbitrariness holding the citizenry captive. Germany’s Nazi regime and South Africa’s apartheid rule proceeded on much the same lines.

In South Africa, a detestable apartheid era law titled the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act, 1949 and the Immorality Amendment Act of 1950 forbade white South Africans to marry or pursue sexual relationships across racial lines. Security clearances were required in exceptional cases.

These parameters defined the apartheid State which Tutu and his compatriots fought against, making him a beloved role model whose influence went far beyond his native land. This was a man who never forgot his roots, even when the highest honour was bestowed on him. Walking through the streets of Soweto a decade (nay, it seems an eon measured by pre-covid-19 realities) ago, I remember South African anti-apartheid campaigners who had fought many battles right up to the Constitutional Court telling me that their cherished ‘moral compass’ would still come to his humble home and sit outside, fanning himself in the heat while he talked with Soweto township residents.

Continue reading ‘Enabling the military to creep into the bedrooms of Sri Lankan citizens is no chance aberration. This is yet another step in the journey towards obliterating civil governance’ »

Sri Lanka may be bankrupt with respect to her external economy. However Sri Lanka has not yet reached the bankruptcy level with respect to its domestic economy.


By

W.A. Wijewardena

Sri Lanka has entered 2022. It is the tradition of Sri Lankans to celebrate the arrival of a new year with kiribath, a symbol of foretelling of happiness, prosperity, peace, and splendour. While kiribath is partaken at every home on the first of January itself, employees of both government and private sector will do so on the first day in office after the first.

Despite the gloomy economic situation in 2020 and 2021, almost all Sri Lankans had followed this tradition in 2022 too. This is an appreciable sign, because with kiribath, people will get a booster to build their self-confidence, and strength to face the extremely gloomy economy that is looming over them in the new year. That gloom again, not something they will face in the distant future but an experience they are having on a day-to-day basis right now.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka may be bankrupt with respect to her external economy. However Sri Lanka has not yet reached the bankruptcy level with respect to its domestic economy.’ »

The New Year that dawned has certainly given cause for the ‘Hoo Keliya’ that is fast striking the power players of the Pohottuva.This ‘Hoo Keliya’ is the sound of the New Year, and is moving on to be the roar of the people.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Crackers did burst, and rockets did fly with blasts. As the old year folded up, the fireworks continued. Were some of the louder blasts from gas cylinders? Who knows, with no legal action taken against those gas-blast dealers so far. The law can wait till they draw in all the crooked profits.

As the cracker and rocket blasts fade away, we are moving into a new sound of the public. It is the rise of the ‘Hoova’ time. We saw it first at Hambantota. Were the people giving the government politician a lesson on what people of power must expect in the coming months, and years.

It is the ‘Hoo Keliya’ that is rapidly sweeping the political landscape. Several politicians, of government strength and power have had to face the ‘Hoo Keliya” at supermarkets, busy junctions, and even when they tried returning to their electorates. Many of them are so sad at being hooted even when they did not join their fellow politicos to fly abroad for the festive season.

Continue reading ‘The New Year that dawned has certainly given cause for the ‘Hoo Keliya’ that is fast striking the power players of the Pohottuva.This ‘Hoo Keliya’ is the sound of the New Year, and is moving on to be the roar of the people.’ »

Although anti-Tamil racism has now been abandoned, the JVP has played a major role in inculcating a progressive-looking anti-Tamil racist vision in the minds of the Sinhala Buddhist community.


By

Victor Ivan

We are ready to take up the leadership of the country,” declared Anura Kumara Dissanayake, leader of the Jathika Jana Balavegaya (National People’s Power – NPP) and the JVP at the Convention held on 20 December. He said so in a tone to impress the audience that it was the latest strategy that his party was going to adopt.

In this effort, he made an attempt to paint a picture that his party, unlike the other two parties, the UNP and the SLFP, has no previous experience in the rule of the country and therefore, the JVP is different from the other two mainstream parties, and could claim for an uncorrupt heritage. There is some truth in what he says, but in fact, there are some flaws in the assertions that he has underlined.

Continue reading ‘Although anti-Tamil racism has now been abandoned, the JVP has played a major role in inculcating a progressive-looking anti-Tamil racist vision in the minds of the Sinhala Buddhist community.’ »

A study from 2010 of the India’s 1,000 biggest companies found that some 93% of board members came from “forward” castes.Of these fully 46% were “Vaishyas” or Merchant Castes


What do the chief executives of Adobe, Alphabet, ibm, Match Group (which owns Tinder), Microsoft, OnlyFans (a subscription service featuring content creators in various stages of undress) and Twitter have in common?


All seven happen to be of Indian origin.

That is not surprising considering the abundance of subcontinental talent drifting into Western companies: in recent years Indians have been granted well over two-thirds of America’s h-1b visas for highly skilled workers.

Continue reading ‘A study from 2010 of the India’s 1,000 biggest companies found that some 93% of board members came from “forward” castes.Of these fully 46% were “Vaishyas” or Merchant Castes’ »

As a Christian and a priest, Archbishop Desmond Tutu had to speak out when he saw oppression anywhere but he rejected the acid of hatred and preached non-violent resistance


There were many times, Desmond Tutu recalled, when the apartheid rulers were strutting like cocks of the walk and his own people were being treated like rubbish, that he wanted to whisper in God’s ear, “God, we know that you are in charge. Why don’t you make it slightly more obvious?”

For most of his long life, it did not seem obvious at all. He was a black man in a place where skin colour had a cruel and absurd significance. At the height of apartheid, black South Africans were denied citizenship in their own country. They could not vote; their schools were awful; they could not enter white areas except as servants. Inter-racial love was illegal. Anyone who protested against the hundreds of daily injustices might be whipped—or worse.

Yet the diminutive Mr Tutu kept piping up for the voiceless. As a Christian and a priest, he had no choice in the matter. He was God’s arms, hands, eyes, ears; when he saw oppression anywhere, God’s word burned in his breast until he had to speak out. Even as others picked up pangas and guns, he rejected the acid of hatred and preached non-violent resistance.

This was a hard sell, especially to the angry young men in black townships. One day in 1985 he rescued a man who was thought to have been an impimpi, or informer, for the South African security police. The crowd was about to put a petrol-filled tyre round his neck to “necklace” him, or burn him to death. Without pausing to think, Mr Tutu waded into the furious mob and ordered them to stop. Only later did he realise what peril he had been in.

He was born poor, in Transvaal province, to a housemaid and a teacher. He grew up amid constant racial slights, dying many deaths when his father was addressed as “Ja, boy,” by a mere slip of a white girl in a shop. Yet he learned early on that not everyone was bigoted. When he was nine or ten, a white man in a long cassock doffed his hat to his mother. It was Trevor Huddleston, an Anglican priest who taught that all people were equally children of God.

Continue reading ‘As a Christian and a priest, Archbishop Desmond Tutu had to speak out when he saw oppression anywhere but he rejected the acid of hatred and preached non-violent resistance’ »

“Naufer Moulavi himself told me, and other foreign analysts, that he brought the thumb drive with the Islamic State (IS) content from Qatar and gave it to Zahran in Kattankudy Says Sri Lanka Institute of National Security Studies Director General, Prof.Rohan Gunaratne

By Ruwani Fonseka

The Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019 brought about tumultuous change to Sri Lanka’s social and political landscape, and gave rise to several questions, which remain to be fully addressed, on the true cause and nature of the attacks. Chief among these questions, and ones that have even been raised by members of the clergy, concern the level of negligence on the part of key authorities in preventing the attacks, complicity if any in connection with the attacks themselves, and subsequent issues that have arisen in the sluggish process of meting out justice to the victims of the attacks.

Sri Lanka Institute of National Security Studies Director General Prof. Rohan Gunaratne, who is an international counter-terrorism researcher, recently released excerpts of a video of Zahran Hashim – who is believed to be responsible for the Easter Sunday bombings – and his associates, taking a pledge of allegiance to their extremist ideologies before committing the terrorist acts, in an effort to prove that the attacks were not part of a political conspiracy, as claimed by some parties.

Given the recent conspiracy theories that have risen about the Easter Sunday attacks, and with the passing of almost 1,000 days since the gruesome tragedy, Prof. Gunaratne sat down to share with The Morning his professional insights into the farewell video message by Zahran Hashim and the ongoing investigations, and also released the full video.

Below are excerpts of the interview.

Continue reading ‘“Naufer Moulavi himself told me, and other foreign analysts, that he brought the thumb drive with the Islamic State (IS) content from Qatar and gave it to Zahran in Kattankudy Says Sri Lanka Institute of National Security Studies Director General, Prof.Rohan Gunaratne’ »

China Aids Sri Lanka with Currency Swap of 10 Billion Yuan amounting to $ 1.5 Billion; Central Bank Governor Cabraal States Sri Lanka’s Official Foreign Reserves have Increased to $3.1 Billion After Recent Foreign Currency Inflow

BY Shenal Fernando

The People’s Bank of China (PBoC) released a receipt of the ¥ 10 billion (equivalent to $ 1.5 billion) currency swap to the Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) yesterday (29), increasing the official foreign reserves of Sri Lanka to $ 3.1 billion, according to the CBSL.

CBSL Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal announced yesterday on his official Twitter handle that due to the receipt of recent foreign exchange inflows, the official foreign reserves position of the country had reached approximately the aforementioned level and will remain at that level until the end of 2021. Neither Cabraal nor the CBSL in its press release issued yesterday, specified the exact source of the recent foreign exchange inflows.

Continue reading ‘China Aids Sri Lanka with Currency Swap of 10 Billion Yuan amounting to $ 1.5 Billion; Central Bank Governor Cabraal States Sri Lanka’s Official Foreign Reserves have Increased to $3.1 Billion After Recent Foreign Currency Inflow’ »

Can the President do a “self-coup” from above by Declaring a State of Siege after which a corporate-military-Rajapaksa oligarchic bloc will wield power?


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

At the time of writing, a fundamentally important process of discussion and drafting is underway, shaping a united Tamil political stand on a matter that has ‘intermestic’ (Kissinger) implications. ‘Intermestic’ denotes matters ‘at the interface’ of the domestic and the international.

Whatever is contained in the document due for release around New Year 2022, the adoption of a common or consensual political stand on the part of the Tamil political parties would be of cardinal significance since a unified Tamil political platform has not been seen for decades, after Thimpu in 1985.

Much effort has gone into the drafting, negotiations and the convergence, and it would not be fair to single out this or that personality for the progress of the effort, one personality stands out. Tamil politics being notoriously fissiparous, not even India could have brought the Tamil parties together. The convergence around a common Tamil stand and its manifestation in a draft document would not have been possible without President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. No previous President was able to achieve this.

The entire effort has taken place solely because of the political behaviour of President GR, in what he has not done as well as what he seems about to do. He is the first Sri Lankan President who didn’t have a political dialogue or even a single substantive political meeting with the elected Tamil representatives. He is the first Sri Lankan President to have publicly signalled including in conversation with the Indian government at a high-level, that he views the 13th amendment critically and may delete what he considers negative about it. He is the first Sri Lankan President whose Ministers have publicly opined without subsequent contradiction, that the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord (ISLA) of 1987 is null and void.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is the sole Sri Lankan President committed to a new Constitution, the draft of which is due to be submitted to the Cabinet in January, which in all probability decreases if not ‘disappears’ the powers devolved to the Provincial Councils as per the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord and its outcome, the 13th amendment.

Continue reading ‘Can the President do a “self-coup” from above by Declaring a State of Siege after which a corporate-military-Rajapaksa oligarchic bloc will wield power?’ »

India’s BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Hindutva”Govt Forbids Foreign Funding for the Kolkata based“Missionaries of Charity”Organization Founded by Mother Teresa in 1950

India’s government has refused to renew the foreign-funding licence for a charity founded by Mother Teresa.

The Missionaries of Charity has thousands of nuns supervising projects like homes for abandoned children, schools, clinics and hospices.

On Christmas Day, India’s home ministry announced it had not renewed the registration due to “adverse inputs”.

Hindu hardliners have long accused the charity of using its programmes to convert people to Christianity.

The charity has denied these allegations.

Continue reading ‘India’s BJP Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Hindutva”Govt Forbids Foreign Funding for the Kolkata based“Missionaries of Charity”Organization Founded by Mother Teresa in 1950’ »

The Rajapaksa Government’s Rash Policy Shift to “Organic Only” Agriculture is Sowing the Seeds of a Food Security Disaster in Sri Lanka.

By

Meera Srinivasan

From the time he began voting, Kurunegala farmer B.M.H. Jayatilleka has not backed any party other than the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) at the polls. By extension, his vote in recent elections went to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP or People’s Front) that the Rajapaksas carved out of the SLFP where they made their political careers.

In the presidential poll of 2019, Jayatilleka voted for Gotabaya Rajapaksa. In the 2020 general elections, he campaigned hard for Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who contested from Kurunegala district, located in Sri Lanka’s North Western Province and home to a large population of farmers and military families. Prime Minister Mahinda polled a record 5,27,364 preferential votes in that election, reflecting his enduring electoral appeal a decade after the armed forces under his leadership defeated the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), ending the country’s long civil war.

In the last few months, though, Jayatilleka feels very differently about his hitherto favourite political camp, with his staunch loyalty giving way to seething anger. “I will never vote for them [Rajapaksas] again in this lifetime,” vowed the farmer leader, nearing 70. His shift is drastic, much like President Gotabaya’s overnight policy switch to ‘organic only’ agriculture that triggered it.

No transition plan

On May 6, President Gotabaya issued a gazette banning the import of chemical fertilizers, in what was widely seen as a rash embrace of organic farming promised in his poll manifesto. At a time when all sectors, including agriculture, were reeling under the persisting economic impact of the pandemic, the Rajapaksa administration’s announcement, perhaps the most consequential change to agriculture policy in the region in recent decades, came with no consultation, forethought, or convincing transition plan apparent.

In a curiously belated effort months after changing policy, the Ministry of Agriculture on Thursday (December 16) said it was setting up a task force to study and report on the “adverse effects of the use of chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides on the human body.”

President Gotabaya has defended his ambitious initiative locally and at international fora. “We need a new agricultural revolution that is not against nature,” he said, speaking on the sidelines of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow held in October-November. Acknowledging there was “some criticism [of] and resistance” to his government’s ‘organic only’ policy, he told the summit: “In addition to chemical fertilizer lobby groups, this resistance has come from farmers who have grown accustomed to overusing fertilizer as an easy means of increasing yields.” He did not mention Sri Lankan scientists, who have slammed the initiative, terming it “ill-advised” and “a catastrophe” in the making.

Continue reading ‘The Rajapaksa Government’s Rash Policy Shift to “Organic Only” Agriculture is Sowing the Seeds of a Food Security Disaster in Sri Lanka.’ »

President Rajapaksa says his original plan for Organic Farming was to approach it in a phased manner starting with 30% of agriculture in the first year and a further 30% in the next and so on but agriculture officials had bungled it and were not overly Cooperative

By Nisthar Cassim

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday expressed confidence of completing his ‘Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour’ vision for Sri Lanka in the next three years despite losing the first two with COVID-19 pandemic induced setbacks.

Speaking to a select group of editors at a luncheon, Rajapaksa listed priorities from his vision were boosting local economy thereby minimising imports, rapid transformation to greater reliance on renewable energy and a green sustainable agriculture.

He said that considerable progress has been made already in these three areas despite challenges and he is determined to realise the full vision in the next three remaining years.

Rajapaksa said that the global pandemic and its consequences were beyond his or the Government’s control. Nevertheless, the Government was successful in its vaccination drive thereby averting a worse disaster in terms of deaths and infections.

As of yesterday, the country’s cumulative COVID-19 case count rose to 584,107 of whom 559,684 have recovered. Death toll from COVID has risen to 14,901.

The President implied that with COVID situation under control prospects for revival in the economy, tourism as well as foreign reserves were better. “We had the highest tourist arrivals for a single day amounting to nearly 5,000 on Christmas day,” Rajapaksa said, adding that December is likely to finish with around 75,000, a record for a post-COVID month.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa says his original plan for Organic Farming was to approach it in a phased manner starting with 30% of agriculture in the first year and a further 30% in the next and so on but agriculture officials had bungled it and were not overly Cooperative’ »

Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Merry Christmas and a Happy new Year Friends!

Nativity scene at St Augustine’s church, South Brunswick, NJ, 2018 💒

It’s Christmas season again!

The COVID-19 Pandemic has restricted the fun,frolic and festivity this year too. Let us all hope and pray that the world withstands and recovers as soon as possible. The Christmas spirit however will remain despite the changed situation.

An integral part of Christmas is the singing of Christmas carols in churches as well as at events celebrating Christmas.

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The Many Faces of Christmas – Shaped Wooden Puzzle from Sri Lanka ~ Photographed at an exhibit of over 900 nativity scenes hosted by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Eugene, Oregon, USA-pic-by Mary Harrsch

There was a time when carolling was an important part of Christmas. ‘’Carol parties” including someone dressed as Santa claus would visit the homes of church members during night and sing carols.Refreshments would be served at each and every home. A few firecrackers too would be lit.

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

This practice of carolling has become near extinct but happily the tradition of conducting special carol services and carol festivals continue. Most church services relating to Christmas feature the singing of carols.Christmas dinners and parties too witness loud carol singing though not tuneful at all times.

Even though large gatherings at home and elsewhere are not possible this Christmas the singing and playing of carols is still possible albeit on a limited scale.

Continue reading ‘Five of my Favourite Christmas Carols – How they Originated and Became Widely Popular’ »

Sri Lanka to sign deal in a month’s time with India to jointly develop the Trincomalee oil tank farms says Energy Minister Udaya Gammanoila; Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to form a subsidiary company Trinco Petroleum Terminal Ltd for the purpose.

By

Meera Srinivasan

After a year of visible strain in its ties with Colombo, New Delhi may finally have some reason for cheer. In a month’s time, Sri Lanka will ink the long-dragging deal with India to jointly develop the Trincomalee oil tank farms — a coveted project that has remained controversial for decades.

“We have been negotiating this for 16 months, and we are now very close to finalising the terms of the Trincomalee project with India. We hope to sign the agreement in a month,” Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila told The Hindu on Sunday.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka to sign deal in a month’s time with India to jointly develop the Trincomalee oil tank farms says Energy Minister Udaya Gammanoila; Ceylon Petroleum Corporation (CPC) to form a subsidiary company Trinco Petroleum Terminal Ltd for the purpose.’ »

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who will visit Sri Lanka around January 8 and 9 2022 is likely o come up with a number of Investment Proposals; Chinese power producers may make a bid for the Kerawelapitiya Power Plant project

By P.K.Balachandran

Colombo, December 27 (newsin.asia): The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Sri Lanka, which is to take place around January 8 and 9, will be happening when the island nation’s economy is in dire straits, facing a severe dollar shortage, absence of foreign investment and a fall in international financial ratings.

Colombo will expect Beijing to help it come out of the woods.

Given the geopolitical importance of Sri Lanka to China, Wang Yi is expected to come up with a number of investment proposals. The Sri Lankan Ambassador to China, Dr.Palitha Kohona said on Saturday that a number of big-ticket Chinese investments are likely to come to Sri Lanka following Wang’s visit.

Continue reading ‘Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi who will visit Sri Lanka around January 8 and 9 2022 is likely o come up with a number of Investment Proposals; Chinese power producers may make a bid for the Kerawelapitiya Power Plant project’ »

The 1978 Constitution introduced into the law-making process of Sri Lanka the concept of a “referendum”.The referendum, as a mechanism of direct law-making is alien to this country and unfamiliar to most Sri Lankans.

By Dr Nihal Jayawickrama, LL.B (Cey), Ph.D (Lond)

The 1978 Constitution introduced into the law-making process of Sri Lanka the concept of a “referendum”. It was hailed in some quarters as a return to basics. In the tradition of the Greek city states, actual decision-making was being restored to the people. 43 years later, what has it actually achieved?

It has entrenched provisions which no legislature would have ever contemplated repealing: the prohibition of torture and the freedom of thought, conscience and religion. It has prevented Parliament from restoring to this country its original name – the Republic of Sri Lanka, by dropping that utterly unnecessary prefix borrowed from the Democratic Socialist Republic of North Korea. It has installed February 4, 1948 as our National Day – the day on which Ceylon received the gift of self-government and dominion status under the British monarchy, rather than May 22, 1972 – the day on which Sri Lanka unilaterally declared itself a Free, Sovereign and Independent Republic.

And, it requires a country-wide referendum to be held before a single note of music in our national anthem, set out in the Third Schedule, could be changed – say, from base to treble. More seriously, and most unfortunately, it was successfully invoked in 2018 to impede the JVP’s constitutional amendment which would have enabled the Ceremonial Head of State under the 19th Amendment to be elected by Parliament rather than at a country-wide, divisive, general election. What was most tragic was that the determination of the Supreme Court on that Bill was clearly erroneous in that it had failed to consider a previous relevant binding decision of a Full Court.

Continue reading ‘The 1978 Constitution introduced into the law-making process of Sri Lanka the concept of a “referendum”.The referendum, as a mechanism of direct law-making is alien to this country and unfamiliar to most Sri Lankans.’ »

Six Tamil Organiztions in the USA including FETNA adopt a “common Position” and write to new US Ambassador Julie Chung Calling for an Internationally monitored referendum for the Northern and Eastern Province People of Sri Lanka and the seting up of an Interational Protection Mechanism for the North- East

Six Diaspora Tamil organizations active in the United States of America have joint letter to the newly designated US Ambassador to Colombo Julie Jiyoon Chung outlined a “Common Position” regarding the “existential threat” facing the Tamil people of Sri Lanka and submitted specific requests.

Chief among the requests are a call for an internationally conducted and monitored Referendum for the people living in the north-eastern region of the island to find a democratic, peaceful, permanent, and political solution that meets Tamils’ aspirations and an interim International Protection Mechanism in the north-eastern region of the island.

Among the signatories to the missive are the Federation of Tamil Sangams of North America (FeTNA) which is an umbrella organization of Tamil associations representing the Tamils of India and the Transnational Govt of Thamil Eeam(TGTE)

Continue reading ‘Six Tamil Organiztions in the USA including FETNA adopt a “common Position” and write to new US Ambassador Julie Chung Calling for an Internationally monitored referendum for the Northern and Eastern Province People of Sri Lanka and the seting up of an Interational Protection Mechanism for the North- East’ »

Tamil National Alliance Mourns the Death of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu a man of God who fought against Injustice Everywhere and worked Tirelessly for Peace and Reconciliation

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

The Tamil National Alliance mourns the death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a man of God who not only fought against apartheid in South Africa and injustice everywhere, but also worked tirelessly for peace and reconciliation.

As the Chairman of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, he showed that justice and mercy were not contradictory but an inseparable whole.

His death, coming at a time when the world remembers the coming of Jesus into the world, causes us to stop and realize this yet again.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance Mourns the Death of South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu a man of God who fought against Injustice Everywhere and worked Tirelessly for Peace and Reconciliation’ »

The Best Christmas Cake Comes From Sri Lanka: the Romans might have invented the fruitcake but Sri Lanka,with her Burgher Heritage perfected it.

By
Rachel Bartholomeusz

The Romans might have invented the fruitcake, but Sri Lanka, a tiny island in the Indian Ocean, perfected it.
(Full disclosure: I am half Sri Lankan and thus prone to hyperbole, but you’ve just got to trust me.)
It might strike you as odd that a Buddhist-majority country is home to the best Christmas cake in the world, but it shouldn’t. This cake tells the story of the cultures that have passed through Sri Lanka, of a former Portuguese, then Dutch, then British colony that still loves Christmas.

Only 7 per cent of Sri Lanka’s population are Christian, but Christmas and Christmas cake – also known as rich cake, and available year-round in bakeries – spread much more successfully than Christianity.

It’s a specialty of Sri Lanka’s Burgher minority, a dwindling community of mixed Portuguese, Dutch, British and Sri Lankan heritage. Their cuisine borrows and mixes flavours and ingredients from east and west, and though there are few Burghers left in Sri Lanka, their cake lives on.

While your typical fruitcake has whole glace cherries and hunks of fruit peel suspended in a cake so dry I want a glass of water just thinking about it, this version is rich, moist and dark, with a prohibitively long list of ingredients.

Continue reading ‘The Best Christmas Cake Comes From Sri Lanka: the Romans might have invented the fruitcake but Sri Lanka,with her Burgher Heritage perfected it.’ »

Buddhist nationalists appear to see “one country, one law” as a call for “a single law” that gives pre-eminence to Buddhist institutions while denying those of other religions official recognition.


By

Alan Keenan

On 28 October, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed the militant Buddhist monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara to head a presidential task force on legal reforms, shocking many in Sri Lanka and beyond. Gnanasara is the public face of the country’s leading anti-Muslim campaign group, Bodu Bala Sena (Army of Buddhist Power, or BBS). He is widely accused of inciting inter-communal violence, including two deadly anti-Muslim pogroms in June 2014 and March 2018. Convicted of contempt of court for a separate incident, Gnanasara was sentenced to six years in prison but received a presidential pardon from Rajapaksa’s predecessor, Maithripala Sirisena, in his final months in office. The act of clemency came after intensive lobbying by nationalist monks and an upsurge of anti-Muslim sentiment in the aftermath of the 2019 Easter bombings, a series of attacks on churches and tourist hotels carried out by a small group claiming allegiance to the Islamic State, or ISIS.

Observers across the Sri Lankan political spectrum, including some Buddhist nationalists, expressed dismay – at times, outrage – that the president could name someone whose disrespect for the law and hostility to non-Sinhala Buddhist minorities are a matter of public record to head a commission ostensibly designed to prevent “discrimination” and ensure “humanitarian values”. Critics have called the appointment “irrational” and even “incomprehensible”.

In fact, it is anything but. The Rajapaksa government is deeply unpopular, including among large sections of its core Sinhala Buddhist constituency, and desperate to divert public attention from its economic mismanagement. There is thus a clear if deeply unfortunate logic for it to bring back to the fore the best-known proponent of a theme that was key to getting the president elected: fear of Muslims as a source of “religious extremism”. While it was in one sense surprising to see the open affirmation of Rajapaksa’s active support for the controversial monk after many years of distancing himself from Gnanasara, tight links between Sri Lankan government officials and the Buddhist clergy are nothing new. The 1978 constitution gives Buddhism the “foremost place” in the country’s religious landscape and the state the duty to “protect” it.

There is nothing comforting in this history, however. The Sinhala Buddhist majoritarian nature of the Sri Lankan state – ie, the extent to which the state represents and enforces majority interests at the expense of the rights of other communities – has had disastrous effects on the country’s ethnic and religious minorities. The state’s transition from being structurally discriminatory to openly hostile toward Tamils (who are Hindu or Christian) – a process fed by Sinhala politicians’ warnings about the threat the community allegedly posed – ultimately led to three decades of devastating civil war. During that period, from 1983 to 2009, terrorist attacks by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam provided some objective grounds for Sinhalese fears, reinforcing the narrative that the majority community was under threat. Now, there is growing reason to fear that this pattern may be repeating itself in the Sri Lankan state’s interactions with its Muslim citizens.

Continue reading ‘Buddhist nationalists appear to see “one country, one law” as a call for “a single law” that gives pre-eminence to Buddhist institutions while denying those of other religions official recognition.’ »

Indian Ministry of External Affairs Plans to Organize Talks Between Indian and Sri Lankan Fisherfolk to help Resolve Fishing Conflict in the Palk Straits; seeks list of participants from fishing community in Tamil Nadu


By

T. Ramakrishnan

The Tamil Nadu government, which is keen on resolving the long-standing conflict in the Palk Bay, has been asked by the External Affairs Ministry to submit a list of probable participants from the fishing community in the State and tentative dates for the proposed talks between its fisherfolk and that of the Northern Province in Sri Lanka.

Reply soon

“We will be shortly sending our reply,” said sources in the government. Also, in response to another request of the State government for a meeting of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Working Group (JWG) on Fisheries, the Ministry, about a week ago, informed the former that it had recently addressed the matter with the neighbouring country.

The proposed talks hold significance against the backdrop of the arrest of 55 Tamil Nadu fishermen and seizure of eight trawlers by the Sri Lankan Navy on Sunday. Fishermen in Rameswaram staged a protest on Monday demanding the release of the arrested members.

Continue reading ‘Indian Ministry of External Affairs Plans to Organize Talks Between Indian and Sri Lankan Fisherfolk to help Resolve Fishing Conflict in the Palk Straits; seeks list of participants from fishing community in Tamil Nadu’ »

The fishermen of Tamil Nadu should take into account the fact that their counterparts on the other side of the Palk Strait are still struggling to pick up the threads of their lives after a brutal civil war.-“The Hindu”

(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Hindu”of 23rd December 2021 under the heading Troubled waters: On Indian fishermen in Sri Lankan custody)

The arrest of 68 Indian fishermen by the Sri Lankan authorities between December 18 and 20 and the impounding of 10 boats for “poaching” in territorial waters have again raised concerns about the fate of the men. It is a matter of comfort and relief that the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka is working to secure their early release.

The Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M.K. Stalin, in his communication to the External Affairs Minister, S. Jaishankar, on Monday, has underscored the need to get back 75 fishing boats too from Sri Lanka. Fishermen from Tamil Nadu getting arrested and released later has become a routine affair, but there have been cases of deaths. In January 2021, four fishermen from Ramanathapuram district lost their lives after their vessel collided with a Sri Lankan naval craft.

Continue reading ‘The fishermen of Tamil Nadu should take into account the fact that their counterparts on the other side of the Palk Strait are still struggling to pick up the threads of their lives after a brutal civil war.-“The Hindu”’ »

Jacqueline Fernandez, Parents and Siblings Allegedly Received Cash and Expensive Gifts Worth Crores of Rupees from Indian Conffidence Trickster Sukesh Chndrashekhar in Return for Beauty Queen -Actress’s “Amour”


At first Bahrain-Lankan model Jacqueline Fernandez, who made good in Bollywood, refused to take the call from a mystery man last December who identified himself simply as ‘Shekhar Ratna Vela’. But that did not deter India’s ace conman Sukesh Chandrasekhar who knew there was more ways than one to skin a cat.

In January this year Chandrasekhar, the man indicted in the Indian rupees 2 billion extortion case, gave a call to Jacqueline’s make-up artist Shaan Muttathil pretending to be a high government official. Shaan passed on Chandrasekhar’s message and phone number and soon she was in touch with him. The expensive gifts started to flow and soon it was a hop-step-and-jump for him to be welcomed with open arms by the woman who had rejected him out of hand at first. The conman had weaved his magic and Jacqueline was held spellbound.

This is the sleazy script now being played out in an Indian court in the criminal case against Chandrasekhar for having exhorted Rs 2 billion from the wife of a jailed businessman promising his early release by pretending to be a top official from the Law Ministry between 2020 and 2021 – while he, Chandrasekhar, himself was also in jail.

Continue reading ‘Jacqueline Fernandez, Parents and Siblings Allegedly Received Cash and Expensive Gifts Worth Crores of Rupees from Indian Conffidence Trickster Sukesh Chndrashekhar in Return for Beauty Queen -Actress’s “Amour”’ »

“Contemporary forms of slavery have an ethnic dimension. In particular, Malaiyaha Tamils—who were brought from India to work in the plantation sector 200 years ago—continue to face multiple forms of discrimination based on their origin.”

By V Suryanarayan

(Senior professor (retd), Centre for South and Southeast Asian Studies, University of Madras)

In a highly commendable move, the Rajapaksa brothers, who hold the reins of power in Sri Lanka, invited the UN Human Rights Council dealing with contemporary forms of slavery to visit Sri Lanka, study the living conditions of the most exploited sections of society like people working in garment firms in export promotion zones, tea plantation workers and migrants. Sri Lanka is the first country in South Asia to take this imaginative initiative. Will other countries in the region emulate the Sri Lankan example?

Tomoya Obokata, UN Special Rapporteur, visited Sri Lanka between November 26 and December 3 for an on-the-spot study of the problems and met a cross section of workers, government officials, trade union leaders and NGOs involved in the subject. The rapporteur presented the preliminary findings in a meeting held on November 26. The final report would be submitted to the UN in September 2022.

The workers in the tea plantations are of Indian Tamil origin. Apply any yardstick—per capita income, living conditions, longevity of life, educational attainments and status of women—they are at the bottom of the ladder. The UN Special Rapporteur has highlighted: “Contemporary forms of slavery have an ethnic dimension. In particular, Malaiyaha Tamils—who were brought from India to work in the plantation sector 200 years ago—continue to face multiple forms of discrimination based on their origin.”

Continue reading ‘“Contemporary forms of slavery have an ethnic dimension. In particular, Malaiyaha Tamils—who were brought from India to work in the plantation sector 200 years ago—continue to face multiple forms of discrimination based on their origin.”’ »

President Rajapaksa Removes Agriculture Ministry Secretary Prof Udith K Jayasinghe who Warned the Country of “Ihbcreasing Food Shortages” and replaces him with D M L D Bandaranayake Without the Knowledge of Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage

Sri Lanka’s Agriculture Ministry Secretary Prof Udith K Jayasinghe has been replaced by D M L D Bandaranayake, the fifth person to take the position in just two years, the fourth in 2021.

The President’s Media Division (PMD) announced the appointment on Wednesday (22), along with that of Anusha Palpita as Secretary to the Ministry of Mass Media.

Prof Jayasinghe’s dismissal came barely a day after a controversial statement he had made to the media about what to do in the event of a food shortage.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Removes Agriculture Ministry Secretary Prof Udith K Jayasinghe who Warned the Country of “Ihbcreasing Food Shortages” and replaces him with D M L D Bandaranayake Without the Knowledge of Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage’ »

Does India’s lack of readiness to immediately respond to Sri Lanka’s request show it is tired of being taken for granted by the island neighbour? India has the money, but does it have the inclination to come to the aid of Sri Lanka, particularly after Rajapaksas in power have repeatedly shown to favour China?

By Col R Hariharan

Even as Sri Lankan Parliament was debating the annual budget presented by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, he flew off to New Delhi, for a two-day visit on 1 December, to seek urgent help from India to ward off an impending economic collapse of the country. This drew a sarcastic comment from former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. Speaking in Parliament he said, “We have had past Presidents, who have also served as finance ministers parallelly, but they have always attended the Budget debates. We have never seen finance ministers leaving the country while crucial public finance matters are discussed. Our finance minister went to India and came back. We don’t know if he went to beg from India as well.”

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa in New Delhi, December 2021

But Basil Rajapaksa had no other option but to seek urgent help from India as Sri Lanka’s net foreign exchange reserves have plunged to an all-time low of $1.2 billion, barely enough to pay for a month’s imports. The unprecedented shortage of essentials from oil to rice to cereals and medicines was making people restive. The Sri Lankan minister probably came with a lot of expectations, because India in the past had met such requests from Sri Lanka to meet not only critical requirements of food grains, medicines and petroleum resources, but also to assist in debt servicing.

Continue reading ‘Does India’s lack of readiness to immediately respond to Sri Lanka’s request show it is tired of being taken for granted by the island neighbour? India has the money, but does it have the inclination to come to the aid of Sri Lanka, particularly after Rajapaksas in power have repeatedly shown to favour China?’ »

Ex- TID Director DIG Nalaka Silva was Arrested over Alleged Conspiracy to Assassinate Gota and Maithripala while he was attempting to Arrest Zahran but President Rajapaksa has still not Ordered Probe into Alleged Plot to Kill him points out National Catholic Social Communication Centre Director Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Catholic church has questioned President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Government as to why they are not investigating the alleged plot to assassinate then President and incumbent Government Parliamentarian Maithripala Sirisena and current President Rajapaksa, which led to the arrest of then Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) Director Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Nalaka de Silva, who is said to have been working to arrest the late National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) Leader Zahran Hashim in 2018.

Addressing a media briefing held yesterday (21), National Catholic Social Communication Centre Director Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando claimed that when Zahran was about to be arrested, DIG de Silva was arrested and detained based on a statement made by one Namal Kumara that there was a conspiracy to assassinate Sirisena and Rajapaksa.

“(DIG) de Silva was arrested following a statement made by Kumara about an alleged conspiracy. He came and said that there was a conspiracy to assassinate Sirisena and Rajapaksa, the latter of whom was not even a presidential candidate at the time. After the arrest of (DIG) de Silva, all attempts to arrest Zahran were halted and then no one came forward to arrest him (Zahran),” he said.

Continue reading ‘Ex- TID Director DIG Nalaka Silva was Arrested over Alleged Conspiracy to Assassinate Gota and Maithripala while he was attempting to Arrest Zahran but President Rajapaksa has still not Ordered Probe into Alleged Plot to Kill him points out National Catholic Social Communication Centre Director Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando’ »

Christmas is yet another moment to cherish the extraordinary love, affection and the sacrifices our parents have made to make us who we are today. It is a time to reflect on all the positive things our parents have done for us and thank them in abundance.


By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Christmas has a lot of meanings. It is a day for reflection, penitence and reaffirmation of faith for devout Christians. It is also a moment of celebrating community. It is also a time of joy, goodwill, sharing and reunions. To me, it is all of these things. But looking back and especially reflecting on the holiday from a fair distance from familiarities, I realise that the one word I associate most with Christmas is ‘family.’

Nativity scene at Middlebush Reformed Church, NJ, USA – Dec 2021

Christmas is about giving, sharing, loving and forgiving and basically making sacrifices. This I know. Indeed, all Christians know this, although we sometimes forget in the merry-making festival that it has become. Christmas, to me, as it is to all Christians, is about family, which too some of us too often forget. Christmas, to me, is about parents. I knew this as a child, and I know this as a parent. Those childhood Christmas memories are unforgettable. Perhaps my own children, when they are adults, may remember their childhood Christmases in the same way.

The true meaning of Christmas is something that I first learnt from my parents at a very young age. I remember them as the role models they have become, largely due to my memories of how we, my brothers and I, experienced Christmas bathed in the warmth of their giving, their loving and their sacrifice.

Continue reading ‘Christmas is yet another moment to cherish the extraordinary love, affection and the sacrifices our parents have made to make us who we are today. It is a time to reflect on all the positive things our parents have done for us and thank them in abundance.’ »

“It is the next harvest that will deliver a deadly blow to us.” “If our people go hungry next year, the government should not hold farmers responsible” – Kilinochchi farmers Dread First Harvest After Sri Lanka’s Fertilizer Ban

By

Meera Srinivasan

For Muthu Sivamohan, a farmer leader in Sri Lanka’s northern Kilinochchi district, the uncertainty looming over his paddy yield, after the government banned chemical fertilizers, is only comparable to “two other periods of crisis”.

“The first was when Prime Minister Sirimavo [Bandaranaike] introduced import substitution in the 1970s,” said the 63-year-old farmer. He vividly recalled the “severe food shortage” during the period, with long queues outside shops as people waited for hours to buy a loaf of bread. “There was hunger all around. We survived on king coconut and manioc mostly.”

All the same, offering some respite then was her government’s boost to local production, especially benefiting small farmers growing vegetables and cash crops. Senior farmer representative Subramaniam Kanapathipillai recalled northern farmers garlanding Ms. Bandaranaike with chillies, in appreciation of her government’s support to them. “That is why farmers here [north] of a certain generation have a soft spot for the [Bandaranaike’s] Sri Lanka Freedom Party,” he said.
Continue reading ‘“It is the next harvest that will deliver a deadly blow to us.” “If our people go hungry next year, the government should not hold farmers responsible” – Kilinochchi farmers Dread First Harvest After Sri Lanka’s Fertilizer Ban’ »

LTTE Political Adviser Anton Balasingham:Up, Close and Personal.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ‘Arasiyal Madhiuraignar’ (Political Adviser) Anton Stanislaus Balasingham passed away 15 years ago at his South London residence on 14 December 2006.

Bala ‘Annai’ (elder brother) as he was generally known among Tamils died of cancer at the age of 68 years. The funeral was held at the Alexandra Palace in London on 20 December 2006. LTTE supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran conferred the title ‘Thesathin Kural’ (Voice of the Nation) upon Tiger ideologue and political strategist posthumously.

Continue reading ‘LTTE Political Adviser Anton Balasingham:Up, Close and Personal.’ »

When will the country’s lawyers, judges and members of the clergy be held to account for the devastation of the Rule of Law and reducing Sri Lanka to the status of a beggar state in South Asia?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Even at the brink, if not firmly in the abyss of moral, legal and financial bankruptcy as a nation, Sri Lanka’s vicious peddlars of racial and communal hatred continue unabated with their grisly mischief.

Grim comedy and Animal Farm charades

This week, utter confusion reigned in regard to the reinstatement (or not) of a Muslim medical professional accused of forced sterilisation in 2019. We may recall that no evidence existed then or surfaced later, to substantiate that allegation. Indeed some women who brought the charges against him, conceived children later in what appeared to be miraculous births. Fast forward to modern day events in 2021 forcibly reminiscent of the Orwellian satire of Animal Farm.

That grim comedy which the embedding of totalitarianism in the entrails of the Government gives rise to were reflected in unpleasant detail. First, the Secretary to the Ministry of Health formally called for Dr Shafi Shihabdeen to be reinstated at the Kurunegala Teaching Hospital and for arrears of salary to be paid. Close upon that announcement, a blare of racist publicity followed with agitators, some clad in the garb of clergy, hunting for blood.

Continue reading ‘When will the country’s lawyers, judges and members of the clergy be held to account for the devastation of the Rule of Law and reducing Sri Lanka to the status of a beggar state in South Asia?’ »

Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong, makes high profile visit to Tamil-majority Northern Province on December 15 and 16 exhibiting China’s new-found interest in that province; Observers see the visit as a thinly-veiled challenge to India’s claims vis-à-vis Northern Sri Lanka

The Chinese Ambassador in Sri Lanka, Qi Zhenhong, made a highly profile visit the Tamil-majority Northern Province on December 15 and 16 exhibiting China’s new-found interest in that province.

Observers see the visit as a thinly-veiled challenge to India’s claims vis-à-vis Northern Sri Lanka given its geographical proximity to India and cultural and linguistic affinity with Tamil Nadu.

Playing the traditional Jaffna Tamil to the hilt, Ambassador Qi Zhenhong visited the Nallur Kadaswamy temple wearing a white dhoti (called Vetti) but without an upper garment and footwear. He was welcomed by the temple management and the Brahmin priests in the traditional Tamil Hindu way.

The Chinese embassy tweeted to say that Ambassador Qi visited the temple “with full respect to the Hindu religious and cultural tradition.” He made a “donation to the Kovil (temple) and shared his offerings to the needy citizens outside after his visit.”

Continue reading ‘Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong, makes high profile visit to Tamil-majority Northern Province on December 15 and 16 exhibiting China’s new-found interest in that province; Observers see the visit as a thinly-veiled challenge to India’s claims vis-à-vis Northern Sri Lanka’ »

The “Maha Mola” Basil has gone home to the United States, also the home of the New Fortress – Sri Lanka company. The Dual Citizen will celebrate Christmas and New Year there and possibly Aluth Avurudda next April here.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The Budget for the next year has been passed, and the Festive Season is the stuff of politics today.

Is the stuff of politics the absence of politicians?

Now, don’t take wrong shots. President Gotabaya went abroad for a medical check-up. How can he be sure of a good medical check -up here when there are frequent power cuts, and our health services are fast on the decline?

We must pay more, even with a shortage of foreign currency, to keep our President healthy, which is the real Saubhagya for its teacher and preacher.

Alright, then what about the Finance Minister, Basil Lokka, the seven-brained thinker, going abroad?Come on, he made sure the Budget was passed with a two-thirds plus majority in Parliament. Doesn’t he deserve a good holiday. Don’t forget that his one-month holiday is a little shorter than the prorogation of Parliament.

Continue reading ‘The “Maha Mola” Basil has gone home to the United States, also the home of the New Fortress – Sri Lanka company. The Dual Citizen will celebrate Christmas and New Year there and possibly Aluth Avurudda next April here.’ »

Rather than building a case against a suspect, police perform the arrest first and then seek to build a body of evidence against an individual.The plight of these accused is emblematic of the broken criminal justice system at every level.

(Text of Editorial Appearing in the “Daily FT of December 18th 2021 under the heading “A broken justice system”)

After an excruciating 18 months in detention, poet and teacher Ahnaf Jazeem was released on bail this week. Jazeem was arrested on 16 May 2020 under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) in connection with a Tamil-language poetry anthology called Navarasam published in 2017.

The fact that a man could be arrested in the first place over a publication of poetry speaks to the sorry state of the country’s law enforcement mechanisms. But that Jazeem was denied bail for nearly two years is an unconscionable failure of Sri Lanka’s criminal justice system. The 27-year-old poet’s lengthy detention and the six months he spent inside a prison cell with no access to a lawyer speaks volumes about the draconian and cruel nature of the PTA and how easily the law can be politically weaponised against foes perceived and real. In the case of Ahnaf Jazeem, Sri Lanka’s horrible anti-terror laws were used to incarcerate a young poet for nearly two years, all because the CID officers who arrested him could not comprehend the language in which his verse was written. Jazeem’s arrest comes against a backdrop of increased marginalisation and discrimination targeting Sri Lanka’s Muslim community.

He is just one of many who have been incarcerated under the PTA and detained for long periods of time even without being charged in court. Tamil PTA prisoners have been languishing in detention for years sometimes even as long as 15 years, often without being charged. As recently as May 2021 a group of ten Tamil men and women were arrested and detained under the PTA for commemorating those who died in the final phase of the war.

Continue reading ‘Rather than building a case against a suspect, police perform the arrest first and then seek to build a body of evidence against an individual.The plight of these accused is emblematic of the broken criminal justice system at every level.’ »

Televised Interview of Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne will be remembered for having exposed the sentiments and ideologies that drive the bigoted policies of the current regime.


(Text of Editorial appearing in the “Daily FT”of December 17th 2021 under the heading “The measure of patriotism”)

In a televised interview organised by the Presidential Media Unit, Defence Secretary Retd. General Kamal Gunaratne was questioned about alleged attempts to link the State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Suresh Sallay to the bombings that killed 269 people and injured hundreds in April 2019.

Major General Sallay has never been accused of involvement in the bombings by anyone in authority, even though several Parliamentarians have raised questions about the individual code-named ‘Sonic’ in communications between the Easter Sunday bombers.

While Secretary Gunaratne addressed matters that remain still in the realm of rumour and speculation at his own peril, his reasoning for absolving Major General Sallay of any involvement proved more revealing about the true face of the administration he represents.

In the interview, Gunaratne vouched for the SIS Chief’s innocence, claiming: “Sallay is a Muslim name, but as far as I know he is not involved in extremism. He cannot even speak a word of Tamil or Arabic. He has not even read the Qur’an. He is married to a Buddhist lady and both their children have Sinhalese names.”

This then is the Government’s criteria for determining who is an extremist and who is not, based on the assertions of the man heading the country’s security establishment. The statement was not merely a moment of naked honesty by Secretary Gunaratne, but a demonstration of the ethos and mindset of the ruling regime.

Continue reading ‘Televised Interview of Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne will be remembered for having exposed the sentiments and ideologies that drive the bigoted policies of the current regime.’ »

Inter – Parliamentary Union (IPU) Expresses Concern Over the Arrest and Detention of Rishad Bathiudeen MP and Calls upon Authorities to Either Charge him in Courts if there is Evidence or Drop Proceedings and Release him Immediately


The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the largest international organisation of national Parliaments , which investigated the arrest and detention of Vanni District Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen issued its decision on the matter yesterday (16).

The IPU expressed concerns that Bathiudeen was arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act in the absence of prompt processing of his fundamental rights application filed at the Supreme Court with the recusal of four Judges from hearing the case. The IPU also expressed concerns that no official information was made available to show that any concrete evidence existed to make Bathiudeen a suspect although he was granted bail by the Forts Magistrate Court following around 06 months from his arrest.

They also expressed deep concern that the PTA is still in operation in its present form without amendment or abolition. The United Nations monitoring bodies have repeatedly expressed grave concerns in respect of the PTA, and the Sri Lankan authorities had also expressed their commitment towards such amendments, but no move had been made to amend or abolish the PTA thus far.

Continue reading ‘Inter – Parliamentary Union (IPU) Expresses Concern Over the Arrest and Detention of Rishad Bathiudeen MP and Calls upon Authorities to Either Charge him in Courts if there is Evidence or Drop Proceedings and Release him Immediately’ »

Mastermind Behind Easter Bomb Attacls was not President Gotabaya Rajapaksa states Defence Secreary Kamal Gunaratne; Condemns Atempts to Link State Interlligence Service Director Suresh Sallay with terrorist conspiracy

By

Azzam Ameen

Responding to allegations made by certain groups who claim that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was the mastermind behind the Easter attacks as it served as a catalyst for him to come to power, Defence Secretary Retd. General Kamal Gunaratne at a press conference yesterday (15) rejected such allegations.

“Many people tried to create the impression that the President was the mastermind behind the attacks and that they were carried out to pave the way for him to come to power. Some people are trying to engage in such shameful strategies to gain political advantage. That is a very pathetic situation,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Mastermind Behind Easter Bomb Attacls was not President Gotabaya Rajapaksa states Defence Secreary Kamal Gunaratne; Condemns Atempts to Link State Interlligence Service Director Suresh Sallay with terrorist conspiracy’ »

5 persons clad in civil attire claiming to be from the Special Task Force (STF) raid the house of Chairman of the Information Technology Society of Sri Lanka, Rajeev Yasiru Kuruwitage, Without a Warrant

By

Ruwani Fonseka
Chairman of the Information Technology Society of Sri Lanka, Rajeev Yasiru Kuruwitage, claimed that on the 10th of December, 5 people in civil attire forcefully entered and raided his house without a warrant.
He made this statement during a media brief held yesterday (12).
“5 people clad in civil attire raided my house, claiming to be from the Special Task Force (STF). One of them produced his identification card and slipped it back inside his pocket. When I asked if they had a court order, they said that they don’t need a court order and that the defense ministry had informed them that narcotics are being sold at my place,” said Kuruwitage.
He went on to say that his room was forcefully entered and was searched, further mentioning that he has a court case on the 16th of December.
“I have a suspicion that they are trying to search for evidence to produce against me,” he concluded.
Earlier this year, Kuruwitage was arrested for allegedly publishing a misleading news item over a cyber attack, claiming several government web sites, including the Presidential Secretariat web site, were hacked.

Courtesy:The Morning

A major revelation made by AK Dissanayake when tabling the Yugadanavi agreement in Parliament was that it has been signed with a company named New Fortress Energy Sri Lanka Power Holding based in Delaware, USA, when Cabinet approval was granted for an agreement to be entered into with New Fortress Energy Inc.

(Text of Editorial appearing in “The Morning”of December 13th 2021 under the Heading The Yugadanavi exposé and a Government exposed’)

The controversial Yugadanavi agreement, to which only select members of the Government were privy, is no longer a secret.
Last week, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) Leader and Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake revealed the agreement, which the Government has shown a reluctance to publicise despite mounting demands and criticism. Following the stunning exposé, the implications of certain clauses of the agreement and the party with which it has been signed, have intensified the criticism against the Government and the agreement.

The Government’s response to this criticism has been muddled. While some backbenchers have claimed that they had not read the agreement and were not aware of the contents of the agreement, Minister Wimal Weerawansa claimed that not only was the agreement presented to the Cabinet two weeks ago, but that it was also reviewed and discussed, which led to the identification of detrimental and questionable clauses about which Weerawansa said that he had raised concerns about in writing. However, Minister Johnston Fernando said that he had not seen the agreement and that there is no particular need for him to read it as he has absolute confidence in the Government.

These statements come in a context where three members of the Government and of the Cabinet, namely Weerawansa, Vasudeva Nanayakkara and Udaya Gammanpila, have filed objections in the Supreme Court (SC) in support of the Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions that have been filed with regard to the agreement through their personal lawyers.

Continue reading ‘A major revelation made by AK Dissanayake when tabling the Yugadanavi agreement in Parliament was that it has been signed with a company named New Fortress Energy Sri Lanka Power Holding based in Delaware, USA, when Cabinet approval was granted for an agreement to be entered into with New Fortress Energy Inc.’ »

Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has recommended that the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) be downgraded to a “B” status, primarily due to its appointment process and its failure to adequately address human rights violations.


BY Pamodi Waravita

The world’s leading organisation of national human rights bodies has recommended that the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) be downgraded to a “B” status, primarily due to its appointment process and its failure to adequately address human rights violations.

The recommendation was made last week by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), a partner of the United Nations (UN), and is contained in the report and recommendations of the virtual session of its Subcommittee on Accreditation (SCA), held from 18 to 29 October 2021.
The SCA noted that it questioned the HRCSL about the appointment process for its Chairperson and Commissioners; pluralism in the current membership, including the staff; the impact of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution on the HRCSL’s mandate; the responsiveness of the HRCSL to international human rights mechanisms; and actions taken by the HRCSL in connection with the intimidation of human rights defenders, the detention of protestors, deaths in police custody, and the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979.

Continue reading ‘Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) has recommended that the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) be downgraded to a “B” status, primarily due to its appointment process and its failure to adequately address human rights violations.’ »

Foul-mouthed Gnanasara Thero Facing Charges of Denigrating the Islamic Faith and Holy Quran Released by Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala After Police Informed Court that Attorney-General Sanjay Rajaratnam Had Advised Release of BBS Gen-Secy from Case


By Hansi Nanayakkara

Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala, on the advice of Attorney General Sanjay Rajaratnam, on Friday (10), released Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary and head of the Presidential Task Force on One Country, One Law, Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera, from the case where he had been charged with denigrating the Islamic faith and the Holy Quran.

Continue reading ‘Foul-mouthed Gnanasara Thero Facing Charges of Denigrating the Islamic Faith and Holy Quran Released by Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala After Police Informed Court that Attorney-General Sanjay Rajaratnam Had Advised Release of BBS Gen-Secy from Case’ »

Lt.Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias “Navy Sampath’’ Who was Sanctioned by the US State Dept was Allegedly Involved in gang of 14 Naval personnel that Abducted and Killed 11 Civilians In the Trincomalee Navy Base

By P.K.Balachandran

On the occasion of World Human Rights Day on Friday, the US State Department designated 12 officials of foreign governments under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriation Act, 2021, for their involvement in gross violations of human rights.

Among the sanctioned were Lt.Commander Chandana Hettiarachchi of the Sri Lankan Navy, and Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake of the Lankan Army.

They and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States, a State Department release said.
Chandana Hettiarachchi, a Sri Lankan naval intelligence officer, has been sanctioned for the “flagrant denial of the right to liberty of at least eight Trincomalee 11 victims, from 2008 to 2009.” He was part of a 14-member gang of navy men who had abducted kids of wealthy Colombo families for ransom. This case related to the forced disappearance of 11 persons between the ages of 17 and 50.

Continue reading ‘Lt.Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi alias “Navy Sampath’’ Who was Sanctioned by the US State Dept was Allegedly Involved in gang of 14 Naval personnel that Abducted and Killed 11 Civilians In the Trincomalee Navy Base’ »

Opposition MP Group Representing Tamils from the north and east, hill country (Malaiyaha Tamils), and Tamil-speaking Muslims Seek the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to ensure “existing rights are not snatched away”.

BY

Meera Srinivasan

A group of Opposition MPs in Sri Lanka, representing Tamils from the north and east, hill country (Malaiyaha Tamils), and Tamil-speaking Muslims on Sunday sought the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to ensure “existing rights are not snatched away”.

The contentious 13th Amendment, born out of the Indo-Lanka Accord of 1987, has remained in Sri Lanka’s Constitution for nearly four decades without seeing full implementation, as successive regimes in Colombo have refused to part with power over crucial areas including land, and law and order.

Some within the Rajapaksa administration are calling for its repeal deeming the provincial councils, created consequent to the Amendment, “white elephants”. The 13th Amendment is the only legislative guarantee thus far for a measure of power devolution that many in the southern Sinhala majority consider “too much”, and most in the Tamil polity consider “too little”.

Continue reading ‘Opposition MP Group Representing Tamils from the north and east, hill country (Malaiyaha Tamils), and Tamil-speaking Muslims Seek the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to ensure “existing rights are not snatched away”.’ »

According to Central Bank Chief Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s Six-Month Road Map,the country’s gross foreign reserves should have risen to a minimum of $ 7 billion by now, but actual reserves have fallen to $ 1.6 billion


By

W.A. Wijewardena

Falling forex reserves

Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves are falling dramatically month after month. According to the data released by the Central Bank last week, foreign exchange reserves have declined from $ 2.3 billion at end-October to $ 1.6 billion at end-November.

When one deducts the gold reserve and the position with the IMF, the immediately available liquid reserves are marked at low $ 1.1 billion, just sufficient for paying for a little more than two weeks of future imports. Along with this, the Central Bank’s net foreign asset position has been estimated to have risen to an all-time high negative position of $ 1.9 billion, up from $ 1.3 billion a month ago. This is an extremely critical situation about which the independent writers had repeatedly warned the Central Bank’s management. But the response had been a mood of complacence driven by a feel-good sense reinforced by the expectation of a rescue package from friendly countries.

As the declining data have shown, these expectations have so far not materialised. Apart from the high import bill, the country should meet foreign debt obligations amounting to about $ 7.3 billion in the next 12-month period. The available reserves are only a fraction of this total commitment. Unless Sri Lanka could attract a new mega size inflow in December, the situation will deteriorate to a level beyond redemption. That includes a possible default of the country’s loan repayments for the first time since independence.

Continue reading ‘According to Central Bank Chief Ajith Nivard Cabraal’s Six-Month Road Map,the country’s gross foreign reserves should have risen to a minimum of $ 7 billion by now, but actual reserves have fallen to $ 1.6 billion’ »

What we see now is the political use of the discretion of the Attorney General which is harmful not only to that Office but to the justice process in general.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Recent observations by the Supreme Court regarding the importance of the Attorney General independently exercising the enormous array of powers conferred on that Office by statute are, by a cynic’s perspective, nothing very new.

Elephant smuggling and the law

Reportedly, these cautions had been issued during the recent granting of leave to proceed by a Bench in an extraordinarily poignant case brought by an environmental group in respect of a Cabinet paper on ‘a policy in respect of tamed elephants where judicial proceedings and investigations are being conducted and transferring the ownership.’ This paper had been presented to the Cabinet by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Minister of Wildlife and Forest Conservation C B Ratnayake.

Procedural objections put forward by the Attorney General against the challenge were summarily dismissed by the Court. The petitioner had alleged that the Prime Minister, Minister of Wildlife and the Cabinet of Ministers were interfering with the statutory powers of the Attorney General by directing him to withdraw all cases against those illegally keeping tamed elephants and hand the animals back to the very persons who bought them from the traffickers. This was in clear violation of the law in force.

Continue reading ‘What we see now is the political use of the discretion of the Attorney General which is harmful not only to that Office but to the justice process in general.’ »

Gas explosions continue in kitchens and now there are explosions of liquid fertiliser too. It looks as if the Saubhagye Dekma thoughts of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa were in fact a Maha Pipireema Dekma – a Vision of Huge Blasts!


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

We have come to the Blast Stage in Sri Lanka!

Gas explosions continue in kitchens and outside, and now there are explosions of liquid fertiliser too. It looks as if the Saubhagye Dekma thinking of presidential candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa, were in fact a Maha Pipireema Dekma – a Vision of Huge Blasts.

With nearly 500 gas blasts already on record – with at least one dead, many injured and one housewife saved by wearing her husband’s motor-bike helmet in her kitchen, this new Age of Gas-Blasts will certainly be a special chapter in the revised Mahavamsa, that should deal with realty and not the mockery of politicians.

The records of current reality in Sri Lanka will also certainly include the recent verbal blast – obscene and vulgar – by none other than the yellow robed head of the Presidential Task Force on “One Country, One Law”. Galaboda Aththe Gnanasara, known as a thera, surely gave a new meaning to the “One Country, and No Law” concept, which is the stuff of crooked politics and One Family Power.

Continue reading ‘Gas explosions continue in kitchens and now there are explosions of liquid fertiliser too. It looks as if the Saubhagye Dekma thoughts of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa were in fact a Maha Pipireema Dekma – a Vision of Huge Blasts!’ »

Retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyratne Appointed Chair of the Right to Information Commission while Holding the Post of Office of Missing Persons Chairman Despite the RTI Act Debarring the RTIC Chairman holding any other post;New RTIC has two Previous and Three New Commissioners

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a new five-member Right to Information Commission (RTIC), with two previous commissioners reappointed and three new commissioners.

Letters of appointment from the Presidential Secretariat were hand delivered on Friday evening and yesterday, over two months after the RTIC ceased to function due to term lapses and resignations of the sitting Commissioners.

The new RTIC will be headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyratne. Other members of the Commission will be Attorney-at-Law Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena, retired President of the Court of Appeal Justice Rohini Walgama, Attorney at Law Liyana Arachchilage Jagath Bandara Liyana Arachchi and Open University lecturer Dr. Athulasiri Kumara Samarakoon.

Continue reading ‘Retired Supreme Court Judge Upali Abeyratne Appointed Chair of the Right to Information Commission while Holding the Post of Office of Missing Persons Chairman Despite the RTI Act Debarring the RTIC Chairman holding any other post;New RTIC has two Previous and Three New Commissioners’ »

Retired Supreme Court Judge Rohini Perera Marasinghe Will be the new Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission; speculation rife that a Buddhist Monk may fill the Vacant post of HRCSL Commissioner

By Asiri Fernando

The Parliamentary Council (PC) last Friday (10) approved the President’s nominee for the post of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) Chairperson, The Sunday Morning learnt.

Presidential Secretariat Director General (Legal) Harigupta Rohanadeera confirmed that retired Supreme Court Judge Rohini Perera Marasinghe, nominated by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was approved by the PC for the post.

PC member and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Kabir Hashim also confirmed that the President’s nominee was approved.

Continue reading ‘Retired Supreme Court Judge Rohini Perera Marasinghe Will be the new Chairperson of the Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission; speculation rife that a Buddhist Monk may fill the Vacant post of HRCSL Commissioner’ »

Finance Minister Basil Rajpaksa Discusses Potential New Investment for Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm in New Delhi Talks but Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila Says he is not aware of the fresh discussions held in India

By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Yet another important national asset of the country, the oil tank farm in Trincomalee, was leased out to Lanka Indian Oil Company (LIOC) in 2003. Recently, it has been marred in controversy, with possible new investments discussed during Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s recent visit to India.
As learnt by The Sunday Morning, the new discussion had been initiated by Minister Rajapaksa, while another discussion initiated between India and Sri Lanka nearly 15 months ago was still underway.

It was further learnt that the Finance Minister had been unaware of the earlier discussion when he, during his recent visit, initiated the new discussion.

The Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm had been leased out to the LIOC by way of an agreement since 2003 on a 35-year lease, which is set to expire in 2038. Altogether, 99 tanks have been leased out. The farm initially had 101 tanks built within an area of 850 acres, however, two of the tanks were destroyed; one in a Japanese Air raid in 1942, and the other when a plane accidentally crashed into the area in 1960. The tanks, whose initial construction commenced in 1924 and ended in 1930, fell into disuse following Independence. The LIOC has refurbished 15 of the tanks in the lower tank farm, which are now in use. Collectively, the tanks in operation are able to hold up to 1.2 million tonnes of fuel.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Basil Rajpaksa Discusses Potential New Investment for Trincomalee Oil Tank Farm in New Delhi Talks but Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila Says he is not aware of the fresh discussions held in India’ »

The devastating impact of the Easter Sunday attacks on both Christians who belong to independent, non-denominational Churches as well as the Muslim community in Batticaloa is undeniable States Multi-ethnic Fact-finding Mission

(Text of Statement Issued on December 10 after a Two-Day (Dec 5&6) rip to Batticaloa District by a Multi-ethnic Fact Finding Mission)

We, the undersigned, undertook a visit to Batticaloa in the Eastern Province on 5 and 6 December to ascertain the current plight of the different communities affected by the Easter Sunday attacks.

The devastating impact of the Easter Sunday attacks on both Christians who belong to independent, non-denominational Churches as well as the Muslim community in Batticaloa is undeniable. We were conscious that meeting with the victims of the Easter Sunday attacks and inquiring about their experience of recovering from it might re-traumatize them, particularly given countless groups and individuals have already met and spoken with them about it. Hence, we spoke with persons in the Christian community who work with the victims. During these discussions we learnt of the continued challenges faced by the Christian community in exercising their right to practice their faith freely and without fear. This is due to both extra-legal state interference, as well as social discrimination by the Hindu community and the Catholic church. Christian pastors highlighted the phenomenon of Hindu groups that propagate Hindutva-like ideologies and have affiliations to the Shiv Sena in India, targeting the Christian community.

Continue reading ‘The devastating impact of the Easter Sunday attacks on both Christians who belong to independent, non-denominational Churches as well as the Muslim community in Batticaloa is undeniable States Multi-ethnic Fact-finding Mission’ »

US State Dept On Human Rights Day Designates Navy’s Chandana Hettiarachchi Implicated in Abduction and Murder of 11 Youths in Trinco and Army’s Sunil Ratnayake conviced of Massacring 8 Persons Including Children in Mirusuvil and Debars them from Entry into the USA

The United States has imposed human right-related sanctions on two more Sri Lankan military officials under Section 7031(c), gross violation of human rights, the US State Department announced on Dec 10

Tho two military personnel are: Chandana Hettiarachchi, a Sri Lankan naval intelligence officer, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely, the flagrant denial of the right to liberty of at least eight “Trincomalee 11” victims, from 2008 to 2009.

The second person is Sunil Ratnayake, a former Staff Sergeant in the Sri Lanka Army, for his involvement in gross violations of human rights, namely the extrajudicial killings of at least eight Tamil villagers in December 2000.

“They and their immediate family members are designated and are ineligible for entry into the United States,” the State Department statement said.

Earlier Sri Lankan Army Chief Gen.Shavendra Silv was also sanctioned by the US .

The two Sri Lankans are among other nationals from China,Uganda,Belaraus,Bangla Desh and Mexico similarly sanctioned for alleged human rights violations

The full text of the Press Release Issued by the US State Dept is as follows –

Continue reading ‘US State Dept On Human Rights Day Designates Navy’s Chandana Hettiarachchi Implicated in Abduction and Murder of 11 Youths in Trinco and Army’s Sunil Ratnayake conviced of Massacring 8 Persons Including Children in Mirusuvil and Debars them from Entry into the USA’ »

Unethical leadership and Corruption among Christians who run the “new” churches amounts to a blight on Christianity


By

S.Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

The Rev. Gnanasara Thero and his Hindu counterpart Maruwanpulavu Sachithananthan allege unethical conversions by Christians. As a Christian, knowing many converts to Christianity as sincere and genuine, I have always been dismissive of such claims and still am.

Recent events however make me think that there is another dimension of their accusations that we need to give heed to. It is unethical leadership among Christians who run the new churches and are a blight on Christianity.

The new Christians are trusting of their leaders who are often good people – but not always. However, many leaders are backed from the West by the generous tithing practices of their members. When those whom they support in Sri Lanka misuse the funds given to them to preach the Gospel, those organizations funding these bad leaders find it awkward to blow the whistle.

Continue reading ‘Unethical leadership and Corruption among Christians who run the “new” churches amounts to a blight on Christianity’ »

Church of Ceylon says One Country One Law Task Force raises serious constitutional issues with respect to the manner it was established, its mandate and composition, while also causing serious concerns about the Government’s commitment to pluralism and minority rights.

By

Azzam Ameen

n a message to mark International Human Rights Day, the Bishops of the Church and the Church of Ceylon called upon all Sri Lankans to join the United Nations of the world to reaffirm their commitment to the equality of all human beings who are “born free and equal in dignity and rights” while expressing that many distressing developments have taken place in the country which undermine the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR).

In the statement, the Church expressed the following points:

1. Two and a half years after the Easter Sunday massacre, there seems to be more focus on harassing those calling for truth and justice on behalf of those who lost their lives, rather than ascertaining and revealing the masterminds behind the biggest civilian massacre of the post-civil war era;

Continue reading ‘Church of Ceylon says One Country One Law Task Force raises serious constitutional issues with respect to the manner it was established, its mandate and composition, while also causing serious concerns about the Government’s commitment to pluralism and minority rights.’ »

Ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda Who Was Previously Indicted as 14th Accused in Abduction and Conspiracy to Murder 11 Youths is Appointed NorthWestern Province Governor by President Rajapaksa; Victims’ families call the Controversial ppointment “yet another blow” to their 12 year-long fight for justice.

By

Meera Srinivasan

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday appointed a former Navy chief, previously accused of abduction and conspiracy to murder, as Governor to the North Western Province, delivering what victims’ families called “yet another blow” to their 12 year-long fight for justice.

This is Mr. Rajapaksa’s second controversial appointment in recent months. In October, he chose a reactionary Buddhist monk Galagodaaththe Gnanasara, earlier convicted for contempt of court, and accused of inciting violence against Muslims, to chair a panel on key legal reforms.

A photograph released by the Presidential Media Division on Thursday showed Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda, dressed in a suit and palms held together, bowing to Mr. Rajapaksa, as he was sworn in to the most powerful office in Sri Lanka’s provincial administrative structure, as the President’s representative. All nine provinces in Sri Lanka are currently under their respective Governors’ rule, after the elected provincial councils lapsed in 2018 and 2019.

Mr. Karannagoda rendered “a great service to the Motherland during the humanitarian operation as the Commander of the Navy,” a statement from the President’s office said, of the man named 14th accused in a gruesome case now commonly referred to as “Navy 11” case.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda Who Was Previously Indicted as 14th Accused in Abduction and Conspiracy to Murder 11 Youths is Appointed NorthWestern Province Governor by President Rajapaksa; Victims’ families call the Controversial ppointment “yet another blow” to their 12 year-long fight for justice.’ »

Is Gotabaya Militarising Agriculture? – President Rajapaksa establishes a Green Agriculture Operative Centre Under the direction of Defence Staff Chief and Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva to prioritise making Sri Lanka a “Green Country”

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has decided to establish a Green Agriculture Operative Centre to systematically and sustainably fulfil the priorities identified to make Sri Lanka a ‘green’ country.

This is being implemented under the direction of Defence Staff Chief and Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva.

Continue reading ‘Is Gotabaya Militarising Agriculture? – President Rajapaksa establishes a Green Agriculture Operative Centre Under the direction of Defence Staff Chief and Army Commander Gen. Shavendra Silva to prioritise making Sri Lanka a “Green Country”’ »

Shandong-based Chinese Company Seawin Biotech launches an international arbitration procedure in Singapore Against Sri Lanka to settle the growing dispute over fertilizer export contract Worth US $ 49.7 Million Rejected by Sri Lanka


By

Ruwani Fonseka

A ship loaded with 20,000 tons of fertilizer from Shandong-based producer Seawin Biotech meant for export to Sri Lanka is on its way back after failing to reach any constructive agreement with Sri Lanka, despite relentless efforts to solve the dispute

The Global times reports that the ship is to arrive in Singapore, where the company has launched an international arbitration procedure to settle a growing dispute over fertilizer export contract to Sri Lanka, according to the sources.

The dispute, which started in early November, centers on Sri Lankan officials’ rejection of the Chinese fertilizers, citing what Chinese sources call shady claims of quality issues. Another arbitration procedure will soon take place in Colombo, Sri Lanka, which together with the contract to be arbitrated in Singapore, is worth $49.7 million.

Continue reading ‘Shandong-based Chinese Company Seawin Biotech launches an international arbitration procedure in Singapore Against Sri Lanka to settle the growing dispute over fertilizer export contract Worth US $ 49.7 Million Rejected by Sri Lanka’ »