How the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Became Known as Tiger Nominated Agents (TNA)

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) which is the premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils in the Northern and Eastern Provinces is currently fragmented. The chief constituent Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) is on one side while the other two constituent parties namely the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization(TELO( and Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) are on the other side. Of the ten seats held by the TNA in Parliament, six are with the ITAK. The TELO has three and the PLOTE one.

The Local Authority elections scheduled for 9 March 2023 has seen the ITAK going it alone with the party filing nominations separately under its own name. The ITAK symbol is the House. It was under this symbol that the TNA contested elections from 2004 onwards. The ITAK while claiming that the TNA has not broken up , seems to be happy that it is no longer shackled, by its erstwhile fellow constituents the TELO and PLOTE.

Continue reading ‘How the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Became Known as Tiger Nominated Agents (TNA)’ »

New Bill Signed Into Law by US President Joe Biden may Prevent Ex-Sri Lanka President Gota Rajapaksa from Returning to his Home in California

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Jeyaraj’s Jottings

US President Joe Biden has signed into law the historic “Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act” giving the US Department of Justice (DOJ) jurisdiction to prosecute persons present in the U.S. for war crimes committed anywhere in the world regardless of the nationality of alleged perpetrator or victim.

This law, passed with strong bipartisan support, better aligns the US with her allies and the Geneva Conventions, and gives DOJ the ability to try persons responsible for war crimes in any part of the world should they come to the US.

According to a press release from the White House ,the changes to the “Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act,” have expanded the scope of individuals subject to prosecution for war crimes;
Senators Grassley, Durbin, Graham, and Leahy and Congress Representatives Cicilline and Spartz are reportedly responsible for giving leadership in this regard

The bill, which broadens the Justice Department’s jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes, was passed in the U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday after winning Senate approval on Wednesday.

Known as the Justice for Victims of War Crimes Act, the bill allows the Justice Department to bring war crimes charges against people in the United States, regardless of where the alleged crime occurred.

Continue reading ‘New Bill Signed Into Law by US President Joe Biden may Prevent Ex-Sri Lanka President Gota Rajapaksa from Returning to his Home in California’ »

“Nagaichuvai Mannan” Nagesh: The Comedy King of Tamil Cinema

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Naghaichchuvai Mannan” (King of Comedy) Nagesh passed away in Chennai on Jan 31st 2009. His 14th death anniversary is being commemorated this year. He was born on September 27th 1933.His 90th birth anniversary will be celebrated later this year.

Nagesh in "Iru Kodugall"

Nagesh in “Iru Kodugal”

Nagesh was the undisputed king of comedians in Tamil cinema from the early sixties to mid-seventies of the previous century. After a “lull” the versatile actor re-entered Tamil cinema in a new “avatar” playing character and villain roles. Even during his stint as comedian, Nagesh acted in quite a few lead roles too.

Thinking of Nagesh at the time of his 14th death anniversary revives nostalgic memories of the golden era of Tamil cinema. Those of us who grew up on a steady diet of Tamil films can never forget the man and his acting.

The first Nagesh starring movie that I saw was “Nenjil Or Aalayam” directed by the legendary CV Sridhar. Nagesh played Peter a male nurse in a hospital.

The last Nagesh movie I saw was “Dasavatharam” with Kamal Hassan essaying ten roles. In that Nagesh played a venerable Muslim elder Sheik Mukthar.He acted as father of Kamal the “giant”.

Between “Nenjil Or Aalayam” and “Dasavatharam” I have seen hundreds of films with Nagesh. How much we enjoyed his scenes and laughed. How many times would we have imitated and mimicked those scenes later. For those happy memories “Nandri Nagesh”!

Continue reading ‘“Nagaichuvai Mannan” Nagesh: The Comedy King of Tamil Cinema’ »

No political party can wash its hands of responsibility for the label of the ‘beggar of South Asia’ that Sri Lanka has been foisted with. ‘We the People’ have played our part in that calamitous road to perdition.So on this 75th Independence Day, what do we ‘celebrate’?

By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

What has a nation, which cannot guarantee uninterrupted power supply to students sitting the Advanced Level examination, where large swathes of the populace go hungry, where the sick do not have access to essential medicine with many hospitals announcing that they have run out of supplies, have to ‘celebrate’ on its ‘75th Independence Day’?

Making ‘the world’ laugh if not cry

This is an important question to ask. Reportedly, President Ranil Wickremesinghe has declared that it is important to mark that day in a ‘grand and proud manner…for otherwise, the world will say that we are not capable of celebrating even our independence.’ That claim is nonsensical in the first instance. From where do politicians acquire such grandiose notions, we may ask with force? Certainly ‘the world’ (whatever that may mean) will be less than bothered if Sri Lanka ‘celebrates’ an independence day or not.

In fact, there is a marvellous irony here which the President seems to be deaf, dumb and blind to. A bankrupt country teetering on the brink of a complete financial meltdown, begging from all and sundry for handouts, whose legal systems and justice institutions have been mercilessly pilloried as irredeemably politicised, can scarcely afford to waste millions on a single day ‘celebration’ of independence. That will perchance make ‘the world’ laugh and not kindly at that. This is a truth that a child will recognise.

Indeed, the day would have been better marked by solemn prayers from the North to the South, for repentance and reformation of its rulers and citizens. There cannot be a more fitting time than now for collective repentance in accordance with the abiding precepts of the four great religions observed by the people of this land, Buddhism, Hindusim, Christianity and Islam. Our ‘rulers’ should repent for multiple violations of the Constitution, for precipitating the country to economic ruin, for thousands of named and nameless Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim victims killed on this soil.

Continue reading ‘No political party can wash its hands of responsibility for the label of the ‘beggar of South Asia’ that Sri Lanka has been foisted with. ‘We the People’ have played our part in that calamitous road to perdition.So on this 75th Independence Day, what do we ‘celebrate’?’ »

“Did you know Tamil is the oldest language of the whole world, not just of India? Shouldn’t such a country be proud? We have such a big treasure, a big source of pride. Our chest should swell with pride and we must tell the world this,” – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi


By

Jagriti Chandra

Tamil is the oldest language of the world, and is a big treasure and source of pride, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his address to students at the sixth edition of the Pariksha Pe Charcha event held on Friday, while urging them to learn languages other than their mother tongue.

PM Modi

“Did you know Tamil is the oldest language of the whole world, not just of India? Shouldn’t such a country be proud? We have such a big treasure, a big source of pride. Our chest should swell with pride and we must tell the world this,” Mr. Modi said during the event, remarking that he had spoken in Tamil during an address at the UN General Assembly in 2019 in order to spread this message.

Continue reading ‘“Did you know Tamil is the oldest language of the whole world, not just of India? Shouldn’t such a country be proud? We have such a big treasure, a big source of pride. Our chest should swell with pride and we must tell the world this,” – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’ »

“I am acting in accordance with the Supreme Court decision regarding the 13th Amendment. I oppose a federal state but not devolution of power. The provincial Councils in Sri Lanka haven’t even the powers that are vested in the London City Council. Hence we can’t define this as a federal state.”- President Ranil Wickremesinghe

(Text of Press Release Issued by the President’s Media Division)

President Ranil Wickremesinghe said that he is bound to implement the existing law in accordance with the executive powers of the President.

He said further that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution should be implemented accordingly or the Parliament should abolish the 13th amendment.

President Wickremesinghe also pointed out that any parliamentarian could move a private member’s bill to abolish the 13th Amendment to the constitution and the same amendment would have to be implemented provided that the bill was voted against by the majority of the House.
The President stressed that he was not ready to divide the country at all and would not betray the Sinhalese nation as well.

President Wickremesinghe made these remarks at the All-Party Conference, which was held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (26).

The statement made by the President is as follows.

Continue reading ‘“I am acting in accordance with the Supreme Court decision regarding the 13th Amendment. I oppose a federal state but not devolution of power. The provincial Councils in Sri Lanka haven’t even the powers that are vested in the London City Council. Hence we can’t define this as a federal state.”- President Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

New York investment firm Hindenburg Research Targets India’s Richest man Gautam Adani; publishe detailed report that describes the Adani Group as “the largest con in corporate history”.-The Economist”

From meagre beginnings in the 1980s, Gautam Adani has emerged as India’s richest citizen. Now, in just a few days, the foundations of his sprawling empire have been shaken.

On January 24th a small New York investment firm, Hindenburg Research, published a report calling the Adani Group “the largest con in corporate history”. In a series of statements, the group responded by saying that the report was “maliciously mischievous”, “unresearched” and intended to “sabotage” a secondary share offering of the group’s flagship listed company, Adani Enterprises.

The group also said that Hindenburg had published its report “without making any attempt to contact us or verify the factual matrix”. “We are deeply disturbed by this intentional and reckless attempt by a foreign entity to mislead the investor community and the general public,” wrote the group’s top lawyer, Jatin Jalundhwala.

These fierce denials have not averted a sell-off of shares in Mr Adani’s seven listed companies, first right after Hindenburg’s report was published, then again when markets reopened on January 27th after a public holiday. In two trading days the collective market value of the Adani Group’s listed firms fell by $47bn, or 22%.

Mr Adani’s personal fortune declined from $122bn at the end of 2022 to $93bn, according to the Hurun Report, a research firm. The episode has also drawn the world’s attention to one of India’s corporate success stories—and a significant motor of the country’s recent economic growth.

In targeting Mr Adani, Hindenburg could not have selected a bigger whale. After dropping out of school at the age of 16, the entrepreneur moved through a succession of jobs, trading first in diamonds, then in metals and cereals, before entering the infrastructure business.

Continue reading ‘New York investment firm Hindenburg Research Targets India’s Richest man Gautam Adani; publishe detailed report that describes the Adani Group as “the largest con in corporate history”.-The Economist”’ »

India invokes emergency laws to ban BBC documentary about Narendra Modi’s Alleged role in the Anti-Muslim violence during 2002 Gujarat riots; Govt accused of ‘censorship’ for imposing ban on film about PM’s role

By

Hannah Ellis-Petersen in Delhi

The Indian government has invoked emergency laws to block a BBC documentary examining the role of the prime minister, Narendra Modi, during riots in the western state of Gujarat in 2002.

Controversy has erupted in India over the first episode of the two-part programme, India: The Modi Question, which tracked his rise through the ranks of the Bharatiya Janata party and his appointment as chief minister of Gujarat.

The BBC also uncovered memos showing that Modi’s conduct was criticised at the time by western diplomats and the British government, including in a government report which found that the riots had “all the hallmarks of an ethnic cleansing”.

Modi has been haunted for decades by allegations of complicity in the violence that took place during the Gujarat riots, which broke out after 59 Hindu pilgrims died on a train that had been set on fire. The fire was blamed on the state’s Muslim population.

Continue reading ‘India invokes emergency laws to ban BBC documentary about Narendra Modi’s Alleged role in the Anti-Muslim violence during 2002 Gujarat riots; Govt accused of ‘censorship’ for imposing ban on film about PM’s role’ »

UN Officials Want Action Against Gota Over his Alleged Role in “Disappearances” of 700 Persons in Matale when in Charge of Anti-JVP Operations in 1989-1990

by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

These are trying times for Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s former President and Ex-Defence secretary.Faced with a massive wide-spread peoples protest last year , the then President known popularly as Gota, deserted post and went abroad from where he relinquished office. Finding himself unwelcome in most countries,Gota returned home. Thereafter he has been trying hard to go to the USA, the country of which he had been a naturalized citizen until 2019. His efforts to re-enter the US have proven futile so far.

In a further twist of fate , Gota along with elder brother Mahinda was at the receiving end of targeted sanctions by Canada on Jan 6 this year.These Canadian sanctions could potentially, have far reaching implications and consequences for him.

Now, adding to Gota’s woes is a UN spear-headed International focus on an earlier phase of his life. This time it is not about his roles as President or Defence secretary but about the time he served as a Lt. Col in the Sri Lankan army. It is specifically about the time Gota was appointed commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, Gajaba Regiment (1GR) and military co-ordinating officer of the Matale district during the second insurrection of the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP ) which took place from 1987 to 1990.

Continue reading ‘UN Officials Want Action Against Gota Over his Alleged Role in “Disappearances” of 700 Persons in Matale when in Charge of Anti-JVP Operations in 1989-1990’ »

Canada’s Targeted Sanctioning of Sri Lankan Ex-presidents Gotabaya and Mahinda.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Over the past four decades, the people of Sri Lanka have suffered a great deal due to the armed conflict, economic and political instability, and gross violations of human rights. Canada is steadfast in its support to attain peace, reconciliation, justice and accountability on the island. Canada has taken decisive action today to end international impunity against violators of international law. Canada stands ready to support Sri Lanka’s path to peace, inclusion and prosperity through the advancement of accountability, reconciliation and human rights, including international assistance to address the domestic crisis.”
– Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs

History was made last week when two former executive presidents of Sri Lanka were sanctioned by the Government of Canada. One was Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa known as Gota who was the President of Sri Lanka from Nov 2019 to July 2022. Gota also served as secretary of Defence from Nov 2005 to January 2015. The other was Gota’s elder brother Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa known as Mahinda who was President of Sri Lanka from Nov 2005 to Jan 2015. Mahinda also served as Sri Lanka’s prime minister thrice from April 2004 -Nov 2005,October 2018-December 2018 and Nov 2019 to May 2022.

This is the first time two former Sri Lankan heads of State have been at the receiving end of targeted sanctions from Canada. It is doubtful as to whether both would have been sanctioned if they were in office. Another point to ponder is whether Ottawa would have sanctioned Gotabaya if he continued to retain his US citizenship.

Continue reading ‘Canada’s Targeted Sanctioning of Sri Lankan Ex-presidents Gotabaya and Mahinda.’ »

TNA was Born in 2001 Due to Elections Shock of 2000

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA)with 10 seats in Parliament is currently facing an internal crisis.. The premier political configuration of the Sri Lankan Tamils in the Northern and Eastern provinces is being plagued by intra-party rivalry within its constituent parties. The Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi (ITAK), the Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and the Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam(PLOTE) are the three constituent parties of the TNA. Of these the ITAK as six MPs.The TELO has three and the PLOTE one.

With the prospects of local authority elections looming large on the political horizon, the TNA’s chief constituent – the ITAK- wanted all three parties to file separate candidate lists and contest alone instead of filing a joint list as in the past. Thereafter all three could jointly form administrations in the councils where they had a majority. The ITAK opined that this woud help maximise representation for the TNA in the 60% ward-40% PR based electoral system of Local authority elections

Continue reading ‘TNA was Born in 2001 Due to Elections Shock of 2000’ »

Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage Orders IGP Wickramaratne to Explain why Police have not Imlemented Court order to Record Statement from Ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa about the Rupees 17.85 million found by the public at the Presidents House in July 2022.


By

Buddhika Samaraweera

The Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday (25) ordered Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne to make an explanation regarding the investigation related to the sum of Rs. 17.85 million, which was found at the President’s House in Colombo when it was taken over by the public in July 2022, being removed from the Police Special Investigation Unit (SIU) and being handed over to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and the Police’s failure to comply with a court order to record a statement from former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa regarding the said sum.

When the relevant case was taken up before Colombo Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage, the SIU informed the court that the IGP had ordered it to hand over the investigation into the incident to the CID.

The officers who appeared for the SIU also stated that when the IGP was asked for permission to record a statement from Rajapaksa in accordance with the court order issued in relation to this incident, he (the IGP) had informed the SIU that the relevant investigation had been handed over to the CID.

At this point, the Magistrate said that the court orders made so far should be implemented regardless of which officer investigates the incident. Informing that legal action will be taken against the officers who act contrary to those orders, he ordered the IGP to make an explanation about handing over the investigations to the CID without following the order to record a statement from Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Fort Magistrate Thilina Gamage Orders IGP Wickramaratne to Explain why Police have not Imlemented Court order to Record Statement from Ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa about the Rupees 17.85 million found by the public at the Presidents House in July 2022.’ »

Despite Letter from the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) of China offering Sri Lanka a two-year moratorium on its debt, Sri Lanka is awaiting financial assurances from China to the IMF, similar to what was provided by the Govt of India; “Once received, a maximum of 4 weeks to get IMF Board approval” says Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe.

By Madhusha Thavapalakumar

Despite the receipt of a letter from the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) of China offering Sri Lanka a two-year moratorium on its debt to support efforts to secure a $ 2.9 billion loan from the the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Sri Lanka is awaiting financial assurances from China to the IMF, similar to what was provided by the Government of India last week.

Continue reading ‘Despite Letter from the Export-Import Bank (EXIM) of China offering Sri Lanka a two-year moratorium on its debt, Sri Lanka is awaiting financial assurances from China to the IMF, similar to what was provided by the Govt of India; “Once received, a maximum of 4 weeks to get IMF Board approval” says Central Bank Governor Dr. Nandalal Weerasinghe.’ »

Mahawamsa’s claim that there’s no sin in killing non-Buddhists in a war to protect Buddhism has seeped deeper into Sinhala consciousness than Buddha’s First Precept.


By Tisaranee Gunasekara


“A tangle within, a tangle without…”
Jata Sutta – Samyutta Nikaya

In July 2020, Indika Rathnayake, a non-theistic online activist, was summoned to the Organised Crimes Prevention Police Division and questioned for three hours. ‘Propagating fictitious ideas’ was his organised crime. The monk-director of the Buddhist Information Centre had complained about Mr. Rathnayake’s facebook posts claiming that Buddhism originated from Jainism. Why a police division set up to prevent ‘organised crime’ should take such a complaint seriously is not even a question in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Rathnayake was fortunate; he got off with a warning not to speculate about the origins of Buddhism. Unlike that unnamed 43-year-old woman who was arrested less than three months later for insulting Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, thereby ‘sowing discord among Buddhists and Christians.’

According to Pew Research, 40% of world’s countries and territories have blasphemy laws, including Sri Lanka. Our blasphemy laws were bequeathed to us by the British. Britain abolished its own blasphemy laws in 2008. We still cling to ours and resort to them more than ever before.

The irony is obvious. The concept of blasphemy is alien to the Buddha’s teaching. His attitude to verbal abuse, including the vilest slander, is well known, Akkosa Sutta being an excellent case point. A Brahmin called Akkosa Bharadvaja scolds the Buddha in “foul and harsh words.” The Buddha waits until the tirade is over and asks what Akkosa does when he has visitors. Akkosa says he offers refreshments. The Buddha asks what happens to those refreshments if the visitors refuse them. Akkosa says then they will return to him. Says the Buddha, “You are abusing us who do not abuse, you are angry with us who do not get angry, you are quarrelling with us who do not quarrel. All this of yours we do not accept. You alone, Brahman, get it back; all this, Brahman, belongs to you.” He then explains that when someone “returns the abuse, the quarrelling, anger in kind, it is called ‘associating with each other and exchanging mutually. This association and mutual exchange we do not engage in.”

The British-introduced blasphemy laws seemed to have been observed more in the breach for close to a century. Until the early 1970’s there seemed to have existed in the island an environment conducive to free thinking, debate, and dissent. The response to myth-busting activities by Prof. Abraham T Kovoor, Prof. Carlo Fonseka, and the Rationalist Association indicate a public relatively open minded even about age-old superstitions, such as fire-walking associated with God Kataragama.

Continue reading ‘Mahawamsa’s claim that there’s no sin in killing non-Buddhists in a war to protect Buddhism has seeped deeper into Sinhala consciousness than Buddha’s First Precept.’ »

“Man Up Maithripala Sirisena, don’t Trivialise the Easter Bombing!.Apologise and pay the fine out of your pocket or take responsibility and suffer incarceration.”

By

Kshama Ranawana

He refuses to accept responsibility for the greatest carnage that occurred under his watch and now wants the people to help pay the compensation ordered by the Supreme Court.

Maithripala Sirisena, President and Minister of Defence was also the Head of the Security Council and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, when three churches and three hotels were bombed on April 21, 2019, Easter Sunday.

Sirisena was out of the country when the bombings occurred and took his time returning to Sri Lanka, though the nation had been plunged into total disarray. Close to three hundred lives were lost while hundreds more were injured, some crippled for life by bombings carried out by so-called radicalised Muslims.

On January 12 this year, a seven Judge Bench delivered its verdict on the 12 fundamental rights petitions filed in relation to the bombings; Maithripala Sirisena must pay compensation to the tune of Rs 100 million. The Court also ordered then Inspector General of Police Pujitha Jayasundera and then Chief of State Intelligence Nilantha Jayawardena to pay Rs 75 million each, then Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando to pay Rs 50 million and the former Chief of National Intelligence Sisira Mendis to pay Rs. 10 million. The compensation must, according to the court order, come out of their personal funds.

Continue reading ‘“Man Up Maithripala Sirisena, don’t Trivialise the Easter Bombing!.Apologise and pay the fine out of your pocket or take responsibility and suffer incarceration.”’ »

Sri Lanka’s economy crumbled not just because its ex-president is an egoistic fool but because successive governments bankrolled a low-tax economy with public debt, subsidising everything from fuel to electricity.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Sri Lanka’s professional classes are paragons of virtues at normal times. But, their bruised sense of entitlement at the new personal income tax revisions is nothing but a callous display ofrent-seeking opportunism.

Last week, a group of professional organisations representing government doctors, university dons, engineers and banking employees took to the street against the government’s new progressive income tax.

They warned that paying the personal income tax at a reduced tax threshold of Rs. 100,000 per month would wreak havoc, leading to an exodus of professionals. As if the greener pastures of the West are waiting in open arms, with jobs lined up. Try that!

In the meantime, for a self-sponsored developing world professional to get a job remotely on par with his native professional qualifications is two to three years – or probably never. Not to mention language requirements, not just as an entry requirement but also to land a decent job and cultivate personal circles. Again, assuming that these good fellas would land in one of those greener pastures, for instance, Australia, their preferred destination. Unless they live off the government subsidies or toiling at a pump earning a pittance, they would be paying 19% of earnings starting at AUS $ 18,201 (US$ 12,750).

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s economy crumbled not just because its ex-president is an egoistic fool but because successive governments bankrolled a low-tax economy with public debt, subsidising everything from fuel to electricity.’ »

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirms receipt of India’s written financing assurance in support of Sri Lanka’s economic revival, while Sri Lanka expresses hope of completing talks on debt restructuring in six months’ time.


By

Meera Srinivasan

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has confirmed receiving India’s written financing assurance in support of Sri Lanka’s economic revival, Reuters news agency reported, while Sri Lanka has expressed hope of completing talks on debt restructuring in six months’ time.

“We confirm that India has indicated to the IMF management that it is committed to deliver financing/debt relief consistent with restoring the sustainability of Sri Lanka’s public debt under the prospective IMF-supported programme,” a spokesperson of the IMF, who welcomed India’s assurance, was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, speaking at an event in Colombo on Tuesday, Governor of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka P. Nandalal Weerasinghe said: “There has been good progress this month with India already pledging financing assurances. We expect assurances from China and Japan soon.”

Continue reading ‘The International Monetary Fund (IMF) confirms receipt of India’s written financing assurance in support of Sri Lanka’s economic revival, while Sri Lanka expresses hope of completing talks on debt restructuring in six months’ time.’ »

“I would like to underline that India is a reliable neighbour, a trustworthy partner, one who is prepared to go the extra mile when Sri Lanka feels the need.”- Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar

Indian Minister of External Affairs, S. Jaishankar, said in Colombo on Friday that the energy security is one of Sri Lanka’s most serious challenges and a solution must encompass the larger region.He said Sri Lanka has enormous renewable energy potential that can become a sustainable source of revenue while Trincomalee can be an energy hub.

“In its support for Sri Lanka, India is prepared to be a reliable partner on such initiatives. We have today agreed in-principle on a renewable energy framework that would take this cooperation forward,” he said.

The statement also made reference to Colombo’s ongoing engagement with the IMF without specifics. It said: “We extended financing assurances to the IMF to clear the way for Sri Lanka to move forward. Our expectation is that this will not only strengthen Sri Lanka’s position but ensure that all bilateral creditors are dealt with equally.”

Given below is his statement in full:

Continue reading ‘“I would like to underline that India is a reliable neighbour, a trustworthy partner, one who is prepared to go the extra mile when Sri Lanka feels the need.”- Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar’ »

New BBC television investigative documentary Aired on 17 Jan 2023 titled ” India: The Modi Question” reveals Classified Documents on Stating then Gujerat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was Directly Responsible in the Anti-Muslim Violence of 2002.

By

By Ashish Ray

That the British government found Narendra Modi culpable in the 2002 Gujarat riots is the most significant takeaway from the first episode of the two-part BBC television investigative documentary, India: The Modi Question, which was broadcast in Britain on January 17.

Soon after the riots, the British foreign office had undertaken an investigation. The BBC documentary claims that the probe’s conclusions—hitherto classified—are being disclosed for the first time.

According to the show, the inquiry carried out by a United Kingdom diplomat was headlined: “Subject: Gujarat Pogrom”. Its summary read: “Extent of violence much greater than reported. At least 2,000 killed. Widespread systematic rape of Muslim women. 138,000 internal refugees. The targeted destruction of all Muslim businesses in Hindu and mixed Hindu-Muslim areas.”

It went on to state: “Violence planned, possibly months in advance, and politically motivated. Aim was to purge Muslims from Hindu areas. Led by VHP (Hindu extremist organisation), under the protection of the state government. Reconciliation impossible while Modi remains Chief Minister.”

The report then entered into detail: “Their (the Hindu mobs’) systematic campaign of violence has all the hallmarks of ethnic cleansing.” Furthermore: “The VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) could not have inflicted so much damage without the climate of impunity created by the state government.”


Finally, and most devastatingly, the British Foreign Office report stated: “Narendra Modi is directly responsible.”

Continue reading ‘New BBC television investigative documentary Aired on 17 Jan 2023 titled ” India: The Modi Question” reveals Classified Documents on Stating then Gujerat Chief Minister Narendra Modi was Directly Responsible in the Anti-Muslim Violence of 2002.’ »

The decades long failure to curb political, state and corporate corruption has propelled the nation into bankruptcy.This pattern continues in the face of the great and grievous travails that afflict this nation, just a tad stealthier perhaps than earlier.

By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

It says much for Machiavellian type political audacity, that the hype surrounding Sri Lanka’s Regulation of Elections Expenditure Bill disguised one starkly glaring absurdity.

Disgraceful failure to cover ‘political parties’

Leaving aside the flap over the Opposition claiming (not without reason) that the Bill was just another tactic by a Government under siege to delay the forthcoming local government elections, its contents were problematic at several levels. The Bill sought to address the regulation of expenditure by individual candidates across the broad spectrum of the country’s electoral process, through recording of ‘donations, contributions’ and the like and framing parameters for expenditure thereto.

However and most predominantly so, ‘political parties’ were absented from its ambit. Indeed, the very fact that its clauses were unblushingly framed in this way in the first instance speaks to the impunity which political parties in Sri Lanka claim as their birthright, enabling them to operate over and above the law as they think fit.

The reality is, of course, that ‘political parties’ is the very large (collective) elephant in the room pertaining to the regulation of campaign finance.

Our unpleasant history of stupendous party corruption across the political divide demonstrates very well. That is the very source from which gross perversion of the democratic process flows, where black money funneled into election campaigns bring down regimes for their own gain, often framing the making of state policy against the national interest. We may recall one noteworthy scandal not so long ago, Arjun Aloysius of Perpetual Treasuries ill fame was reported to have funded the 2015 election campaigns of politicians in the Government and the Opposition.

Continue reading ‘The decades long failure to curb political, state and corporate corruption has propelled the nation into bankruptcy.This pattern continues in the face of the great and grievous travails that afflict this nation, just a tad stealthier perhaps than earlier.’ »

Former President Maithripala Sirisena Seems to have reached the end of the line mow and has also brought his recently-formed party down with him.


By

Rajasinghe

Hardly had the ink on the coalition pledge signed by the new Nidahas alliance chiefs dried on the expensive parchment paper supplied by Thilanga Sumathipala, its new General Secretary, when a ballistic missile hit their symbol – the helicopter.

A unanimous verdict of a seven-member bench of the Supreme Court – the highest in the land – held that star Nidahas member Maithripala Sirisena of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) had neglected his duties as President of Sri Lanka apropos the terrorist attack on Catholic churches and five-star hotels on Easter Sunday on his watch.

Sirisena’s statement that he was unaware of any prior warning received through a foreign intelligence agency did not absolve him of his responsibilities as Minister of Defence, opined the learned judges. The former President had earlier gone on record that he had learnt of many decisions about his administration through the daily newspapers.

Continue reading ‘Former President Maithripala Sirisena Seems to have reached the end of the line mow and has also brought his recently-formed party down with him.’ »

Sri Lanka’s failure to fully implement the 13th Constitutional amendment is a reminder of the Sinhalese establishment’s apparent insecurity over sharing power


By

Meera Srinivasan

If an Indian leader or top official makes a statement on Sri Lanka, it would invariably mention one piece of legislation in Sri Lanka’s Constitution — the 13th Amendment. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar, who was in Colombo earlier this week, said he shared India’s “considered view” with President Ranil Wickremesinghe that the full implementation of the 13th Amendment was “critical” for power devolution.

Sri Lanka’s current Constitution, adopted in 1978, has had 21 amendments to date, but arguably, none as controversial as this. Passed in November 1987, months after Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Sri Lankan President J.R. Jayewardene signed the Indo-Lanka Accord, the 13th Amendment is the only legislative guarantee of a measure of power devolution to the island’s provinces. It provided for setting up provincial governments across the country — there are nine provincial councils — and made Tamil, too, an official language, and English, a link language.

It was, in some measure, an antidote to the ‘Sinhala Only Act’ of 1956, one of the most discriminatory laws passed targeting the island’s Tamil minorities, after the Ceylon Citizenship Act of 1948 that rendered Sri Lanka’s Malaiyaha Tamils of Indian origin stateless. It also sought to address the Tamils’ right to self-determination which, by the 1980s, had become ing a raging political call. With the 1983 anti-Tamil pogrom laying bare violent Sinhala majoritarianism and racism, it was hard for the world and India not to appreciate a legitimate demand.

However, for successive governments, devolving power to the provinces as per the 13th Amendment, including in the Tamil-majority north and east, was hardly on their ‘must do’ list. Despite public promises, leaders from the Sinhala-majority south failed to implement in letter and spirit what was already in the Constitution. Detractors construe the 13th Amendment as an “Indian imposition”, despite it being an outcome of a bilateral Accord signed by J. R. Jayewardene, one of the island’s most powerful Presidents.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s failure to fully implement the 13th Constitutional amendment is a reminder of the Sinhalese establishment’s apparent insecurity over sharing power’ »

Renowned Sri Lankan Filmmaker Sumira Peries Bids Adieu! Last Rites Conducted with Full State Honours at Independence Square on 21 January 2023

The final rites of veteran Sri Lankan filmmaker Sumitra Peries, who passed away on Thursday (19 Jan.), were performed with full state honours 21 Jan 2023 afternoon.

The procedure took place at the Independence Square in Colombo, prior to which the body was being brought from the late filmmaker’s sister’s residence to the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka at 03:00 p.m. today, where several artists and cinematographers came to pay their respects.

She passed away at the age of 88 while undergoing treatment at a private hospital in Colombo.

Sumitra Peries as a filmmaker, contributed to the development of Sinhala cinema through “Gehenu Lamai”, “Ganga Addara”, “Yahaluvo”, “Maya”, “Sakman Maluwa”, “Vaishnavee” and many other cinematic creations.

Continue reading ‘Renowned Sri Lankan Filmmaker Sumira Peries Bids Adieu! Last Rites Conducted with Full State Honours at Independence Square on 21 January 2023’ »

China offers Sri Lanka support with two-year moratorium on debts: President Wickremesinghe gets Exim Bank’s letter supporting IMF’s loan programme


China responded to Sri Lanka’s long-standing request for a commitment on rescheduling its debts as a prelude to a bailout by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with an offer for a two-year moratorium, the Sunday Times learns.

In a letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe in his capacity as Finance Minister, the Exim Bank of China responsible for much of the loans given to Sri Lanka said the two-year moratorium would be a short-term suspension of the debts owed to China while asking all parties, i.e. Sri Lanka’s creditors to get together to work out medium-term and long-term commitments.

It is learnt that the letter also extends China’s support to the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) and requests the IMF to go ahead with the discussions on debt restructuring that will lead to an IMF programme.

The letter giving China’s assurances arrived on the eve of a Paris Club meeting of Sri Lanka’s creditors scheduled for next week where Sri Lanka’s debt restructuring measures are to be discussed as a prelude to a US dollars 2.9 million IMF programme to bail out Sri Lanka from its current economic crisis.

Continue reading ‘China offers Sri Lanka support with two-year moratorium on debts: President Wickremesinghe gets Exim Bank’s letter supporting IMF’s loan programme’ »

Decks Cleared at last for Ranil to Visit New Delhi! Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.Jaishankar Conveys Greetings and hands over Official invitation from PM Modi to President Wickremesinghe Inviting him to visit India at an early mutually convenient date.

(Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo On 20 January 2023 under the heading “Visit of External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar promises prosperity for the people of Sri Lanka)

!.External Affairs Minister (EAM) of India Dr. S. Jaishankar paid an official visit to Sri Lanka on 19-20 January 2023. In his fourth bilateral visit to Sri Lanka as EAM, he was accompanied by a four-member official delegation from the Ministry of External Affairs, New Delhi. It may be recalled that EAM has visited Sri Lanka earlier in November 2019, January 2021 and March 2022.

2. During the visit, EAM called on President H.E Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister H.E Dinesh Gunawardena and had detailed discussions with his counterpart, Foreign Minister Hon. M.U.M Ali Sabry. The delegation-level meeting hosted by the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka included Minister of Ports, Shipping and Aviation Hon. Nimal Siripala de Silva; Hon. Keheliya Rambukwella, Minister of Health; Hon. Ramesh Pathirana, Minister of Industries, Hon. Dilum Amnugama, Minister of Investment Promotion; Hon. Kanchana Wijesekara, Minister of Power and Energy; and Hon. Tharaka Balasuriya, State Minister of Foreign Affairs, among others, and reflected the breadth and depth of the growing partnership between India and Sri Lanka in diverse spheres.

3. Interaction of EAM with the leadership of the Government of Sri Lanka provided an opportunity to review the whole gamut of bilateral relations between the two countries. He stressed that his presence in Sri Lanka at a time when the country was going through multiple challenges sends a clear and strong message of continued support from the Government and the people of India to the people of Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Decks Cleared at last for Ranil to Visit New Delhi! Visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.Jaishankar Conveys Greetings and hands over Official invitation from PM Modi to President Wickremesinghe Inviting him to visit India at an early mutually convenient date.’ »

“Full implementation of the 13th amendment and early conduct of provincial elections are critical” in regard to political devolution says visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.Jaishankar; also speaks of need to “pay special attention to the requirements of the Indian origin Tamil community”

By
Meera Srinivasan

India did not wait for other bilateral creditors but did “what is right” for Sri Lanka’s economic recovery, visiting External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar said on Friday, following talks with Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe in Colombo.

“We felt strongly that Sri Lanka’s creditors must take proactive steps to facilitate its recovery. India decided not to wait for others but to do what we believe is right. We extended financing assurances to IMF to clear the way for Sri Lanka to move forward,” Mr. Jaishankar said.

On January 16, India sent written financing assurances to the IMF, becoming the first bilateral creditor of the island nation to officially support its crucial debt restructure programme after last year’s economic meltdown. The Fund’s provisional $2.9 billion package will be cleared only after Sri Lanka’s official creditors — China, Japan and India — have provided adequate financing assurances.

The decision, Mr. Jaishankar said, was a reassertion of India’s belief in the principle of “neighbourhood first”, and “not leaving a partner to fend for themselves,” which also drove the nearly-4-billion-dollar assistance extended last year, by way of credits and roll overs.

Continue reading ‘“Full implementation of the 13th amendment and early conduct of provincial elections are critical” in regard to political devolution says visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.Jaishankar; also speaks of need to “pay special attention to the requirements of the Indian origin Tamil community”’ »

Ordinary Sri Lankan People see projects not merely as Indian, or Chinese assisted. They evaluate it on the basis of whether a development project works for them, or not.


By

Meera Srinivasan

If it’s a conversation on Sri Lanka’s economy, talking points on China and India are inevitable. ‘What about China?, What will India do?’ are questions that invariably come up in casual chats, as well as official meetings and briefings.

Watching the escalating China-India contest in Sri Lanka is a preoccupation for Sri Lankan columnists and diplomats stationed in Colombo. With the crisis-plagued island’s imminent debt restructuring programme in focus, the interest in the two big powers’ responses has only grown.

For context, China is a close partner of Sri Lanka and its largest bilateral creditor. At the end of 2021, the island owed about $7.4 billion or 19.6% of its outstanding public debt to China. For Sri Lanka watchers, especially those based in the West or India, that’s a “Chinese debt trap”.

Continue reading ‘Ordinary Sri Lankan People see projects not merely as Indian, or Chinese assisted. They evaluate it on the basis of whether a development project works for them, or not.’ »

India sends financing assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF and becomes the first of Sri Lanka’s creditors to officially back the crisis-hit island nation’s debt restructuring programme.


By

Meera Srinivasan

India sent financing assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday, becoming the first of Sri Lanka’s creditors to officially back the crisis-hit island nation’s debt restructuring programme.

The development comes days ahead of External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s scheduled visit to Colombo on January 19 and 20, and just as Sri Lankan leaders concluded talks with a visiting high-level delegation of the Communist Party of China.

“The written financing assurances from India were sent to the IMF Monday evening,” a top official source in Colombo confirmed to The Hindu. This takes Sri Lanka one step closer to getting a crucial $2.9-billion package from the IMF, made contingent on “receiving financing assurances from Sri Lanka’s official creditors and making a good faith effort to reach a collaborative agreement with private creditors.”

Continue reading ‘India sends financing assurances to the International Monetary Fund (IMF and becomes the first of Sri Lanka’s creditors to officially back the crisis-hit island nation’s debt restructuring programme.’ »

Tourist Arrivals in Sri Lanka Increasing but Tourism is yet to Pick up in Southern Hotspot Galle


By

Meera Srinivasan

At the close of 2022, crisis-hit Sri Lanka had recorded nearly 7.2 lakh tourist arrivals — more than three times the number seen in 2021, even if nowhere close to the country’s pre-pandemic mark of nearly 20 lakh visitors.

While authorities and the tourism industry pitched the modest, yet promising, figure as a sure sign of economic recovery, many in Galle, a tourism hotspot along the island’s southern coast, say their trade and lives have not looked more uncertain.

On a recent weekday, the usually thriving fort — also a functional heritage site with district courts, government museums and offices — was hardly teeming with visitors.

Continue reading ‘Tourist Arrivals in Sri Lanka Increasing but Tourism is yet to Pick up in Southern Hotspot Galle’ »

“As we celebrate our 75th Independence, we will not allow our people to starve. We will invest the funds required to feed them.”-President Ranil Wickremesinghe States in Parliament


(Text of Press Release Issued by the Presidents Media Division on 17 January 2023)

President Ranil Wickremesinghe invited the opposition to join hands through a new political system to provide relief to the people and free them from oppression.

He made this request in parliament today (17).

Despite the difficult economic background in the country, the President emphasized that the government is working to provide relief to the people, adding that he will take steps to allocate Rs. 30-40 billion for medicines this year.

The President said that due to the prudent agricultural policies of the government, the country has seen a bountiful paddy harvest and the government has commenced a program to provide 02 million low-income families with 10 kilograms of rice per month over a period of 02 months.

Continue reading ‘“As we celebrate our 75th Independence, we will not allow our people to starve. We will invest the funds required to feed them.”-President Ranil Wickremesinghe States in Parliament’ »

One week Deadline Given by TNA to Govt for Resolving Three Key Issues Expires without any Response;‘TNA wont Engage in Reconciliation Talks with Govt any more”says Party Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

In the wake of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) giving an ultimatum of one week from 10 January to yesterday (17) for the Government to decide regarding the issues of the release of Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA) prisoners, considering the issue of missing persons, and the release of lands in the North, the Party’s Spokesman and Parliamentarian, President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran said yesterday that no response was received from the side of the Government and that the party will not meet with President Ranil Wickremesinghe or the Government again.

Speaking to The Morning, Sumanthiran also noted yesterday that the President himself gave a timeframe regarding the matter but that there was no progress at all. “Now, he comes to Jaffna and says that he needs one to two years to implement what is already in the Constitution. There is no progress in the land release and prisoner release so far. We gave him that allowance. We gave our support to resolve it.

Now, that is not being done. We knew and we had our own suspicions. Nevertheless, we are not to be blamed as we co-operated and now we are proved right that he is not able to, or he is not willing to do it,” he added.

Sumanthiran noted that the TNA will adopt their own course of action and said that it would be decided in the upcoming days.

Continue reading ‘One week Deadline Given by TNA to Govt for Resolving Three Key Issues Expires without any Response;‘TNA wont Engage in Reconciliation Talks with Govt any more”says Party Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

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

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This article written last year is re-posted here without any changes to denote the 106th Birth anniversary of well -known actor and Former Tamil Nadu chief minister M.G.Ramachandran on 17 January 2023)

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

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

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

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

Continue reading ‘How Actor MGR Became Chief Minister: Cinematic Politics of M.G.Ramachandran’ »

Suspension of Govt-TNA Talks and the Power Sharing Quest of Sri Lankan Tamils.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Talks are currently on between the Government of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Tamil National Alliance(TNA)led by veteran Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan. This round of Govt-TNA talks commenced on 9 Jan.Earlier talks between the Govt and TNA delegations were scheduled for days four days at a stretch from Jan 10 to 13. However the envisaged 4 day marathon talks were suspended after the first day on Jan 10.

It is leant that the proposed 4 day talks were called off after just one day due to the TNA’s lack of faith in the Govt. Prior to the talks on Jan 10, the constituents of the TNA as well as some other Tamil nationalist parties met in Colombo on Jan 9.l Representatives of Tamil political parties such as the ITAK, PLOTE,TELO,EPRLF and TNP who participated in the conclave were rather doubtful about the Wickremesinghe Govt being genuine in its declared intention of seeking a political settlement. It appears that the meeting decided that the TNA should participate on Jan 10 and request President Wickremesinghe to guarantee that all outstanding issues would be resolved by Jan 31. If President Ranil Wickremesinghe does not display any positive signs of his bona fides on the matter, the TNA should walk out of talks it was decided.

Continue reading ‘Suspension of Govt-TNA Talks and the Power Sharing Quest of Sri Lankan Tamils.’ »

Ranil Visits Jaffna First Time After Becoming President to Attend State Thai Pongal Festival on Jan 15; Govt Contemplates Full Implementation of 13 th Constitutional Amendment within next few years he says

President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that the Government is considering the full implementation of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution within the next few years.

“We are looking at full implementation of the 13th amendment within the next few years,” he said, while attending the State Thai Pongal Festival held at the Jaffna Durga Hall yesterday (15), the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

He added that the Social Justice Commission will be established in order to build a country where everyone can live in harmony, by solving the problems of the people belonging to all sections of the population.

The President, who was escorted to the venue by a Tamil cultural procession, was received in line with Hindu rituals.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Visits Jaffna First Time After Becoming President to Attend State Thai Pongal Festival on Jan 15; Govt Contemplates Full Implementation of 13 th Constitutional Amendment within next few years he says’ »

Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar may Deliver Positive Message from India to Sri Lanka on its Debt Re-structuring Efforts During Two day Visit ; support in the form of “written financial assurances” likely from India sources said


By
Suhasini Haidar and Meera Srinivasan

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Colombo on Thursday will focus on “supporting Sri Lanka” in its current economic crisis, government sources said, adding that talks are ongoing in the field of energy security, food security, currency swap arrangements as well as talks about restructuring Sri Lanka’s debt. The two-day visit is expected to see some announcements.

“India is expected to give a positive response to Sri Lanka’s requirements, in keeping with India’s support last year as well,” said a source, citing India’s combined package of about $4 billion including loans, credit lines for the purchase of essentials and a loan deferment through the Asian Clearing Union.

In addition, talks are expected on two possible MoUs— on the Trincomalee development project and the long-pending plan for a cross-strait transmission line that would allow Sri Lanka access to India’s plans for an energy grid along with other countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

Continue reading ‘Indian External Affairs Minister Dr.S.Jaishankar may Deliver Positive Message from India to Sri Lanka on its Debt Re-structuring Efforts During Two day Visit ; support in the form of “written financial assurances” likely from India sources said’ »

‘Thai Pongal’ the Harvest Festival of Tamils

By P. Krishnaswamy

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

Traditionally, it is the festival of farmers who depend on Mother Earth, the sun, rain, other natural elements and cows and buffaloes for a bountiful harvest of their staple food, rice.
Continue reading ‘‘Thai Pongal’ the Harvest Festival of Tamils’ »

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Delivers an Undeniably hard and well deserved judicial knock on an Irresponsible ex-President and his Inefficient Quartet of Defence Officials


By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

Thursday’s judgment by a Divisional Bench of Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court unanimously finding that a former President and his intelligence, defence and police heads grossly neglected imperative duties of safeguarding the nation with the consequent order to pay millions in compensation to victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks, asks a fundamental – and yet unanswered – question.

A gruesome and familiar tale

Examining extensive prior warnings from domestic and overseas intelligence that ‘homegrown jihadist’ Mohammed Zahran was intent on perpetrating the attacks, it was established that the State had ‘the wherewithal to trace Zahran and arrest him because he had been around for too long a time for any police officer to feign ignorance.

If so, the judges asked pertinently as to why, that had not been done long before the fateful day when bombs ripped through the country’s churches and ho-tels?

This is ‘a question that goes a-begging,’ the Bench observed in somewhat uncharacteristically colourful terms. That is precisely the same question that continues to be asked by the nation which joins the Supreme Court in declining to believe various fairy tales of innocence spun by those in charge of the security and defence establishment at the time.

As the then Defence Secretary (who is among the respondents feeling the sting of Thursday’s decision) blurted out at the time, ‘we knew something was going to happen but not that it was this big.’

Therein hangs a gruesome tale which is familiar to us, where Buddhist, Hindu, Christian or Muslim innocents have been used as cannon fodder to feed the ever unsatiated and monstrously cruel political cum security-state behemoth.

Indeed, this ‘failure to act’ emerges at all moments of grave crisis in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court Delivers an Undeniably hard and well deserved judicial knock on an Irresponsible ex-President and his Inefficient Quartet of Defence Officials’ »

Supreme Court Upholds High Court Conviction of former -President Sirisena’s Chief of Staff Mahanama and Ex-Timber Corporation Chairman Dissanayake for Soliciting Mega Bribes from an Indian Businessman Over a Deal Relating to the Kantalai Sugar Factory


By Namini Wijedasa

The magnitude of the bribes solicited from an Indian businessman by two senior Sri Lankan public officials–including former President Maithripala Sirisena’s one-time Chief of Staff–to unblock a legitimate project were “unimaginable”, the Supreme Court (SC) observed this week.

The Court stressed that “it would be difficult for this country to revive itself as long as high officers like the accused-appellants would hold such high offices in the Government”.

The first accused-appellant is I.H.K. Mahanama, who was Secretary to the Ministry of Lands before he retired and was made Chief of Staff to then President Sirisena. The second is Piyadasa Dissanayake, the former Chairman of the State Timber Corporation.

In December 2019, they were found guilty by the Permanent High Court (HC) at Bar of several charges under the Bribery Act. This included demanding Rs 20mn from the Indian representative of a foreign company that won a build-operate-transfer deal for the Kantale Sugar Factory (KSF).

Both officials appealed. But the SC on Wednesday upheld the HC verdict and affirmed the sentences imposed. For Mr Mahanama, this amounts to an aggregate of 20 years rigorous imprisonment (RI) with a fine of Rs 65,000 and compensation of Rs 20mn in terms of the Bribery Act. And for Mr Dissanayake, it is an aggregate of 12 years RI with a fine of Rs 55,000.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Upholds High Court Conviction of former -President Sirisena’s Chief of Staff Mahanama and Ex-Timber Corporation Chairman Dissanayake for Soliciting Mega Bribes from an Indian Businessman Over a Deal Relating to the Kantalai Sugar Factory’ »

Former British Premier David Cameron’s visit can well be a harbinger of greater global interest in our Colombo Port City, which is now entering its main development phase. President Wickremesinghe is on the right track in enlisting global support to pull the country out of its economic mess.

By

Rajasinghe

President Ranil Wickremesinghe (RW) in a new, well-cut, powder blue suit, which would have fitted a rock star admirably, met former UK Prime Minister David Cameron for a tête-à-tête in his office some days ago and later hosted a lunch for him at The Kingsbury.

He was accompanied by their mutual friend Nirj Deva alias Niranjan Deva Aditya – ex-Member of the British Parliament and ex-Member of the European Parliament, who on both occasions represented the Conservative Party of the UK. Deva is also a Foreign Affairs Advisor to the President and a member of his inner circle of friends.

Cameron’s career

Cameron has had many ups and downs in his political career. Born in 1966, he did not belong to the traditional upper crust of English society, which dominated the Conservative Party – particularly before the advent of Margaret Thatcher, who came from the middle class.

Cameron’s father was a stockbroker and not a very efficient money manager, which excluded him from the social cabals of the High Tories. The son however was determined to climb the social ladder and looked on the Tory Party as the natural expression of the elite circles he wanted to join.

After an Eaton education he entered Oxford and obtained a first class pass in PPE (Politics, Philosophy, and Economics). With a natural sense of superiority, he gravitated to the Conservatives and with communications as his special skill set he entered the Research Department of Tory headquarters, which was considered an incubation centre for future party leaders with modern-day skills.

It was an initiative of modernists like Rab Butler, who realised that the party leadership could scarcely be found through traditional Tory criteria like land ownership and club affiliations.

Cameron was one of the new breed of young Conservatives who rose in the party through merit and hard work. He worked in the Research Department of the party and was elevated to be a Special Advisor to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He entered Parliament through a safe seat in Whitney, West Oxfordshire.

Continue reading ‘Former British Premier David Cameron’s visit can well be a harbinger of greater global interest in our Colombo Port City, which is now entering its main development phase. President Wickremesinghe is on the right track in enlisting global support to pull the country out of its economic mess.’ »

The Sepal Amarasinghe case, Sinhala Buddhist nationalisms, and party politics in Sri Lanka


By

Dr.Rajni Gamage and Nimendra Mawalagedara

(Dr. Rajni Gamage is a researcher in Political Science at the National University of Singapore.Nimendra Mawalagedara is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at Georgia State University.)

In the first parliament sitting for 2023, the discussion on the parliament floor touched on the issue of hate speech versus freedom of speech. The televised proceedings on 5 January concerned a controversial video shared on social media, where a popular YouTuber, Sepal Amarasinghe, made disrespectful remarks about the sacred Tooth Relic of the Lord Buddha. Amarasinghe identifies as an atheist, and among other things, alleges misconduct in organised religion, especially Buddhism, followed by the country’s majority.

Amarasinghe was arrested the following day and charged under Section 3(1) of the ICCPR Act of 2007 and Article 291 (B) of the Penal Code. On 7 January, President Wickremesinghe shared that measures were underway to introduce a law similar to Singapore’s Social Media Regulation Act. The misuse of the ICCPR Act of 2007 in Sri Lanka has long been criticised by human rights defenders, as it has enabled arbitrary arrest in the past, especially of ethno-religious minorities.

The recent arrest of Amarasinghe and steps taken towards State regulation of social media must therefore be examined closely, as it can inform us about the present nature and future trajectory of Sri Lankan politics.

The parliamentary debate cannot be examined in isolation from the deep democratic deficit that the current leadership and Government is trying to improve in the backdrop of a debilitating national crisis.

How politicians approach the question of Sepal Amarasinghe’s speech and the variety of nationalism each political party invokes in their response is important.

The issue can serve as a litmus test for political parties to determine which type of nationalist messaging resonates with voters in post-Aragalaya Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘The Sepal Amarasinghe case, Sinhala Buddhist nationalisms, and party politics in Sri Lanka’ »

Canadian sanctions against ex-Presidents Gota and Mahinda is the strongest indication yet that the international justice system is beginning to work against even the highest levels of the Sri Lankan State accused of grotesque warcrimes and gross human rights abuses.


(Text of Editorial Appearing in the “Daily FT”of 12 January 2023 under the heading ” International noose tightens against human rights abusers”)

For the first time in the history of Sri Lanka, two of the country’s former Heads of State have been sanctioned by a foreign state. Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Joly announced this week that former Presidents Mahinda Rajapaksa and Gotabaya Rajapaksa have been placed under targeted sanctions under the Special Economic Measures Act.

Joly’s order noted that the two men have been responsible for “gross and systematic violations of human rights during armed conflict in Sri Lanka.” In addition to the Rajapaksa presidential brothers, Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake and Lieutenant Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi have also been singled out for targeted sanctions.

Continue reading ‘Canadian sanctions against ex-Presidents Gota and Mahinda is the strongest indication yet that the international justice system is beginning to work against even the highest levels of the Sri Lankan State accused of grotesque warcrimes and gross human rights abuses.’ »

Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to visit Sri Lanka for two days on Jan 19 and 20 for the first time after President Wickremesinghe assumed Office in July 2022


By Suhasini Haidar and Meera Srinivasan

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will travel to Sri Lanka next week, sources told The Hindu. This will be his first trip to the country since President Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn-in last July after street protests forced out the previous Rajapaksa regime.

Officials said that while a full review of bilateral ties is on the agenda, the visit comes amidst efforts by the Sri Lankan government to get “written financial assurances” from their closest and biggest creditors — India and China — on restructuring their debt. This is needed to make progress on their bailout plan being discussed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Mr. Jaishankar’s two-day visit to Colombo, scheduled for January 19-20, will follow a visit by a ministerial delegation of the Communist Party of China (CPC). The visits, coming back-to-back, are crucial for Colombo to avail itself of the $2.9 billion IMF package under its Extended Fund Facility.

The Sri Lankan government has said that it hopes to borrow more money once the IMF programme kicks in, to set its economy on a path to recovery following last year’s crushing meltdown. China, Japan, and India are Sri Lanka’s three largest bilateral creditors, and Colombo is counting on their cooperation for economic revival.

Continue reading ‘Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to visit Sri Lanka for two days on Jan 19 and 20 for the first time after President Wickremesinghe assumed Office in July 2022’ »

Will Stern Disciplinary Action be Taken against Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena over his Deplorable Conduct in the April 19 Terror Bombings in the Aftermath of Judgement by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court?

By

Susitha Fernando

“On the ill-fated day of 21st of April 2019, this island home was awoken rudely to witness one of its most tragic events in the annuls of its history and in a series of bomb explosions that sent the nation reeling in shock and disbelief, scores of innocent worshippers at several churches as well as citizens in several locations were plucked away from their loved ones in the most macabre and dastardly acts of terrorism that this country has ever seen.

In what has now come to be known as the Easter Sunday Attack or the Easter Sunday Tragedy in its melancholy sense, there was desolation and despair all-round the country and it may not be denied that it took a long while for this country to limp back to normalcy from the ravages of this tragedy. The trail of destruction and dislocation that the Easter Sunday Attack has left in its wake is a memory that this country will long live with and this Court is not spared its reverberations,” the seven-member Supreme Court states in its 122-page judgement after taking into account 13 fundamental rights petitions filed by a group of petitioners, including victims and survivors whose family members faced one of the most tragic deaths in front of their own eyes.

Having endured a 26-year-long war with bombs, suicide attacks, landmines and even aerial attacks in the heart of Colombo, Sri Lanka was never used to a multiple coordinated attack where several bombs went off during almost the same moment of time. Though the method of the attack was new to the shocked Sri Lankans, the news of the plan to be carried out was known before hand by the intelligent agencies and those responsible from the top most positions.
The Supreme Court’s unanimous judgement was issued by the Chief Justice, Jayantha Jayasuriya, Buwaneka P. Aluwihare, L.T.B.Dehideniya, Murdu N.B. Fernando, S. Thurairaja, A.H.M.D.Nawaz and A.L. Shiran Gooneratne. The judgement amply and evidently displayed the serious state of affairs with regard to a set of people; the so called state intelligence to whom the security and protection of 22 million people in this country had been handed over to.

“We must express our shock and dismay at the deplorable want of oversight and inaction that we have seen in the conduct of affairs pertaining to Security, Law and Order and Intelligence. There are glaring examples of a lack of strategic co-ordination, expertise and preparedness that need a critical examination as to the way forward. The failures that eventuated in the Easter Sunday attacks and the concomitant deaths and devastations have left behind an indelible blot on the security apparatus of the Country and this Country which is blessed by a multi-cultural and multi religious polity cannot be left to the vagaries of these follies and made to suffer leading to violence, fear, apprehension and uncertainty. These events must recede into oblivion, but they remind us starkly of the necessity to effect legislative, structural and administrative changes,” the bench stated while expressing its shock.

Continue reading ‘Will Stern Disciplinary Action be Taken against Senior DIG Nilantha Jayawardena over his Deplorable Conduct in the April 19 Terror Bombings in the Aftermath of Judgement by Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court?’ »

Supreme Court Orders Five Persons to pay Rupees 310 million as Compensation to April 2019 Terror Attack Victims. Maithripala Sirisena-100 m;Pujitha Jayasundara – 75m;Nilantha Jayawardhane-75 m; Hemasiri Fernando-50 m;Sisira Mendis-10 m.

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Supreme Court today ordered former President Maithripala Sirisena to pay a sum of Rs.100 million as damages to the victims of Easter Sunday attacks.

Former IGP Pujith Jayasundara and former SIS director Nilantha Jayawardhane were ordered to pay Rs.75 million each as compensation. Former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando was ordered to pay Rs. 50 million and former Chief National Intelligence Sisira Mendis was ordered to pay Rs.10 million.

The Court held these respondents have violated the fundamental rights of petitions filed in connection with Easter Sunday attacks.

Courtesy:Daily Mirror

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court orders former President Maithripala Sirisena to pay a compensation of 100 million rupees to victims of the April 2019 Easter Sunday terror blasts, while pointing to a “reckless” intelligence failure on the part of the Executive.


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Thursday ordered former President Maithripala Sirisena to pay a compensation of LKR 100 million (roughly ₹2.2 crore) to victims of the April 2019 Easter Sunday terror blasts, while pointing to a “reckless” intelligence failure on the part of the Executive.

“A Victim Fund must be established at the Office for Reparation, which must formulate a scheme to award the sums ordered as compensation in a fair and equitable manner to the victims and families,” the island’s top court noted. Further, the former IGP, former Secretary to the Ministry of Defence, former head of the State Intelligence Service, former Chief of National Intelligence and the State were also ordered to pay compensation totalling over LKR 200 million.

On April 21, 2019, Sri Lanka witnessed serial blasts across churches and luxury hotels in the capital Colombo, nearby Negombo, and the eastern city of Batticaloa. A total of 279 people died and hundreds were injured in the incident that shook the island, a decade after its brutal civil war ended.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court orders former President Maithripala Sirisena to pay a compensation of 100 million rupees to victims of the April 2019 Easter Sunday terror blasts, while pointing to a “reckless” intelligence failure on the part of the Executive.’ »

Lasantha Wickrematunge: The Fearless Editor who Spoke Truth to Power

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Friends,Family members, colleagues, schoolmates and admirers of Lasantha Wickrematunge converged on Sunday January 8th at the Kanatte cemetery in Borella. . They gathered at 9 am by the graveside of the slain “The Sunday Leader”editor to commemorate his 14th death anniversary. There were prayers,singing of hymns,speeches and of course lots of lamps, candles and flowers. Those near and dear to Lasantha have been keeping his memory alive by engaging in this annual act of love and homage. Lasantha lives forever in our hearts and minds!


Lasantha Manilal Wickrematunge was brutally assassinated in broad daylight on a public road in Ratmalana. He was murdered on 8 January 2009 by cowardly minions for courageously speaking truth to power. Lasantha whom I used to call “Lassie boy”was my colleague, editor, friend and above all a kindred soul. How I miss him!
Continue reading ‘Lasantha Wickrematunge: The Fearless Editor who Spoke Truth to Power’ »

Envisaged Govt- TNA 4 day talks Suspended on First day;TNA refuses to continue Talks without implementation of decisions taken; 7 day deadline given to Govt to show tangible progress in Resolving 3 issues


By

Mirudhula Thambiah

Noting that there was no progress at the meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat on Tuesday (10) between the Tamil political parties and the Government representatives including President Ranil Wickremesinghe, the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) noted that a timeframe of one week has been provided to the Government to examine the issues relating to missing persons and the release of Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA) prisoners and lands in the North, depending on which reply, they would decide on whether or not to meet again.

Addressing the media on Tuesday (10), TNA Spokesman and MP President’s Counsel (PC) M.A. Sumanthiran said that his party will not be meeting Government representatives from Tuesday to tomorrow (13) to discuss devolution-related matters as decided earlier since there had been no progress on the above-mentioned issues.

“During the meeting with the Government, we discussed the current issues of our people. Issues relating to missing persons, PTA prisoners, and the release of lands were discussed. We discussed varying actions in regard to these three issues. However, the situation was the same as the last time; there was no progress,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Envisaged Govt- TNA 4 day talks Suspended on First day;TNA refuses to continue Talks without implementation of decisions taken; 7 day deadline given to Govt to show tangible progress in Resolving 3 issues’ »

Canada Imposes Sanctions Through Special Economic Measures (Sri Lanka) Regulations on Former Sri Lankan Presidents Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa, Army Staff Sgt Sunil Ratnayake and Navy Lt.Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi


(Text of media release issued by Canada’s Global Affairs ministry on 10 January 2023 under the heading “Sanctions imposed on Sri Lankan state officials”)

Canada is imposing sanctions against the following individuals who committed gross and systematic violations of human rights during Sri Lanka’s civil conflict, which occurred from 1983 to 2009.

The Special Economic Measures (Sri Lanka) Regulations impose on listed persons a prohibition on any transaction (effectively, an asset freeze) by prohibiting persons in Canada and Canadians outside Canada from engaging in any activity related to any property of these listed persons or providing financial or related services to them.

The individuals listed in the Schedule to the Regulations are also rendered inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Continue reading ‘Canada Imposes Sanctions Through Special Economic Measures (Sri Lanka) Regulations on Former Sri Lankan Presidents Gotabaya and Mahinda Rajapaksa, Army Staff Sgt Sunil Ratnayake and Navy Lt.Commander Chandana Prasad Hettiarachchi’ »

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly Announces Targeted Sanctions on Four Sri Lankans Including two ex-presidents to send a clear message that Canada will not accept continued impunity for those that have committed gross human rights violations in Sri Lanka.


(Text of media release issued by Canada’s Global Affairs ministry on 10 January 2023 under the heading “Canada imposes sanctions on Sri Lankan state officials for human rights violations”)

The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today announced Canada imposes targeted sanctions under regulations pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act against four Sri Lankan state officials responsible for gross and systematic violations of human rights during armed conflict in Sri Lanka, which occurred from 1983 to 2009.

Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly

The regulations pursuant to the Special Economic Measures Act impose on listed persons a dealings prohibition, which would effectively freeze any assets they may hold in Canada and render them inadmissible to Canada under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

Despite continued calls from Canada and the international community to address accountability, the Government of Sri Lanka has taken limited meaningful and concrete action to uphold its human rights obligations. This jeopardizes progress on justice for affected populations, and prospects for peace and reconciliation.
Victims and survivors of gross human rights violations deserve justice. That is why Canada continues to call on Sri Lanka to fulfill its commitment to establish a meaningful accountability process.

Continue reading ‘Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly Announces Targeted Sanctions on Four Sri Lankans Including two ex-presidents to send a clear message that Canada will not accept continued impunity for those that have committed gross human rights violations in Sri Lanka.’ »

Succession Stakes in the Tamil National Alliance: TNA spokesman and Jaffna MP Sumanthiran is widely seen as heir apparent to Leader Sampanthan but some within the Alliance resent him.


By

Meera Srinivasan

For most of its two decade-existence, Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has been engaged in talks with the southern Sinhalese leadership, to negotiate a durable solution to the island nation’s lingering national question.

It has sought every opportunity that came its way, braving disappointment and brickbats from rival Tamil parties and critics in the diaspora that viewed its optimism as misguided or at best, naïve.

Much of this optimism comes from the TNA’s leader Rajavarothyam Sampanthan and his resolve for a political solution within the framework of a “united, undivided, indivisible” country. “We can’t despair, we can’t abandon things,” Mr. Sampanthan told The Hindu in 2018, when the Alliance joined a Constitution drafting process initiated by the President Maithripala Sirisena-Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe administration. The exercise was not completed.

The TNA is in talks again. This time with President Ranil Wickremesinghe who, in November 2022, appealed to all parties in Parliament to come together and solve the unresolved ethnic problem before February 4, 2023, when Sri Lanka marks its 75th year of independence.

Continue reading ‘Succession Stakes in the Tamil National Alliance: TNA spokesman and Jaffna MP Sumanthiran is widely seen as heir apparent to Leader Sampanthan but some within the Alliance resent him.’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Initiative to Resolve the Tamil National Question by 4 February 2023.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) leader and Colombo District MP,Mano Ganesan received a telephone call from Ranil Wickremesinghe on 19 July 2022. It was a day before the Presidential election where the members of Parliament were scheduled to vote and elect a new executive president to fill the vacancy created by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s vacation of post and consequent resignation.

Ranil Wickremesinghe who was the then Prime Minister and acting interim president was a candidate in the presidential election. So when Ranil called, Mano thought Wickremesinghe was canvassing support for his candidacy. But that was not so. Ganesan was surprised by two things. Firstly Wickremesinghe did not seek his vote or the TPA’s support in the presidential poll. Secondly Ranil sounded supremely confident that he was going to be elected President.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Initiative to Resolve the Tamil National Question by 4 February 2023.’ »

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


By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Compliments of the Season everyone and best wishes for a bright and peaceful 2023.

I am beginning the new year by posting “The Hymn of Ceylon” on my Blog.

The “hymn of Ceylon” was written by by Rev. W. S. Senior. Walter Stanley Senior was a scholar, pastor, teacher and poet who served in Sri Lanka for many years as Vice Principal of Trinity College, Kandy and Vicar at Christ Church, Galle Face.

Rev. W.S. Senior’s ‘Hymn of Ceylon’. was always sung at the annual prize giving event of St. Thomas’ Preparatory School in Kollupitiya where I studied from 1959 to ’64. It is a Christian hymn and was set to the melody of ‘Danno Budunge’ by Devar Surya Sena as requested by Senior himself.

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

Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Eric J de Silva and the Controversy over Martin Wickramasinghe’s “Bawa Tharanaya”.


By

W.A.Wijewardena

Veteran public servant Eric J. de Silva has taken time to pen some of his experiences in the service in a brief publication titled ‘A Peep Into the Past: Stories from the Life of a Public Servant’ released recently. It is not an autobiography but some selected incidents during his career which culminated in being the Education Secretary before leaving for a position at UNESCO.

He has experience in both Sri Lanka and abroad as a developmental bureaucrat handling human resource development. His lenience into this area of public service is not a surprise because he had graduated from Ceylon University with an honours degree in economics in 1958. But most of the work commenced by public servants is left unfinished because they are transferred from place to place frequently on service needs.

One time Finance Secretary Charitha Ratwatte has noted this perennial deficiency in Sri Lanka’s public service in his foreword to the publication as follows: “Eric’s work on education policy, vocational training, at the Ministry of Education and Labour, and the training of public officers at SLIDA can be described as unfinished symphonies. It is a pity that he could not spend more time at SLIDA which plays a critical role in the training of the Administrative and Planning Services. In the same way, that it is a great pity that Life Skills (on which Eric worked) is no longer a part of secondary education. The lack of vocational skills and the negative attitude to ‘blue collar’ technical work is a major constraint to the country’s development, especially at a time like this when we are trying to come out of the dislocation caused by the Covid pandemic” (p iv).

Continue reading ‘Sirimavo Bandaranaike, Eric J de Silva and the Controversy over Martin Wickramasinghe’s “Bawa Tharanaya”.’ »

Nearly 200 World Renowned Economists and Scholars Issue Statement Calling upon all “Lenders” to share the burden of Debt Re-structuring by Cancelling all Debts of Cash-strapped Sri Lanka


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s recovery from last year’s devastating economic crisis will need its creditors to “share the burden” of debt restructuring, leading global economists have said, calling all lenders to cancel the debt of the cash-strapped island nation.

In a statement issued on Sunday, eminent economists and scholars world over observed that amid Sri Lanka’s crucial debt negotiations, “all lenders — bilateral, multilateral, and private — must share the burden of restructuring, with assurance of additional financing in the near term.”

However, Sri Lanka cannot ensure this on its own, they noted. “It requires much greater international support. Instead of geopolitical manoeuvring, all of Sri Lanka’s creditors must ensure debt cancellation sufficient to provide a way out of the current crisis,” the statement said.

The nearly 200 signatories to the statement included economists Jayati Ghosh, Thomas Piketty, Yanis Varoufakis, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, Jean Drèze, Ha-Joon Chang, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, and writer Amitav Ghosh.

Continue reading ‘Nearly 200 World Renowned Economists and Scholars Issue Statement Calling upon all “Lenders” to share the burden of Debt Re-structuring by Cancelling all Debts of Cash-strapped Sri Lanka’ »

Nearly 200 World Renowned Economists and Scholars Issue Statement Calling upon all “Lenders” to share the burden of Debt Re-structuring by Cancelling all Debts of Cash-strapped Sri Lanka

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s recovery from last year’s devastating economic crisis will need its creditors to “share the burden” of debt restructuring, leading global economists have said, calling all lenders to cancel the debt of the cash-strapped island nation.

In a statement issued on Sunday, eminent economists and scholars world over observed that amid Sri Lanka’s crucial debt negotiations, “all lenders — bilateral, multilateral, and private — must share the burden of restructuring, with assurance of additional financing in the near term.”

However, Sri Lanka cannot ensure this on its own, they noted. “It requires much greater international support. Instead of geopolitical manoeuvring, all of Sri Lanka’s creditors must ensure debt cancellation sufficient to provide a way out of the current crisis,” the statement said.

The nearly 200 signatories to the statement included economists Jayati Ghosh, Thomas Piketty, Yanis Varoufakis, Prabhat Patnaik, Utsa Patnaik, Jean Drèze, Ha-Joon Chang, Jomo Kwame Sundaram, and writer Amitav Ghosh.

Continue reading ‘Nearly 200 World Renowned Economists and Scholars Issue Statement Calling upon all “Lenders” to share the burden of Debt Re-structuring by Cancelling all Debts of Cash-strapped Sri Lanka’ »

Sri Lanka’s Role in the US strategy of Countering Communism By Fostering a “Buddhist Policy” in South East Asia During the Cold War era.

By Chandani Kirinde


(Chandani Kirinde is a senior political and history columnist and a long-serving parliamentary correspondent in Sri Lanka).

What prompted the US government to put in place a “Buddhist policy” in Southeast Asia during the Cold War and how successful were these clandestine efforts at using a predominant religion of the region to counter the spread of communism? And did Sri Lanka play a role in shaping the US policy of co-opting Buddhists into an anticommunist program during the Cold War?

These are questions which Eugene Ford, a Yale University historian, raises in his book “Cold War Monks: Buddhism and America’s Secret Strategy in Southeast Asia.” To find the answer, the author has carried out exhaustive research using both US and Thai archival material and has brought to light the little-known aspect of the “Buddhist Policy” adopted by the US which Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) too, most probably unwittingly, played a role in shaping.

In the aftermath of the Second World War, relations between the US and the USSR had turned frosty, and the common front put together to fight Germany and its allies had given way to the Cold War. The two superpowers, having curved out for themselves parts of Europe after the end of the war were eager to ensure that in Asia too their spheres of influence remained strong.

With the influence of communism gaining a foothold in countries in Southeast Asia, the US was hard pressed to come up with a new strategy to keep the influence of the Soviet Union and China at bay. With Buddhism being the dominant religion in several countries in the region, the “Buddhist Policy” was put in place to co-opt Buddhists into an anticommunist program. The program was to be implemented through the Asia Foundation; an organization covertly backed by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

While the Asia Foundation’s role in Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and several other Southeast Asian countries are the focus of Ford’s book, Sri Lanka, which mooted the idea of a global fellowship of Buddhists in the aftermath of the WWII, seems to have unwittingly, assisted the US strategy with the establishment of the first “truly international” Buddhist organization, the World fellowship of Buddhists (WFB), the origins of which lay in the All-Ceylon Buddhist Congress (ACBC).

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Role in the US strategy of Countering Communism By Fostering a “Buddhist Policy” in South East Asia During the Cold War era.’ »

The time has come for the JVP to come clean about its economic plans. Popular speechmaking must give way to hard facts. Economics-savvy leaders must emerge just as brave Zhou and Deng, challenging primitive Maoists in Red China.

By

Rajasinghe

What was Lenin’s New Economic Policy (NEP) which was introduced by the Bolsheviks in 1921 and how is it relevant to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) of 2023 which is poised to seek power for its own distinctive economic policies in a forthcoming General Election?

The Bolsheviks, who were engaged in a civil war from 1918 to 1921, expropriated or nationalised private ventures on the grounds that their war economy needed the resources to equip and maintain the Red Army. However, in reality, it retarded the Soviet economy and brought the country to a breaking point.

The masses and armed services began to revolt as seen in the Kronstadt uprising. There followed an internal debate among the Bolshevik leaders as to the means of facing this crisis. Bukharin and the ‘Right Oppositionists’ called for relief for the peasants and small businessmen while the ‘Left Oppositionists’ led by Trotsky called for more centralisation under the Gosplan.

Lenin, who ruled the roost, decided to take a step back and introduced the NEP, which he described as “State capitalism”. Many of the expropriated ventures were returned to be once again private enterprises. As a result, production increased, the Red Army was fed, and the revolution was saved.

The NEP has been a bone of contention among later Communist ideologues who have lined up on either side of the NEP debate. In China, finally it was the ‘revisionists’ like Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping who defeated the Maoist orthodox economic thinkers and laid the foundation for their country’s prosperity and resulting world leadership. Let us now turn to the JVP.

Continue reading ‘The time has come for the JVP to come clean about its economic plans. Popular speechmaking must give way to hard facts. Economics-savvy leaders must emerge just as brave Zhou and Deng, challenging primitive Maoists in Red China.’ »

Why the Sinhalese Keep Changing their Names; signs of an emerging class system where “Caste Identifier”names are Transformed into “Status Reflecter” Names by Upwardly Mobile sections says Cultural Anthropologist


By P.K.Balachandran

The Sinhalese, who are the majority community in Sri Lanka, have been changing their names through history to suit existing conditions and meet their aspirations.

Sinhalese names have always had a socio-cultural and historical basis. Often they indicate the caste of the bearer. But changes have been taking place in this sphere as a result of social and economic mobility. High-status family names are being taken in place of low-caste names, says cultural anthropologist Dr. M.W.Amarasiri de Silva of the University of California in his study of name changes among the Sinhalese of Sri Lanka published in 2016.

Dr. de Silva says that the phenomenon of changing one’s name is a sign of the emergence of a “class system” where one’s name is seen as a “status reflector” rather than as a “caste identifier”. This has been facilitated by economic and spatial mobility, and the simultaneous loosening of traditional community, locality and caste ties.

The “individualized” modern Sri Lankan now tends to overlook traditional social structural factors or family and cultural expectations that restrict his life choices in matters such as marriage, employment and residence. This has enabled (and often necessitated) a change in the name.

Name-changers are often “consensually” married outside the traditional framework of parents arranging the marriage. Sometimes consensual marriages are across caste lines. The name-changers seek employment away from their original village, and typically, in an urban area. They are also engaged in non-traditional occupations.

Continue reading ‘Why the Sinhalese Keep Changing their Names; signs of an emerging class system where “Caste Identifier”names are Transformed into “Status Reflecter” Names by Upwardly Mobile sections says Cultural Anthropologist’ »

The Government must take immediate steps to stop the haemorrhaging of public money and opt for restructuring of unmanageable state entities.


By

Kishali Pinto -Jayawardene

Sri Lanka’s publicity hogging Chair of the Public Utilities Commission is distinguished (not positively) by twin evils of a ghastly sartorial choice in the wildly varied waistcoats that he sports and exhibiting great volubility in speech not accompanied by much precision or clarity of thought.

Extreme burdens imposed on the public

In recent weeks, he has chosen to adopt the improbable role of a knight on a white charger, riding into battle against the Government’s plan to increase electricity tariffs. This is the second proposed increase in recent months, closely following upon the heels of a previous tariff increase that has put small businesses in peril and brought the Sri Lankan consumer one step closer to being erased from existence as the country’s economic meltdown bites home with a vengeance.

This time around, the massive tariff hike will potentially hit the country’s poorest segments, the hardest. For all President Ranil Wickemesinghe’s blustering that we have only three options to avoid catastrophe, namely to print money, to increase Value Added Tax (VAT) and to increase electricity tariffs, there is more than a touch of profound inequity regarding the proposals that his Power Minister has been trying hard to justify. These measures will surely precipitate the middle class into poverty and the poor into starvation.

Just after the dawn of the New Year, a mother poisoned herself and her five year old infant in Thalahena, unable to cope with the debt burdens that she was struggling with. This was one reported tragedy, there are very many more such horror stories, the ‘silent’ killer that stalks Sri Lankan society as poor and low income families become the first victims of gross political corruption which has sent the economy into a tailspin.

Regardless, more and more burdens are being heaped on the public for the sake of recovering the minimum possible to continue essential services.

Continue reading ‘The Government must take immediate steps to stop the haemorrhaging of public money and opt for restructuring of unmanageable state entities.’ »

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

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

‘Col. Charles’

15th Death Anniversary of Shanmuganathan Ravishankar alias Col Arulventhan a.k.a Charles

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

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

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

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This article written last year is re-posted without changes to mark the 17th anniversary of the gruesome killings)

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

UNHRC

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

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

TNA Accuses Govt of Inaction in Implementing Decisions Arrived at Regarding Three Critical Issues/may pull out of talks if no actual progress is achieved by Jan 10


By
Meera Srinivasan

Citing the “lack of any action” by the government on Tamils’ urgent demands, Sri Lanka’s Tamil National Alliance (TNA) said it would “rethink” its decision to engage in talks with President Ranil Wickremesinghe, unless his government reports “actual progress” at the next scheduled discussion on January 10.

“We have been highlighting three specific areas for immediate action – the release of political prisoners, answers to families of [forcibly] disappeared persons, and the persisting land grabs in the north and east. Despite making promises, the government is yet to take any action,” TNA spokesman and Jaffna legislator M.A. Sumanthiran told media on Thursday, following the third meeting between the Alliance and the President.

While the contours of a political solution are to be discussed in the next meeting on January 10, the TNA said it would rethink its decision to engage beyond that, if there is still no progress in the government’s response to the three critical issues.

Continue reading ‘TNA Accuses Govt of Inaction in Implementing Decisions Arrived at Regarding Three Critical Issues/may pull out of talks if no actual progress is achieved by Jan 10’ »

TNA Dissatisfied with Govt Over Lack of Progress in Release of Political Prisoners and Return of Private Lands Seized for High Security Zones; will reconsider participation in talks if there is no progress by Jan 10


By

Mirudhula Thambiah

At a meeting held yesterday (5) at the Presidential Secretariat between the TamilNational Alliance (TNA) and Government representatives, including President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, the TNA expressed dissatisfaction regarding the lack of progress pertaining to the release
of Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA) prisoners and the lands originally owned by Tamils that are occupied by security forces.

Speaking to The Morning, TNA Spokesman and MP President’s Counsel (PC) M.A.Sumanthiran said yesterday that there has been no progress in addressing therelease of PTA prisoners and lands owned by Tamils.

“They are telling us the verysame thing that they told us on 21December 2022. That was discouraging.”

Continue reading ‘TNA Dissatisfied with Govt Over Lack of Progress in Release of Political Prisoners and Return of Private Lands Seized for High Security Zones; will reconsider participation in talks if there is no progress by Jan 10’ »

Nominations Called by Elections Commission for Island wide Local Govt Elections to 29 Municipal Councils, 36 Urban Councils, and 275 Pradesheeya Sabhas; No poll for Elpitiya PS in Galle District


By

Mirudhula Thambiah

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday (4) published a notice calling fornominations for the Local Government (LG) polls 2023, in 340 LG authorities,while the poll for the Elpitiya Pradeshiya Sabha (PS) in the Galle District will not be held.

According to the notice calling for nominations, the nomination forms should be handed over from 18-21 January to the relevant District Secretary. The deposits for the nominations would be accepted from yesterday to 20 January.

Political parties will have to pay a deposit of Rs. 1,500 for each candidate, whileindependent groups will have to pay a deposit of Rs. 5,000 per candidate.

The EC will also accept applications for postal voting for the upcoming electionfrom today (5) to 23 January.

Continue reading ‘Nominations Called by Elections Commission for Island wide Local Govt Elections to 29 Municipal Councils, 36 Urban Councils, and 275 Pradesheeya Sabhas; No poll for Elpitiya PS in Galle District’ »

TNA led by Sampanthan MP meets President Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Gunewardena on January 5th for further discussions on Release of Tamil Prisoners and Private lands from High Security Zones; Agenda for marathon session talks from Jan 10 to 13 to be Formulated.


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) will meet President Ranil Wickremesinghe at the PresidentialSecretariat today (5) to discuss the release of prisoners held under the Prevention of Terrorism
(Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA), the possibility of releasing lands from high security zones(HSZs), and finalising the agenda for the meetings scheduled from 10-13 January to seek a
solution to the national ethnic question via a Constitutional process.

Speaking to The Morning, TNA Spokesman, MP and President’s Counsel (PC) M.A.Sumanthiran said yesterday (4) that during the last meeting held with PresidentWickremesinghe in December 2022, the possibilities pertaining to the three above-mentioned
important issues had been discussed, adding that those would now be finalised at today’smeeting.

“We will be meeting the President at 5 p.m. tomorrow (5). We will take stock of the situation withregard to the release of PTA prisoners, and we will look at the development, if any, on the land
issue, and we will finalise an agenda for our meetings with the President from 10-13 January,”he added.

Continue reading ‘TNA led by Sampanthan MP meets President Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Gunewardena on January 5th for further discussions on Release of Tamil Prisoners and Private lands from High Security Zones; Agenda for marathon session talks from Jan 10 to 13 to be Formulated.’ »

If President Wickremesinghe persists in pushing through the 70% rates increase, he may end up by electrocuting not just the Lankan public and the economy, but also himself.


By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Ranil Wickremesinghe is a tool…”

Deputy Minister Sanath Nishantha (Interview – 2.1.2003)

The first breach was a hoot.

One year ago, Gotabaya Rajapaksa was booed when his convoy passed a milk powder queue in Mirihana. Rajapaksa went off in a huff. Within minutes, the police arrived in force, dispersed the people who had been waiting for hours to buy milk powder and forced the shop to close.

That unprecedented hoot was an omen of the popular uprising that would hound Gotabaya Rajapaksa from the presidency just seven months later. Had he paused to consider hoot’s ominous message, instead of giving into his outraged sensibilities, he may not be reduced to pleading with the US to restore his citizenship now.

Some turning points can be comprehended only with hindsight. Others are identifiable in real time. Like President Wickremesinghe’s plan to increase electricity rates, again, by a massive 50%. It is the kind of measure that would devastate the people economically and the rulers politically. And wide open a door to another coalition of anger (as in April-July 2022) transcending racial, religious, and class barriers.

Interestingly, the resistance to the rate increase is being spearheaded not by the Opposition but by the chairman of the Public Utilities Commission (PUCSL). Janaka Ratnayake is a Rajapaksa acolyte-businessman; he seemed to have been awarded this chairmanship not because of qualification or capacity, but because of the favours he rendered Candidate Gotabaya. With the Opposition focused on demanding LG elections, opposing direct taxes, or driving buses, Ratnayake is free to dress for Lone Ranger, taking on the outlaw-president in a do-or-die duel.

Would Ratnayake, a businessman, take such a pugnacious stand publicly, on his own initiative and without serious political backing? Given the Opposition’s scant attention to the issue, any backing is likely to come from only one source, the Rajapaksas.

Continue reading ‘If President Wickremesinghe persists in pushing through the 70% rates increase, he may end up by electrocuting not just the Lankan public and the economy, but also himself.’ »

State not vicariously liable for hurtful statements of Ministers; no need for greater restrictions on Ministers’ right to free speech rules Indian Supreme Court.


BY KRISHNADAS RAJAGOPAL

The Supreme Court on January 3, 2023 held there is no reason to impose “additional restrictions” on the right to free speech of Ministers, and the government is not vicariously liable for disparaging remarks made by them, even if the comments are traceable to state affairs or meant to protect the government.

“A statement by a Minister, even if traceable to any affairs of the state or for protecting the government, cannot be attributed vicariously to the government by invoking the principle of collective responsibility,” Justice V. Ramasubramanian held in the main judgment of the Constitution Bench. The judgment was endorsed by Justices S. Abdul Nazeer, B.R. Gavai and A.S. Bopanna on the Bench.

“It is not possible to extend this concept of collective responsibility to any and every statement orally made by a Minister outside the House of the People/Legislative Assembly… The Prime Minister or the Chief Minister does not have disciplinary control over the members of the Council of Ministers… in a country like ours, where there is a multi­-party system and where coalition Governments are often formed, it is not possible at all times for a Prime Minister/Chief Minister to take the whip whenever a statement is made by someone in the Council of Ministers,” Justice Ramasubramanian observed.

Continue reading ‘State not vicariously liable for hurtful statements of Ministers; no need for greater restrictions on Ministers’ right to free speech rules Indian Supreme Court.’ »

No opposition should give a govt a free pass. But Malaysians deserve a mature opposition that will engage on an intellectual level with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s policy proposals and give him time to deliver on his promises

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

2023 will be a challenging year for the whole world. Between economic uncertainty, violent weather and the ravages of war, there is no country that does not face tough decisions and uncertainty in the year to come.

Malaysia is no exception. But unlike many countries, Malaysia is fortunate enough to have a new government, with a new, mature leader who is respected and trusted worldwide. This is a privilege that few countries enjoy today.

But it is a small miracle that Malaysia emerged with this privilege, thanks solely to its new Prime Minister’s ability to unite political allies and enemies alike to work together and serve Malaysians.

Unfortunately, it seems that some senior political leaders are intent to find ways to scuttle and sabotage the government at any cost.

The essence of democratic governance is that it puts the people in charge of their destiny. Political parties build platforms, take them to the people, and those with the most persuasive arguments are, rightly or wrongly, chosen by the people to govern. When they fail, it is again up to the people to decide whether it is worth giving them another chance, or whether it is time to try something new.

In theory, such a Darwinian method of selecting rulers should tend towards better leadership. In practice, rulers often abuse their power to distort the process and in doing so, erode the sovereignty a democracy needs to succeed.

Continue reading ‘No opposition should give a govt a free pass. But Malaysians deserve a mature opposition that will engage on an intellectual level with Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim’s policy proposals and give him time to deliver on his promises’ »

Ranil Wickremesinghe has turned the political environment upside down. The ruling SLPP, struggling to cope up with internal dissent, has been compelled to play ball with Wickremesinghe, who shrewdly changed the political landscape. Ranil has achieved the unthinkable.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

About a year before violent protests erupted outside the then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Mirihana residence, over the crippling shortages of essential services and supplies, possibly exacerbated by some hidden hands, like the way Aragalaya was mainly bank rolled from abroad, or the mysterious forces who torched several dozen private homes of the then government politicians across the country, in a very systemic manner, on the night of May 09, the seventh executive President said that the people would decide whether he contest the next presidential election.

President Rajapaksa was addressing a gama samaga pilisandara programme at Yombuweltenna, Walapone, where he declared that only 14 months had been completed of his 60-month term. The President said that as he had plenty of time no one should be concerned about him not contesting again.

The then Senior Presidential Advisor, Lalith Weeratunga, sat on the President’s right. A confident Gotabaya Rajapaksa wore a light purple t-shirt, black trousers and a facemask as Covid-19 was raging. Referring to the last presidential election, in Nov 2019, Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared that the next time, too, the public would decide the outcome. It was not to be.

President Rajapaksa launched the gama samaga pilisandara programme on Sept 25, 2020, in the Badulla district. Yombuweltenna was the venue for the 15th programme in President Rajapaksa’s ambitious political project, meant to consolidate the electorate by going to the people at the grassroots. It was not to be.

Having won the presidency comfortably, just over a year earlier, President Rajapaksa was on a powder keg as a result of the rapidly deteriorating financial situation, primarily caused by the unprecedented pandemic in living memory, and some foolhardy and hasty decisions. Slashing of taxes, running into billions, after the presidential election, to give an impetus to the private sector to make the economy roar, drying up of Lankan worker remittances, for the first time, and the failure on the part of the government to initiate talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for an urgently needed loan facility, had caused irreparable damage. Had President Rajapaksa realized the implications of that disputed decision, he could have avoided the humiliating exit from the Presidency. It was not to be.

About five weeks after the Walapane programme, President Rajapaksa imposed ban on the importation of fertiliser and agro chemicals. That move was perhaps meant to save USD 300-400 mn annually spent on the importation of fertiliser thereby ease pressure on the Treasury. It was not to be.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Wickremesinghe has turned the political environment upside down. The ruling SLPP, struggling to cope up with internal dissent, has been compelled to play ball with Wickremesinghe, who shrewdly changed the political landscape. Ranil has achieved the unthinkable.’ »

♥ “Singara Velanae Deva”- S.Janaki’s Superb Solo in Abheri Raga with Karukkuruchi Arunasalam’s Nadaswaram Accompaniment ♫

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs – 7

Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki is widely praised as the “Nightingale of the South” .In a splendid career spanning over fifty years Janaki has sung over 20,000 songs for films made in 16 different languages.The Southern nightingale has won four national awards and 31 state govt awards in India during her illustrious career.

Gemini Ganesan & Savithri ~ “Konjum Salangai” (kissing anklets) in Technicolour

Gemini Ganesan & Savithri ~ “Konjum Salangai” (kissing anklets) in Technicolour

The solo which catapulted Janaki to fame overnight was in the film “Konjum Salangai” released in January1962. Although she had no formal training in carnatic or Hindustani music Janaki rendered the classical”Singara Velanae Deva”song magnificiently.She reached the upper octaves admirably for the soulful song based on the carnatic raga Abheri. In Hindustani music the raga Bhimpalasi is said to resemble Abheri closely.
Continue reading ‘♥ “Singara Velanae Deva”- S.Janaki’s Superb Solo in Abheri Raga with Karukkuruchi Arunasalam’s Nadaswaram Accompaniment ♫’ »

.Sri Lankan Tamils in the North and the East hope that India will intervene and stop the destruction of Hindu religious sites and help in the rebuilding of several temples

By

R.K.Radhakrishnan

Kanniya hot springs, a set of wells about 10 kilometres from Trincomalee town along the A-12 highway, is a sacred spot for Hindus in Sri Lanka. But the Sri Lankan Army’s ubiquitous presence in Tamil areas extends to this site as well.

A Buddha statue, built after the Sri Lankan Army won the civil war against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, can be seen a short distance away from the well. Aided by the Sri Lankan archaeological department, efforts are on to convert the area into a Buddhist heritage site, said a long-time resident of Trincomalee, who did not wish to be named.

Sinhala websites proclaim that the place was once a Buddhist monastery. One English website, amazinglanka.com, claims that “these wells belonged to a great Buddhist monastery” that spanned a vast area. It added that “Eelamisation of the North and East” had destroyed most of the Buddhist remains and that “Eelamists” had been “erasing all signs” of an ancient Buddhist civilisation in these areas for the last 30-40 years.

Thiru Koneswaram

A short distance away, the Thiru Koneswaram temple, located on Swami Rock, and accessed through the Sri Lankan Army-controlled Fort Fredrick, has a different but easily relatable problem. “Thiru Koneswaram is a place of worship for Hindus. We want that place to be holy and [it] should not be converted into a tourist destination. When it becomes a tourist destination, then it loses sanctity. It should remain a pilgrimage destination,” said a prominent member of the local Hindu community.

The temple, which was repeatedly destroyed during the war and in earlier times, is considered one of the most holy sites for Hindus. Ever since the civil war ended, believers have contributed to the construction of a makeshift structure that now houses the temple. The local residents want the Indian government’s help to build a path around the temple so that some of the rituals can be performed. As of now, even local efforts are thwarted by the archaeological department, which claims that tampering with the hilltop, where the temple is located, is not desirable.

In fact, when the High Commissioner of India visited the temple on October 2, the temple trust president Thusyanthan briefed him on the temple’s history and submitted a proposal for its restoration as a pilgrimage destination for devotees from near and far.

Continue reading ‘.Sri Lankan Tamils in the North and the East hope that India will intervene and stop the destruction of Hindu religious sites and help in the rebuilding of several temples’ »

Despite its limitations and internal contradictions, the Janatha Aragalaya’ (people’s struggle) offered rare hope and idealism


By

Meera Srinivasan

Colombo’s seafront is lit up. Fairy lights, reindeer, and Christmas trees dot the stretch that leads to the Presidential Secretariat, the colonial-era building that served as the Parliament until the early 1980s.

On the steps before its 14 giant pillars, a choir sings popular carols — an initiative of the military and the tourism board — against multi-coloured beams projected on the brownstone facade. It is festive and cheerful, alright — that too coming at the end of what has been a particularly bleak year for Sri Lanka.

The adjacent plot of land, once a designated demonstration site for public protests and that became a tent city of resistance this year, has its share of Christmas cheer. A bright display of lights screams ‘Visit Sri Lanka’, not far from where a ‘Gota Go Gama’ name board stood some months ago.

Journalists who visited the island to cover its worst economic crisis since Independence, as well as those of us stationed here, spent much time capturing the sounds and sights on the same stretch. It was here that scores of angry citizens converged beginning April, mounting what proved to be the biggest show of public fury in the country’s history. Giving their rage creative expression, they lit up the same Secretariat with the slogan “Go home Gota”, while chanting in chorus for “system change”.

Continue reading ‘Despite its limitations and internal contradictions, the Janatha Aragalaya’ (people’s struggle) offered rare hope and idealism’ »

“The Myth of the Holy Cow”; After millennia of slaughter and sacrifice, worship and protection, India’s cows have become pawns of the Hindu right.- The Economist


The lynching began with an announcement over the loudspeaker of the local temple: a calf had been slaughtered. It was 28th September 2015, around the Eid holiday, and Hindu-Muslim tensions were running high in the village of Bisara in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (up). The broadcast roused the village’s Hindu residents, who consider the cow sacred. They were convinced one of a handful of Muslim families in Bisara, the Akhlaqs, had slaughtered the cow for Eid.

Late in the evening, dozens of rioters broke into the Akhlaqs’ home and found meat in the refrigerator. They could not be sure it was beef, but that didn’t matter. They smashed a sewing machine over Danish Akhlaq’s head. Then they grabbed the patriarch, Mohammed, and dragged him outside, his head crashing down 14 stone steps to the street. By the time the police arrived half an hour later, he was dead.

Justice is yet to be served. Most of the 18 accused are out on bail. Four were given front-row seats at a rally held by Yogi Adityanath, the fiery Hindu priest who runs up. One died in custody and received a martyr’s send-off, Hindu nationalist politicians descending on Bisara to pay their respects. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has not taken much notice. His first remark on the murder, eight days after it took place, was a call for Hindus and Muslims to unite.

India’s prime minister has a fixation with cows. Under his Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp), they have become a symbol for the struggle to remake India as a Hindu state. To eat beef or not to eat beef has become the question dividing the country’s billion Hindus, who protect cows because they revere them, and its 200m Muslims, whose religion permits them to eat beef and sacrifice cows. More than class or caste, this distinction stirs passions and wins votes.

Continue reading ‘“The Myth of the Holy Cow”; After millennia of slaughter and sacrifice, worship and protection, India’s cows have become pawns of the Hindu right.- The Economist’ »

Brazil’s Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known by his nickname of Pelé, was the greatest Footballer because he could do anything and everything in a Soccer Game

HE WAS JUST a kid, aged 17. Yet in the World Cup final of 1958 Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known by his nickname of Pelé, showed the poise and supreme skill that would become the hallmarks of his career.

With Brazil leading Sweden, the hosts, 2-1 he received a high pass in the penalty area. With a defender on his shoulder, he controlled the ball with his chest, took one pace and nonchalantly looped it high over another before running to meet it and drive an unstoppable volley low into the net. In all he scored six goals in four matches in that tournament.

It was the first of three World Cups he was to win, more than any other player. It might have been four but, insufficiently protected by referees, he and Brazil were kicked out of the 1966 tournament by brutal defending by Bulgaria and Portugal.

Three Argentines—Alfredo di Stefano, Diego Armando Maradona and Lionel Messi—all have a claim to be the world’s best footballer. But many of the game’s shrewdest analysts, and many former players, believed the greatest of all was Pelé, who has died in a hospital in São Paulo aged 82 after a long battle with cancer. Apart from anything else, his 1,279 goals in 1,363 matches is a world record that is unlikely to be surpassed.

Continue reading ‘Brazil’s Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known by his nickname of Pelé, was the greatest Footballer because he could do anything and everything in a Soccer Game’ »

Sri Lanka unable to get the consent of all the creditors for a possible debt restructuring because of the intransigence of the leading creditor, China, which holds about 52% of the bilateral debt of the Government.


By
W.A.Wijewardena

President Ranil Wickremesinghe is noted for reminding fellow Sri Lankans that at the time Ceylon gained independence from Britain in 1948, it was a prosperous country which the British had left. Noting the positive stock of foreign reserves which Sri Lanka had inherited, he had said that during the Second World War, the country had even lent the colonial master (visit: https://www.news.lk/fetures/item/10674-economic-policy-statement-made-by-prime-minister-ranil-wickremesinghe-in-parliament). This was true because the bulk of foreign reserves had been invested in the UK.

His other elaboration was that the Gal Oya project, the biggest infrastructure project which the country had undertaken immediately after independence, had been completed purely out of the savings of the country without depending on foreign funding. This is mostly true because at the time of the commencement of the project in 1949 Ceylon had a comfortable foreign reserve balance sufficient for financing 17 months of future imports and the budget had a sizeable surplus in its revenue account which could, in theory, be used to finance the construction of the dam and irrigation canals. However, toward the end of the completion by 1955, the country had foreign exchange problems and to seek foreign funding for settling colonists. But this was a minor component of the total cost and hence, the project was substantially completed with local resources.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka unable to get the consent of all the creditors for a possible debt restructuring because of the intransigence of the leading creditor, China, which holds about 52% of the bilateral debt of the Government.’ »

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Tells Media that his Visit to tndia was funded by a Friend Due to his Credit Cards Reaching Credit Limits; Says he has re-imbursed his friend and Refutes Allegations that an Indian Pharmaceutical Company Funded Trip


BY Shehara Ratnasinghe

In response to allegations that his recent visit to India was funded by an Indian pharmaceutical company, thus leading to a conflict of interest, Minister of Health Keheliya Rambukwella claimed that his visit was funded by a friend due to the Minister’s credit cards having reached their credit limits, and that he has since reimbursed his friend.

Rambukwella, addressing a media briefing convened yesterday (28) at the Health Ministry premises, claimed he had reimbursed his friend upon landing in India.

“I have travelled to 86 countries. This is my 17th passport. I have even travelled to England with my parents when I was eight years old. Due to my extensive travel schedule, I maintain close relationships with certain travel companies. Because of these relationships, there are two or three travel companies that grant me massive discounts.

As I am a Cabinet Minister, I could have used Government funds for this trip. However, I purchased the ticket myself, as the Government advises us to be economical. My secretary tried booking the flight ticket from online travel agencies using my credit cards, but the cards were rejected due to the recent imposition of a weekly spending limit of Rs. 140,000.

Therefore, I informed a friend of mine to place the booking on my behalf. The very first thing I did upon landing in India was to repay my friend in cash,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Tells Media that his Visit to tndia was funded by a Friend Due to his Credit Cards Reaching Credit Limits; Says he has re-imbursed his friend and Refutes Allegations that an Indian Pharmaceutical Company Funded Trip’ »

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and MP Mano Ganesan wants President Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint three separate, high-powered committees to examine the proposals of the North and East (N-E) Tamil community, the Muslim community,and the hill-country Tamil community,


By

Mirudhula Thambiah

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MP Mano Ganesan yesterday (28) noted that President Ranil Wickremesinghe should appoint three separate, high-powered committees to examine the proposals of the North and East (N-E) Tamil community, the Muslim community, and the hill-country Tamil community, where common positions reached through these committees should be taken up at the upcoming all-party conferences that are scheduled for next year (2023), and thereafter adopted as Constitutional amendments.

Ganesan also proposed the establishment of a constitutionally mandated non-territorial community council for the hill-country Tamil community, as deliberated under the previous all-party conference established by former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, with a mandate on selected affairs of the community that is living on a geographically concentrated basis in Nuwara Eliya and in a dispersed manner in other parts of the country.

“Once an agreement is arrived at by the high-powered committees from the proposals presented by the three communities, Constitutional amendments could be adopted. This would be a way forward for the all-party conferences. We will not agree to be sidelined in this process,” he added.

He pointed out that talks on the national ethnic issue are not restricted to any particular area, but that it is an islandwide issue.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and MP Mano Ganesan wants President Ranil Wickremesinghe to appoint three separate, high-powered committees to examine the proposals of the North and East (N-E) Tamil community, the Muslim community,and the hill-country Tamil community,’ »

Minister of Fisheries and EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda Wants President Ranil Wickremesinghe to give back to the Provincial Councils all the powers of the provinces that were taken over earlier by Past Presidents with the Executive power granted to them


By

Mirudhula Thambiah

Minister of Fisheries and Eelam People’s Democratic Party (EPDP) Leader Douglas Devananda yesterday (28) said in Jaffna that he had urged President Ranil Wickremesinghe to devolve all powers to the provincial level.

While addressing a media briefing, he further stated that all the powers of the provinces that were taken over with the Executive power granted to the President should be handed back to the Provincial Councils.

Furthermore, Devananda stated that he has a dual role in this regard, as both a representative of the Cabinet sub-committee to resolve the Tamil national ethnic question, and as a leader of a political party at the all-party conference.

Continue reading ‘Minister of Fisheries and EPDP Leader Douglas Devananda Wants President Ranil Wickremesinghe to give back to the Provincial Councils all the powers of the provinces that were taken over earlier by Past Presidents with the Executive power granted to them’ »

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

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERY ONE! COMPLIMENTS OF THE SEASON TO ALL!!

Nativity Scene at Bandaranaike International Airport – Katunayake, Sri Lanka – Dec 2022

It’s Christmas season again!

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

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

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

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

Nativity scene-Near Central Park, NY-Dec 2015

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

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

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

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

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(Popular Tamil Nadu Film Actor cum Political Leader M.G.Ramachandran known as “MGR” passed away in Chennai on December 24th 1987.. This article written earlier for the “Spotlight” Column of “Daily Financial Times” is reproduced here to denote MGR’s 35th Death anniversary)

MGR T

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

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

Rags to riches tale

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

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

Murder in the Cathedral: Christmas Killing of TNA MP Joseph Pararajasingham

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This Article written in December 2020 is re-posted without changes to denote the 17th death anniversary of former Batticaloa MP Joseph Pararajasingham)

‘Murder in the Cathedral’ is a drama written in verse by the great poet, essayist and playwright Thomas Stearnes Eliot known to the literary world as T.S. Eliot. It is based on the assassination of Archbishop Thomas Becket in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170 during the reign of King Henry II. Eliot had relied heavily on the eyewitness account of the murder by a monk Edward Grim published later.

‘’Murder in the Cathedral,’

I first came across TS Eliot’s ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ when I was a student at Jaffna College, Vaddukkoddai. The Chief librarian Sebaratnam Thambiah was an aficionado of drama who often produced and directed plays. Trying to stage ‘Murder in the Cathedral’ was one of his ambitious ventures. A few of us students and some teachers were roped in and given copies of the verse drama. I liked it very much then. We attended a few rehearsals but the project never got off the ground. However the abortive attempt helped instil in me a deep, abiding love for Eliot’s poetry.

Continue reading ‘Murder in the Cathedral: Christmas Killing of TNA MP Joseph Pararajasingham’ »

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Submits to Cabinet two consecutive unsolicited proposals from locally unregistered Indian companies to buy drugs under the Indian credit line; Returns after 3 Day trip to Chenna paid for by one of the Indian companies Backed by him for the Lucrative Deal


By Namini Wijedasa

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella—who returned yesterday (Dec 24) from a three-night trip to Chennai undertaken on the invitation of a medical supplier he is promoting for a lucrative Health Ministry contract—ignored Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s instructions to follow established guidelines and submitted two consecutive unsolicited proposals from locally unregistered Indian companies to buy drugs under the Indian credit line.

According to Cabinet memoranda and other documents, he also attempted to broaden the scope of unsolicited proposals to include, not just two selected Indian suppliers (one of which is the company that invited him to India) but “other selected suppliers” and “other funding sources”.

If this is approved by the Cabinet, it will grant Health Ministry officials—and the Minister—widespread discretion to make medical purchases from favoured entities bypassing the competitive tender process.

Continue reading ‘Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Submits to Cabinet two consecutive unsolicited proposals from locally unregistered Indian companies to buy drugs under the Indian credit line; Returns after 3 Day trip to Chenna paid for by one of the Indian companies Backed by him for the Lucrative Deal’ »

2022 is best year in 20 Years for Tamil Cinema with at least 20 of 215 films released making Huge Profits Including Worldwide Blockbusters “Vikram” and “Ponniyin Selvan -1”.


By

Sreedhar Pillai

The year 2022 has been the best ever in the last two decades or so for Tamil cinema. Two Tamil films, Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan:1 ( PS1) and Kamal Haasan’s Vikram find a place among the top five worldwide blockbusters from Indian cinema. PS:1 has grossed Rs 495 crore and Vikram Rs 440 crore worldwide from theatricals, which is phenomenal by any yardstick. And there have been at least 20 out of the 215 odd releases (slated till Dec 31) which have been profitable for its producers from theatrical, digital and satellite rights.

Trisha in ‘Ponniyin Selvan’

However, it is the big-star driven movies that have given Kollywood a global presence. The other top grossers of the year include KGF: Chapter 2, RRR (both dubbed inTamil), Beast, Valimai, Thiruchitrambalam, Don, Sardar and Love Today (the only small film in the chart).

PS:1 is the second highest all-time Tamil theatrical gross worldwide, after Rajinikanth’s 2.O (2018); many state that it would have beaten the gross of the latter if it had not premiered on OTT five weeks after its theatrical release. In Tamil Nadu, however, it has created a new record, for being the first film to collect a theatrical share of Rs 105 crore. No other Tamil film has done it before, with Vikram its nearest competitor and also a film released this year, taking a theatrical share of Rs 80 crore from Tamil Nadu.

PS:1 and Vikram have created new benchmarks in Tamil cinema as critics and audiences lapped it up with a never-seen-before fervour. In fact, both these films brought back audiences back to theatres in the state.

Continue reading ‘2022 is best year in 20 Years for Tamil Cinema with at least 20 of 215 films released making Huge Profits Including Worldwide Blockbusters “Vikram” and “Ponniyin Selvan -1”.’ »

The Cruel and Diabolical Mindset of LTTE Intelligence Chief Sivashankar alias “Pottu Ammaan”

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The first part of this article published last week narrated certain aspects of the life of Sivashankar alias “Pottu Ammaan” the much-dreaded intelligence chief of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE). Although my original intention was to write a two -part article, I have been compelled to make it a three-part article in order to do justice to the information that I have been able to gather about Pottu Ammaan.

Sivashankar known as Pottu and Pottu Ammaan joined the LTTE in 1981. He obtained Indian arms training after July 1983 in Uttar Pradesh as part of the first batch of tiger trainees. After getting Indian training ,Pottu functioned as one of Prabhakaran’s bodyguard. It was during this period that Pottu became a fanatical follower of his leader. He served the tiger “numero uno” with slavish devotion. Pottu’s personal loyalty to Prabhakaran was unswerving and unquestionable.

After a stint as the boss’s bodyguard, Pottu was sent to be in charge (poruppu) of the “Karai” (shore) operations in Vethaaranyam area on the Tamil Nadu coast. The LTTE had set up camps in this area. Pottu was in overall charge.

Coastal operations were of paramount importance in the eighties of the last century as the LTTE was heavily dependent on Tamil Nadu as a rear base.Arms, medicine,fuel and other vital supplies were sent to Northern Sri Lanka via sea from the Tamil Nadu coast. There was also a steady flow of cadres to and from Tamil Nadu by sea.

Continue reading ‘The Cruel and Diabolical Mindset of LTTE Intelligence Chief Sivashankar alias “Pottu Ammaan”’ »

“For minorities one creates a constitutional and legislative framework to ensure equality at the Centre with mechanisms for implementation. For a territorial minority the textbook solution has always been power sharing agreements. “


By
Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy

(Text of keynote address delivered at the launch of the Junior Bar Journal on the theme ‘Law in context: Current trends and future projections’ held on 16 December 2022)

We live in precarious times. But precarious times are also times of great opportunity. The end of World War Two gave birth to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the end of Apartheid gave birth to the South African constitution, a constitution that has inspired the legal community for decades. A great deal is happening in the world and in Sri Lanka in particular, creating a fog of ideas and desperation to see our way out of the darkness.

This fog of ideas is based on the fact that there is a fundamental struggle taking place on the kind of society people wish to construct for themselves. This struggle over very basic ideas animates the most virulent hate and bias that we see throughout the world. What I am going to do in this lecture is to spell out some of those struggles, especially those relevant to young lawyers, and see what the future holds for their resolution.

The first debate in this fog of ideas relates to the debate on human rights. For my generation of lawyers working in public law at the international level, the most inspiring documents were those related to human rights – the universal declaration, the covenants and many other conventions relating to torture, women and children among others. Though today human rights and humanitarian law are dismissed as Western, at the Bandung conference in the 1950s, the Non-Aligned movement openly embraced human rights and it would be the driving force in getting rid of apartheid in South Africa and challenging disappearances in Latin America. Third World progressive activists were strong supporters of human rights during this period writing personally to heads of state when prisoners of conscience were taken in.

Amnesty International’s first visit to Sri Lanka in the 1970s was fully supported by everyone who worked on issues of social justice. Leading personalities like Suriya Wickremesinghe, Kumari Jayawardena, Professor Sarathchandra, and Raja Goonesekere formed the civil rights movement after the 1971 insurrection basing their founding principles on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Today both the edifice and the norms are under a great deal of challenge especially from universities and think tanks many of them situated in the Western world.

The challenge to human rights is twofold. The first is that it is a Western structure created around the values of the Enlightenment where the individual is valued over the community and where reason is given prime of place over social values of cohesion and harmony. The second argument is about process and the double standards in the application of human rights. The rich and powerful countries are not held accountable while smaller countries may face the full force of the international political and legal process.

Continue reading ‘“For minorities one creates a constitutional and legislative framework to ensure equality at the Centre with mechanisms for implementation. For a territorial minority the textbook solution has always been power sharing agreements. “’ »

Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Allegedly Engaging in Unhealthy Practices in Procuring Medicinal Drugs Under Indian Credit Line; Bypasses President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Directives Regarding Medical Imports


By

Namini Wijedasa

The Cabinet has sanctioned a proposal by Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella to use the Indian credit line to buy medical supplies—without competitive tender—from a handpicked, locally unregistered Indian manufacturer named Savorite Pharmaceuticals (Pvt) Ltd despite there being multiple authorised suppliers holding valid National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA) registration for each of the required products.

Cabinet approval is pending for Minister Rambukwella’s proposal to entertain an unsolicited proposal from a second Indian entity named Kausikh Therapeutics (P) Ltd under the credit line and “other means of funding”. The Sunday Times has seen relevant documents.
Waiver of registration

The minister also sought blanket clearance to procure drugs via unsolicited proposals by inserting the clause through “other selected suppliers” into his Cabinet memoranda. It would’ve given Health Ministry officials—and the minister—widespread discretion to make purchases from favoured entities bypassing the competitive tender process. The Cabinet did not consent to this.

The Health Ministry has now applied for a “waiver of registration” (WoR) from NMRA for a two-page list of drugs to be imported from Savorite. The medicines cannot be cleared through Customs without this formality, which is typically granted as an exception and not a rule.

But the NMRA database shows that pre-registered suppliers, most of whom have a long history of selling medicines to Sri Lanka—and many of them Indian—currently hold valid licences for a majority of the required drugs. Should the ministry require a product that is not registered, the usual practice is to check with licensed suppliers first. This was not done.

“The preference is to request a WoR for a product from a registered supplier—as the manufacturing facility is already vetted—than an unregistered one,” said an authoritative source. All sources spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.

Continue reading ‘Health Minister Keheliya Rambukwella Allegedly Engaging in Unhealthy Practices in Procuring Medicinal Drugs Under Indian Credit Line; Bypasses President and Finance Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Directives Regarding Medical Imports’ »

Rajitha Senaratne has consistently fought for justice towards the minorities and will be supportive of Ranil’s efforts to negotiate an ethnic peace.


By

Rajasinghe

In 1970, the Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) led by Sirimavo Bandaranaike contested the General Election in a coalition with the Left – the Lanka Sama Samaja Party (LSSP) and the Communist Party (CP). On the other hand, Philip Gunawardena and his Mahajana Eksath Peramuna (MEP) contested the 1970 election in alliance with the United National Party (UNP) led by Dudley Senanayake. The anti-UNP coalition, which was called the Samagi Peramuna, launched its campaign with a mammoth rally held at the Bogambara Grounds in Kandy. Then they started a countrywide propaganda campaign.

At this time the LSSP and CP had a strong presence in the Peradeniya campus although Rohana Wijeweera’s Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) had started making inroads in all the universities. Their stronghold was the Vidyodaya campus, where Mahinda Wijesekera ruled the roost as student leader. The SLFP ‘China wingers’ led by T.B. Ilangaratne – and including particularly Ratna Deshapriya and his Lankadeepa newspaper cohorts – were not averse to playing footsie with JVP leaders in order to enhance their electoral chances. They encouraged Wijeweera to create panic among their supporters, saying that American imperialists were waiting in a ship docked at Colombo Harbour in order to take over the country if Dudley won.

In the campaign, LSSP leaders were called upon to provide effective speakers for Samagi Peramuna meetings. Though they had brilliant orators like Colvin R. de Silva, Bernard Soysa, and N.M. Perera, the LSSP was hard put to participate in all-island meetings while fighting hard to increase the number of LSSP MPs in Parliament (it had the highest number of winners ever at this election).

Continue reading ‘Rajitha Senaratne has consistently fought for justice towards the minorities and will be supportive of Ranil’s efforts to negotiate an ethnic peace.’ »

If consensus cannot be reached on whether a Tamil or Sinhala “small” Party candidate will serve on the Council, what hope does achieving a ‘solution’ for the ‘ethnic problem’ in two months have, we may well ask?


By

Kishali Pinto -Jayawardene

Carrots tossed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe in the form of release of a few Prevention of Terrorism (PTA) political prisoners and return of lands to displaced owners in the North and East have given rise to unseemly jubilation on the part of Sri Lanka’s Tamil political leadership or what passes as the ‘leadership’ today.

Are these ‘gains’ worthy of mention?

To be clear, one is not being facetious in saying this. On the contrary, it beggars belief as to how the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) can cheerfully parade such trifles let alone to hold forth on the same to the national media with disconcerting ease. To put it bluntly, out of the mountainous promise of a roundtable on the ‘ethnic problem’ initiated by the President, we have the mouse of potential release of fourteen PTA prisoners being ‘discussed.

We are informed with suitable grandeur that this is to coincide with Sri Lanka’s soon approaching 75th Independence Day Celebration early next year. Alongside, the President has ‘requested’ all political parties to come to a ‘common agreement’ to provide a solution to the ethnic problem by that time.

The grand irony of all of this is, of course, profound at many levels. Not the least of this is the reference to a ‘solution’ to the ‘ethnic problem’ in a magical period of less than two months. To be kind, this is a frivolous approach to the existential dilemma of the Sri Lanka State which has paralyzed this nation for much of its post-independence years.

This ‘ethnic problem’ which the Government treats as casually as tying its collective shoelaces has, we must not forget, led to thousands of lives lost from the majority community as well as the minorities, fractured societies leading to deep mistrust fostered by racist political ideologues and hopelessly perverted the Rule of Law.

That perversion was contributory to the acute economic crisis that the country faces today. The election of unfit rulers to the seat of the Presidency was brought about by this pervasive racist political agenda.

Continue reading ‘If consensus cannot be reached on whether a Tamil or Sinhala “small” Party candidate will serve on the Council, what hope does achieving a ‘solution’ for the ‘ethnic problem’ in two months have, we may well ask?’ »

♥’Kaatriniley Varum Geetham’-Melodiously Sung by M.S. Subbulakshmi in/as “Meera”♫

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs – 6

Madurai Shanmugavadivu Subbulakshmi known as MS Subbulakshmi or more popularly as ‘MS’was a sublime singer who ruled the Indian classical music world for over five decades.Blessed with a divine voice,immeasurable talent and ethereal beauty she captivated the hearts and minds of innumerable fans. MS was acknowledged at the time of Indian Independence as the “Nightingale of India”. Former Indian premier Jawaharlal Nehru once paid her a huge compliment saying ‘Who am I a mere Prime minister before a Queen, the Queen of Music’?

MS Subbulakshmi

MS Subbulakshmi

MS Subbulakshmi was born on September 16th 1916 in the southern city of Madurai in Tamil Nadu. 2016 was her birth centenary year. Subbulakshmi whose pet name in childhood was Kunjamma trained in Carnatic music under Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer and learnt Hindustani music from Pandit Narayanarao Vyas. Subbulakshmi’s mother Shanmugavadivu Ammaal was a Veena exponent hailing from the “Isaivaelalar” community. Her father Subramania Iyer was a Brahmin lawyer. She married Thiyagaraja Sathasivam known as “Kalki”Sathasivam who co – founded the popular Tamil weekly magazine “Kalki” and remained at its administrative helm for many decades.
Continue reading ‘♥’Kaatriniley Varum Geetham’-Melodiously Sung by M.S. Subbulakshmi in/as “Meera”♫’ »

Sivashankar alias “Pottu Ammaan” the LTTE’s Much -Dreaded Intelligence Chief

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran along with many senior LTTE leaders was killed in the military confrontation with Sri Lanka’s armed forces in May 2009. With that military debacle in the Mullivaaikkaal area of Mullaitheevu district, the LTTE – known as the tigers – ceased to be a functional entity in the Island.

Among those reported dead in May 2009 was the LTTE’s much -dreaded intelligence chief Shanmuganathan Sivashankar alias “Pottu Ammaan”. Though Ammaan is spelled by many as Amman with a single“A”,, this writer uses a double A because it is phonetically more accurate in terms of pronunciation. Incidentally “Ammaan” in Jaffna Tamil usage denotes maternal uncle. Many senior LTTE leaders were addressed respectfully as Ammaan by members of the movement in those days.

LTTE Intelligence chief Pottu Ammaan was at the time of the LTTE’s military defeat, the de-facto no 2 of the tigers. The de-jure No 2 was Baby Subramaniam who was second only to Prabhakaran in terms of seniority within LTTE ranks. However It was Pottu Ammaan who functioned operationally as the No 2 . Though reported dead and subsequently pronounced legally dead , the fact remains that Pottu Ammaan’s body or remains were never found. This has led to much speculation about the LTTE intelligence chief not being dead.

This writer has over the years received many queries from readers about Pottu Amman. Many of them ask me whether Pottu Ammaan is yet alive. The fires of doubt in their minds is fuelled by persistent rumours and occasional media reports of a sensational nature. Several readers have also been wanting to know more details about the LTTE intelligence chief.It is against this backdrop therefore that this two-part article focuses on Pottu Ammaan with the aid of some of my earlier writings.

Continue reading ‘Sivashankar alias “Pottu Ammaan” the LTTE’s Much -Dreaded Intelligence Chief’ »

If proper and full implementation of the 13A is achieved within the framework of the present unitary system, then the political process will move towards the next stage of constitutional development providing greater devolution to the Provincial Councils.

By
A.Varathar Rajan Perumal


(A.Varathar. Rajan Perumal was the first Chief Minister of the united North Eastern Province from 1988.-1990)

Since the advent of the 13th Amendment (13A) to the constitution of Sri Lanka, 13A has been facing denunciations from different quarters in Sri Lanka.

It is undeniable that the purpose of the establishment of the Provincial Councils (PCs) has not yet been achieved. Instead, successive Sri Lankan governments have been consistently degrading it, while socio-political forces among the Lankan Tamil community have been disregarding and disapproving of the Provincial Councils based on the 13A. It is not at all worthy of their aspirations and sacrifices, they feel.

After the end of the war against the LTTE, the Tamil political parties, which together have a large vote bank, have been virulently expressing the notion that no political solution would be acceptable to the Tamils other than one which embodies Federalism with the Right to Self-Determination and the unification of the Northern and Eastern Provinces, the Tamil “Home Land”.

But Ignoring ground realities, the leaders of so-called “Tamil Nationalists” parties and influential social leaders among the Lankan Tamils have been assiduously injecting their claims and ambitions into the hearts and minds of the Tamil masses.

Suddenly, since December 2021, the “Tamil nationalist” parties led by R. Sampanthan and C.V. Wigneswaran, for understandable reasons, have been voicing the demand that the Government of India (GoI) should protect the Provincial Councils and ensure the full implementation of the 13A, as it is the duty and responsibility of the GoI since it was a signatory to the Indo-Lanka Peace Accord of 1987. Accordingly, they wrote a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of India. But so far no official representative of the GoI has responded in any manner to that letter.

Continue reading ‘If proper and full implementation of the 13A is achieved within the framework of the present unitary system, then the political process will move towards the next stage of constitutional development providing greater devolution to the Provincial Councils.’ »

Tamil National Alliance meets President Wickremesinghe and group of Ministers for Further Discussions on Reconciliation related matters;”Discussions can be termed Successful only when decisions are implemented” says TNA spokesperson MA Sumanthiran

Fresh discussions between Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe and the opposition Tamil National Alliance (TNA) has focused on the release of political prisoners and lands in former conflict zones, a TNA legislator said.

TNA parliamentarian M A Sumanthiran told reporters Wednesday December 21 evening that the discussion followed an all-party meeting held recently on finding a permanent solution to Sri Lanka’s ethnic issue.

“Last week we had an all party conference on reconciliation. We had a discussionswith he president today on how to take the programme forward.

“As priorities, we discussed the release of political prisoners. It was understood that five can be released already. The Attorney General will advise on the others,” said Sumanthiran.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance meets President Wickremesinghe and group of Ministers for Further Discussions on Reconciliation related matters;”Discussions can be termed Successful only when decisions are implemented” says TNA spokesperson MA Sumanthiran’ »

Delay in Getting assurances from Creditor Nations like China and India is Delaying the IMF Extended Fund Facility of $ 2.9 Billion to Sri Lanka says Central Bank Governor Dr.Nandalal Weerasinghe

By
Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka is waiting for financing assurances from its bilateral creditors, including India and China, to tap support from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to Sri Lanka’s Central Bank Governor P. Nandalal Weerasinghe.

In September, the IMF reached a staff level agreement with Sri Lanka for a $2.9 billion package to help the island nation facing its worst economic crisis in decades. The development came months after Sri Lanka floated the rupee, opted for a preemptive default on its external debt, and increased interest rates sharply to tighten monetary policy.

However, Sri Lanka must now obtain adequate financing assurances from its creditors, for the IMF Board to approve the promised Extended Fund Facility (EFF). Colombo is desperate for the $2.9 billion not because it is a big amount — it can barely meet two months’ worth of imports — but mainly to use the IMF package to qualify for more credit internationally, as the country struggles to recover from the dreadful economic crash that pushed citizens to the streets. Spanning months, the mass protests ousted the former Rajapaksa administration. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who was elected through a parliamentary vote, has vowed to rebuild the island’s devastated economy, while repeatedly acknowledging the enormous challenge the task entails.

Continue reading ‘Delay in Getting assurances from Creditor Nations like China and India is Delaying the IMF Extended Fund Facility of $ 2.9 Billion to Sri Lanka says Central Bank Governor Dr.Nandalal Weerasinghe’ »

Group of SLPP “Independent” MPs Try to Nominate Gammanpila to the Constitutional Council Instead of Siddhathan; TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP Says Tamil Community is Being Denied Due Representation on CC which already has 5 Sinhala&1 Muslim MPs


By

Mirudhula Thambiah

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) yesterday (20) expressed dissatisfaction that a Tamil representative was not permitted to be nominated to the Constitutional Council (CC) by some MPs who had crossed over to the Opposition from the Government.

The TNA had also brought this matter to the notice of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardana during the all-party conference that was held recently at the Presidential Secretariat.

Speaking to The Morning, TNA Spokesman and Opposition MP President’s Counsel M.A. Sumanthiran said yesterday that his party had nominated its MP Dharmalingam Siddarthan to the CC, while those MPs who had crossed over from the Government to the Opposition had wanted to nominate their own MP.

Continue reading ‘Group of SLPP “Independent” MPs Try to Nominate Gammanpila to the Constitutional Council Instead of Siddhathan; TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran MP Says Tamil Community is Being Denied Due Representation on CC which already has 5 Sinhala&1 Muslim MPs’ »

‘Kaanaa Inbam Kaninthathaeno’ – Splendid “Singing in the Rain” Song ♫

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs – 5

I love rain!

One of the things I loved to do as a boy and even as a young adult was to get soaking wet in the rain. If it started raining while I was on my way home from school I simply got wet instead of taking shelter. Fortunately I had loving parents who understood this as well as my other quirks. My mother even let me bathe in the rain at times if it showered heavily.

Sabash Meena SR

I would dance about happily as the raindrops fell on me. I would splash about in the puddles caused by the torrential downpour. Sometimes I would even sing in the rain. When we were small children the elder of my two younger sisters was also allowed to join me in the rain at times. My younger brother was not permitted a rain bath as he had asthma. My youngest sister was too small for a rain bath. Our neighbours would look on aghast at this unconventional spectacle of myself and my sister merrily bathing in the rain. The kids in the neighbourhood would watch us enviously as we enjoyed ourselves.Of course if there was thunder and lightning I/we would be summoned inside immediately.

Continue reading ‘‘Kaanaa Inbam Kaninthathaeno’ – Splendid “Singing in the Rain” Song ♫’ »

According to the Institute of Health Policy’s opinion tracker survey Ratings , President Ranil Wickremesinghe with 45% rating is less unpopular than Opposition Sajith Premadasa with a net unpopularity rating of 57%.

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Winds don’t blow as ships desire.” Arabic proverb

Before Gotabaya Rajapaksa, there was S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike. Before organic only, there was Sinhala only. And the related transformation of Vidyodaya and Vidyalankara from monastic colleges to secular universities. Like Sinhala only, this was an election promise; like Sinhala only, this was implemented with no forethought or planning.

The first signs of the coming malaise were evident by 1962 prompting the government to appoint a three member Universities Commission, headed by D.C.R. Gunwardane. In its report, made public in 1963, the commission called the 1958 bill an “ill-considered and irresponsible” piece of legislation pushed through by “political Bhikkus” who “dictated policies, dominated public affairs, and incited actions which people in their normal senses would have considered even possible.”

These political monks were also “responsible in large measure for inflaming the racial and religious passions that erupted in such sickening fashion in the early part of 1958,” the report pointed out.

The commissioners, all of them Buddhist civil servants, concluded that as “the higher education of Bhikku and higher education of the laity cannot be brought under one organisation, the two pirivena universities should cease to exist at the earliest possible moment.” The fusion, if continued, “would have a disastrous effect on the entire Sangha,” the report warned. (All quotes are from Prof. H.L. Seneviratne’s The Work of Kings).

Continue reading ‘According to the Institute of Health Policy’s opinion tracker survey Ratings , President Ranil Wickremesinghe with 45% rating is less unpopular than Opposition Sajith Premadasa with a net unpopularity rating of 57%.’ »

CID Questions and Records Statements from 23 Persons Regarding the Abduction and Murder of Janashakthi Group Director Dinesh Schaffter


BY Kiara Warnasuriya

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has questioned 23 persons in relation to the abduction and murder of businessman Dinesh Schaffter and has recorded statements from them.

According to Police Media Spokesman, Senior Superintendent of Police and Attorney Nihal Thalduwa, two teams of detectives are investigating the available closed-circuit-television (CCTV) camera footage, and conducting a crime scene analysis.

Addressing the media yesterday (18), Thalduwa said that according to the post-mortem report, Schaffter was murdered and that the investigations which were initiated by the Borella Police have now been expanded to the Organised Crime Investigation Division under the CID, as per the instructions of the Inspector General of Police.

Thalduwa further stated that the Police are taking all measures to obtain CCTV footage and phone records related to the incident, and that a separate investigation is underway to identify any eyewitnesses of the murder.

Continue reading ‘CID Questions and Records Statements from 23 Persons Regarding the Abduction and Murder of Janashakthi Group Director Dinesh Schaffter’ »

‘Democracy Still Born; Lanka’s rejection of Equal Rights at Independence’ by Rajan and Kirupaimalar Hoole offers a reflective introspection on the long road by which a promising nation-state became a bankrupt beggar of South Asia.


By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

When Rajan Hoole requested a review for the book, ‘Democracy Still Born; Lanka’s rejection of Equal Rights at Independence’ (Rajan Hoole and Kirupaimalar Hoole, Perera-Hussein Publishing, 2022) in characteristically succinct style a few months ago, I demurred on seeing the weighty tome (730pp).

The twisted creature of the Sri Lankan State

‘How can justice be done to such an exercise?’ This was the first and foremost question put to him with force. But an unspoken and perchance more complex dilemma lurked therein. Put bluntly, engaging with the past is exhausting when the every-day moment is filled with the helpless trauma of witnessing a country inexorably fold in onto itself in despair as financial collapse, massive social unrest and civil breakdown form a perfect trifecta of concomitant evils.

Indeed, it is extraordinarily demoralising to rationalise what citizenship has been reduced to, in the first instance. That said, this was not a request that could be declined easily. And so, even as pressing concerns of the every-day took over, ‘Democracy Still Born’ was always at the corner of my mind, awaiting a suitably philosophical time to ruminate over labours of unmistakably (if not, love) much reasoned effort to ‘understand history’ as the authors put it.

Now, an attempt is made at long last, to read through, absorb and cull relevant thoughts from the book. This is albeit with the caveat that such reflections are in no way meant to be an exhaustive account.

Limited column spaces would render that impossible. Rather, this is more a selective extraction of what resonates personally, namely the intertwining of the law and the performance of the judiciary vis a vis the strange morphing of the Sri Lankan State.

Continue reading ‘‘Democracy Still Born; Lanka’s rejection of Equal Rights at Independence’ by Rajan and Kirupaimalar Hoole offers a reflective introspection on the long road by which a promising nation-state became a bankrupt beggar of South Asia.’ »

“The CEB and most of the CEB unions are not genuine.There are some CEB officers who have been there for 20 to 30 years and all their family members have crawled into the CEB. Besides that, they try to do the biggest possible harm to the CEB, which is a national asset.” – Ex-Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne


By

Marianne David

A cost-reflective tariff system alone is not sufficient to effectively address the current power crisis and the country must simultaneously focus on other areas, especially renewable energy, asserted MP John Seneviratne, a former Power and Energy Minister, in an interview with The Sunday Morning.

A large number of renewable energy projects that had been envisaged had not been commissioned due to lethargic attitudes and various obstacles being placed in their way, he said, adding that Independent Power Producers (IPPs) who were very powerful in Sri Lanka had minimised the progress of the country’s renewable energy sector.

Seneviratne, who contested under the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) banner and now sits independently in the House, opined that in order to generate sufficient power at this juncture at a cheap rate, Sri Lanka’s only options were coal or Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG).

Seneviratne also emphasised that the only way forward was through reform. “There must be reform. The entire setup must be reformed to make it more efficient and also more economical,” he asserted.


Following are excerpts of the interview:

As a former Minister of Power, how do you view the ongoing power crisis in the country?

As a person who has some knowledge about the power sector, I should say that now it is already too late for us to switch over to renewable energy.

As far back as 2008, I inaugurated the Sustainable Energy Authority. The authority was started in order to encourage the creation of renewable energy based on hydro, solar, and wind power – these were the main components making significant contributions. At that time we had small wind power projects, providing about 3 MW in Hambantota and about 10 MW in Puttalam.

In order to encourage the generation of power through those sources, we formed the Sustainable Energy Authority with the approval of the then Cabinet.

However, there were certain obstacles preventing the generation of renewable energy.

Continue reading ‘“The CEB and most of the CEB unions are not genuine.There are some CEB officers who have been there for 20 to 30 years and all their family members have crawled into the CEB. Besides that, they try to do the biggest possible harm to the CEB, which is a national asset.” – Ex-Power and Energy Minister John Seneviratne’ »

While Anura Kumara Dissanayake is deservedly the most popular political leader as recent opinion polls show, his party, which includes primitives like Lal Kantha, has no comprehensive philosophy of economic growth.

By

Rajasinghe

President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga (CBK) was on a State visit to China. She was entertained at a State banquet by then President Jiang Zemin in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

There was an interesting chatter at the head table because the Chinese President was a good English speaker. While conversing, they looked around the ceremonial table along which the accompanying senior Chinese and Sri Lankan officials were seated.

Then Jiang Zemin spotted Nanda Godage – a senior executive of the Board of Investment (BOI) and confidante of Upali Wijewardene who managed our Free trade Zones (FTZs) like Katunayake and Biyagama – seated on the Sri Lankan side.

“I know Godage; he was my liaison officer when I visited your Biyagama FTZ to learn about export zones on orders from President Deng Xiaoping when I was a party official in Shanghai. I am happy to see him again here in Beijing,” the Chinese President told a flabbergasted CBK.

Continue reading ‘While Anura Kumara Dissanayake is deservedly the most popular political leader as recent opinion polls show, his party, which includes primitives like Lal Kantha, has no comprehensive philosophy of economic growth.’ »

Investigations into the killing of well-known businessman and Janashakthi Group Director Dinesh Schaffter widened with three police teams probing the death and statements recorded so far of 23 people.

By Chris Kamalendran

Investigations into the killing of well-known businessman and Janashakthi Group Director Dinesh Schaffter were widened yesterday with three police teams probing the death and statements of 23 people recorded so far.

One of the key questions the investigators were trying to resolve was the person or persons responsible for the killing and the motive.

Though the Borella cemetery, where Mr Schaffter was found with his hands bound and a zip cord tied around his neck inside his care, did not have CCTV cameras, the police have secured other CCTV footage from nearby buildings and believe they will be useful in the investigations.

Continue reading ‘Investigations into the killing of well-known businessman and Janashakthi Group Director Dinesh Schaffter widened with three police teams probing the death and statements recorded so far of 23 people.’ »

Famous Iranian Actress Taraneh Alidoosti Arrested by Authorities on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests gripping the country, Announces Iran’s state media


Iranian authorities arrested one of the country’s most famous actors, Taraneh Alidoosti, on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests that grip the country, state media said Saturday.

The report by IRNA said Taraneh Alidoosti, star of the Oscar-winning movie “The Salesman,” was detained a week after she made a post on Instagram expressing solidarity with the first man recently executed for crimes allegedly committed during the nationwide protests.

According to the report published on the state media’s official Telegram channel, Ms. Alidoosti was arrested because she did not provide ’’any documents in line with her claims.″

Continue reading ‘Famous Iranian Actress Taraneh Alidoosti Arrested by Authorities on charges of spreading falsehoods about nationwide protests gripping the country, Announces Iran’s state media’ »

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

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This Article written last year is re-posted here with slight changes to denote the 16th death anniversary of former LTTE political strategist Anton Stanislaus Balasingham on 14 December 2022)

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) ‘Arasiyal Madhiuraignar’ (Political Adviser) Anton Stanislaus Balasingham passed away 16 years ago at his South London residence on 14 December 2006.

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

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

CID Begins Probe into Mysterious Death of Colombo Business Leader Dinesh Schaffter by Pursuing Multiple Lines of Inquiry; Colombo Magistrate Court issueds order Preventing Sri Lankan cricket commentator Brian Thomas from leaving the country, in connection with the ongoing investigation.


By

Meera Srinivasan

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sri Lanka police on Friday (Dec 16) began a probe into the death of a well-known Colombo-based businessman, apparently attacked and abandoned in mysterious circumstances.

The incident, which has shaken many in Sri Lanka, came to light late on Thursday when Dinesh Schaffter, a noted business leader and former cricket administrator, was found seriously injured and tied to his car seat, on the premises of a cemetery at the heart of Colombo. Local media reports said he was rushed to the hospital, where he died hours later.

Continue reading ‘CID Begins Probe into Mysterious Death of Colombo Business Leader Dinesh Schaffter by Pursuing Multiple Lines of Inquiry; Colombo Magistrate Court issueds order Preventing Sri Lankan cricket commentator Brian Thomas from leaving the country, in connection with the ongoing investigation.’ »

Over 16,000 Military Personnel Given Voluntary Early Retirement in a bid to Revive Sri Lanka’s Crisis ridden Economy by reducing Govt Expenditure for the Defence Sector

Sri Lanka’s army has decided to vacate posts of over 16,000 military personnel on a budget proposed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe as the island nation struggling to reduce government spending ahead of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) deal.

President WIckremesinghe last month proposed to give voluntary early retirement for military personnel in order to reduce the spending on military and train retired military personnel for other skills aiming to use the human resources for the country’s economy.

Ministry of Defence declared general amnesty for the Tri-Forces absentees, enabling legal discharge from the respective services. The period of general amnesty is in force from 15 November 2022 until 31 December 2022.

Continue reading ‘Over 16,000 Military Personnel Given Voluntary Early Retirement in a bid to Revive Sri Lanka’s Crisis ridden Economy by reducing Govt Expenditure for the Defence Sector’ »

France is actively working with other members of the Paris Club group of creditors to reach an agreement soon to assist Sri Lanka to overcome its on-going debt crisis says Jean-François Pactet the new French Ambassador to Colombo


By Chandani Kirinde

France is actively working with other members of the Paris Club group of creditors to ensure that an agreement is reached as soon as possible to assist the country to overcome its on-going debt crisis, the new French Ambassador to Sri Lanka Jean-François Pactet said yesterday.

“We all can agree that it is in the interest of everyone concerned that an agreement is found soon. Paris Club members are working quite keenly to see such an agreement is finalised,” Ambassador Pactet said.

Speaking to a group of journalists last afternoon, the French Ambassador said that since August, the Paris Club has been working continuously, sharing information with creditors to expedite the process.

“There are positive discussions taking place. We are reaching out to the creditors in order to come to a solution as soon as possible,” the Ambassador said.

Continue reading ‘France is actively working with other members of the Paris Club group of creditors to reach an agreement soon to assist Sri Lanka to overcome its on-going debt crisis says Jean-François Pactet the new French Ambassador to Colombo’ »

Businessman Dinesh Schaffter (52) of Janashakthi Group dies in The Colombo National Hospital ICU after being found Unconscious in a car at the Borella Cemetery being tied to the driver’s seat with a wire around his neck.

By Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya

Fifty two year old businessman, Dinesh Schaffter, a director of Janashakthi Group, who had been found tied inside a car at the Borella General Cemetery with serious injuries earlier this evening has died while receiving treatment at the National Hospital in Colombo.

Police said the businessman Dinesh Schaffter had left his home to attend a meeting this afternoon.

However, he had not responded since evening today and he was found in the Cemetery when his wife located the businessman via GPS.

Continue reading ‘Businessman Dinesh Schaffter (52) of Janashakthi Group dies in The Colombo National Hospital ICU after being found Unconscious in a car at the Borella Cemetery being tied to the driver’s seat with a wire around his neck.’ »

22 SLPP Ministers and MPs File Writ in Appeal Court Seeking Order to Probe Whether Ex-Army Chief Shavendra Silva and IGP Chandana Wickremaratne Wilfully Disobeyed Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Directive to Prevent Harm to Property and Persons on May 9 2022


By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

Filing a writ petition in Court of Appeal, 22 government Parliamentarians representing SLPP and several others have sought an order directing the authorities to conduct a comprehensive investigation in order to ascertain as to whether former Army Commander General Shavendra Silva, IGP Chandana Wickremaratne or any other respondents have willfully disobeyed the orders given by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to take action to prevent the damages to property and people following the attack on Galle Face protesters on May 9.

Ministers Bandula Gunawardena, Prasanna Ranatunga and 37 SLPP activists including 20 parliamentarians whose properties were damaged or destroyed following the mob attacks filed this petition naming former Army Commander General Shavendra Silva, Defence Secretary Kamal Gunarathne, Senior DIG Deshabandu Thennakoon, Army Commander Lieutenant General H.L.V.M. Liyanage and several others as respondents. The Court of Appeal yesterday fixed the petition for support on January 16. This petition is to be supported by President’s Counsel Sanjeeva Jayawardena.

Continue reading ‘22 SLPP Ministers and MPs File Writ in Appeal Court Seeking Order to Probe Whether Ex-Army Chief Shavendra Silva and IGP Chandana Wickremaratne Wilfully Disobeyed Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Directive to Prevent Harm to Property and Persons on May 9 2022’ »

✿ “Roja Malarae Rajakumari” ♛ ♥ ~ Popular Song by PB Sreenivas – P.Susheela Duo ♫

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs -4

“Ruritanian Romance” is a genre consisting of stories, novels, dramas and films set in a fictional country. Anthony Hope’s novel “Prisoner of Zenda” based in the imaginary state of Ruritania was the pioneering novel that spawned this popular genre. Literature, theatre and films of this genre are generally about romances between Royalty and commoners occurring in a fictional country with the melodramatic backdrop of plots, intrigues, action and adventure.Many films have been made in many parts of the world that could be categorised as belonging to the “Ruritanian Romance “genre.

"Veerathirumagan"

“Veerathirumagan Aanandhan ♥ Sachu”

“Veerathirumagan” was a Tamil film belonging to the Ruritanian romance genre, It was released in India on May 3rd 1962.The film was screened some months later in Sri Lanka then known as Ceylon. Even before the film hit the screens , the songs in the movie popularised by Radio became runaway hits. The Tamil commercial service of “Radio Ceylon”played a big role in this. In those days “Radio Ceylon” or “Ceylon Radio “ as it was known in India, was most popular over the air waves in Tamil Nadu.
Continue reading ‘✿ “Roja Malarae Rajakumari” ♛ ♥ ~ Popular Song by PB Sreenivas – P.Susheela Duo ♫’ »

How can the Tamil minority (let us leave aside its conniving and compromising politicians) be asked to accept any talk of ‘reconciliation’ even at face value when the record of the State towards the Sinhala majority has turned so violent?

By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

Truth and Reconciliation is now again in the air, we are sublimely told by the Govern-ment of Sri Lanka. President Ranil Wickremesinghe, along with his merry men and women in Parliament in the Pohottuwa ranks are singing to the eminently hypocritical refrain of truth and reconciliation commissions and the like.
‘Reconciliation with the North but not the South?


‘Reconciliation with the North but not the South?

It is perhaps only in this country that such bare faced political chicanery takes place while those in ‘civil society’ who should speak out more in regard to that contradiction, preserving a discreet silence.

How can the Tamil minority (let us leave aside its conniving and compromising politicians) be asked to accept any talk of ‘reconciliation’ even at face value when the record of the State towards the Sinhala majority has turned so violent?

In other words, what is talk of truth and reconciliation pray, when the President justifies police excesses against protestors and takes angry pot shots at oversight agencies of citizens’ rights, namely the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka, at whim and fancy?

Moreover, these are ‘reconciliation’ tunes that we have heard often times before, most recently during the ‘yahapalanaya’ period of the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition (2015-2019).

Continue reading ‘How can the Tamil minority (let us leave aside its conniving and compromising politicians) be asked to accept any talk of ‘reconciliation’ even at face value when the record of the State towards the Sinhala majority has turned so violent?’ »

“Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal”-Magnificient Singing by T.R.Mahalingam ♫♥

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Favourite Film Songs -3

“Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal”is perhaps the most popular song sung on screen by the magnificient singer and actor of Tamil cinema – Thenkarai Ramakrishnan Mahalingam generally known as T.R.Mahalingam. He sings this number in the film “Maalayitta Mangai”produced in 1958 by poet and film lyricist “Kavignar” Kannadasan who also penned the words of this immortal song. The melody was composed by the “monarchs of light music” Viswanathan – Ramamoorthy. The song is picturised in the film on TR Mahalingam, actress Mainavathi and a troupe of dancing girls. Mainavathi is the sister in real life of actress Pandari Bai who also acts in the film.

TR Mahalingam (1923–1978)

TR Mahalingam (1923–1978)

The song “Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal, Nilaavena Sirikkum Malark Kodiaal” has been one of my favourite film songs since childhood. I first heard it on radio and later saw it being sung on the screen when “Maalayitta Mangai” was screened at the Vel theatre in Chavakachcheri. The Vel theatre was an asbestos, aluminium and tin structure with a single projector. So there were two intervals. The theatre screened old Tamil films every two or three days. I would frequent this theatre regularly when I was home for the school holidays. It was at “Vel” seated on the gallery last bench, munching peanuts that I first saw and heard TR Mahalingam sing “Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal” on screen. In later years I got a DVD of the film and CD of the songs that I watch and listen to very often.
Continue reading ‘“Senthamizh Thaen Mozhiyaal”-Magnificient Singing by T.R.Mahalingam ♫♥’ »