Remembering Legendary Trade Union Leader Bala Tampoe on his Birth Centenary

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The “Political Pulse”column focuses this week on a man who was perhaps the last of the great trade unionists. A legend in his lifetime who was at the helm of a vibrant trade union continuously for a period of sixty six years – an unsurpassed record! I am of course referring to comrade Bala Tampoe who was the Ceylon Mercantile Union (CMU) General Secretary from 1948 to 2014. Though called the CMU still, the amended name of the union is now The Ceylon Mercantile, Industrial and General Workers Union. The trade union firebrand is no more with us having passed away in September 2014. Bala Tampoe’s birth centenary was on May 23rd.


Bala Tampoe was a colourful personality of multiple dimensions.
Continue reading ‘Remembering Legendary Trade Union Leader Bala Tampoe on his Birth Centenary’ »

Return of Ranil: Remarkable Resilience of Premier Wickremesinghe

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ranil Sriyan Wickremesinghe known as Ranil is in the seat of power again as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the sixth time. The new Prime Minister was neither elected to office by the people in a general election nor endorsed by a majority of MP’s in Parliament. Ranil is the leader of the United National Party(UNP) that had been roundly defeated at the last Parliamentary poll. He is the sole representative of the UNP in Parliament now. From Lone MP to new Prime Minister was how some newspapers described his assumption of office.

Ranil was virtually catapulted into office through very peculiar circumstances. He faces formidable challenges as Prime Minister of a failed, bankrupt state. The ramifications of Ranil Wickremesinghe’s appointment as Prime Minister , the intricacies of the current political environment and the nature of play in Parliament in the future, would be delved into in greater detail in the second part of this article.

Continue reading ‘Return of Ranil: Remarkable Resilience of Premier Wickremesinghe’ »

The demands for President Gotabaya to step down are still vociferous but there seems to be a gradual realisation among the political class that the country desperately needs a contingent action plan on the economy front first.

A faint glimmer of hope for some order is slowly emerging amid the chaos that has engulfed Sri Lanka. The lifting of the state of emergency by Ranil Wick mesinghe shows that he’s in control of the besieged nation’s affairs.

This should offer a measure of comfort for India as Sri Lanka was seen as drifting towards China under the leadership of the Rajapaksas. The proposed 21st amendment to the Constitution, aimed at curbing the unfettered powers of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, was presented to the Cabinet this Monday. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe sensibly decided it should be studied by all parties.

Two lawmakers from the principal opposition party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), broke ranks last week to join the new Government led by Wickremesinghe, the five-term Prime Minister and perhaps the only politician with the bandwidth and maturity to steer the island nation towards any semblance of stability from its current sorry state.

Continue reading ‘The demands for President Gotabaya to step down are still vociferous but there seems to be a gradual realisation among the political class that the country desperately needs a contingent action plan on the economy front first.’ »

President Rajapaksa Gives assurance that the Central Bank Governor and Monetary Board Members Would Have Full Freedom to discharge their functions independently without any extraneous constraints.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had a meeting today (28) with the Governor of the Central Bank, Dr.P.Nandalal Weerasinghe and Monetary Board member Sanjeeva Jayawardena PC and fully assuredthem that the Governor and the Monetary Board has his fullest and unqualified assurance of freedom to discharge their functions independently and without any extraneous constraints.

The President’s Media Division added that the president also sought a briefing of the progress of the IMF programme, as well as of the economic recovery process.

The Governor gave a full briefing on the satisfactory progress of the talks with IMF at technical stage and emphasized the importance of advancing towards securing an IMF assistance expeditiously, which would in turn, facilitate the all important, debt re-structuring process.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Gives assurance that the Central Bank Governor and Monetary Board Members Would Have Full Freedom to discharge their functions independently without any extraneous constraints.’ »

Wimal Weerawansa’s Spouse Shashi Weerawansa sentenced for two years rigorous imprisonment and 100,00 Rupee Fine fter Being Found Guilty of forging documents to obtain diplomatic passport

By T. Farook Thajudeen

The Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Court yesterday imposed a two-years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 100,000 on Shashi Weerawansa, wife of former Minister and National Freedom Front (NFF) Leader MP Wimal Weerawansa.

The verdict was declared by Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala after she was found guilty of submitting forged documents to obtain a diplomatic passport.

The Magistrate also ordered the accused to pay a fine of Rs. 100,000 in addition to the imprisonment and an additional six months of jail, if she does not pay the fine.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa’s Spouse Shashi Weerawansa sentenced for two years rigorous imprisonment and 100,00 Rupee Fine fter Being Found Guilty of forging documents to obtain diplomatic passport’ »

Tamil Families Taking Risky Journey by Sea to Tamil Ndu are not only fleeing Sri Lanka’s dire economic situation but are also chasing an elusive dream — a secure, peaceful life

By

Meera Srinivasan

For over 80 Tamils, including children and infants, who took boats and landed in Tamil Nadu in the last few months, the risky journey was not only about fleeing Sri Lanka’s dire economic situation. It was also about chasing an elusive dream — a secure, peaceful life.

Most of those leaving the northern Jaffna and Mannar districts of Sri Lanka, paying lakhs to be put on a boat to Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, had returned to the island only in recent years.

“After spending years or decades away in refugee camps in Tamil Nadu, many families came back hoping to build a new life here,” says P. Nagenthiran, a coordinator at Forum for Returnees, a voluntary organisation helping families resettle on return. “But post-war reconstruction is incomplete, with hardly any jobs or meaningful development. The grim reality here is making families hopeless especially during the crisis.”

Continue reading ‘Tamil Families Taking Risky Journey by Sea to Tamil Ndu are not only fleeing Sri Lanka’s dire economic situation but are also chasing an elusive dream — a secure, peaceful life’ »

Underlining that Tamil is both ancient and modern among the classical languages of the world Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin reiterates that Tamil be made an official language of the Indian Union on apar with Hindi and recognised as the language of court in the Madras High Court.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Thursday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ensure that the Union government increased its contribution to the Centre-State schemes and more funds were allocated to the State “to do justice to the contribution made by developed States like Tamil Nadu” towards the country’s development and economy. “Only then will the true spirit of co-operative federalism be upheld,” he said.

Speaking at a grand event at Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Chennai, where Mr. Modi unveiled the foundation stone for infrastructure projects and inaugurated completed schemes, Mr. Stalin flagged certain issues in schemes jointly implemented by the Union and State governments. “Though the Union government provides more funds for such schemes in the beginning, we are witnessing a trend of the States’ share being increased over time. Also, there are many schemes that are implemented with the contribution of the beneficiaries, along with the Union and State governments,” he said.

When beneficiaries are unable to pay their share, it is the State governments, which are in direct contact with the people, that pay their share as well, he pointed out, adding, “This adds to the burden on the State finances. Therefore, I demand that the contribution ratio mentioned at the beginning of such schemes continue till the end and when beneficiaries are not able to pay their share, the Union government must step in along with the State government.”

Continue reading ‘Underlining that Tamil is both ancient and modern among the classical languages of the world Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin reiterates that Tamil be made an official language of the Indian Union on apar with Hindi and recognised as the language of court in the Madras High Court.’ »

Indian PM Narendra Modi Addressing Meeting in Chennai along with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin Fails to mention t in his Speech the material aid sent by the Tamil Nadu government to Sri Lanka through the Ministry of External Affairs recently


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday that India will continue to stand with the people of Sri Lanka and support democracy, stability and economic recovery in the neighbouring country.

Noting Sri Lanka was passing through difficult times, Mr. Modi, who was in Chennai to inaugurate and lay the foundation for several schemes involving an investment of over ₹31,000 crore, said “As a close friend and neighbour, India is providing all possible support to Sri Lanka. This includes financial support, fuel, food, medicine and other essential items.” India has also spoken strongly in international fora on the cause of giving economic support to Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister said.

Seeking to connect with the people of Tamil Nadu, who share closed bonds with the ethnic Tamils in the island nation, Mr. Modi recalled his visit to Jaffna some years ago. “I can never forget my visit to Jaffna a few years ago. I was the first Indian PM to visit Jaffna. The Government of India is undertaking numerous projects to assist the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. These projects cover healthcare, transportation, housing and culture,” Mr. Modi said here, in the presence of Chief Minister M.K. Stalin.

Continue reading ‘Indian PM Narendra Modi Addressing Meeting in Chennai along with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin Fails to mention t in his Speech the material aid sent by the Tamil Nadu government to Sri Lanka through the Ministry of External Affairs recently’ »

India and Japan have agreed to work together on assisting crisis-hit Sri Lanka, following a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on May 24 on the sidelines of the Quad summit

By
Meera Srinivasan

India and Japan have agreed to work together on assisting crisis-hit Sri Lanka, the Japanese government said, following a recent meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Fumio Kishida in Tokyo.

Mr. Modi and Mr. Kishida met on May 24 on the sidelines of the Quad summit and held bilateral talks on “close cooperation” to promote efforts to realise a ‘Free and Open Indo-Pacific’, in addition to collaboration in spheres including defence, clean energy, and investment.

Following the meeting, Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the leaders “discussed the situation in Sri Lanka and confirmed that they will cooperate with each other in light of the current economic crisis and deterioration of the humanitarian situation in the country.” Further, they “shared the view to work together to develop Indo-Pacific Economic Framework into an inclusive framework that will bring substantive benefits to the region,” according to a statement.

Continue reading ‘India and Japan have agreed to work together on assisting crisis-hit Sri Lanka, following a meeting between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Fumio Kishida in Tokyo on May 24 on the sidelines of the Quad summit’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe meets all Political Parties on May 27 to finalise the draft of the proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution; meeting comes amidst differing views on a draft Bill which was given to party leaders on May 23


By Chandani Kirinde

All parties are scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe this evening to finalise the draft of the proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution. The meeting comes amidst differing views on a draft Bill which was given to party leaders on Monday with the main opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) saying the Bill falls short of the people’s expectations of curbing Executive power.

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa yesterday wrote to Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe saying that the draft Bill made available to them, instead of reducing the power of the Executive President does the opposite by strengthening the Executive powers contrary to the provisions of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe meets all Political Parties on May 27 to finalise the draft of the proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution; meeting comes amidst differing views on a draft Bill which was given to party leaders on May 23’ »

Gen. Vikum Liyanage to Replace Gen. Shavendra Silva as Army Commander from June 1;Committee Comprising Ex-Navy Air Force and Army Chiefs Appointed to Probe Lapses by Armed Services in Countering Protest Related Violence ;SLPP MPs Complain to President that Army did not act satisfactorily ;Shavendra is new Chief of Defence Staff

General Shavendra Silva will be replaced by Major General Vikum Liyanage on 1 June as Commander of the Sri Lanka Army, while a high-powered military committee has been appointed to look into any lapses by the tri-forces during the unrest at Mirihana on 31 March, and the nationwide tensions that erupted on 9 May and the following days.

Gen. Silva is set to assume office on 1 June as new Chief of Defence Staff, after relinquishing the office of the Commander of the Army on 31 May, Sri Lanka Army said in a statement. The incumbent Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Vikum Liyanage is slated to be appointed as the new Commander of the Army, and his appointment will be effective from 1 June following the relinquishment of his office as the Chief of Staff.

Then-President Maithripala Sirisena appointed Maj. Gen. Shavendra Silva as the 23rd Commander of the Army on 18 August 2019 after promoting him to the rank of Lieutenant General. Gen. Silva was acting Chief of Defence Staff at the time he was appointed Army Commander.

Continue reading ‘Gen. Vikum Liyanage to Replace Gen. Shavendra Silva as Army Commander from June 1;Committee Comprising Ex-Navy Air Force and Army Chiefs Appointed to Probe Lapses by Armed Services in Countering Protest Related Violence ;SLPP MPs Complain to President that Army did not act satisfactorily ;Shavendra is new Chief of Defence Staff’ »

Basil Rajapaksa Procures the Support of Several SLPP Parliamentarians to Block Passage of Proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution in its Present Form; Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe says he is Open for further Amendments to the Draft bill


By

Easwaran Rutnam

Former Finance Minister and founder of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Basil Rajapaksa is said to be leading attempts to block the 21st Amendment from being passed by Parliament, Daily Mirror learns.

Government sources told Daily Mirror that Rajapaksa has secured the support of a number of SLPP members to oppose the 21st Amendment.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Procures the Support of Several SLPP Parliamentarians to Block Passage of Proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution in its Present Form; Justice Minister Wijedasa Rajapakshe says he is Open for further Amendments to the Draft bill’ »

While Sri Lanka’s woes are as much of its own making as fueled by global trends, they are an ominous marker of what’s to come in a world that seems able to handle just one crisis at a time—and often not even that.

By

Mark Malloch -Brown

Many Western leaders are behaving as though there is one crisis in the world: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While some are waking up to the widespread knock-on effects for food and energy security, there is little bandwidth, it seems, to address the underlying looming crisis: a global economic unwinding driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate breakdown, and degradation of the international political and economic system that has been at least a decade in the making.

Together, these crises have put scores of countries at serious risk and lit a fuse where those risks intersect with authoritarianism and poor governance. Sri Lanka is a case in point. The country owes over $50 billion to government creditors such as India, China, and Japan, and private bondholders—and it is no longer making interest payments.

The reasons for its economic woes are complex. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s family has dominated the country for much of its recent history through a populist, security-centered regime criticized for economic mismanagement, corruption, and its brutal campaign to end the civil war in 2009. Its conduct during the conflict has been the subject of several United Nations reports, which point to credible allegations of war crimes and human rights abuses.

Under the Rajapaksa family’s rule, Sri Lanka has incurred a string of Chinese debts, including for white elephant projects that have yielded little to no income—one such project close to the Rajapaksas’ hometown was dubbed “The World’s Emptiest International Airport” by Forbes. When COVID-19 struck, they ploughed on with sweeping tax cuts as tourism collapsed—wiping out state revenue and personal incomes.

Continue reading ‘While Sri Lanka’s woes are as much of its own making as fueled by global trends, they are an ominous marker of what’s to come in a world that seems able to handle just one crisis at a time—and often not even that.’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tells Reuters that he will present an interim budget within six weeks which would slash infrastructure projects to re-route funds into a two-year relief programme for Sri Lankans Suffering From Economic Crisis


Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Tuesday that he will present an interim budget within six weeks, slashing infrastructure projects to re-route funds into a two-year relief programme for the crisis-hit island nation.

Wickremesinghe, who took office two weeks ago, warned that inflation would rise as the government gets down to tackling the crisis, and that there could be more protests on the streets.

He said he hoped any unrest would not get out of hand, adding that funds would be made available to help the most vulnerable of the country’s 22 million people.

“Looking at the hard days ahead, there has to be protests. It’s natural when people suffer, they must protest,” Wickremesinghe said in an interview at the colonial-era prime minister’s office in the commercial capital Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tells Reuters that he will present an interim budget within six weeks which would slash infrastructure projects to re-route funds into a two-year relief programme for Sri Lankans Suffering From Economic Crisis’ »

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Takes Over Additional Responsibilitties after being Sworn in by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation, and National Policies


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday assumed additional charge as Finance Minister, possibly the toughest job when the island nation’s economy experiences a rapid decline amid an unprecedented crisis.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s office said Mr. Wickremesinghe was sworn in “Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation, and National Policies”, about a fortnight after Mr. Gotabaya appointed him Premier in place of his elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, amid political tumult.

There were few takers for the role of Finance Minister, with former minister Ali Sabry reportedly declining to accept the position, and economists in opposition refusing to take on the role unconditionally.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Takes Over Additional Responsibilitties after being Sworn in by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Minister of Finance, Economic Stabilisation, and National Policies’ »

The World Bank does not plan to offer new financing to Sri Lanka Until an adequate macroeconomic policy framework is in place.


WASHINGTON, May 24, 2022—The World Bank today issued the following statement on Sri Lanka:

“Recent media reports have inaccurately stated that the World Bank is planning support for Sri Lanka in the form of a bridge loan or new loan commitments, among other incorrect assertions.

We are concerned for the people of Sri Lanka and are working in coordination with the IMF and other development partners in advising on appropriate policies to restore economic stability and broad-based growth. Until an adequate macroeconomic policy framework is in place, the World Bank does not plan to offer new financing to Sri Lanka.

We are currently repurposing resources from previously approved projects to help the government with some essential medicines, temporary cash transfers for poor and vulnerable households, school meals for children of vulnerable families, and support for farmers and small businesses.”

Basil Rajapaksa’s Mouthpiece .Sagara Kariyawasam Lashes out at Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for Trying to Introduce 21st Constitutional Amendment Before Resolving Economic Crisis; Provision Preventing Dual Citizens like Basil Entering Parliament Seems to Irk SLPP Gen Secy

BY Pamodi Waravita

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) yesterday (24) said that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe must solve the economic crisis before bringing in a Constitutional amendment, adding that such amendments should not be drafted to target any specific individuals, which prevent them from entering Parliament or becoming President.

“The SLPP cannot immediately say as to whether we are supporting the 21st Amendment to the Constitution Bill. We have to first properly analyse it and then understand the public’s ideas about it. We said that we will support Wickremesinghe to make a new Government to solve the country’s economic crisis. There is no Constitutional or political crisis here. He was appointed to find solutions for the economic crisis. But the economic crisis is still there.

“People are still on the roads in queues. And he is trying to bring a Constitutional amendment. First, solve the economic crisis and create an environment which allows a Parliamentarian to walk freely on the road and have the mental freedom to think. Then, we can discuss a Constitutional amendment,” SLPP General Secretary Attorney-at-Law MP Sagara Kariyawasam told The Morning yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa’s Mouthpiece .Sagara Kariyawasam Lashes out at Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for Trying to Introduce 21st Constitutional Amendment Before Resolving Economic Crisis; Provision Preventing Dual Citizens like Basil Entering Parliament Seems to Irk SLPP Gen Secy’ »

Sri Lanka has decided to seek fresh assistance of $500 million from India to augment its fuel imports, as the island reels under a crippling Fuel Unavailbility crisis; Govt. tells non-essential staff to work from home to save fuel

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka has decided to seek fresh assistance of $500 million from India to augment its fuel imports, as the island reels under a crippling economic crisis manifesting in persisting shortages of essentials.

For weeks now, citizens are spending long hours lining up outside fuel stations — at times all day or night — to pump petrol or diesel, currently in short supply, as crisis-hit Sri Lanka runs out of dollars to pay for imports.
Public transport has been stalled due to the unavailability of fuel, businesses have been hit, and schools were forced to remain closed as students are unable to commute. Over the last few days, Sri Lankan social media saw many accounts of families being unable to access emergency medical care due to the lack of fuel. The government has asked “non-essential” staff to work from home, to save on fuel consumption.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has decided to seek fresh assistance of $500 million from India to augment its fuel imports, as the island reels under a crippling Fuel Unavailbility crisis; Govt. tells non-essential staff to work from home to save fuel’ »

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Likely to be Sworn in as Finance Minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa After SJB MP Dr.Harsha de Silva Refuses Offer to Take Over Finance Ministry Under Present Political Conditions

With Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB) Opposition MP Dr. Harsha de Silva reiterating that he will not accept the Finance Minister portfolio under the present political conditions, The Morning learnt that Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe is likely to take oaths as the new Finance Minister today (25), with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa acting as the Finance Minister until the new appointment is made.

The crucial position still remains vacant, in the midst of the country’s most severe economic crisis since Independence.

The portfolio was offered to SJB MP Dr. de Silva on several occasions, although he has repeatedly stated that he is unwilling to take it up under the present conditions.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Likely to be Sworn in as Finance Minister by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa After SJB MP Dr.Harsha de Silva Refuses Offer to Take Over Finance Ministry Under Present Political Conditions’ »

♬ P. Leela, ‘Forgotten’ Singer Who Sang Unforgettable Songs In Tamil Cinema ♥

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(P. Leela was the uncrowned queen of song in the realm of Tamil films during the fifties and sixties of the last century.Born in 1934, Leela passed away in 2005.This Article written in 2015 is re-posted here without any changes to denote Leela’s Birthdy on May 19)

I was pleasantly surprised this week when a South Indian journal asked me to revise an article I had written earlier about the singer Porayathu Leela – popularly known as P. Leela. The request for an article to denote Leela’s birthday was most unexpected as she had passed away 10 years ago on October 31st 2005.Her once successful career as a Play back singer of film songs in Tamil cinema had virtually ended decades before her demise. Leela, born on 19 May 1934, was ethnically a Malayalee who resided and died in the Tamil Nadu state capital of Chennai.

Porayathu Leela (P. Leela)

♥♬ Porayathu Leela (P. Leela) ♬♥

The present generation of film song fans may have never heard her or even heard of P. Leela. She was the uncrowned queen of song in the realm of Tamil films during the fifties and sixties of the last century. P. Leela has sung about 5,000 film songs in South Indian languages such as Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, Kannada and even in Bengalee and Sinhala. Her Tamil renditions may number around 1,000. She was a household name in those days.
Continue reading ‘♬ P. Leela, ‘Forgotten’ Singer Who Sang Unforgettable Songs In Tamil Cinema ♥’ »

Ex-Culture Minister Geetha Kumarasinghe was a Dazzling Actress who Sizzled on the Silver Screen

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Actress turned politician Geetha Kumarasinghe grabbed media attention a few weeks ago when she spoke out strongly in support of President Gotabaya Rajapksa. The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna(SLPP) Galle district MP who enjoyed much popularity as a successful actress for many years had been appointed State minister of Culture and Performing Arts by the President on April 18th. Geetha Kumarasinghe addressed Parliament for the first time in her state minister capacity on April 21st.

Kumara Vidugalage Dona Geetha Samanmalee Kumarasinghe (born 5 July 1955)

The newly appointed state minister lashed out at the “Gota Go Home”protests demanding the resignation of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Specifically targeting the alleged blocking of roads and railway tracks by protesters , she queried whether this was not “Terrorism”? According to meda reports Geetha Kumarasinghe spoke thus “ Who closed the railway and other main roads? What is expected of these? Isn’t this terrorism? Do innocent people do this? I say in this House today, stop saying Gota Go Home immediately. When his time comes he will leave. Then let’s go for a poll!”

Continue reading ‘Ex-Culture Minister Geetha Kumarasinghe was a Dazzling Actress who Sizzled on the Silver Screen’ »

“It is essential for the country that your govt wins the legitimacy of opposition support and is not seen as a Rajapaksa clone” – An Open Letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe From Krishantha Prasad Cooray


Dear Prime Minister,

As I watched you take oaths at the Presidential Secretariat, my mind was drawn to the last time you did so, on 16 December 2018, on day 52 of the 52-day coup plot that was mounted against Lankan democracy. On that Sunday morning, you were flanked by your wife, Dr. Maithri Wickremasinghe and several senior opposition MPs in what still feels like the finest hour in the history of our constitutional democracy.

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe

Several political parties rallied around you, putting the constitution before party politics and personal grievances. There was no doubt in anyone’s mind that your side was the side of right, and the side of democracy.

On the three previous occasions when you took oaths as Prime Minister, you did so with a strong mandate, after conclusive electoral victories. Consequently, these swearing in ceremonies were celebrative affairs, accompanied by the air of hope your mandate deserved.

So, it was with a heavy heart I watched you being sworn in last week before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a dark, empty room. I imagined to myself how different it would have been if this sixth swearing in ceremony had better resembled your previous ones. There were no cheering crowds, because you had won no election, had received no mandate to govern.

Given the Rajapaksa family history of power hunger, bloodlust and greed, coupled with the demands of the national protest movement, Sajith Premadasa drew a line in the sand and refused the premiership under a Rajapaksa presidency. Whether he did so on principle, or out of fear of taking on so great a challenge, I cannot say.

The fact that you have risen to the moment and taken on the most difficult job in the country is thus admirable.If you are to succeed, you can only do so by unifying and integrating, not by dividing and conquering.

Continue reading ‘“It is essential for the country that your govt wins the legitimacy of opposition support and is not seen as a Rajapaksa clone” – An Open Letter to Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe From Krishantha Prasad Cooray’ »

President Gotabaya and his Former Prime Minister Mahinda rarely confronted each other directly, yet they disagreed on everything, including high-stakes political gamesmanship and petty corruption

By Gerry Shih and Hafeel Farisz

The mob was bashing on the gates of the Sri Lankan prime minister’s official residence, its size and fury swelling dangerously.

For weeks, Mahinda Rajapaksa, the 76-year-old prime minister, had been under pressure to resign as the economy imploded and protests erupted. The brother of the president, Gotabaya, and a patriarch of his own political dynasty, Mahinda was once hailed as appachchi, the beloved father of the people. Now he was huddled in his second-floor bedroom, accompanied by relatives who frantically called army officers, pleading to be rescued.

Outside the gates, anti-government protesters who had been attacked earlier by Mahinda’s supporters were taking their revenge — rioting, burning buses and torching hundreds of homes owned by allies of the Rajapaksas. A lawmaker from their party was beaten to death, his body dragged through the streets.

That day, May 9, was one of the most violent and chaotic in recent Sri Lankan history. But it was precipitated by years of turmoil inside the house of Rajapaksa.

The Rajapaksa brothers have dominated politics here for most of the last 20 years. After helping Mahinda win the presidency in 2005, his brothers Chamal, Gotabaya and Basil took over ministries that controlled three-quarters of the national budget and built popular support despite allegations of human rights abuses and corruption. But by 2019, when Gotabaya became president, the family was marred by infighting and dysfunction that would drive South Asia’s most developed nation into ruin.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya and his Former Prime Minister Mahinda rarely confronted each other directly, yet they disagreed on everything, including high-stakes political gamesmanship and petty corruption’ »

The political initiative belongs to PM Wickremesinghe and his cabinet.If they can semi-normalise the distribution of fuel and gas in the coming week, they and the country will gain a much needed breathing space. If they fail, mass violence might break out.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Without gas, without kerosene oil, we can’t do anything. Last option what? Without food we are going to die. That will happen hundred percent.” ~ Mohammad Shazly a part-time chauffer, Colombo (Reuters – 20.5.2022

An old man walks down a road, snowy haired, thin to the point of gauntness, bespectacled. He clutches a white cane in one hand; the other steadies the gas cylinder he is bearing on his frail shoulders. That one picture, probably taken from a phone, portrays better than a thousand words or figures our current condition

The Rajapaksa-made crisis affects all Lankans, but not in the same way and not to the same degree. The greatest burden is borne not by the upper or the middle classes but by the old and the new poor. For them, the crisis is a battle for survival in the most literal sense. They have little time or patience for the political arguments which engages those of us for whom the crisis is not yet (and may never be) a matter of life and death. As a man who had been waiting in a Colombo queue for hours for cooking gas told the NDTV, “We don’t mind Ranil or Basil or whoever… We want solutions to our people. We don’t mind Ranil come back or Mahinda come back. We want solutions to our people. That’s it.”

Parliamentarian Mujibar Rahuman this week gave voice to the pain and despair of Colombo’s old and new poor. He also sounded a dire and accurate warning of the consequences of their anger. He asked the new Prime Minister about the steps taken to alleviate the plight of these most vulnerable communities. Ranil Wickremesinghe’s answer didn’t inspire confidence. He talked of the global food crisis and said the issue would be studied by a committee next week (hopefully not the committee headed by Vajira Abeywardane).

The impending global food crisis is real. There’s another global development the IMF warned about this week which Mr. Wickremesinghe and his motley crew of ministers should pay close attention to – greater social unrest caused mainly by steep increases in food and fuel prices. In Sri Lanka, massive price increases are compounded by a near total unavailability of items essential to the maintenance of modern life, especially in urban settings. Add to that the non-availability of fertiliser for this season leading to a collapse of agriculture and a resultant food shortage, and all the ingredients are present for the cauldron to boil over.

Continue reading ‘The political initiative belongs to PM Wickremesinghe and his cabinet.If they can semi-normalise the distribution of fuel and gas in the coming week, they and the country will gain a much needed breathing space. If they fail, mass violence might break out.’ »

The decades-long subversive capture of the Constitutional State by agents of the Deep State in Sri Lanka

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By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Two extraordinary developments this week may be of interest to Sri Lanka watchers familiar with the decades-long subversive capture of the Constitutional State by agents of the Deep State.

Casting aspersions on judicial officers entrusted with ‘protest cases’

First, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka’s expression of strongly worded concern to the Chief Justice and the Attorney General this Friday, regarding ‘a concerted effort by certain parties’ to discredit the judiciary and the Bar by ‘falsely accusing judges and members of the legal profession of promoting violence,’ is significant.

Extraordinarily it was warned that ‘these elements,’ (unnamed as the Bar preferred to be the case apparently), had gone so far as to cast ‘aspersions on orders made by judicial officers in pending cases relating to protests.’The Bar has asked for these ‘unnamed elements’ to be dealt with for contempt of court in terms of Article 105 of the Constitution.

The Attorney General was also asked to prosecute any responsible for unlawful interference with the judiciary under Article 111C of the Constitution. There is, of course, an immediate and patent irony here.

As we may recall, an Opposition Member of Parliament was sent to jail for four years for committing contempt as a result of ad hoc comments loosely categorising ‘a majority’ of judges, lawyers in Sri Lanka as corrupt. He is still serving his term.

Continue reading ‘The decades-long subversive capture of the Constitutional State by agents of the Deep State in Sri Lanka’ »

The draft bill of the proposed new 21st Amendment to the Constitution will be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers on May 23; The draft was finalised by a committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe


By “The Sunday Morning” Political Editor

The draft bill of the proposed new 21st Amendment to the Constitution is to be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers tomorrow (23), it is learnt.
The finalising of the draft bill was one of the first acts of new Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe last Friday (20) soon after his appointment to office.

“The 21st Amendment will be presented to Cabinet on Monday,” Rajapakshe told The Sunday Morning.

The final draft was finalised by a committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and Ministers Rajapakshe and Nimal Siripala de Silva, the Attorney General, the Legal Draftsman, President’s Counsel Ronald Perera, and Attorney-at-Law Eraj de Silva.

A copy of the draft bill seen by The Sunday Morning showed that the new piece of legislation would not only revert to the 19th Amendment to the Constitution that was introduced during the previous Yahapalana Government but also go beyond that with the introduction of several new features.

Continue reading ‘The draft bill of the proposed new 21st Amendment to the Constitution will be presented to the Cabinet of Ministers on May 23; The draft was finalised by a committee headed by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

The Shift from the Modi Govt’s Earlier “Muscular Foreign Policy” to the Current Conciliatory Neighbourhood Policy is Noticeable in India’s Response Towards Non-electoral Changes at the top in Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.


By

Suhasini Haidar

In late 2016, a senior Indian government official, in a meeting with the envoy of a neighbouring country, spelt out the consequences that the country would face if it crossed the Narendra Modi government’s newly “muscular foreign policy”. At the time, the Government had put Pakistan on notice on terror attacks, and cancelled Foreign Secretary-level talks; in Sri Lanka, the Rajapaksa government, that had been seen cozying up to China was voted out, with some reports that Indian intelligence played a role in facilitating opposition talks; and in Nepal, Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli’s coalition government had fallen apart, with a similar nudge reported from New Delhi.

The message the official conveyed was that New Delhi would use all its levers to prevail over any uncooperative South Asian neighbour. However, the tough messaging did not find much favour over time. By the Modi government’s second term, it had made peace with a much more consensual, conciliatory policy in the neighbourhood — visibly improving ties with each country (minus Pakistan) through high-level visits, extending development aid and lines of credit, and enabling a rush of soft power diplomacy.

A change in approach

The contrast between India’s response to the events in 2016 to the present is stark, after five neighbouring democracies underwent non-electoral changes at the top, namely Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The first difference is that New Delhi has not been held responsible in any of its neighbouring capitals for attempting to interfere in their political processes. Second, South Block has abandoned its uniformly muscular “one size fits all” approach to the region.

Continue reading ‘The Shift from the Modi Govt’s Earlier “Muscular Foreign Policy” to the Current Conciliatory Neighbourhood Policy is Noticeable in India’s Response Towards Non-electoral Changes at the top in Myanmar, Nepal, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.’ »

Tamil Nadu sends on May 19, the first consignment of rice, milk powder and essential medicines Via Ship to Sri Lanka signalling a shift in relations between people of the South Indian State nd the Island

BY R.K. RADHAKRISHNAN

When Tan Binh 99, the Panama-registered general cargo vessel left Chennai at 8.28 a.m. on May 19 with 9,000 tons of rice, 200 tons of milk powder, and 24 tons of essential medicines, it marked a first of sorts: A province in a developing country extending its assistance to another country.

Tamil Nadu decided to extend humanitarian assistance to Sri Lanka in the form of rice and other essential commodities, taking into consideration the plight of the people following the economic deterioration of the island nation. This is a marked shift in the stand of political parties in Tamil Nadu, which has in the past demanded a separate Tamil nation in Sri Lanka. It also sets the stage for enhanced interaction between the people of the two regions.

Chief Minister M.K. Stalin flagged off the process of loading the cargo onto the vessel on May 18. At a function held at West Quay in Chennai Port on May 18, Stalin symbolically handed over a sample pouch of the material to D. Venkateshwaran, Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in Southern India.. The cargo vessel is expected to cover the distance of just over 400 nautical miles in about two days.

The total aid promised by the Tamil Nadu government is worth Rs.123 crore and consists of 40,000 tons of rice, 100-plus life-saving drugs and 500 tons of milk powder. This is just the first consignment and is being sent with the consent of the Government of India. The State government has appealed to the people to contribute generously to the relief efforts in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Nadu sends on May 19, the first consignment of rice, milk powder and essential medicines Via Ship to Sri Lanka signalling a shift in relations between people of the South Indian State nd the Island’ »

“Missing Persons” Mahinda and Namal Rajapaksa Resurfce by Attending Parliament Again


Former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who had to go into hiding after angry crowds besieged his official residence Temple Trees on 9 May came to Parliament yesterday.

Rajapaksa who was taken to the Navy Camp in Trincomalee came to the House with his son MP Namal Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘“Missing Persons” Mahinda and Namal Rajapaksa Resurfce by Attending Parliament Again’ »

Political Stability Being Slowly Restored in Sri Lanka with Ranil Wickremesinghe taking over as Prime Minister and attempting to form a multi-party government.


By P.K.Balachandran

After nearly two months of uncertainty and turmoil, Sri Lankan parliamentarians have now reached a consensus on the political management of the country, with Ranil Wickremesinghe taking over as Prime Minister and attempting to form a multi-party government.

On Friday, nine new cabinet ministers from different parties were sworn in before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. The new ministers are: Nimal Siripala de Silva (Ports, Shipping and Aviation Services); Dr. Susil Premajayantha (Education); Dr. Keheliya Rambukwella (Health); Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe (Justice, Prisons Affairs and Constitutional Reforms); Harin Fernando (Tourism and Lands); Dr. Ramesh Pathirana (f Plantation Industries); Manusha Nanayakkara (Labor and Foreign Employment); Nalin Fernando (Trade, Commerce and Food Security); Tiran Alles (Public Security).

Continue reading ‘Political Stability Being Slowly Restored in Sri Lanka with Ranil Wickremesinghe taking over as Prime Minister and attempting to form a multi-party government.’ »

Sri Lankan Govt Expands with Nine More Cabinet Ministers Being Sworn in; New Finance Minister will be Appointed next week says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe


By

Meera Srinivasan

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Friday expanded Sri Lanka’s Cabinet to include nine more Ministers, but he is yet to appoint a Finance Minister to handle the crisis-hit island nation’s economic affairs.

A group of Ministers to helm portfolios including education, ports and shipping, health, justice, trade was sworn in, the President’s office said, terming the current administration an “all party government”.

Defying their party’s position, two lawmakers from Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the main Opposition, broke ranks to join the new government, invoking disciplinary action from the party. One legislator from the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, which had earlier pledged conditional support, was also sworn in.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Expands with Nine More Cabinet Ministers Being Sworn in; New Finance Minister will be Appointed next week says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

SLPP Galle MP Dr.Ramesh Pathirana Makes Shocking Revelation in Parliament that IGP and Law and Order Ministry Secretary gave Orders to Police not to Disperse the Mobs that went from Temple Trees to Galle Face and Attacked Peaceful Protesters


By Chandani Kirinde

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) had prevented police personnel on duty near the Prime Minister’s official residence Temple Trees on 9 May from firing tear gas and water cannons to disperse the mob that attacked protestors at Galle Face Green, a senior Government member told Parliament yesterday.

Galle District MP Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said Western Province Senior Deputy Inspector General DIG Deshabandu Tennakoon, who had been directed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to prevent any unrest on the day, had to stand down the police personnel on duty after the directive from the IGP.

Pathirana who is among around 80 ruling party politicians whose houses and other properties were destroyed by mobs after the Galle Face incident said that he too had gone to Temple Trees on 9 May with party supporters from his direct who were there to bid Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa farewell as he prepared to resign from the post.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Galle MP Dr.Ramesh Pathirana Makes Shocking Revelation in Parliament that IGP and Law and Order Ministry Secretary gave Orders to Police not to Disperse the Mobs that went from Temple Trees to Galle Face and Attacked Peaceful Protesters’ »

Sri Lankan Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe ropes in ex-Maldives President to ‘coordinate’ foreign aid for crisis-hit Sri Lanka: Mohamed Nasheed agrees to ‘do everything to assist the people’ of the island nation


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has appointed Maldivian Parliamentary Speaker and former President Mohamed Nasheed as the “coordinator” for securing foreign aid to Sri Lanka that is facing an unprecedented economic crisis.

Mr. Wickremesinghe on May 19 held a closed-door meeting with his long-time friend Mr. Nasheed who is visiting Colombo, and discussed Sri Lanka’s dire economic situation, while exploring possible sources of relief. “During the discussions, the former President of Maldives generously offered to assist Sri Lanka in securing relief for the country from foreign nations. The Prime Minister accepted the former President’s offer and appointed him to coordinate the relief efforts,” Mr. Wickremesinghe’s office said in a statement.

Mr. Nasheed – who has spent many of his years in exile in Sri Lanka – has maintained close links with Sri Lankan leaders across political parties. Observing that the situation in Sri Lanka is “extremely serious”, he told The Hindu in Colombo: “We must all do whatever we can in times of need for our neighbour and cousin. I will do everything I can to assist the people of Sri Lanka.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe ropes in ex-Maldives President to ‘coordinate’ foreign aid for crisis-hit Sri Lanka: Mohamed Nasheed agrees to ‘do everything to assist the people’ of the island nation’ »

“Gota must go. But the opposition should put the people before politics, too, and take some responsibility for extricating Sri Lanka from its predicament” — The Economist


(This article from “The Economist” appeared in the Leaders section of the print edition under the headline “Gota go”)

On paper, at least, Sri Lanka is one of the wealthiest countries in South Asia, ranked by the un on a par with much of eastern Europe in terms of development. Yet the country of 22m people is suffering severe food shortages, locked petrol pumps and power cuts lasting as long as 13 hours a day. The currency has lost nearly half its value against the dollar over the past two months. Foreign reserves stand at $50m, too little to cover even a day’s worth of imports and down from about $9bn in 2019. Last month Sri Lanka admitted it could no longer service its foreign debts. The country is broke.

Sri Lankans are furious. On May 9th protesters torched dozens of homes, most belonging to politicians, precipitating the resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa, the once-beloved prime minister. Security forces evacuated him and his family to a naval base as a mob tried to storm his official residence. Vigilantes have set up checkpoints outside the country’s airports to prevent him and other officials from fleeing. A state of emergency is in force. The army has been ordered to shoot rioters and looters on sight.

How did it come to this? For an answer, look back to late 2019, when Sri Lanka was still picking itself up after a devastating set of terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday. Home-grown Islamists had targeted three churches and three luxury hotels, killing more than 250 people. Tourism, a big source of foreign exchange, took a hit, with arrivals falling from 244,000 the month before the attacks to 38,000 the month after.

Continue reading ‘“Gota must go. But the opposition should put the people before politics, too, and take some responsibility for extricating Sri Lanka from its predicament” — The Economist’ »

Thousands of Tamil Civilians Killed During War in May 2009 Commemorated at Mullivaaikkaal; Victims Remembered at Galle Face Green in Multi- ethnic event with Moving Speeches made in Sinhala, Tamil and English; ”Kanji” (porridge) Distributed in Coconut shells.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Scores of people on Wednesday gathered in Mullivaikkal village, in Sri Lanka’s northern Mullaitivu district, to remember the tens of thousands of Tamil civilians who were brutally killed in the final stages of the civil war in May 2009, when the armed forces crushed the LTTE.

Simultaneously, dozens came together expressing solidarity in a rare public remembrance event in capital Colombo, at Galle Face, the ocean front where citizens’ groups are protesting for 40 days now, asking President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to quit over the economic crisis stifling the country.

Although small, the commemoration in Colombo assumed significance, amid sharp divisions in how the Sinhala-majority south and Tamil majority north perceive the civil war’s end.

While the UN has recorded at least 40,000 civilian deaths in the final stages of the war, many in the island’s south are yet to confront hard questions about the Sri Lankan military’s alleged human rights abuses at the time, that too targeting civilians reportedly directed to a ‘No fire zone’. Their popular narrative conflates the LTTE with Tamil civilians, hails soldiers as “heroes” for crushing the outfit, and celebrates the end of the war as the military’s “victory”.

Continue reading ‘Thousands of Tamil Civilians Killed During War in May 2009 Commemorated at Mullivaaikkaal; Victims Remembered at Galle Face Green in Multi- ethnic event with Moving Speeches made in Sinhala, Tamil and English; ”Kanji” (porridge) Distributed in Coconut shells.’ »

Rajiv Gandhi case convict, A.G. Perarivalan, released by Indian Supreme Court citing extraordinary powers

by

Krishnadas Rajagopal

The Supreme Court on Wednesday invoked its extraordinary powers to do complete justice under Article 142 of the Constitution and ordered the release of A.G. Perarivalan in former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.
A Bench led by Justice L. Nageswara Rao, in its judgment, took into consideration Perarivalan’s long incarceration for over 30 years to order his release. Perarivalan is currently on bail. His death penalty had earlier been committed to life sentence for murder. Terrorism charges were earlier withdrawn.

The court held that the Tamil Nadu Council of Ministers’ advice on September 9, 2018 to pardon Perarivalan was binding on the Governor under Article 161 (Governor’s power of clemency) of the Constitution.
It said the long delay and the Governor’s reluctance to take a call on the pardon plea has compelled the court to employ its constitutional powers under Article 142 to do justice to Perarivalan.

The court dismissed the Centre’s argument that the President exclusively, and not the Governor, had the power to grant pardon in a case under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code, saying this contention would render Article 161 a “dead-letter” and create an extraordinary situation whereby pardons granted by Governors in murder cases for the past 70 years would be rendered invalid

Continue reading ‘Rajiv Gandhi case convict, A.G. Perarivalan, released by Indian Supreme Court citing extraordinary powers’ »

“I am accepting this challenge for our nation. My goal and dedication is not to save an individual, a family, or a party. My objective is to save all the people of this country and the future of our younger generation. I ask you to extend your support to me in this endeavour.”- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe


(Text of Special Statement made by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on May 16th 2022 Regardig the Current Economic Siitution in Sri Lanka)

Last Thursday, I accepted office as the Prime Minister. I did not request this position. In face of the challenging situation facing the country, the President invited me to take up this position. I assumed this duty not only as a political leader, but also as national leader who has benefited from free education at the Faculty of Law of the University of Colombo.

At present, the Sri Lankan economy is extremely precarious. Although the former government’s budget projected a revenue of SLR 2.3 trillion, SLR 1.6 trillion is the realistic projection of this year’s revenue.

The estimated government expenditure for this year is SLR 3.3 trillion. However, due to the increase in interest rates and additional expenditure of the former government, the total government expenditure is SLR 4 trillion. The budget deficit for the year is SLR 2.4 trillion. This amount equals 13% of the GDP.

The approved debt ceiling is SLR 3200 billion. By the second week of May, we had spent 1950 billion.Therefore, the remainder is SLR 1250 billion. Yesterday, a cabinet decision was made to present a proposal to parliament to increase the approved limit for issuing treasury bills from 3000 billion to
4000 billion.

In November 2019, our foreign exchange reserves were at USD 7.5 billion. However, today, it is a challenge for the treasury to find USD 1 million. The Ministry of finance is finding it difficult to raise USD 5 million required to import gas.

Continue reading ‘“I am accepting this challenge for our nation. My goal and dedication is not to save an individual, a family, or a party. My objective is to save all the people of this country and the future of our younger generation. I ask you to extend your support to me in this endeavour.”- Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

“Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Needs to prove to his detractors that he is working for political stability and economic recovery and not for reviving the political fortunes of the Rajapaksas.” – “The Hindu”

(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Hindu” of May 17th 2022 Under the Heading “ Crisis and opportunity: On Sri Lanka political crisis”)

The adage ‘every crisis contains the seeds of an opportunity’ could not have been truer for anyone than for Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The severe economic crisis, which set off indefinite protests against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his brother, (now former) Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, has pitchforked Mr. Wickremesinghe to an office that he had no chance of occupying until last week.

Given the turmoil, Sri Lanka needed a government that would work towards stability and economic recovery. With Mahinda Rajapaksa resigning in the face of determined protests, and the Opposition leader unwilling to work under President Gotabaya, a rare opportunity opened up for Mr. Wickremesinghe.

The former premier’s political prospects had almost ended with the 2020 parliamentary election, when his United National Party won no seats, and he himself made it as its lone member in Parliament on the principle of representation in proportion to the total votes it had received across the nation.

Continue reading ‘“Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Needs to prove to his detractors that he is working for political stability and economic recovery and not for reviving the political fortunes of the Rajapaksas.” – “The Hindu”’ »

M.A. Sumanthiran Lashes out at Prime Minister Wickremesinghe calling his conduct absolutely shameless after Ranil voted against the motion moved by the TNA Parliamentarian to suspend Standing Orders in order to debate a motion against the President.


By Chandani Kirinde

TNA MP M.A. Sumanthiran yesterday slammed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, calling his conduct absolutely shameless after the latter voted against the motion moved by the TNA MP to suspend Standing Orders in order to debate a motion against the President.

He accused the Prime Minister of trading on his policies and principles after being appointed to the post by going back on his word of supporting the motion of censure on the President by blocking it from being debated yesterday.

“When this motion was drafted, the Prime Minister who was then on the other side wanted to take a look at it and even wanted it sent to Galle Face for consent. Then he issued two public statements saying he would vote in support of it,” the TNA MP said.

He added that since then, the UNP leader has changed his stance.

Continue reading ‘M.A. Sumanthiran Lashes out at Prime Minister Wickremesinghe calling his conduct absolutely shameless after Ranil voted against the motion moved by the TNA Parliamentarian to suspend Standing Orders in order to debate a motion against the President.’ »

“Opposition chose the wrong strategy and proceeded to move a vote to suspend Standing Orders” Says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and “reaffirms commitment to vote in favour of the motion “ expressing displeasure against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday reaffirmed the UNP’s commitment to vote in favour of the motion expressing displeasure against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa when it is taken up in Parliament.

The Prime Minister reiterated his position after he came in for criticism for voting against a motion in Parliament yesterday to suspend Standing Orders to take up the debate on the motion against the President yesterday.

The Prime Minister’s office said last evening that during a discussion with Opposition MPs M.A. Sumanthiran, Rauf Hakeem and Mano Ganesan on 16 May, he was informed that they wanted to move a motion to suspend Standing Orders and debate the Motion of Displeasure against the President.

Continue reading ‘“Opposition chose the wrong strategy and proceeded to move a vote to suspend Standing Orders” Says Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and “reaffirms commitment to vote in favour of the motion “ expressing displeasure against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

SLPP Hambatntota District MP Ajith Rajapakse Elected Deputy Speaker with 107 Votes While SJB’s Matale District MP Rohini Kaviratne gets 98; 23 MP’s Votes “Rejected”in Secret Ballot

SLPP Hambatntota District MP Ajith Rajapakse was elected as the new Deputy Speaker of Parliament yesterday after a secret ballot in which he defeated the SJB’s nominee Matale District MP Rohini Kaviratne.Rajapakse won 107 votes while Kaviratne got 98 votes while 23 votes were rejected.

Although discussions had been held to field a consensus candidate, the SJB and the ruling party both decided to field their own nominees despite calls from the SLFP and the 10-party alliance to withdraw one candidate’s name and agree on one to take up the post.

However, the SJB announced it was nominating Kaviratne whose name was proposed by Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa and seconded by Chief Opposing Whip Lakshman Kiriella while the Government proposed the name of Rajapakse to the post.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Hambatntota District MP Ajith Rajapakse Elected Deputy Speaker with 107 Votes While SJB’s Matale District MP Rohini Kaviratne gets 98; 23 MP’s Votes “Rejected”in Secret Ballot’ »

Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the 10-party alliance Decide to Support Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Efforts to Revive the Economy

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday won crucial support from the main opposition Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the 10-party alliance for his efforts to revive the economy.

The Parliamentary Group of the SJB unanimously decided to extend support to the Government led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on decisions taken for the betterment of the country and to uplift the country, the party said in a news release.

However, the SJB said while it would provide its support towards the Parliamentary process on the said matters and would not obtain any position in Government.

Continue reading ‘Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB), the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) and the 10-party alliance Decide to Support Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Efforts to Revive the Economy’ »

Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MP’s Sanath Nishantha and Milan Jayatilleke arrested by TID Over ttcks on Peaceful Protests at Galle Face and Opposite “Temple Trees” on May 9

Ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MPs Sanath Nishantha and Milan Jayatilleke were arrested yesterday by the Criminal Investigations Department over violent incidents which took place at Galle Face and outside Temple Trees on 9 May.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna MP’s Sanath Nishantha and Milan Jayatilleke arrested by TID Over ttcks on Peaceful Protests at Galle Face and Opposite “Temple Trees” on May 9’ »

Gotabaya’s Astrologer Gnana Akka’s Home and Shrine in Anuradhapura were burnt down by Mobs Despite 150 Soldiers Being Deployed for her Protection


There was complete pandemonium on Saturday (14)when embattled President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with SLPP legislators for the first time since the latest wave of mob violence, which led to arson attacks against many of them.
Tight security granted to the president’s personal shaman, Gnana Akka, in Anuradhapura was figured at the meeting with angry MPs asking why the army protected her while legislators faced the wrath of mobs without any protection.

The Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPP) legislators had been invited for a closed-door meeting at the President’s tightly-guarded “Janadhipathy Mandiraya” where lawmakers pitched into the president for failing to curb violence against them.

Rajapaksa had wanted to discuss the election of a Deputy Speaker when parliament meets on Tuesday, but MPs wanted to discuss what happened to them, with one MP saying 60 of them lost their homes and offices to arson.
MPs accused the police of not taking faster action to save their homes, offices and vehicles.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya’s Astrologer Gnana Akka’s Home and Shrine in Anuradhapura were burnt down by Mobs Despite 150 Soldiers Being Deployed for her Protection’ »

Sri Lanka Podujana Party Releases List of Residences,Properties and Vehicles Belonging to Party MP’s that were Destroyed by Mob Violence; Namal Rajapaksa’s Wife’s House was also set on fire


Several homes, properties, and vehicles belonging to MPs were destroyed during Monday’s (9) unrest, according to the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). This full list, compiled by the SLPP, was released recently, and is as follows:

Former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Carlton house was damaged. The Rajapaksa Museum, including the monuments of the former Prime Minister’s parents, were also destroyed. The statue of D.A. Rajapaksa was pulled down and damaged.

MP Dinesh Gunawardena’s residence in Kirulapone was attacked and damaged, while his office at Boralugoda was set on fire, and historical documents were destroyed. MP Dr. Ramesh Pathirana’s residence in Galle was also set on fire, while MP Prasanna Ranatunga’s residence, office, meeting hall, 200 motorcycles, and three vehicles were set on fire.

The houses of Wimalaweera Dissanayake and his sons were also damaged. Two houses of Mohan Priyadarshana de Silva located in Galle and Rathgama were also torched, as well as his Rathgama office. The residence and office of Vidura Wickramanayake, as well as three vehicles, were damaged.

The residence and three vehicles of Shehan Semasinghe were set alight, while Arundika Fernando’s home, office, and vehicle were also set on fire. Two houses, the office, and four vehicles belonging to Kanaka Herath were set on fire. One floor of Kanchana Wijesekera’s residence was set on fire, while three vehicles were damaged. Two buildings belonging to Nenuka Vidanagamage were damaged, while two buses were set on fire.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Podujana Party Releases List of Residences,Properties and Vehicles Belonging to Party MP’s that were Destroyed by Mob Violence; Namal Rajapaksa’s Wife’s House was also set on fire’ »

Maithripala led SLFP does U turn by Deciding to Join Ranil’s Govt;Party Seeks ppointment to Discuss Portfolios;Wimal – Udaya Led 11 Party Group Also wants appointment with the new Prime Minister

The Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) yesterday (15) stated that it would support all correct decisions taken by the Government to resolve the current economic crisis in the country, and that it was willing to discuss the allocation of ministerial portfolios to SLFP MPs, two days after stating that it would neither be part of a government under the new Prime Minister, nor accept any portfolios.

This was stated in a letter directed to newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (15) by former President and SLFP Chairman Maithripala Sirisena, in response to the letter sent by the Premier requesting the SLFP’s support for the Government in order to find solutions to the ongoing economic crisis.

The letter requested an appointment with the Prime Minister for a party delegation to discuss the acceptance of portfolios in the Government, and this meeting is expected to be held this morning (16).
Meanwhile, the SLFP cancelled the meeting of its politburo scheduled for yesterday evening, where these matters, among other things, were set to be discussed.

Continue reading ‘Maithripala led SLFP does U turn by Deciding to Join Ranil’s Govt;Party Seeks ppointment to Discuss Portfolios;Wimal – Udaya Led 11 Party Group Also wants appointment with the new Prime Minister’ »

Sri Lanka to probe reports of LTTE regrouping to launch attack; Indian intelligence services Sri Lanka alert warning was given ‘as general information’

By Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka on May 15 said it will “duly investigate” information flagged by Indian intelligence agencies — that ex-LTTE were “regrouping to launch attacks” in the island — and “strengthen security”, a day after authorities denied the claim reported in The Hindu.

On May 13 The Hindu, citing Indian intelligence sources, reported that “some erstwhile cadre” had entered Tamil Nadu to “plan and execute” attacks in Sri Lanka that is in the grips of a crippling economic crisis and political uncertainty. The attacks were being timed with the ‘Mullivaikkal anniversary’, sources had indicated.

They were referring to the civil war anniversary marked by Sri Lanka’s Tamils on May 18 every year, to remember the tens of thousands of Tamil civilians who were in killed during the final stages of Sri Lanka’s civil war in May 2009, when Sri Lankan forces crushed the LTTE.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka to probe reports of LTTE regrouping to launch attack; Indian intelligence services Sri Lanka alert warning was given ‘as general information’’ »

The majority Sinhalese must acknowledge their helpless and hopeless beggaring by the very rulers who proclaimed their supremacy, the basis on which they rode triumphantly to power in 2019 and 2020


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

In the shambles left of the Rajapaksa Government this week in Sri Lanka, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s last-ditch conjuring of many-times Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to fill the vacuum left by the resignation of his brother, Mahinda Rajapaksa, was hardly unexpected.


The bitter aftermath of Monday’s attacks

That was the most predictable move left to the nation’s so-called ‘first family’ now reduced to cowering under the protection of the security State that had been nurtured for this very purpose, perchance. As the Rajapaksa mansions, museums and seats of power were set alight, their supporters thrashed on the streets in Colombo, once adoring fans in the strongholds of the South danced wildly in the light of the flames. It was only one among many cruel ironies that former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and members of his family had to seek refuge in a naval base in the East, the alleged site of enforced disappearances of critics of his regime.

That said, there are lessons to be learnt, not only for the Rajapaksas, as the nation reflects in the bitter aftermath of the attacks by state goons on peaceful protestors at Galle Face Green this Monday. Some blame the dithering of Opposition parties for the President’s plucking of former Premier Wickremesinghe out of the political thin air to lead the Government. Initially, the main opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) had commendably declined accepting the Government under President Rajapaksa on the basis that his departure from the Office of the Presidency was the core demand of Sri Lanka’s protestors, young and old.

But after a tired and deflated looking President addressed the nation on Wednesday, promising inter alia to restore the 19th Amendment and to appoint a Prime Minister who will command the ‘confidence of the people,’ the SJB procrastination to reverse its stand proved to be costly. By the time that its leader wrote to the President, relying on that very address to say that it will accept his invitation to form a Government subject to conditions, it was a tad too late. A new Prime Minister was already being sworn in, vide a lightning quick Presidential move, probably under crafty advisement by that same (soon-to-be) Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘The majority Sinhalese must acknowledge their helpless and hopeless beggaring by the very rulers who proclaimed their supremacy, the basis on which they rode triumphantly to power in 2019 and 2020’ »

Pro-Govt. MPs accuse Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and Frontline Socialist Party mobs of destroying their properties and vehicles but both JVP and FSP Deny the Charges and Raise Suspicion about Govt Role in Counter Violence


By Sandun Jayawardana

Elements backed by political parties and enemies are being blamed for the destruction caused to vehicles and properties of government politicians, their relatives and supporters during the three days of violence that broke out after pro-government thugs attacked peaceful protesters outside Temple Trees and at Galle Face on Monday.

Properties and vehicles belonging to more than 40 government and pro-government parliamentarians, including former ministers, have been damaged, according to police.

Continue reading ‘Pro-Govt. MPs accuse Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna and Frontline Socialist Party mobs of destroying their properties and vehicles but both JVP and FSP Deny the Charges and Raise Suspicion about Govt Role in Counter Violence’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe: From United National Party(UNP) Lone Member of Parliament to Prime Minister of Sri Lanka


By

Meera Srinivasan

Just as it became apparent on Wednesday that Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was about to appoint Ranil Wickremesinghe as PM, in place of Mahinda Rajapaksa who resigned days earlier, an old video clip got widely shared on social media.

Clad in a back suit, a prim looking Mr. Wickremesinghe tells a journalist in a slow, considered manner: “Politics is more than chess, it is teamwork like cricket, you must have the stamina for a marathon, you must also remember it’s a hard game like rugger, and a blood sport like boxing.” It was just before the 2010 presidential election, in which he lost to Mr. Mahinda.

Five years later, he was back in power, cohabiting in a ‘national unity’ government with President Maithripala Sirisena, who controversially ousted him in 2018 and reinstated him, after a Supreme Court ruling.

The internal rift in their coalition, compounded by its many failures, of not prosecuting the Rajapaksas and their allies in alleged murder and corruption cases, and failing to prevent the Easter terror bombings of 2019 despite warnings, paved the way for the rise of Mr. Gotabaya, who handsomely won the 2019 presidential polls.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe: From United National Party(UNP) Lone Member of Parliament to Prime Minister of Sri Lanka’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa the president is trying to find his own ground after realizing his brothers had taken advantage of his political inexperience to introduce disastrous policies in his name


By Mujib Mashal and Skandha Gunasekara

As the guests sat down for a banquet dinner last summer at the grand colonial-era home of Sri Lanka’s president, the small talk soon turned gravely serious.

Addressing members of the ruling coalition, the country’s energy minister, Udaya Gammanpila, defended a small increase in fuel prices that was intended to address a critical shortage of dollars the island nation needed to import fuel, medicine and other necessities.

The president, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, and his brother Mahinda, the prime minister, had come on board with the measure after a year of discussion. But another member of the family — Basil, the finance minister, one of five Rajapaksas in the cabinet — had other ideas.

Before the guests made their way to the dance floor, Basil Rajapaksa rose to declare that Sri Lanka was not in fact suffering from a foreign currency crisis, according to Mr. Gammanpila and another person present. Criminals, he claimed, were funneling dollars out of the country’s banking system. Give him two weeks, he said, and he would fix it.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa the president is trying to find his own ground after realizing his brothers had taken advantage of his political inexperience to introduce disastrous policies in his name’ »

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence denies reports of ex-LTTE cadre “regrouping to launch attacks” in Sri Lanka, as reported by “The Hindu”, citing sources in Indian intelligence; Further Ex[lanations Requested From Media and Authorities


By
Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence on Saturday denied reports of ex-LTTE cadre “regrouping to launch attacks” in Sri Lanka, as reported by The Hindu, citing sources in Indian intelligence.

“The article is completely baseless. We have received no intelligence warning of such a security threat,” a Ministry spokesman said. The report, citing Indian intelligence sources, was picked up by Sri Lankan media and widely shared on social media.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence denies reports of ex-LTTE cadre “regrouping to launch attacks” in Sri Lanka, as reported by “The Hindu”, citing sources in Indian intelligence; Further Ex[lanations Requested From Media and Authorities’ »

‘Indian Intelligence agencies alert over regrouping Attempts by ex-LTTE cadres;Warnings of Sri Lankan Tamil outfits abroad are Allegedly planning attacks to mark Mullivaikal anniversary’


By

S.Vijay Kumar

Intelligence agencies have warned of erstwhile cadre of the banned Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) regrouping to launch attacks in Sri Lanka, as the country is embroiled in a deep economic and political crisis.

As the island nation has declared emergency twice amid escalating violent protests, some sections of the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora, with multinational links, were trying to make their presence “felt” in the ongoing clashes between protesters and security forces, police sources said on Friday.

Besides planning attacks to mark the Mullivaikal anniversary that falls on May 18, which some groups observe as Tamil Genocide Remembrance Day, the ex-LTTE cadre were also conspiring to avenge the killings of their leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, newsreader Isai Priya and others, who were killed as the ethnic conflict ended after fierce fighting in 2009.

Continue reading ‘‘Indian Intelligence agencies alert over regrouping Attempts by ex-LTTE cadres;Warnings of Sri Lankan Tamil outfits abroad are Allegedly planning attacks to mark Mullivaikal anniversary’’ »

The 10-party alliance and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will not accept any ministerial portfolios in the Gont of newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, but will extend support to the programs to revive the economy


By Chandani Kirinde

The 10-party alliance led by former Ministers Wimal Weerawansa and Udaya Gammanpila and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) said yesterday they will not accept any ministerial portfolios in the Government of newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, but will extend support to the programs to revive the economy.

Former President Maithripala Sirisena said that the SLFP had been invited to join the Cabinet but had declined the offer. “We sent our proposals to the President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to set up an all-party interim Government and held several rounds of talks with him. But he appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe and it was done in a manner that is contrary to the spirit of forming an interim Government,” he said.

Continue reading ‘The 10-party alliance and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) will not accept any ministerial portfolios in the Gont of newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, but will extend support to the programs to revive the economy’ »

Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tells BBC that the country’s economic crisis will get worse before it gets better. His message to the Sri Lankan people: “Be patient, I will bring back the lost things.”


Newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday appealed to the people to be patient, and promised to work diligently to find a way out of the unprecedented economic crisis and bring relief to the people.

The Prime Minister instructed his staff to be prepared to continue working without thinking about the holidays.

Accordingly, the upcoming holiday weekend including Vesak Poya Day will be a continuous working week at the Prime Minister’s Office, the Prime Minister said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s new Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe tells BBC that the country’s economic crisis will get worse before it gets better. His message to the Sri Lankan people: “Be patient, I will bring back the lost things.”’ »

SLPP Parliamentarian Amarakeerthi Athukorala was Beaten to Death by a Mob at Nittambuwa and did not Commit Suicide by Shooting Himself as Reported Earlier says Police Spokesman Nihal Talduwa

BY CHANKA JAYASINGHE

A former ruling party legislator who died in violent clash in Sri Lanka was beaten to death by a mob and it was not a suicide as claimed earlier, Police Spokesman Nihal Thalduwa said on Thursday.

Amarakeerthi Athukorala, an MP in former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) administration died on Monday in the country’s Western town of Nittambuwa after a clash with an angry mob.
Earlier it was claimed that the 57-year legislator from Sri Lanka’s North Central district of Polannaruwa committed suicide by shooting himself after he opened fire at two members of the a group which had clocked his vehicle on Monday.

“The MP who was killed was actually murdered,” Nihal Thalduwa told Economy Next.

Continue reading ‘SLPP Parliamentarian Amarakeerthi Athukorala was Beaten to Death by a Mob at Nittambuwa and did not Commit Suicide by Shooting Himself as Reported Earlier says Police Spokesman Nihal Talduwa’ »

Newly appointed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe meets Ambassadors of China, United States, Japan, and the High Commissioners of India and UK; discusses the setting up of a “foreign aid consortium”to help Sri Lanka Economically

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has vowed to “deliver solutions” to the island’s deepening economic crisis, kicked off duties on Friday, discussing formation of a “foreign aid consortium” with Colomb-based envoys, his office said.

His outreach came a day after he was sworn in Premier by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, in place of Mahinda Rajapaksa, who resigned earlier this week in the wake of attacks carried out by his supporters on anti-government protesters. For months now, scores of citizens groups, youth, professionals, and artistes have been agitating with the demand that President Rajapaksa step down over the crippling economic crisis. The attacks triggered violent retaliations, prompting authorities to impose a police curfew, as homebound citizens further struggle to access essentials including food, fuel, medicines and cooking gas amid acute shortages.

Continue reading ‘Newly appointed PM Ranil Wickremesinghe meets Ambassadors of China, United States, Japan, and the High Commissioners of India and UK; discusses the setting up of a “foreign aid consortium”to help Sri Lanka Economically’ »

Resolution Expressing Support to New Prime Minister Ranil Wicremesinghe to be Presented in Parliament on May 17

A decision has been made to pass a resolution in support of Ranil Wickremesinghe as the new Prime Minister in the Parliament when it convenes next on 17 May.

The motion states that the support of the majority of the Members of Parliament will be expressed to Ranil Wickremesinghe.

It is reported that lawmakers of Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna, Samagi Jana Balawegaya MPs who support the new Government and MPs of several other parties will assist Ranil Wickremesinghe to function in his post as Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘Resolution Expressing Support to New Prime Minister Ranil Wicremesinghe to be Presented in Parliament on May 17’ »

“We urge all Members of Parliament, in govt and opposition, to listen to the demands of the Sri Lankan people for a genuine change in government and governance. It is imperative that all MPs take a principled stand that reflects the demands of the people to create political change in Sri Lanka”


JUSTICE FOR ALL
13th May 2022

We condemn the reimposition of the State of Emergency from midnight on the 6th of May 2022, the very first instance it was available after revoking it on the 5th of April 2022. We vehemently condemn the violence unleashed on peaceful protestors on the 9th of May 2022 both at Minagogama and Gotagogama, credibly endorsed by the then prime minister and members of the government. The demands of the protestors at Gotagogama include an end to the culture of violence and impunity.

We denounce equally the counter-violence perpetrated on persons and properties. All perpetrators of violence should be brought to book forthwith. Violence is antithetical to what Gotagogama stood and stands for. By the committed and sustained peaceful conduct, the protestors at Gotagogama and all other sites of protest have earned the support, solidarity, and goodwill of the citizenry of the country and reflect Sri Lankans demanding in unison that the President goes home. Any attempt by elements with vested interests to discredit the peaceful protestors by attributing violence to them or any attempt to disrupt the peaceful protests using force or emergency should be desisted.

The attempts by the police to crack down on peaceful protests and intimidate protesters who are exercising their democratic right to dissent, shows the intention of the security establishment to create tension and violence. These attempts are more intense, induce greater fear and are effectively stifling of voices from the North and East of Sri Lanka. Excessive force by the authorities and the visible inaction to prevent harm to citizens in recent weeks has escalated violence, wreaked havoc and resulted in the death of one person in Rambukkana and injured several across other sites of protests. We note with extreme concern the attempts made to thwart the freedom of movement of citizens by the use of barricades, including those with spikes that can cause grievous injury, the use of curfew and emergency regulations. We decry these tactics of violence and intimidation against peaceful protesters and call out these acts as violations of the fundamental rights of the citizens in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘“We urge all Members of Parliament, in govt and opposition, to listen to the demands of the Sri Lankan people for a genuine change in government and governance. It is imperative that all MPs take a principled stand that reflects the demands of the people to create political change in Sri Lanka”’ »

Ranil Wicremesinghe Tells Media that he has “taken on the job to put the economy in order,” ; “Do you want people to suffer more by a prolonged political instability or resolve the economic crisis? Asks the new Prime Minister


By Chandani Kirinde

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as the country’s new Prime Minister before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday in one of the biggest reversals of political fortune in the country.

The shock decision to appoint Wickremesinghe to the post vacated by Mahinda Rajapaksa was made on Wednesday night after the President met with the UNP leader and invited him to take over as premier.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa via Twitter wished the newly-appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe his best for stepping up to the challenge to steer the country through a “very turbulent” time. The President said he looks forward to working together with the new PM to make Sri Lanka strong again.

In what pro-UNPers term as the “greatest political comeback” Wickremesinghe holds the single national list seat the UNP won at the 2020 parliamentary election after being routed in the poll following the split in the party. He contested the election from the Colombo District and lost his parliamentary seat which he had held since 1977 but took oaths as the National List MP in June 2021.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wicremesinghe Tells Media that he has “taken on the job to put the economy in order,” ; “Do you want people to suffer more by a prolonged political instability or resolve the economic crisis? Asks the new Prime Minister’ »

Tweet by US Ambassador Julie Chung says Wickremesinghe’s appointment as Prime Minister and the quick formation of an inclusive Government are the first steps in addressing the crisis and promoting stability.


Several members of the Parliament including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and foreign envoys extended congratulatory wishes to newly appointed sixth Premier Ranil Wickremesinghe, whilst few others expressed their displeasure.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa congratulated Wickremesinghe for taking up the challenging task to overcome the multiple crises.

“My best wishes to the newly appointed PM of #LKA, @RW_UNP, who stepped up to take on the challenging task of steering our country through a very turbulent time. I look forward to working together with him to make Sri Lanka strong again,” President Rajapaksa tweeted.

Minutes after Prime Minister Wickremesinghe was sworn in, former Premier Mahinda Rajapaksa who is in hiding extended his good wishes to his successor in a tweet.

Continue reading ‘Tweet by US Ambassador Julie Chung says Wickremesinghe’s appointment as Prime Minister and the quick formation of an inclusive Government are the first steps in addressing the crisis and promoting stability.’ »

President Rajapaksa Tells Opposition Leader Premadasa that the best person to take over as the Prime Minister is UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe; Points out that his offer to Sajith to take over the Govt had been rejected.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said yesterday that his first choice for the post of Prime Minister was SJB leader Sajith Premadasa but as he had rejected the offer to take over the Government, he had decided to appoint UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe.

The President disclosed this in a letter he sent Premadasa yesterday in response to the letter sent to him by the SJB leader saying is willing to take over as Prime Minister subject to four conditions.

The President said that after the Cabinet decided to resign on 6 May after taking into consideration the calls for setting up an all-party interim Government to stabilise the country’s economy and solve the economic problems faced by the people, he had contacted Premadasa requesting him to take over the Government, but this had been rejected.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Tells Opposition Leader Premadasa that the best person to take over as the Prime Minister is UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe; Points out that his offer to Sajith to take over the Govt had been rejected.’ »

Newly Sworn In PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Describes Himself s a “Crisis Premier” Drawing a Parallel with Winston Churchill Becomig Prime Minister of Britain to Cope with the Challenges of World war Two


Completing a stunning comeback, United National Party (UNP) Leader and National List MP Ranil Wickremesinghe, who failed to secure his seat in Parliament in the August 2020 General Election, was sworn in as the new Prime Minister last evening (12).

Wickremesinghe took oaths before President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the President’s House, with Secretary to the President Gamini Senarath and Prof. Maithree Wickremesinghe also present on the occasion.

Wickremesinghe has served as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka on five previous occasions. Following a humiliating defeat for himself and the UNP at the General Election in August 2020, he entered Parliament last year through the sole National List seat won by the party.

Continue reading ‘Newly Sworn In PM Ranil Wickremesinghe Describes Himself s a “Crisis Premier” Drawing a Parallel with Winston Churchill Becomig Prime Minister of Britain to Cope with the Challenges of World war Two’ »

“I accepted the Prime Minister’s post to save the nation and to see that people of this country get three square meals while essential goods such as fuel, gas and electricity are available’states Ranil Wickremesinghe;“I also intend to obtain support of all MPs in Parliament to save the nation,” he says

By
Yohan Perera

Newly appointed Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe said he had accepted his new post to save the nation from its present crisis.

“I accepted the Prime Minister’s post to save the nation and to see that people of this country get three square meals while essential goods such as fuel, gas and electricity are available. I cannot do it alone and therefore I need international help,” Mr. Wickremesinghe said.

Continue reading ‘“I accepted the Prime Minister’s post to save the nation and to see that people of this country get three square meals while essential goods such as fuel, gas and electricity are available’states Ranil Wickremesinghe;“I also intend to obtain support of all MPs in Parliament to save the nation,” he says’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Appoints UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday appointed former PM Ranil Wickremesinghe as Premier, in a bid to restore stability in the island nation in the midst of a political impasse and stifling economic crisis.

This is the sixth time Mr. Wickremesinghe, 73, has been appointed to the office — he has never finished a full term — and will have the task of arresting the devastating impact of the island’s economic downturn, that too under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who is fiercely detested by disgruntled citizens demanding his resignation.

Mr. Gotabaya’s older brother Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned as Prime Minister on Monday, hours after his supporters violently attacked anti-government protesters.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Appoints UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka’ »

Gotabaya – Ranil Talks Leads to Speculation that Wicremesinghe would be Appointed as Prime Minister and that a new Cabinet comprising MPs from multiple parties would be finalized this week by the President and new PM


By

Chandani Kirinde

In a day of dramatic political developments President Gotabaya Rajapaksa met with UNP leader Ranil Wickremesinghe last night amidst speculation that the latter would be appointed as the country’s new Prime Minister.

Speculation was Wickremesinghe will be sworn in today by the President after which the UNP Leader will firm up support from like-minded MPs. A new Cabinet comprising MPs from multiple parties is expected to be finalised by the President and new Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya – Ranil Talks Leads to Speculation that Wicremesinghe would be Appointed as Prime Minister and that a new Cabinet comprising MPs from multiple parties would be finalized this week by the President and new PM’ »

President Rajapaksa Meets with former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and explores the possibility of appointing him as Premier, if a majority of lawmakers in Parliament supports the move; .The UNP Leader is considering the option say Reliable Sources


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s beleaguered President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Wednesday said he will appoint a new Prime Minister, who commands a parliamentary majority, and a Cabinet of Ministers, within a week’s time, as the island struggles to cope with its political and economic crises.

“I am taking steps to form a new government to control the current situation, to prevent the country from falling into anarchy,” he said, in a televised address, two days after his older brother Mahinda Rajapaksa stepped down as Prime Minister, amid violent attacks triggered by ruling party supporters.

On Wednesday, Mr. Gotabaya also met former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe, and explored the possibility of appointing him as Premier, if a majority of lawmakers in Parliament supports the move, sources knowledgeable about their discussion told The Hindu. Mr. Wickremesinghe is considering the option, said a reliable source, requesting not to be named given the sensitivity of the talks during a grave economic crisis and an enduring political gridlock.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Meets with former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and explores the possibility of appointing him as Premier, if a majority of lawmakers in Parliament supports the move; .The UNP Leader is considering the option say Reliable Sources’ »

“I am taking steps to form a new government to control the current situation.This week, I will appoint a Prime Minister who commands the majority in Parliament and can secure the confidence of the people and a Cabinet of Ministers”-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


(Text of Address to the Nation Delivered by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on May 11th 2022)

Most Venerable Maha Sangha,
Other Religious Dignitaries,
Mothers and Fathers,
Brothers and Sisters,
Beloved Children, Friends,

At present, our country is facing the worst crisis in its history. The economic crisis that preceded this event created social and political instability due to the difficulties faced by the people.

As a solution to these problems, a common proposal was put forward by various parties to form a new government with a majority of parties represented in the Parliament. In the past, I have had many discussions with leaders of various parties and groups in this regard. I too accepted that idea and took some difficult and tough decisions to set the platform for this solution.

When the last Cabinet was replaced, a new Cabinet was appointed consisting of young MPs where a large number of former Senior Ministers as well as Rajapaksas were not appointed. Also, the Prime Minister resigned and an agreement was reached to dissolve the entire Cabinet and make room for a new Prime Minister and Cabinet.

Continue reading ‘“I am taking steps to form a new government to control the current situation.This week, I will appoint a Prime Minister who commands the majority in Parliament and can secure the confidence of the people and a Cabinet of Ministers”-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Evacuated From “Temple Trees” to Trincomalee; “The former PM is at the Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee. He will be there for a few more days. We will provide him with whatever security he needs and for as long as he wants.” Says Defence Secretary Gen Kamal Gunaratne

By

Meera Srinivasan

Meanwhile, Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa was evacuated from Temple Trees, his official residence in Colombo, and taken to a naval base in the eastern port city of Trincomalee on May 10 for his “security”, according to Kamal Gunaratne, Secretary to the Defence Ministry.

Addressing a media conference on May 11, he said: “The former PM is at the Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee. He will be there for a few more days. We will provide him with whatever security he needs and for as long as he wants.”
As violence intensified, the former Prime Minister was flown to Trincomalee, some 300 km north-east of capital Colombo, and home to Tamils, Muslims, and Sinhalese. He was not safe in the Sinhala-majority south, where he once commanded much respect and adoration.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Evacuated From “Temple Trees” to Trincomalee; “The former PM is at the Naval Dockyard in Trincomalee. He will be there for a few more days. We will provide him with whatever security he needs and for as long as he wants.” Says Defence Secretary Gen Kamal Gunaratne’ »

“If there is no government in the next two days, the economy will completely collapse, and cannot be salvaged by anyone” says Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s Central Bank chief on May 11 warned that the economy would “collapse completely” unless political stability is urgently restored and a new government is appointed to run the crisis-hit country.

Addressing reporters in Colombo, Nandalal Weerasinghe, who assumed charge as Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka just over a month ago, said: “If there is no government in the next two days, the economy will completely collapse, and cannot be salvaged by anyone.”
Dire situation

His remarks came as a stark reminder of the dire situation of the island’s economy, crashing after a much-neglected Balance of Payments issue over the last two years led to a severe dollar crunch. The country is preoccupied with violent clashes and unrest this week, triggered by Mahinda Rajapaksa supporters who attacked peaceful protesters demanding the ruling clan’s resignation over the economic crisis.

Continue reading ‘“If there is no government in the next two days, the economy will completely collapse, and cannot be salvaged by anyone” says Central Bank of Sri Lanka Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe’ »

Is the Medamulana “House of Rajapaksa” Falling Down, Falling Down?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair lady.”

– Nursery Rhyme

When Basil Rohana Rajapaksa was in a rn in as Finance Minister by his brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in July 2021, the appointment grabbed the attention of the world’s influential media. It was seen as an illustrative example of a single family enjoying a monopoly of political power in a democratic country. “In Sri Lanka , the Government Looks Increasingly like a Family Firm” was the heading of the article in the prestigious “New York Times”. An article in the much-respected “The Hindu” had the heading “The Rajapaksas | Four brothers in one government”.

Is the Medamulana “House of Rajapaksa” Falling Down, Falling Down?

It was at one time quite common for members of a single or extended family to dominate Governments in many Kingdoms in the middle-east or Brunei. The practice also prevailed in some African and Latin American dictatorships. There have been many instances of politics being a family business in India or even other countries in South Asia too.

Continue reading ‘Is the Medamulana “House of Rajapaksa” Falling Down, Falling Down?’ »

The Rajapaksas created a moral wasteland and called it patriotism, and damned anyone not succumbing to it as traitors to the nation. The anti-Rajapaksa struggle is in the process of creating a similar moral wasteland, calling it Aragalaya where anything goes, so long as it is done to the Rajapaksas and their supporters.


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The enlightenment driven away,
The habit-forming pain,
Mismanagement and grief:
We must suffer them all again.”
Auden (September 1, 1939)

“We must love one another or die,” wrote Auden in September 1, 1939 as the world slid into calamity.

Gotagogama and the nationwide anti-Rajapaksa struggle it pioneered and symbolized seemed to be animated by this spirit of compassionate solidarity Auden was pleading for on the advent of the Second World War.

Gotagogama resistors prided themselves on being not just anti-Rajapaksa but the antithesis of the Rajapaksas. They made a conscious attempt to turn that nodal point of struggle into a microcosm of a different Sri Lanka, a place where racial and religious animosities were absent, the youth were heard and women could be both active and safe, a space of sanity, decency, compassion, and reason. A symbol of the best in us both as individuals and a nation, a microcosm of what Sri Lanka could be when her people embrace their best impulses rather than the worst.

As the days passed and the struggle spread, that spirit seemed to be spilling over and permeating other loci of resistance. Even when a young father of two was brutally gunned down in Rambukkana by the police, the protestors resisted the siren song of violent retaliation. Despite innumerable provocations by the Rajapaksas, sanity and peace prevailed.

Then Mahinda Rajapaksa, the political paterfamilias of this most egregious of political families, went to the ancient city of Anuradhapura. He visited a couple of sacred places, experienced the public’s ire in loud calls for his resignation, and had a powwow with his abiding supporters, solidifying plans which would have been laid days before were solidified.

Next morning, busloads of Mahinda devotees and hired thugs (reportedly at Rs. 2,000 a day, a reflection of the economic crisis and the resultant mass desperation) were brought to Temple Trees. Mahinda Rajapaksa gave them a speech. They poured out of the Temple Trees armed with poles and laid waste to Mainagogama, the protest encampment outside the premises. Then, with no hindrance from the police, who would have been told to stay out of it by their political masters, they made their way to Gotagogama and laid waste to it. Even the makeshift library did not escape the devastating onslaught.

Meantime, the government declared a curfew effective immediately.

From that point, events departed drastically from the Rajapaksa script. The protesters resisted and overcame the attackers. Across the country, people, ignoring the curfew, poured on to streets in solidarity.

Continue reading ‘The Rajapaksas created a moral wasteland and called it patriotism, and damned anyone not succumbing to it as traitors to the nation. The anti-Rajapaksa struggle is in the process of creating a similar moral wasteland, calling it Aragalaya where anything goes, so long as it is done to the Rajapaksas and their supporters.’ »

“A larger message from the demise of the Rajapaksa brand is that muscular nationalism and majoritarian mobilisation may not be an endless reservoir of support, and will be of no avail when the masses face economic hardship”- The Hindu

(Text of the editorial appearing in “The Hindu” of May 11th 2022 under the heading “The end of a brand: On the fall of the Rajapaksas”)

The resignation of Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, amidst extraordinary scenes of violence as part of the widespread public uprising against his family’s rule, marks the abrupt fall of a political brand that has been dominating the country for the better part of the last decade-and-a-half.

Venerated by large sections of the majority Sinhalese as a national hero who defeated the Liberation Tigers, Mr. Mahinda could never have imagined that his teeming support base would be replaced by swarming protesters so vehemently opposed to him that he would have to leave ‘Temple Trees’, his Colombo residence, for safety.

Thousands of protesters have been demanding the resignation of all the Rajapaksas occupying various posts, including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as the economic crisis became unbearable with a huge shortage of food and fuel, as well as the means to buy them.

Continue reading ‘“A larger message from the demise of the Rajapaksa brand is that muscular nationalism and majoritarian mobilisation may not be an endless reservoir of support, and will be of no avail when the masses face economic hardship”- The Hindu’ »

Political uncertainty continues with no PM, Cabinet for over 24 hours;The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) will take over the government if President Gotabaya Rajapaksa agrees to resign after appointing Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister.


By Chandani Kirinde

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) will take over the government if President Gotabaya Rajapaksa agrees to resign after appointing Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister, a senior SJB source said. The Party will write to the President today with the proposal, the source said.

“The SJB is not willing to join a government in which Gotabaya Rajapaksa remains as President. He must resign for us to take over,” the SJB member said.

Yesterday the SJB briefed other opposition political parties including the SLPP independent group and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on its proposal.

Continue reading ‘Political uncertainty continues with no PM, Cabinet for over 24 hours;The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) will take over the government if President Gotabaya Rajapaksa agrees to resign after appointing Sajith Premadasa as Prime Minister.’ »

“The destruction of property and other illegal or violent activities that are becoming a part of the protests should stop, and non-violent methods of expressing opposition should again be adopted.”-The Morning


(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Morning” of May 11th 2022 Under the Heading “Protesting with cognitive violence over brute force”)

In less than 24 hours, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned, anti-Government groups retaliated against pro-Government groups, people were killed, and properties amounting to an unknown value were destroyed. Most importantly, violence, which was hardly a part of the ongoing protests, somehow took centre stage.

However, the tense situation is not over. Organised attacks by anti-Government groups and the monitoring of politicians leaving the country are still taking place, and some people are of the view that this should be the new face of the anti-Government struggle, because it brings what some consider justice without delay.

While some may view these new developments as an explosion of suppressed anger and suggest that it must be unleashed throughout the rest of the anti-Government struggle, what it will actually bring about is more chaos and instability, which in turn will worsen the impact of the economic and social crises on the people. The struggle cannot continue like this, and what happened on Monday (9) and yesterday (10) should not be seen as an example, but a lesson.

Once the curfew is lifted today (11), the people will have to rethink the future of the anti-Government struggle.

Continue reading ‘“The destruction of property and other illegal or violent activities that are becoming a part of the protests should stop, and non-violent methods of expressing opposition should again be adopted.”-The Morning’ »

Sri Lankan troops given shooting orders to ‘control’ violence;“Defence Ministry has ordered the tri-forces to shoot at persons causing harm to life or involved in theft of property,” says Army Spokesman

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s tri-forces on Tuesday received shooting orders to “bring violence under control”, authorities said, amid a spate of retaliatory attacks targeting government members.

“Defence Ministry has ordered the tri-forces to shoot at persons causing harm to life or involved in theft of property,” the Army said.

On Monday, Rajapaksa supporters assaulted peaceful anti-government protesters, who have demanding that the ruling clan quit over a crippling economic crisis, at agitation sites in different locations.

The violent mob attack in turn triggered violence by some anti-government elements, apparently outraged by the attack on protesters. They vandalised and torched vehicles and property belonging to Ministers and government MPs in many areas. Over 100 vehicles have been damaged and more than 100 structures, including homes, have been set to fire in the past two days, according to Army media.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan troops given shooting orders to ‘control’ violence;“Defence Ministry has ordered the tri-forces to shoot at persons causing harm to life or involved in theft of property,” says Army Spokesman’ »

“Gota Go Gama” Demolished by Pro- Rajapaksa Mobs Being Re-constructed by Protesters at Galle Face Again; Deathtoll in Widespread Violence Rises to 8 while 220 are Hospitalised with Injuries;Chandrika Kumaratunga Warns of Possible Miltary Take over.


By

Meera Srinivasan

The Sri Lanka Police’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has been tasked with probing the concerted attack on anti-government protesters, police said on Tuesday, a day after a pro-Rajapaksa mob went on a rampage at agitation sites in capital Colombo and in central Kandy district.

The death toll in the attacks, which the protesters accused the police of “simply watching”, rose to eight on Tuesday. 220 persons were hospitalised after suffering injuries in the brutal assault, and in the targeted, violent retaliation by incensed citizens. Dozens of houses belonging to Ministers and Members of Parliament, including the Rajapaksas’ ancestral village home, were torched.

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL), a professional body of lawyers, called for an independent investigation and the immediate arrest of “all persons who instigated, conspired to unleash the violent mob…irrespective of the positions they held in government or of their family connections”. The BASL also sought a travel ban on them.

Continue reading ‘“Gota Go Gama” Demolished by Pro- Rajapaksa Mobs Being Re-constructed by Protesters at Galle Face Again; Deathtoll in Widespread Violence Rises to 8 while 220 are Hospitalised with Injuries;Chandrika Kumaratunga Warns of Possible Miltary Take over.’ »

“My father is safe,he is at a safe location,and he is communicating with the family.There are a lot of rumours that we are going to leave. We will not leave the country.We will always stand by our people” says Namal Rajapaksa

Mahinda Raja-paksa, who resigned as prime minister on Monday, will not flee the country, his son Namal Rajapaksa told AFP on Tuesday.

The 76-year-old heads a political clan whose hold on power has been shaken by months of blackouts and shortages in the island nation, which is suffering its worst economic crisis since independence in 1948.

Mahinda had to be evacuated by the military from his official residence on Monday night after it was besieged by an angry crowd. But his son Namal, himself once touted as a future national leader, said the Rajapaksa family had no plans to leave Sri Lanka despite weeks of protests demanding they relinquish power.

Continue reading ‘“My father is safe,he is at a safe location,and he is communicating with the family.There are a lot of rumours that we are going to leave. We will not leave the country.We will always stand by our people” says Namal Rajapaksa’ »

Protests held in front of the Trincomalee Naval Base, where former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is Allegedly staying, along with a number of his family members.

Protests were held yesterday (10) in front of the Trincomalee Naval Base, where former Prime Minister and incumbent Government MP Mahinda Rajapaksa is reportedly staying, along with a number of his family members.

Video reports also show a helicopter, reportedly belonging to the Sri Lanka Air Force, being boarded by a few people at the Police Field Headquarters. Reports claim that it was boarded by Rajapaksa’s third son, Rohitha Rajapaksa, and the latter’s wife and children. Claims also state that other family members, including Chamal Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa, are also at the Trincomalee Navy Base.

Continue reading ‘Protests held in front of the Trincomalee Naval Base, where former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa is Allegedly staying, along with a number of his family members.’ »

Violence Perpetrated by Mahinda Rajapaksa Supporters Against Peaceful Protesters Boomerang as Furious People Turn Against Govt; Tear Gas Used Repeatedly to Disperse Angry Crowds Outside “Temple Trees”; Ancestral Home at Medamulana Torched. At least 15 SLPP Ministers and MP’s Houses Set Ablaze


By Chandani Kirinde

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa clamped a countrywide two-day curfew last night in a bid to stop escalating violence across the country which saw houses and offices of more than 15 ruling party politicians set on fire and crowds attempting to break into Temple Trees where Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his family were reportedly staying.

Army and police personnel battled crowds that had surrounded the Prime Minister’s official residence, firing tear gas several times to disperse the crowd but many of the angry protestors remained in the vicinity. They also fired into the air in a bid to disperse the crowd.

At least five persons including SLPP Polonnaruwa MP Amarakeerthi Athukorala died in a shooting incident as violence flared across the country.

Continue reading ‘Violence Perpetrated by Mahinda Rajapaksa Supporters Against Peaceful Protesters Boomerang as Furious People Turn Against Govt; Tear Gas Used Repeatedly to Disperse Angry Crowds Outside “Temple Trees”; Ancestral Home at Medamulana Torched. At least 15 SLPP Ministers and MP’s Houses Set Ablaze’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Makes Defiant Speech to Hundreds of Supporters Brought by Buses to “Temple Trees” After whch Violence is Unleashed Against Peaceful Protesters Causing Widespread Anti – Govt Anger Resulting in Counter Violence in Many Parts of the Country

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday eventually resigned as mayhem unfolded on the streets after hundreds of his supporters bussed in from different parts of the country to Temple Trees to support the PM unleashed violence on peaceful protestors.

With the Prime Minister’s resignation, the cabinet of Ministers stands dissolved.

The Prime Minister sent his resignation letter last afternoon to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa shortly after he addressed his supporters during which he remained defiant saying he was someone who had never run away from a challenge but was willing to make any sacrifice to enable the country to overcome the ongoing economic crises. When asked whether he should quit or stay, his supporters cheered him to continue.

“The President will decide on the setting up of an interim Government and I will make any sacrifice if it is needed,” Rajapaksa said.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Makes Defiant Speech to Hundreds of Supporters Brought by Buses to “Temple Trees” After whch Violence is Unleashed Against Peaceful Protesters Causing Widespread Anti – Govt Anger Resulting in Counter Violence in Many Parts of the Country’ »

IGP Chandana Wickramaratne acting on instructions from Public Security Ministry Secy Gen. Jagath Alwis, had Allegedly instructed senior Police officials not to disperse supporters of the SLPP who attacked peaceful protesters in front of the Temple Trees and the Galle Face Green on May 9


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne, acting on instructions from Public Security Ministry Secretary (Retd.) Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis, had instructed senior Police officials, including Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) – Colombo Central Nishantha Chandrasekara not to use water cannons and tear gas to disperse supporters of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) who attacked peaceful protesters in front of the Temple Trees and the Galle Face Green yesterday (9), The Morning reliably learnt.

Our sources said that senior Police officials in charge of the Western Province had on several occasions informed the SLPP supporters who had gathered in front of the Temple Trees in support of former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and those who had organised the supporters, not to enter the Galle Face Green.

Continue reading ‘IGP Chandana Wickramaratne acting on instructions from Public Security Ministry Secy Gen. Jagath Alwis, had Allegedly instructed senior Police officials not to disperse supporters of the SLPP who attacked peaceful protesters in front of the Temple Trees and the Galle Face Green on May 9’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa must be Arrested and Brought Before the Law long with Others who Organized and Transported to Colombo the Persons who Attacked the Peaceful Protests says TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumnthiran


Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran yesterday said that former Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa must be arrested and prosecuted.

“Mahinda Rajapaksa who just resigned, must be arrested and brought before the law along with all others who organised and brought the attackers to Colombo,” he tweeted on his official handle yesterday.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa must be Arrested and Brought Before the Law long with Others who Organized and Transported to Colombo the Persons who Attacked the Peaceful Protests says TNA Parliamentarian MA Sumnthiran’ »

Enraged Crowds Demolish Rajapaksa Family Memorial Monument at Medamulana; Ancestral Home also Torched. Wax Statues of Mahinda and Gotabaya’s Parents Destroyed


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigned on Monday, his office said, hours after his supporters brutally assaulted peaceful, anti-government protesters amid a worsening economic crisis in the island.

The resignation was accepted, according to a gazette notification, and consequently, the Cabinet stands dissolved as per the Sri Lankan Constitution.

Three persons died outside the capital in ensuing clashes, while at least 150 were injured in Colombo. Government MP Amarakeerthi Athukorala reportedly shot two people and then himself after being surrounded by a mob in the neighbouring Gampaha district, police told AFP. Homes of several ruling party lawmakers were torched, while some among anti-government protesters assaulted government supporters who turned up in Colombo, amid escalating violence on the streets.

Continue reading ‘Enraged Crowds Demolish Rajapaksa Family Memorial Monument at Medamulana; Ancestral Home also Torched. Wax Statues of Mahinda and Gotabaya’s Parents Destroyed’ »

SLPP Govt MP Amarakeerthi Athukorale Fires and Injures two in Crowd Blocking his Vehicle at Nittambuwa; When Crowds Surround Building Je Takes Refuge in the MP Commits Suicide by Shooting Himself

A legislator from Sri Lanka’s ruling party shot dead an anti-government protester and then took his own life during a confrontation outside the capital, police said Monday.

Amarakeerthi Athukorala opened fire and critically wounded two people blocking his car in the town of Nittambuwa, police said, adding that one of the victims died of his injuries.

“The MP fled the scene and took refuge at a nearby building,” a police official told AFP by telephone. “Thousands surrounded the building and he then took his own life with his revolver.”

Continue reading ‘SLPP Govt MP Amarakeerthi Athukorale Fires and Injures two in Crowd Blocking his Vehicle at Nittambuwa; When Crowds Surround Building Je Takes Refuge in the MP Commits Suicide by Shooting Himself’ »

Attacks on Peaceful Protesters by SLPP Govt Supporters Condemned by USA and Germany Ambssadors and UK and Canada High Commissioners , World Bnk Country Director and UN Special Rapporteur

Several countries via their diplomats condemned yesterday’s violent attacks by supporters of ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) on peaceful protestors.

The British High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Sarah Hulton in a tweet said: “Strongly condemn the violence against peaceful protestors today. The authorities have a responsibility to safeguard citizens’ rights to protest peacefully and to hold the perpetrators of violence to account.”

Continue reading ‘Attacks on Peaceful Protesters by SLPP Govt Supporters Condemned by USA and Germany Ambssadors and UK and Canada High Commissioners , World Bnk Country Director and UN Special Rapporteur’ »

SLPP -led Govt Supporers Including State Minister Sanath Nishantha Unleash Violence Agaiist Unarmed Demonstrators and Demolish Structures at “Gotagogama” in Galleface and “Mynagogama”in Kollupitiya; Protesters Allege Police and armed Forces Attacked them Instead of the Mobs’;130 Persons Injured

BY Dinitha Rathnayake

An islandwide curfew was imposed yesterday (9) following supporters of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP)-led Government attack on peaceful anti-Government protesters at “MynaGoGama” in Kollupitiya and “GotaGoGama” in Galle Face, which led to over 130 sustaining injuries and being hospitalised.
Prior to the declaration of islandwide curfew, Police curfew was imposed with immediate effect, until further notice, to the Colombo South, Colombo North, and Colombo Central Police areas.

In order to assist the Police and control the situation, the Army deployed its troops in the Galle Face esplanade with immediate effect to protect civilians and maintain peace in the area. Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne requested the general public to support the tri-forces and remain calm and to exercise restraint.

Leave of Police officers has since been cancelled with those on leave also ordered to report to duty. The Excise Department has meanwhile informed that all liquor shops are to remain closed until further notice.

Continue reading ‘SLPP -led Govt Supporers Including State Minister Sanath Nishantha Unleash Violence Agaiist Unarmed Demonstrators and Demolish Structures at “Gotagogama” in Galleface and “Mynagogama”in Kollupitiya; Protesters Allege Police and armed Forces Attacked them Instead of the Mobs’;130 Persons Injured’ »

Thousands of Angry Demonstrators Surround Prime Minister;s Official Residence “Temple Trees” After Mahinda Rajapaksa Supporters Attack Peaceful Protesters;Police Fire GunShots in the Air and Tear Gas Cannsters to Dispel Crowds After Main Gates are Breached


Shots were fired from inside the Sri Lankan Prime Minister’s official residence Monday, as thousands of protesters breached the main gate and torched a truck at the entrance, an AFP reporter said.

Police also fired tear gas to push back protesters retaliating against an attack on them earlier in the day by those loyal to the outgoing premier Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Police sources confirmed that shots were fired in the air to prevent the crowd breaching the inner security ring of the residence where Mr. Rajapaksa, who resigned as premier earlier in the day, was holed up.

Continue reading ‘Thousands of Angry Demonstrators Surround Prime Minister;s Official Residence “Temple Trees” After Mahinda Rajapaksa Supporters Attack Peaceful Protesters;Police Fire GunShots in the Air and Tear Gas Cannsters to Dispel Crowds After Main Gates are Breached’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Sends Resignation Letter to Gotabaya Rajapksa saying he is Stepping down to Enable President to Form a new All-party Interim Govt;With the PM resigning the present Cabinet gets Automticlly Dissolved


BY Dinitha Rathnayake

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa sent his letter of resignation to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (9) after violent scenes were witnessed in Colombo.

Speaking to The Morning, Prime Minister’s Secretary Rohan Weliwita confirmed that the letter was sent to the President yesterday evening.
In the letter addressed to the President, Premier Rajapaksa noted that the ongoing situation is crucial to the country, adding that the country is facing many issues.

“According to the request made by the President at the Cabinet of Ministers meeting held on 6 May in support of forming a new Government, I hand over this letter,” the letter stated.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Sends Resignation Letter to Gotabaya Rajapksa saying he is Stepping down to Enable President to Form a new All-party Interim Govt;With the PM resigning the present Cabinet gets Automticlly Dissolved’ »

Mahinda Rajapaksa Likely to Step Down s Prime Minister Despite Pressure not to do so from Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Rank and File; paying Homage at Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanweliseya at Anuradhapura seen as Prelude to Resignaton Today(May 9)or Later this week


A large number of supporters of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa are expected to gather outside his official residence Temple Trees this morning amidst reports that he will hand in his resignation today(May 9).

Members of local authorities led by the SLLP as well as trade unionists affiliated to the party who met with the Prime Minister on Saturday pledged to bring their supporters to urge him not to resign, but the Prime Minister is expected to announce that he is stepping down from his post.

The Prime Minister visited the Sri Maha Bodhiya and Ruwanveli Saya in Anuradhapura yesterday and following his return, met with a delegation of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) who are in discussions to set up an all-party interim Government for which all the main parties have extended support.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Rajapaksa Likely to Step Down s Prime Minister Despite Pressure not to do so from Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Rank and File; paying Homage at Sri Maha Bodhi and Ruwanweliseya at Anuradhapura seen as Prelude to Resignaton Today(May 9)or Later this week’ »

Will the Executive Presidency “Go Out” If Gota Refuses to Go Home?

by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

“Go Home Gota” and/or “Gota Go Home” is the resounding clarion call that is currently motivating and mobilizing a number of protest demonstrations throughout Sri Lanka. The underlying thread is that Sri Lanka’s Executive President Gotabaya (Gota) Rajapaksa should resign and quit. The social media too is replete with demands of a similar nature.

“#Go Home Gota” 2022 Protest

Even the “ Boney M” Group’s 1979 Album “Oceans of Fantasy”lead single “Gotta Go Home” has acquired a fresh lease of life in the internet among those who want Gota to go home. Indeed the repetitive refrain “Gotta go home, home, home, Gotta go home” sounds most appropriate to the prevalent domestic political situation.

The Boney M song also has the line “Going back home , Going back home”. That however does not seem possible at least for now. Gota does not want to go home!

Continue reading ‘Will the Executive Presidency “Go Out” If Gota Refuses to Go Home?’ »

“The president is the head of the govt. The call-out by the people is for the president to resign. That is the main call. Everything else is subsidiary to that. Without that happening, we just rearrange some chairs in the Cabinet and continue.” – M.A. Sumanthiran MP


By

Kelum Bandara

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP for the Jaffna district M.A. Sumanthiran, in an interview with Daily Mirror, airs his views on the present status of the economy and the political crisis.

Excerpts:

Q The TNA has taken a different stand regarding the no confidence motion against the government. Why is it?

When a no confidence motion against the government is passed, the Cabinet stands dissolved according to the Constitution. Then, a new government has to be formed. Then, we must know what that new government is going to be like. Those who are bringing the no confidence motion must discuss with us what they have in mind as to who forms the next government. Without that plan, dissolving this government can be very dangerous. We are also firmly of the view that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa must step down. We don’t want to be in a position where the president continues and another person who is worse than the current prime minister becomes the prime minister. That will be from the frying pan into the fire. We won’t be able to control anything the moment the no confidence motion is carried. That is why we need to know first what kind of a government will be formed. Everybody who has left the government is saying the 20th Amendment must be repealed. Right alone, they knew the 20th Amendment was wrong. All of them are people who voted for it. What is there to say that they will go back on it? They are the people who voted for the 18th Amendment too. Then, they repealed it with the 19th Amendment. They voted for that also. Then, again, they thought the 18th Amendment was wrong and made amends for the 19th Amendment. But, they voted for the 20th Amendment. It is realisation or anything like that. This is just political opportunism. This is downright irresponsible behaviour. So, we are very wary about those who have left the government. This may all be a well-planned scheme for the same government to continue.

The president is the head of the government. The call-out by the people is for the president to resign. That is the main call. Everything else is subsidiary to that. Without that happening, we just rearrange some chairs in the Cabinet and continue. That will be sham and an attempt to fool the people. We cannot become party to that kind of charade. We are also opposed to the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Cabinet. We will support it. But, we must agree first who takes over government from that point onwards.

Continue reading ‘“The president is the head of the govt. The call-out by the people is for the president to resign. That is the main call. Everything else is subsidiary to that. Without that happening, we just rearrange some chairs in the Cabinet and continue.” – M.A. Sumanthiran MP’ »

By declaring his willingness to terminate the executive presidency, and only be in office until the constitution is amended, President Rajapaksa could help end the political deadlock in Sri Lanka.


By Dr. Ram Manikkalingam

(The writer is a Visiting Professor at the University of Amsterdam and Director of the Dialogue Advisory Group.)

Sri Lanka is at a political deadlock. Protesters want the President and parliamentarians to go home. Parliament wants the President to go home. And the President wants the protesters to go home. But no one is going home.

Meanwhile, we cannot change the President without changing the prime minister. We cannot change the prime minister because no party leader wants to be saddled with the economic crisis. And we cannot manage the economic crisis because there is no new prime minister. How do we get out of this triple deadlock?

It is very hard for the protesters to shift tack, because there are many tens of thousands. It is difficult for parliament to move, because at least 113, out of the 225 members, must agree. But it is easier for the President to change course because he can take a decision and implement it on his own. So what can he do that meets the concerns of the protesters?

Continue reading ‘By declaring his willingness to terminate the executive presidency, and only be in office until the constitution is amended, President Rajapaksa could help end the political deadlock in Sri Lanka.’ »

Bright smiles of determined young Sri Lankans contrast starkly with the tear gas and water cannons used by the police to smash tents and scatter protestors. On the one side, there is youth, optimism and hope. On the other side, there is the threatening paraphernalia of the State.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Bright smiles of determined young Sri Lankans contrast starkly with the tear gas and water cannons used by the police this Friday to smash tents and scatter protestors outside the newly established ‘HoruGoGama’ (‘thieves, get out’) on the road to Parliament. On the one side, there is youth, optimism and hope. On the other side, there is the threatening paraphernalia of the State.

Politicians scoring brownie points

As the Speaker fluttered and flapped his hands in response to remonstrations of the Opposition that university students and other protestors, including the elderly, had been teargassed on Friday as they were hooting Members of Parliament sweeping by in their calvacades, his incredulity went so far as to ask as to where these events had occurred. Was he perchance, under the impression that the protests were happening on Mars rather than right outside the House?

The promise that he would ask for a report from the Inspector General of Police (IGP) on the matter, was scarcely reassuring. This is not a Speaker who inspires public confidence, to put it politely as it were.

The Government was similarly non-responsive, with senior party leaders waving copies of the Order Paper and screeching to high heaven in a concerted attempt to block the no-confidence motion against the President and the Government, presented by the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB) Opposition.

The House exploded with accusations and counter-accusations across the divide as politicians delighted in scoring brownie points from the misery of the people. Outside, protestors lay siege to the chamber, ‘HoruGoGama’ being the latest in the series of ‘protest villages’, this time around aimed at occupants of the legislature.

Continue reading ‘Bright smiles of determined young Sri Lankans contrast starkly with the tear gas and water cannons used by the police to smash tents and scatter protestors. On the one side, there is youth, optimism and hope. On the other side, there is the threatening paraphernalia of the State.’ »

“I wish to thank you and the Tamil Nadu government on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka,”; Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa sends letter thanking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin for his initiative to provide humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has thanked Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin for his initiative to provide humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka, which is in the grip of a grave economic crisis.

In a letter dated May 4, 2022 and addressed to Mr. Stalin, Mr. Rajapaksa said the passage of a resolution to send food, essential items and live-saving drugs was indicative of the Chief Minister’s “good intentions”. “I wish to thank you and the Tamil Nadu government on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka, for viewing the country’s crisis from a humanitarian standpoint, rather than as a problem concerning another country,” Mr. Rajapaksa said.

On April 29, the Tamil Nadu Assembly unanimously adopted a motion to send relief material worth ₹123 crore to the people of Sri Lanka. The support would entail 40,000 tonnes of rice, over 100 life-saving drugs and 500 tonnes of milk powder for children.

Continue reading ‘“I wish to thank you and the Tamil Nadu government on behalf of the people of Sri Lanka,”; Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa sends letter thanking Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin for his initiative to provide humanitarian aid to Sri Lanka.’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Emergency Declaration sparks wide criticism in Sri Lanka with Diplomats, rights group and Opposition leaders calling the move counterproductive, coming amid peaceful citizens’ protests

By

Meera Srinivasan

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s move declaring a state of emergency late on Friday has sparked wide criticism within Sri Lanka, as well as from the international actors who contended it was unhelpful and counterproductive, coming amid peaceful citizens’ protests.

Government critics and civil society groups fear that the emergency regulations, which give sweeping powers to the police and armed forces, could be used to quell public dissent that has intensified in recent days. Several thousand Sri Lankans are agitating on the streets relentlessly, blaming the ruling Rajapaksa brothers’ “misgovernance” for the island’s unprecedented economic downturn.

Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa said in a tweet: “Under no circumstances @GotabayaR will you hold this country down with nothing but fear & violence. The state of emergency runs counter to seeking any solution to the crisis. JUST RESIGN.”
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka, a professional body of lawyers, expressed “grave concern” over the move. “Declaration of a state of emergency is not the answer to the present situation in the country including the spate of public protests and strikes which have occurred. We re-iterate that the state of emergency must not be used to stifle peaceful protests and dissent or to make arbitrary arrests and detentions. The protests in turn must not be violent and must remain peaceful at all times,” it said in a statement.

Even before the Emergency came into effect from Friday midnight, police unleashed water cannons and tear gas on students protesting outside Parliament on Thursday and Friday, neither of which seems to have deterred demonstrators going by the crowd since.
The Colombo-based NGO Centre for Policy Alternatives said it is “alarmed” by the “violent”, and “intimidatory” tactics used by authorities, with the declaration of state of emergency “being the latest move to crush dissent and other democratic rights”, despite peaceful citizens mobilizing peacefully.
Canada’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka David McKinnon said in a tweet: “Over the past weeks, the demonstrations across #SriLanka have overwhelmingly involved citizens enjoying their right to peaceful freedom of expression and are a credit to the country’s democracy. It’s hard to understand why it is necessary, then, to declare a state of emergency.”
Echoing the sentiment, the European Union said: “A month of peaceful demonstrations has shown how Sri Lankan citizens fully enjoy their right to freedom of expression in the oldest democracy in South Asia. State of emergency will certainly not help solving the country’s difficulties and could have a counterproductive effect!” Several other Colombo-based diplomats took to twitter to question the President’s decision.
Unfazed by the criticism, the government defended the Emergency, saying it was imposed “to ensure political stability which is a vital condition in overcoming the current socio-economic crisis in the country thereby assuring public safety and uninterrupted supply of essential services.”
Issuing a statement on Saturday, the Department of Information said: “The current agitations being held throughout the country including the capital for the last several days have posed a grave threat to the security of public life,” although the protests have remained peaceful.

There have been no reports of demonstrators resorting to violence or damaging any public property. They gather in public spaces and chant anti-government slogans together. People desperate for fuel and cooking gas have at times blocked roads, causing traffic snarls. Protesters’ resolute challenge to the government has drawn celebrated artistes, progressive scholars, professionals, business leaders to the movement.

Curiously, the government claimed that essential services, including the distribution of fuel, were “interrupted”, public transport was “crippled”, and the daily functioning of hospitals was “disrupted” by the protests, apparently referring to Friday’s Hartal. Transport in Sri Lanka has been affected for months owing to a persisting fuel shortage, and hospitals have been struggling to find essential drugs, and are repeatedly putting out appeals for help.

This is the second instance of the President declaring an Emergency in the last five weeks, after a similar move early in April. The declaration would need to be ratified by the Parliament within 14 days, or it will lapse. The Parliament is adjourned till May 17.

Courtesy:The Hindu

End of Executive Presidency Drawing Near? 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill Abolishing the Executive Presidency Presented to Parliament by the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Gazetted on May 6th;


By the Sunday Morninng Political Editor

The proposed 21st Amendment Bill presented to Parliament by the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) was gazetted last Friday (6).
The gazetting of the proposed 21st Amendment to the Constitution has now put into motion the moves to repeal the controversial 20th Amendment and revert to an advanced form of the previous 19th Amendment, as well as the abolition of the Executive Presidency.

Once the Bill is gazetted, it could be tabled in Parliament in one week, which in this case could be on 17 May. Afterwards, a one-week period is given for the piece of legislation to be challenged before the Supreme Court and the Court is granted a period of three weeks to make its determination in such an event.

Continue reading ‘End of Executive Presidency Drawing Near? 21st Constitutional Amendment Bill Abolishing the Executive Presidency Presented to Parliament by the Samagi Jana Balavegaya Gazetted on May 6th;’ »

The mass struggle of today – the hartal – is the call for true democracy, which was not the best from 74 years of freedom in 1948, and much worsened and hugely corrupt after 1977.


By Lucien Rajakarunanayake

I was 14 plus when the first hartal took place in what was then Ceylon. We had only print and radio for news, yet the LSSP-led mass protest did have echoes of workers and people’s action, police shooting, 10 persons killed, and the overall failure of the government leadership.Sixty-nine years later, the present Hartal is certainly a country and nationwide rising of the people, moving from the fuel, milk and gas queues, to a decisive political movement, calling for a complete change from the corrupt governance in Sri Lanka.

There is hartal action in all parts of the country today, with almost all public and private sector services halted, and a call for a nationwide change in the process of governance and the politically manipulated economics of the country.The Parliament is certainly the place of most interest of the people, in what is an electoral democracy; and where the key interest of Members of Parliament would be in resolving a situation of national crisis. But the Parliament of today is certainly furthest from such need and reality.

The key issue in Parliament yesterday was the election of a Deputy Speaker – an office of no attachment to politics or government. Instead, it was a complete farce in the parliamentary process. The Deputy Speaker who resigned – for no reason of politics, governance or parliamentary process, whose resignation papers even went to the President — re-contested for the same office! Ranjith Siyambalapitiya was re-elected with a large majority, defeating one of the best MPs in the House, who is also the son of another Speaker, and a member of a minority community.

Continue reading ‘The mass struggle of today – the hartal – is the call for true democracy, which was not the best from 74 years of freedom in 1948, and much worsened and hugely corrupt after 1977.’ »

Young protesters make sacrifices and pay a price. Camping at the GGG, through sun and rain, deprives them of an income and postpones personal dreams. Whatever the outcome, history will recognise these young visionaries who dared to imagine the protest-space and make it real.

By Bishop Duleep de Chickera

People’s protests today, occupy the public space as the people clamour to create and occupy democratic space. This receives public attention and worries the oppressor.

Today’s protests demand change. The sovereignty of the people has been brazenly ursurped by callous and arrogant legislators. They must go if the people are to breathe as lawful citizens, once again.

Something breathtaking is happening at Galle Face. A popular, breezy green has been turned into a vibrant, gusty arena. All who value freedom are welcome; and they come. All except those who have contaminated every nook and corner of our lives. As the protest grows, space for those who were everywhere, shrinks.

The protest-space gathers people who have never before stood in protests. They come to learn that governance, both bad and good, is their business. The energy of the protest-space is infectious. Those afraid to raise a voice, or pick up a pen, are being set free. They return to discover themselves in their diversity, in the security of each other and in the resounding cries for rights and protection against representatives turned tormentors. The protest-space is more than crowds and noise. It changes fear into freedom, silence into resistance and indifference into a yearning for truth and justice.

Continue reading ‘Young protesters make sacrifices and pay a price. Camping at the GGG, through sun and rain, deprives them of an income and postpones personal dreams. Whatever the outcome, history will recognise these young visionaries who dared to imagine the protest-space and make it real.’ »

Several Ministers in Newly Appointed Cabinet Call for Resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa so that a New Prime Minister Could be Appointed; President Gotabya Su too wants his Brother to Step Downn s PM but Mahinda remains Non Committal

An emergency Cabinet meeting called by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa ended last night amidst conflicting reports of the imminent resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Soon after news broke that the President had asked the Prime Minister to resign, a spokesman for the PMs office denied the claim.

Continue reading ‘Several Ministers in Newly Appointed Cabinet Call for Resignation of Mahinda Rajapaksa so that a New Prime Minister Could be Appointed; President Gotabya Su too wants his Brother to Step Downn s PM but Mahinda remains Non Committal’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declares a state of emergency with immediate effect From May 6 Midnight as public protests calling for his resignation intensify; announcement from the President’s office came after he held an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the prevailing situation in the country.

By Chandani Kirinde

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last night declared a state of emergency with immediate effect as public protests calling for his resignation intensified.

The emergency regulations which give wide powers to the armed forces to detain and arrest persons as well as quell public protests were declared under the Public Security Ordinance and came into operation throughout Sri Lanka with effect from midnight on 6 May.

The announcement from the President’s office came after he held an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the prevailing situation in the country.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declares a state of emergency with immediate effect From May 6 Midnight as public protests calling for his resignation intensify; announcement from the President’s office came after he held an emergency Cabinet meeting to discuss the prevailing situation in the country.’ »

Island -Wide Hartal Launched by Over 2000 Trade Unions Paralyses Sri Lanka While Protests by Students Outside Parliament Continue Day and Night Despite Use of Tear Gas and ater Cannons by Police


By

Meera Srinivasan

Several hundred people gathered outside Sri Lanka’s Parliament late Thursday night, hours after police tear-gased students who marched to the spot as part of ongoing citizens’ protests against the ruling Rajapaksas.

Their agitations continued all day on Friday, braving fresh rounds of water cannons and tear gas unleashed by police, as the Parliament convened.

Meanwhile, nearly 2,000 worker unions from the public and private sector joined a massive Hartal on Friday, in one of the largest strike actions in Sri Lanka in recent history. Train and bus transport came to a virtual standstill across the island, with only private vehicle seen on the road. Employees at most commercial establishments, including banks, did not report to work.

The demonstrators chanted anti-government slogans outside the Parliament complex, in the latest escalation of agitations demanding that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resign, taking responsibility for the economic meltdown in the island.

Continue reading ‘Island -Wide Hartal Launched by Over 2000 Trade Unions Paralyses Sri Lanka While Protests by Students Outside Parliament Continue Day and Night Despite Use of Tear Gas and ater Cannons by Police’ »

Kegalle District SLFP MP Ranjith Siyambalapitiya who was elected as Deputy Speaker on Thursday Sends Resigntion Letter to President Rajapaksa on Friday Saying his decision to take up the post has turned public opinion against him and that he did not want to be an enemy to the people.

Ranjith Siyambalapitiya who was elected as Deputy Speaker on Thursday by way of a secret ballot in Parliament resigned from the post last evening.

.In a letter addressed to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Kegalle District SLFP MP said that his decision to take up the post has turned public opinion against him and he did not want to be an enemy to the people.

Continue reading ‘Kegalle District SLFP MP Ranjith Siyambalapitiya who was elected as Deputy Speaker on Thursday Sends Resigntion Letter to President Rajapaksa on Friday Saying his decision to take up the post has turned public opinion against him and that he did not want to be an enemy to the people.’ »

Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa saiys Deputy Speaker Election vote exposed the nexus between the SLFP/SLPP dissidents and the ruling party.


By

Chandani Kirinde

Ranjith Siyam-balapaiaya was re-elected as Deputy Speaker in a secret ballot held in parliament yesterday with 148 MPs voting for him and 65 for the Samagi Jana Balawegaya nominee Imtiaz Bakeer Markar. Siyambalapitiya’s name was proposed by MP Nimal Siripala De Silva and seconded by Susil Premajayanth while Bakeer Markar was nominated by SJB MP Ranjith Maddumabandara and seconded by Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella.

A secret vote was held to elect the Deputy Speaker with a ballot box placed in the Well of the House and MPs casting their ballot after each one’s name was called out. The votes were subsequently counted by parliamentary officials and the results announced by Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

Siyambalapitiya won by a majority of 83 votes while three votes were spoiled. Eight MPs including Mayantha Dissanayake, S. Nohathalingam, Udikka Premaratne, Imran Maharoof, C.V. Vigneswaran, Wimal Weerawansa, R. Sampanthan and John Seneviratne were absent during the vote.

Continue reading ‘Leader of Opposition Sajith Premadasa saiys Deputy Speaker Election vote exposed the nexus between the SLFP/SLPP dissidents and the ruling party.’ »

Deputy Speaker Election Voting Has Exposed the Truth that So Called “Independent” MP’s who Claimed to Have Defected From the SLPP Led Govt are Fooling the People and Secretly Supporting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Charge SJB and TNA

Reacting to the election of Government MP Ranjith Siyambalapitiya as Deputy Speaker of Parliament yesterday (5), the main Parliamentary Opposition, the Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB), as well as the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), claimed that the MPs formerly of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Government camp and who now sit independently in Parliament are still secretly supporting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa whilst fooling the public.

SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa said in Parliament yesterday that the façade of opposition put up by these independent MPs had disappeared.

“During the voting process, the true nature of various people has been revealed to the whole nation. Now everybody sees through the fake message they have been trying to give out through their pretence. Today, Siyambalapitiya has also unfortunately become a protector of this Government. The protestors will take note of this. However, I can say that we are genuinely opposed to the President and the Government,” he said, following the secret ballot that reinstated Siyambalapitiya as the Deputy Speaker.

SJB MP Dr. Harsha de Silva claimed that only the 65 MPs who voted for the Opposition’s candidate, SJB MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar, are standing with the protestors.

Continue reading ‘Deputy Speaker Election Voting Has Exposed the Truth that So Called “Independent” MP’s who Claimed to Have Defected From the SLPP Led Govt are Fooling the People and Secretly Supporting President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Charge SJB and TNA’ »

SLFP’s Ranjit Siyambalapitiya who Resigned Last Month is Re – elected Deputy Speaker With 148 Votes; SJB’s Imtiaz Bakeer Markar gets 65; 3 MP’s Spoil their Vote; SLPP, SLFP and So Called Independents Back Ranjit while SJB,TNA and JVP Support Imtiaz

SLFP MP Ranjith Siyambalapitiya was today re-elected Deputy Speaker by a majority of 83 votes in a secret ballot.

A total of 148 members voted for Mr. Siyambalapitiya and SJB MP Imthiaz Bakeer Markar obtained 65 votes. Three votes were rejected.

Continue reading ‘SLFP’s Ranjit Siyambalapitiya who Resigned Last Month is Re – elected Deputy Speaker With 148 Votes; SJB’s Imtiaz Bakeer Markar gets 65; 3 MP’s Spoil their Vote; SLPP, SLFP and So Called Independents Back Ranjit while SJB,TNA and JVP Support Imtiaz’ »

Speaker Refuses to Enter No Confidence Motion Submitted by SJB Against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa into Parliament Order Book Saying he has to Consult Attorney – General About Motion’s Legality


BY Pamodi Waravita

Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena yesterday (5) refused to enter the no-confidence motion (NCM) against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa into the Order Book of the Parliament immediately, stating that he needs to first consult the Attorney General about its legality, while the NCM against the Government will be placed in the Order Book of the Parliament today (6).

“At the party leaders’ meeting, the Speaker agreed to place the NCM against the Government in the Order Book. But he insisted on consulting the Attorney General about the NCM against the President,” Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) MP and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesperson M.A. Sumanthiran PC told The Morning yesterday (5).

Continue reading ‘Speaker Refuses to Enter No Confidence Motion Submitted by SJB Against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa into Parliament Order Book Saying he has to Consult Attorney – General About Motion’s Legality’ »

Among Allegations Stated in the No Confidence Motion Against President Rajapaksa is that he has continuously made decisions based on the counsel of a soothsayer W.M. Gnanawathi alias ‘Gnanakka’,while also using public funds to construct her temple and provide her with military protection.

By Chandani Kirinde

The main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) yesterday handed over two No-Confidence Motions, one against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and another against the Government, to Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena.

The No-Confidence Motion against the Government was handed over after weeks of speculation on whether the Opposition can muster enough votes to get it passed. The motion was signed only by members of the SJB even though the party has been in talks with other groups opposed to the Government to get them to vote for the motion.

Yesterday several SLFP members met with SJB counterparts.

The motion also comes as over 50 SLPP MPs who have chosen to sit in Opposition are in talks with the President to set up an all-party interim Government as a short-term measure to overcome the economic problems facing the country.

Continue reading ‘Among Allegations Stated in the No Confidence Motion Against President Rajapaksa is that he has continuously made decisions based on the counsel of a soothsayer W.M. Gnanawathi alias ‘Gnanakka’,while also using public funds to construct her temple and provide her with military protection.’ »

“I am very confident of winning the NCM. I have the numbers with me in Parliament. If I lose the numbers, I will step down, If the President tells me to go, I will leave immediately. But there has been no such request,” says Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

By

Jamila Husain

Hours after the main opposition SJB handed over a No-Confidence Motion (NCM) against the President and another against the Prime Minister to Parliament Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena last afternoon, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa said he was confident of winning the NCM against him as he held the majority support in Parliament.

The Prime Minister, speaking to Daily Mirror said that he would not let this NCM hinder his work to resolve the ongoing economic crisis, as the majority of MPs in Parliament supported him and had pledged support to his Premiership and his solutions to resolve the ongoing crisis.

“I am very confident of winning the NCM. I have the numbers with me in Parliament. If I lose the numbers, I will step down,” Rajapaksa said. The Prime Minister further said that reports circulating of his resignation today are false, and he will not resign from the Premiership.

Continue reading ‘“I am very confident of winning the NCM. I have the numbers with me in Parliament. If I lose the numbers, I will step down, If the President tells me to go, I will leave immediately. But there has been no such request,” says Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

“Nightwatchman” Finance Minister Ali Sabry Admits that “ wrong policies of the current administration had contributed to the present plight of the country” and tells “Parliament that the country’s economy is at a critical level “and warns that “painful reforms lie ahead irrespective of who is in power.”


By Chandani Kirinde

Finance Minister Ali Sabry yesterday told Parliament that the country’s economy is at a critical level and warned that painful reforms lie ahead irrespective of who is in power.

In a detailed statement to the House on the present fiscal situation in the country as well as the way forward, Sabry admitted that wrong policies of the current administration had contributed to the present plight of the country, saying the tax cuts given in late 2019 after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa took office is a historic mistake.

“Revenue foregone due to the tax cuts introduced in late 2019, which was estimated to be more than Rs. 500 billion, has resulted in sovereign rating agencies to downgrade Sri Lanka to near default levels. In my opinion this is a historic mistake,” Sabry said.

He also said the 2022 Budget was no longer feasible and that the Government plans to present a new Budget shortly keeping with the new ground realities.

Continue reading ‘“Nightwatchman” Finance Minister Ali Sabry Admits that “ wrong policies of the current administration had contributed to the present plight of the country” and tells “Parliament that the country’s economy is at a critical level “and warns that “painful reforms lie ahead irrespective of who is in power.”’ »

“Myna Go Gama” Opposite “Temple Trees” Dismantled Following Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Order not to Cause Obstruction on Pavements to Pedestrians; Kollupitiya Police Remove Their Vehicles While Protesters Take Down Their Temporary Constructions

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Following an order issued by the Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court and a heated debate between Police and protestors outside Temple Trees in Kollupitiya, vehicles parked on the pavement in the area and the constructions of the protest zone generally referred to as “MynaGoGama” were removed yesterday evening (4).

The heated debate took place when the Police produced a court order to the protestors and instructed them to dismantle the constructions. The protestors argued with the Police and asked that the Police first remove the buses that had been parked on the pavement.

Shortly after that, a group of pro-protest lawyers were seen advising the protestors that according to the court order, both the constructions and the vehicles needed to be removed. The lawyers further said that the court would consider the matter again on 9 May, and that protestors should be patient till then.

Following this, Police removed all their vehicles from the pavement, and soon after, the protestors followed suit by dismantling all their temporary constructions.

Continue reading ‘“Myna Go Gama” Opposite “Temple Trees” Dismantled Following Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Order not to Cause Obstruction on Pavements to Pedestrians; Kollupitiya Police Remove Their Vehicles While Protesters Take Down Their Temporary Constructions’ »