Sirimavo Bandaranaike: The Grand Old Lady of Sri Lankan Politics

Sirimavo Bandaranaike-(April 17, 1916-October 10, 2000)

Sirima Bandaranaike-(April 17, 1916-October 10, 2000)-pic: sundaytimes.lk

by

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

October 10th 2021 was the 21st death anniversary of the world’s first woman prime minister Mrs.Sirima Bandaranaike.

I am therefore reproducing on my blog an article written about her by me 21 years years ago. It was published in the Indian news-magazine “Frontline” of Aug 19th – Sep 01st 2000 (Vol 17-Issue 17) under the heading “Exit of an Elder Stateswoman”.

I wrote the article after Mrs. Bandaranaike resigned as Prime minister on August 10th 2000. Ill – health had been the primary cause for this decision.

I realised then that the days of the grand old lady were numbered. I thought I must write something about her that should be read by her or have it read to her while she was among us rather than pay tribute to her after her death. I also wanted it to have international exposure.

Continue reading ‘Sirimavo Bandaranaike: The Grand Old Lady of Sri Lankan Politics’ »

The “Rajapaksa-Rajapaksa-Rajapaksa” government of 2020 onwards must be wholly dumb, deaf and blind to the roars of fury exploding in their favoured constituencies in Sri Lanka.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

If the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe coalition of 2015-2019 was tone deaf to outraged mutterings of the citizenry at the time, surely the Rajapaksa-Rajapaksa-Rajapaksa government of 2020 onwards must be wholly dumb, deaf and blind to the roars of fury exploding in their favoured constituencies in Sri Lanka.

On splendid ironies and political victories

As farmers who once gave sweeping mandates to the Government burn their fields along with effigies of the Agriculture Minister and education trade unionists angrily challenge the Public Security Minister, Catholic priests join Buddhist clergy to cry ‘mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa’ for their part in supporting ruling politicians to come to power.

Indeed, Sri Lanka’s political elite may well remind themselves of Marie Antoinette, famously (though spuriously) maligned as having remarked, ‘if they do not have bread, let them eat cake’ to the starving poor who rose up in revolution and disposed the last queen of France and her aristocratic companions through the guillotine.

In that same airy fashion, is the Government showing the middle finger at protesting farmers, in effect, to say, ‘if they do not have rice, let them have milk rice (kiribath)’? This is of course, a splendid irony not only because both rice and coconuts are becoming luxuries in this land (of rice and coconuts) but also in view of the fact that political victories as well as political assassinations of Presidents of this country have been ritually and triumphantly ‘celebrated’ by the faithful with ‘kiribath.’

Continue reading ‘The “Rajapaksa-Rajapaksa-Rajapaksa” government of 2020 onwards must be wholly dumb, deaf and blind to the roars of fury exploding in their favoured constituencies in Sri Lanka.’ »

Let us keep praying for the political escape from the wider Rajapaksa governance — moving next from Basil Rajapaksa to Namal Rajapaksa.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The Pandora Papers have moved away from the focus of politics and the fight against corruption.

We can await the report of the Bribery and Corruption Commission, which has its own way of giving innocence to the guilty; much more than the fighters against corruption ever expect. But that is the stuff of Saubhagya.

The Pandora Papers (PP) have also shown the great delight of Nirupama Rajapaksa – Nadesan, in settling down with her children in London. That is just one big success story of the PP. There will be much more success to follow from the PP, with the Rajapaksa politics moving on to bigger dominance in this Siri Lankava, running in circles of disaster to find foreign exchange, despite the big promises of the Central Bank’s Nivard Cabraal.

Continue reading ‘Let us keep praying for the political escape from the wider Rajapaksa governance — moving next from Basil Rajapaksa to Namal Rajapaksa.’ »

How and Why the Senate was Abolished by the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Govt 50 Years ago on October 2nd 1971

By

Dr Nihal Jayawickrama

It was fifty years ago, on October 2, 1971, that the Governor-General, William Gopallawa, assented to the Bill that sought to abolish the Senate, the upper chamber of the Parliament of Ceylon. It was an event that was precipitated by the Senators themselves.

The Senate was one of the five constitutional safeguards that were included in the 1946 Constitution in order to remove the fear of “domination and oppression” by a “permanent and unassailable majority” which existed especially in the minds of Ceylon’s ethnic and religious minorities. The other entrenched safeguards were multi-member constituencies in those electorates in which a substantial minority, whether racial, religious or otherwise, lived; six nominated members of the House of Representatives to represent interests which were either not represented or were inadequately represented; an independent Public Service Commission which would guarantee strict impartiality in all matters affecting appointments; and a prohibition on Parliament enacting legislation either to confer a privilege or to impose a disability on persons of any particular community or religion.

Continue reading ‘How and Why the Senate was Abolished by the Sirimavo Bandaranaike Govt 50 Years ago on October 2nd 1971’ »

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration has strengthened the case for international jurisdiction for crimes committed in Sri Lanka by Dropping Charges Against Ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda in the Notorious “Navy 11” Case.

(Text of Editorial appearing in the “Daily Financial Times” of October 16th 2021 headlined “Opening the door to international jurisdiction)

This week the Attorney General informed the Court of Appeal that his Department had decided to drop its indictments against former Navy Commander, Admiral of the Fleet Wasantha Karannagoda, who was previously named as an accused in a case concerning the abduction, extortion and murder of 11 Tamil civilians. The abductions for ransom occurred in 2008-2009 when Karannagoda served as Commander of the Navy. Under Attorney General Dappula De Livera, the AG’s Department had indicted several high-ranking Sri Lanka Navy officers on charges of abducting and murdering the 11 young Tamil men.

The ‘Navy 11 case’ as it is better known has come to be regarded as one of the most emblematic of impunity within the Sri Lankan criminal justice system. The case is unique, in that the witnesses and the accused are past and serving members of the Sri Lanka Navy. While Karannagoda commanded the country’s naval forces, a group of officer racketeers were using the fog of war to abduct wealthy Tamil and Muslim youth and then extort their parents for money and gold.

Continue reading ‘The Gotabaya Rajapaksa Administration has strengthened the case for international jurisdiction for crimes committed in Sri Lanka by Dropping Charges Against Ex-Navy Chief Wasantha Karannagoda in the Notorious “Navy 11” Case.’ »

Pandora Papers have brought in their wake, a spectacle of absurdities concerning businessman Thirukumar Nadesan and his politician wife Nirupama Rajapaksa whose holdings have been prominently featured in the exposures


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

First the Panama Papers, then the Paradise Papers, now the Pandora Papers, next will we have the ‘Pappadum’ Papers, a wag may well cynically question?

Cold logic of ‘tip of the iceberg’ disclosures

That passing query has hidden meaning in Sri Lanka, given that the ‘pappadum’, a flamboyant looking and delicious tasting puff lends little nutritional value to the meal that it accompanies.

Likewise, the continuing exposes of ‘politically exposed’ Sri Lankans, caught in the net of the global elite who stash their money in tax havens, shell companies and offshore accounts, have all the sensational flavour of a ‘pappadum.’ But why do they have no real ‘bite’ in the unmasking?

Such disclosures in a land once acclaimed as a ‘paradise isle’ but now more a ‘parasites isle’ are typically greeted with weary shrugs and momentary excitement. This soon fades as another juicy scandal occupies public attention. Much of these ‘open secrets’ are familiar, told and retold in the style of cosy firewood chats, each time with a little bit more colourful embellishment as it were. Even so, captured in the cold logic of meticulously documented reports released by a global investigative journalists forum, such ‘tip of the iceberg’ disclosures should shock, stun the country and its long suffering people.

Continue reading ‘Pandora Papers have brought in their wake, a spectacle of absurdities concerning businessman Thirukumar Nadesan and his politician wife Nirupama Rajapaksa whose holdings have been prominently featured in the exposures’ »

The rush by the ruling Rajapaksas to farm organically has plunged Sri Lanka’s economy into crisis; Like the country’s crops, the Rajapaksas are in need of a pick-me-up -The Economist


(This article appeared in the Asia section of “The Economist” print edition under the headline “No more Mr Rice Guy”)

Staring glumly at his paddy field in the depths of rural Sri Lanka, B. R. Weeraratne sighs. The regular incursions of greedy elephants have been bad enough. But the government’s outright ban on agrochemicals will, he fears, slash his yields of nadu and samba, two of the most popular varieties of rice. Though the 56-year-old likes the idea of organic farming in principle, he thinks “the soil, the plants and the farmers all need time to learn it.” It should be phased in. Otherwise farmers like him may be flung into destitution.

But Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Sri Lanka’s president, is adamant. The former army officer was elected in 2019 largely on his reputation for ruthless dynamism. In 2009, as secretary of defence under his brother Mahinda, then the president, he brutally ended a long civil war against Tamil rebels. As urban-development secretary he “beautified” cities by kicking thousands of people out of slums. As president he has taken a military approach to tackling covid-19 by bringing in the army alongside medical staff. More than 70% of over-11s have been double-jabbed.

Continue reading ‘The rush by the ruling Rajapaksas to farm organically has plunged Sri Lanka’s economy into crisis; Like the country’s crops, the Rajapaksas are in need of a pick-me-up -The Economist’ »

Birth Pangs and Teething Troubles of a Newspaper:The Launching of the Sunday and Daily Island Newspapers 40 Years Ago in October and November 1981


by Vijitha Yapa

(Vijitha Yapa is the Founder Editor of the “Sunday Island” and “The Island”Daily. Both publications launched in October and November 1981 celebrate their 40th anniversary this year)

The person at the other end of the phone calling from Nallur was very angry. “Mr Editor, you have killed me in your paper today”. I did not ask him where he was speaking from, as he may treat it as an insult. I did not know what he was speaking about and asked what story he was referring to and after listening to him, told him to call me back in half an hour. There were no ubiquitous mobile phones at that time nor easy access to telephones in the eighties.

The story revolved around the Coroner of Nallur, Mr Francis, committing suicide and Dr Watson performing the autopsy. The call was from Mr Francis who said it was the other way round. I asked the sub editor for the original story submitted by the Nallur correspondent and what the sub editor had edited and compared it with what had been printed in the Island that morning.

Continue reading ‘Birth Pangs and Teething Troubles of a Newspaper:The Launching of the Sunday and Daily Island Newspapers 40 Years Ago in October and November 1981’ »

Revisiting the Attack on Thirukkumar Nadesan at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu by Pro-LTTE Goons.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Pandora Papers are a series of papers being continuously published since October 3rd 2021 by the Washington based International Consortium of Investigative Journalism(ICIJ).The ICIJ is a worldwide network of 280 Investigative journalists and more than 100 Media organizations from many different countries spanning the globe. The Pandora papers are based on 11.8 million documents uncovered by ICIJ journalists pertaining to secret offshore accounts, “shell” companies and covert business dealings undertaken by some of the rich,famous and powerful persons of this world. The Pandora papers published so far have named and possibly shamed, 35 past and present world leaders as well as over 500 persons comprising celebrities, multi-millionaires, politicians, public officials and ruling dynasty members. The prominent personalities mentioned cover a wide spectrum ranging from Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to retired Indian Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

Sri Lanka too has been caught up in the exciting controversy after a detailed article concerning two Sri Lankan personalities by Italian woman journalist Scilla Alecci was published in Pandora Papers. This article titled “Pandora papers: Sri Lankan power couple piled up luxury homes, artwo rks and cash offshore as ruling family rose and rose”was about Sri Lankan businessman and commercial entrepreneur Thirukkumar Nadesan and his politician wife Nirupama Rajapaksa.Nirupama is the daughter of former cabinet minister George Rajapaksa and grand daughter of former state councillor Don Mathew Rajapaksa. She is also the niece of Chamal.Mahind,Gotabaya and Basil Rajapaksa. Nirupama Rajapaks has served as Parliamentarian and State minister in the past.
Continue reading ‘Revisiting the Attack on Thirukkumar Nadesan at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu by Pro-LTTE Goons.’ »

Charismatic Actor -Politician Vijaya Kumaratunga: 75th Birth Anniversary Tribute

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This 75th Birthday Tribue to Vijaya Kumaratunga written last year is being re-posted here without any changes to commemorate the actor-politico’s 76th birth anniversary.)

Kovilage Vijaya Anthony Kumaratunga, known to the world as Vijaya Kumaratunga, was born in Seeduwa on 9 October 1945. Vijaya was an endearing personality with an enduring vision whom I liked, admired and respected very much. He was a man who envisaged the transformation of Sri Lanka into an inclusive, multi-ethnic, egalitarian and plural nation. A much-loved man of the masses who may have altered the destiny of this resplendent isle in a very positive manner, had he not been felled in the prime of life by foul assassins. A man whose worth is increasingly valued in the present time where communal discord is deliberately promoted for short-term political gain.

I write this week about the beloved actor-turned-politician Vijaya Kumaratunga whose 75th birth anniversary falls on 9 October.I have written some articles about Vijaya in the past. I will be drawing on some of them in writing this column which will focus on the much loved charismatic actor cum politician.

Continue reading ‘Charismatic Actor -Politician Vijaya Kumaratunga: 75th Birth Anniversary Tribute’ »

Rishad Bathiudeen Targeted in Witch Hunt After his Fall From Rajapaksa Grace

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

United National Party Leader and National list MP Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed concern over the continued detention of Wanni District Parliamentarian, All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader and former Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has been a MP without a break since July 1977, said in Parliament on 4 October that Bathiudeen should either be prosecuted if there was any evidence regarding his involvement in the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks or be released if there was no evidence against him.

Bathiudeen was arrested and detained on 24 April under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979 as amended for investigations into his alleged involvement in the Easter Sunday bombings of 21 April 2019. In a further development the Colombo Magistrate’s Court also remanded Bathiudeen in September 2021 in connection with the death in July 1921 of a 16-year-old girl working as a domestic aide at his residence. Incidentally Rishad was under detention when the death occurred.

Continue reading ‘Rishad Bathiudeen Targeted in Witch Hunt After his Fall From Rajapaksa Grace’ »

Veteran Tamil actor, Srikanth who Debuted in 1965 With Jayalalithaa in “Vennira Aadai” and Acted in Over 200 films in Career Spanning Four Decades Passes Away in Chennai

By
A Subramani & Neeraja Ramesh

Jayalalithaa’s first hero and veteran actor, Srikanth, passed away in Chennai on Tuesday. He was 81. Srikanth’s demise was first announced by Nadigar Sangam (Actors Association) on Tuesday evening.

Srikanth debuted with Jayalalithaa in Vennira Aadai (1965) and went on to do memorable roles in a series of K Balachandar classics like Bama Vijayam, Poova Thalaiya and Ethir Neechal, besides comedies like Kasethan Kadavulada.

Continue reading ‘Veteran Tamil actor, Srikanth who Debuted in 1965 With Jayalalithaa in “Vennira Aadai” and Acted in Over 200 films in Career Spanning Four Decades Passes Away in Chennai’ »

Are there leaders in the country who are willing to join hands with others in a bid to turn the country around?

By M.A. Sumanthiran

(The writer is a President’s Counsel and a Member of Parliament representing the Ilankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi)

Sri Lanka is blessed with rich natural resources and a manageable population. We were ruled by foreign powers for 450 years, yet when we attained independence in 1948, the country’s fiscal position was very sound. Economically, we were ahead of Japan, Singapore, and a host of other Asian countries. We strove for independence as a joint nation of Sinhalese, Tamils, and Muslims with the claim that somehow, by self-rule, we would make the country move further towards prosperity and splendour.

A look back at the post-Independence history of seven decades shows us that we have gone in the opposite direction to stability and prosperity. So proud of the fact that we have become our own masters at last – that we exercise sovereignty by ourselves – yet we have mishandled that authority and reduced our country to a state of penury. All the things that we are proud of – our rich linguistic and cultural heritages and religions – have been the very things that have divided and separated our people. It cannot be a matter of pride that we have spent over half of the post-Independence era violently fighting each other.

It is true that we – the Sinhalese and Tamils – have our own rich heritages. They are separate and distinct to the extent that we speak different languages, and the majority of these two polities follow different religions. However, we also have a shared heritage and a distinct Sri Lankan culture, to which others – Moors, Malays, Burghers, and Christians – too belong. Such rich and diverse cultures and traditions ought to have been celebrated and nurtured for us to have become another Singapore – the country which went ahead of us after learning from us what not to do.

Tamil is one of the, if not the, ancient languages of the world; it is prehistoric, having its origins in South India and spoken in dozens of countries of the world today. It has also given birth to a few other languages and dialects. Sinhala too has a history of over 2,000 years. It has intertwined with Buddhism, which was brought to our country from India, and a strong Sinhala-Buddhist culture and tradition has emerged and taken root in this country. There are Tamils and Sinhalese who are Christians, with a separate subculture, but nevertheless remain as much an authentic people within the Sri Lankan polity. The same can be said of Muslims as well; though considered a separate ethnic and religious community, they have over the years become enmeshed with the larger Sri Lankan identity.

Continue reading ‘Are there leaders in the country who are willing to join hands with others in a bid to turn the country around?’ »

How Film Actor Gamini Fonseka Thrashed Dehiwela Strongman Karthelis in a Fist Fight on the Galle Road.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Gamini Fonseka was the uncrowned king of Sinhala cinema for nearly three decades. He was the first and arguably the sole super star of Sinhala cinema.Notwithstanding the brilliant creators of our times who have raised the standards of Sinhala cinema, one is unable to imagine or visualise Sinhala cinema without thinking of Gamini Fonseka. Sinhala cinema is certainly not Gamini Fonseka but without Gamini Fonseka there is no Sinhala cinema either. His death on September 30th 2004 marked an end of an epoch!

Gamini Fonseka (21 March 1936 – 30 September 2004)

In keeping with the practice of devoting at least one article in the beginning of each month to a cinema-related topic, this column focuses on Gamini Fonseka this week. As I have stated on more than one occasion, Sri Lankan Superstar Gamini Fonseka remains my favourite actor on the Sinhala silver screen since childhood.My all-time favourite Sinhala film hero was- and forever will be – Gamini Fonseka. It is in this context therefore that I write this article to commemorate his seventeenth death anniversary.
Continue reading ‘How Film Actor Gamini Fonseka Thrashed Dehiwela Strongman Karthelis in a Fist Fight on the Galle Road.’ »

SWRD Bandaranaike’s Flirtation With Federalism.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike known as S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike was the fourth Prime Minister of Independent Sri Lanka known then as Ceylon. SWRD who was born on 8 January 1899 died due to assassination on 26 September 1959. This year therefore marks the 112th anniversary of his birth and 62nd anniversary of his death.

Buddha Jayanthi Celebrations – 1956 – pic: SWRD Bandaranaike Museum

Bandaranaike is widely hailed as the man who ushered in the age of the common man through the electoral revolution of 1956. He is also criticised as the man who widened the ethnic divide in the country by enthroning Sinhala as the sole Official Language of the country.

Continue reading ‘SWRD Bandaranaike’s Flirtation With Federalism.’ »

The seeds of current economic dissolution were sown as soon as the Rajapaksas regained power, months before COVID-19 reached our shores.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Strong people don’t need strong leaders”
– Ella Baker (quoted in ‘Moving the Mountain’) –

Berlin, 20 February 1933 – 24 men, the crème de la crème of German industry, gathered to listen to the country’s brand new chancellor, Adolf Hitler. The meeting was a top secret, but posterity has the transcripts.

“Private enterprise cannot be maintained in the age of democracy,” Hitler informed his captive audience. Nazi rule was the only guarantor of stability, only bulwark against communism. Herman Göring, in whose official residence the meeting was held, assured that after this, there’d be no more elections for 10 years, maybe even 100. The Nazis wanted three million Reichsmark for their election war-chest. They got 2.071 million. Election was won, and Germany’s march to a cannibalistic future began.

“The eternal hourglass of existence is turned upside down again and again,” wrote Nietzsche in ‘The Gay Science,’ explaining his concept and conception of Eternal Recurrence.

The 2018 convention of Viyath Maga was held at Colombo’s newest hotel, Shangri-La. Over 2,000 professionals and business leaders attended the convention, titled ‘An Intellectually Inspired Sri Lanka 2030,’ Daily FT reported.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the man of the moment, began his speech by asking, “What do we need as a society?” and ended by exhorting, “Love your country, play your part in its future.” In between were the usual shibboleths about growth and investment, efficiency and discipline. Iron fists and hobnail boots were unmentioned, but formed the background music to paeans to strong leadership.

That was May. The Digana riot was just two months old. Did the 2,000+ attendees reflect on that conflagration, its causes and what it portended for the future? Did they remember Gotabaya Rajapaksa saying of Sarath Fonseka, the war-winning Army Commander, “That’s a treason. We will hang him if he do that,” in a 2010 interview with BBC HARDtalk? Did they remember how Gotabaya Rajapaksa responded when asked about the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge (again on HARDtalk): “In the whole world there are so many murders. Why are you asking about Lasantha? Who is Lasantha? He was someone who was writing to a tabloid?”

Continue reading ‘The seeds of current economic dissolution were sown as soon as the Rajapaksas regained power, months before COVID-19 reached our shores.’ »

“I assure Your Excellency that my wife (Nirupama Rajapaksa) and I are totally innocent and are guilty of no wrongdoings,” states Thirukkumar Nadesan in Letter Sent to President Rajapaksa; Requests Independent Investigation by Retd Judge Saying “We have been presumed guilty, the presumption of innocence reversed”


Businessman Thirukumar Nadesan, one of two Sri Lankans named in the Pandora papers exposé, has written to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declaring his innocence and requesting an impartial investigation.

“It is commonly believed that all persons whose names have been [divulged in the Pandora papers] are in some way guilty of wrongdoing.

“I assure Your Excellency that my wife and I are totally innocent and are guilty of no wrongdoings,” Nadesan said in a letter addressed to the president and copied to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on Wednesday (06).

Continue reading ‘“I assure Your Excellency that my wife (Nirupama Rajapaksa) and I are totally innocent and are guilty of no wrongdoings,” states Thirukkumar Nadesan in Letter Sent to President Rajapaksa; Requests Independent Investigation by Retd Judge Saying “We have been presumed guilty, the presumption of innocence reversed”’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa directs Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to Investigate Allegations Against Sri Lankans Named in the Pandora Papers and Submit Report Within a Month


Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapksa has ordered the Bribery Commission to immediately investigate Sri Lankans named in the Pandora papers, cabinet spokesman Minister Dullas Alahapperum said.

The president had issued the directive to the Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption this morning.

Alahapperuma said the Commission is required to submit a report within a month.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa directs Director General of the Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery or Corruption to Investigate Allegations Against Sri Lankans Named in the Pandora Papers and Submit Report Within a Month’ »

Sivaji Ganesan Made Many Tamils Appreciate Their Vibrant Language More

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(The Doyen of Tamil Film Actors “Nadigar Thilagham” Sivaji Ganesan was born on 1 October 1928. This article was written a month ago to commemorate Sivaji’s 20th death anniversary.It is being reposted without any changes to denote his 93rd Birth Anniversary)

Google Doodle, illustrated by Bangalore, India-based artist Noopur Rajesh Choksi, celebrating the 93rd birthday of Sivaji Ganesan, October 1, 2021.

Sivaji Ganesan, M.G. Ramachandran (MGR) and Gemini Ganesan comprised the triumvirate that dominated Tamil cinema in India from the fifties to the seventies of the 20th century. The most senior of the trio was M.G.Ramachandran who was born in 1917. MGR passed away in 1987. Gemini Ganesan born in 1920 breathed his last in 2005. The youngest of the three was Sivaji Ganesan born in 1928. He died in 2001.Though Sivaji, MGR and Gemini were hailed as the ‘Moovaenthar’ (Three Kings) of Tamil cinema, it was widely acknowledged that Sivaji Ganesan was the finest actor among the three. He was called “Nadigar Thilagham,” meaning ‘Doyen of Actors’. It was the Tamil film journal” Paesum Padam” which bestowed upon him the honorific.

Sivaji Ganesan, (1 October 1928 – 21 July 2001

“Nadigar Thilagham” Sivaji Ganesan passed away peacefully at a Chennai hospital on 21 July 2001. His 20th death anniversary was commemorated ten days ago. This column therefore will focus this week – with the aid of earlier writings – on the life and times of Sivaji Ganesan and his worthwhile contribution to Tamil cinema.

Sivaji Ganesn’s acting career, which began at the age of eight, could be divided into three phases -1936 to 1952, when he acted only on stage; 1952 to 1974, when he acted for the big screen and also gave stage performances; and 1974 to 1999, when he acted only in films.

Continue reading ‘Sivaji Ganesan Made Many Tamils Appreciate Their Vibrant Language More’ »

“Pandora Papers” Full Article about Financial Dealings of Nirupama Rajapaksa and Thirukkumar Nadesan by Journalist Scilla Alecci in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism Website


By Scilla Alecci

In early 2018, workers in a London warehouse carefully loaded an oil painting of Lakshmi, the Hindu deity of wealth, onto a van bound for Switzerland.

The painting, by 19th-century Indian master Raja Ravi Varma, depicts the four-armed goddess clad in a red sari with gold ornaments and standing atop a lotus flower. It was one of 31 works of art, altogether worth nearly $1 million, that were being shipped to the Geneva Freeport in Switzerland. That vast, ultra-secure warehouse complex, larger than 20 soccer fields, stores among its many treasures what the BBC once called “the greatest art collection no one can see.”

The owner of “Goddess Lakshmi,” and the artworks in transit with it, as recorded on the packing slip, was a Samoan-registered shell company with an unremarkable name, Pacific Commodities Ltd. But a cache of leaked documents from Asiaciti Trust, a Singapore-based financial services provider, indicates that a politically connected Sri Lankan, Thirukumar Nadesan, secretly controls the company and thus is the true owner of the 31 pieces of art. His wife, Nirupama Rajapaksa, is a former member of Sri Lanka’s Parliament and a scion of the powerful Rajapaksa clan, which has dominated the Indian Ocean island nation’s politics for decades.

The confidential documents, obtained by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, show that as the country was ravaged by a bloody, decades-long civil war, the couple set up anonymous offshore trusts and shell companies to acquire artwork and luxury apartments and to store cash, securities and other assets in secret. They were able to amass and hide their fortune in secrecy jurisdictions with the assistance of financial services providers, lawyers and other white-collar professionals who asked few questions about the source of their wealth – even after Nadesan became a target of a well-publicized corruption investigation by Sri Lankan authorities.

As of 2017, Rajapaksa and Nadesan’s offshore holdings, which haven’t previously been made public, had a value of about $18 million, according to an ICIJ analysis of a Nadesan trust’s financial statements. The median annual income in Sri Lanka is less than $4,000.

Continue reading ‘“Pandora Papers” Full Article about Financial Dealings of Nirupama Rajapaksa and Thirukkumar Nadesan by Journalist Scilla Alecci in the International Consortium of Investigative Journalism Website’ »

There is an “urgent need” to understand the “weaknesses and strengths” of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and “act accordingly”, – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla; expresses desire to revive the spirit of Indo-Lanka relations of the 1960s and 1970s.

By

Meera Srinivasan

There is an “urgent need” to understand the “weaknesses and strengths” of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and “act accordingly”, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Tuesday told Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, while expressing a desire to revive the spirit of the relations of the 1960s and 1970s.

Mr. Shringla called on the President on Tuesday morning, before wrapping up his official visit. In addition to underscoring the need to expedite bilateral projects, the Foreign Secretary, in his meeting with President Rajapaksa on the final day of his visit, reiterated India’s position “on complete implementation of the provisions under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, including devolution of powers and the holding of provincial council elections at the earliest”, the Indian mission said in a statement, referring to the nearly 34-year-old legislation that remains contentious in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘There is an “urgent need” to understand the “weaknesses and strengths” of the 13th Amendment to the Sri Lankan Constitution and “act accordingly”, – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla; expresses desire to revive the spirit of Indo-Lanka relations of the 1960s and 1970s.’ »

Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombp regarding the Visit of Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Sri Lanka

(Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombp regarding the Visit of Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Sri Lanka)

1. Foreign Secretary of India, Shri Harsh Vardhan Shringla visited Sri Lanka for a 3-day Official visit from 02-05 October 2021. This was his first visit to Sri Lanka in his current capacity. During the visit, Foreign Secretary called on the President of Sri Lanka HE Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka HE Mahinda Rajapaksa, Minister of Finance HE Basil Rajapaksa and the Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. G.L. Peiris. He held cordial and productive meetings and discussions with the State Minister for Estate Housing and Community Infrastructure Hon’ble Jeevan Thondaman, Foreign Secretary Admiral (Retd) Prof. Jayanath Colombage and Defence Secretary General (Retd) G.D.H. Kamal Gunaratne.

2. During his meeting with the President on October 05, 2021, Foreign Secretary underscored the importance India attaches to expeditiously taking forward mutually beneficial projects, including proposals to enhance air and sea connectivity between India and Sri Lanka. Foreign Secretary thanked President for his guidance and close cooperation in the defence and security sphere. Further, he reiterated India’s position on complete implementation of the provisions under the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, including devolution of powers and the holding of Provincial Council elections at the earliest.

Continue reading ‘Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombp regarding the Visit of Foreign Secretary of India Harsh Vardhan Shringla to Sri Lanka’ »

President Rajapaksa Tells Visiting Indian Foreign Secy Shringla that Sri Lanka would not let itself be used for any activity that could pose a threat to India’s security,

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa explained the relationship between China and Sri Lanka to Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla in a comprehensive manner and informed Shringla not to have any doubts about it, according to a press release by the President’s Media Division yesterday (5).

President Rajapaksa had also emphasised that Sri Lanka would not be allowed to be used for any activity that could pose a threat to India’s security, since there is a clear understanding about the geographical location of the two countries.

The President made these remarks when he met with the Indian Foreign Secretary at the Presidential Secretariat, yesterday.
The President had elaborated on the need to re-establish the friendship and relations between India and Sri Lanka that existed in the 1960s and ‘70s and said that he is expecting to obtain India’s support in advancing the 1971 proposal made by Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike to declare the Indian Ocean a peace zone. Both sides had been of the view that short and long-term steps that should be taken to bring relations between the two countries to a higher level should be correctly identified.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Tells Visiting Indian Foreign Secy Shringla that Sri Lanka would not let itself be used for any activity that could pose a threat to India’s security,’ »

Questionnaires Sent by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) to Nirupma Rajapaksa and Thirukkumar Nadesan Prior to Publication in Pandora Papers


By

Azzam Ameen

In letter to sent to former Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa and her husband Thirukumar Nadesan, International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) reporter Scilla Alecci posed a series of questions to the duo, giving them the opportunity to respond to the findings of the Pandora papers.
As extracted from the letter, the questions posed to both Rajapaksa and Nadesan and detailed below:

“Questions for Ms. Nirupama Rajapaksa:

• Documents we have seen show that from the early 1990s until early 2010s (during part of Sri Lanka’s conflict) you were a “controlling party” of Rosetti Ltd, an offshore company used to receive consultancy fees and buy properties in Sydney and London. Is this correct? What was your role in Rosetti?

• Did you declare your ownership of Rosetti when you became a member of parliament, if required to do so by local law? Did you declare your ownership of the properties?

Continue reading ‘Questionnaires Sent by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) to Nirupma Rajapaksa and Thirukkumar Nadesan Prior to Publication in Pandora Papers’ »

“India keen on connectivity initiatives with Sri Lanka like the Jaffna to Chennai flight, ferry services between Karaikal – Kankesanthurai, and Dhanushkodi -Talaimanar and the Buddhist Pilgrim Flights to the new international airport at Kushinagar,” Says Visiting Indian Foreign Secy Harsh Vardhan Shringla at “Temple Trees”Meeting

By Meera Srinivasan

India on Monday underscored the need for early conclusion of bilateral projects in Sri Lanka, and the enhancement of connectivity by air and sea between the neighbouring countries, which are seeking to reset ties amid a strain in ties.

Visiting Sri Lanka on a four-day visit beginning October 2, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday held talks with Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris and Foreign Secretary Admiral (retd) Jayanath Colombage, discussing key bilateral issues, while focusing on recovery from the pandemic through enhanced cooperation in tourism and development partnership, according to tweets from the Indian High Commission in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘“India keen on connectivity initiatives with Sri Lanka like the Jaffna to Chennai flight, ferry services between Karaikal – Kankesanthurai, and Dhanushkodi -Talaimanar and the Buddhist Pilgrim Flights to the new international airport at Kushinagar,” Says Visiting Indian Foreign Secy Harsh Vardhan Shringla at “Temple Trees”Meeting’ »

“India does not appreciate any “third party presence” in the Tamil-majority north and east, where New Delhi had “invested heavily”, – Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla tells the TNA; “Sri Lankan leadership told that provincial polls be held immediately, along with the full implementation of the 13th Amendment”

By

Meera Srinivasan

India has urged Sri Lanka to hold elections to its provincial councils without further delay, according to the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) whose delegation met visiting Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Monday.

Also India does not appreciate any “third party presence” in the Tamil-majority north and east, where New Delhi had “invested heavily”, the Foreign Secretary told the TNA, which is the largest grouping representing Tamils of the north and east in the 225-member Parliament, with 10 MPs.

“Foreign Secretary Shringla told us that he has conveyed to the Sri Lankan leadership that provincial polls be held immediately, along with the full implementation of the 13th Amendment,” TNA spokesman and Jaffna legislator M.A. Sumanthiran, who was part of the delegation led by veteran Tamil leader R. Sampanthan, told The Hindu.

Continue reading ‘“India does not appreciate any “third party presence” in the Tamil-majority north and east, where New Delhi had “invested heavily”, – Indian Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla tells the TNA; “Sri Lankan leadership told that provincial polls be held immediately, along with the full implementation of the 13th Amendment”’ »

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) “Pandora Papers” files State that Nirupam Rajapaksa and Spouse Thirukumar Nadesan Allegedly Acquired Wealth Through Dubious Financial Transactions Undertaken by “Shell”Companies;Nirupama is the Niece of Chamal.Mahinda,Gota and Basil

BY Dinitha Rathnayake and Pamodi Waravita

Former Water Supply and Drainage Deputy Minister Nirupama Rajapaksa, who is also the niece of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa, and her husband Thirukumar Nadesan, have been named in the recent International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) “Pandora Papers” files leak.

The documents allege that the couple were involved in shell companies, which are inactive companies used as a vehicle for various financial manoeuvres or kept dormant for future use in some other capacity, located in tax havens, which obtained lucrative consulting contracts from foreign companies doing business with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL).

“Nirupama Rajapaksa and Nadesan, together controlled a shell company which they used to buy luxury apartments in London, England, and Sydney, Australia, and to make investments. Nadesan set up other shell companies and trusts in jurisdictions known for their financial secrecy, and he used them to obtain lucrative consulting contracts from foreign companies doing business with the Sri Lankan Government and to buy artwork. In 2018, one of the companies, Pacific Commodities, transferred 31 paintings and other South Asian art pieces to the Geneva Freeport, an ultra secure warehouse where assets are not subjected to taxes or duties,” the ICIJ claimed.

Continue reading ‘International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ) “Pandora Papers” files State that Nirupam Rajapaksa and Spouse Thirukumar Nadesan Allegedly Acquired Wealth Through Dubious Financial Transactions Undertaken by “Shell”Companies;Nirupama is the Niece of Chamal.Mahinda,Gota and Basil’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Urges Speaker to Inquire from the Attorney-General Whether There is Sufficient Evidence to Indict Wanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen or Justify his Prolonged Detention Without Trial

BY Pamodi Waravita

United National Party (UNP) Leader and Parliamentarian Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (4) urged Speaker of Parliament Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena to inquire from Attorney General (AG) President’s Counsel (PC) Sanjay Rajaratnam about the nature of the evidence against Samagi Jana Balawegeya (SJB) Opposition MP Rishad Bathiudeen to justify his prolonged detention in prison.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Urges Speaker to Inquire from the Attorney-General Whether There is Sufficient Evidence to Indict Wanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen or Justify his Prolonged Detention Without Trial’ »

24 Persons Including Alleged “Mastermind” Naufar Maulavi Served With Indictments Over Easter Sunday Bombings of April 21st 2019;Special Trial at Bar hearings into 23,270 charges will Commence on Nov 23rd Before Bench Comprising Three High Court Judges


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Special Trial-At-Bar appointed by Chief Justice President’s Counsel (PC) Jayantha Jayasuriya at the request of Attorney General (AG) Sanjay Rajaratnam PC in connection with the main case of the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019, served indictments yesterday (4) on 24 accused over the attacks, including against Mohamed Naufar alias Naufar Moulavi, who the Government has named the mastermind behind the said bombings.

On 13 September, the special Trial-At-Bar appointed to hear 23,270 charges against 25 accused who are allegedly connected to the Easter Sunday terror attacks, issued summons to the said 25 accused to appear before the Trial-At-Bar yesterday.

However, the 15th accused in the case, Mohammad Hanifa Zainul Abdeen, was not produced before the court by the prisons authorities as he is currently infected with Covid-19. The remaining 24 accused were served indictments.

Continue reading ‘24 Persons Including Alleged “Mastermind” Naufar Maulavi Served With Indictments Over Easter Sunday Bombings of April 21st 2019;Special Trial at Bar hearings into 23,270 charges will Commence on Nov 23rd Before Bench Comprising Three High Court Judges’ »

The rise of Dudley Sirisena – leading what is called the Rice or “Haal’ Mafia, is a major turn in the Saubhagya Vision of the Rajapaksas. What Dudley Sirisena has told this country is that the government by Gota Gazette is over

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

We have moved to the new Dudley Era.

Dudley Senanayake saw the rise of his era with the political handling of rice. It was to beat the rice control strategy of Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike.

We are now in the Dudley Sirisena era – also with rice as the operative, with both profit and politics.

The government has withdrawn its Gazette on the price of rice to the consumer. It was the last rice Gazette that was withdrawn. There were many rice Gazettes before that. Would the Treasury or any other body try to calculate how much it costs to print and issue a Gazette? How much state funds would be saved if no shaky and wavy Gazettes were issued?

Continue reading ‘The rise of Dudley Sirisena – leading what is called the Rice or “Haal’ Mafia, is a major turn in the Saubhagya Vision of the Rajapaksas. What Dudley Sirisena has told this country is that the government by Gota Gazette is over’ »

The Church and the Catholic community, whether in Sri Lanka or any other part of the world, cannot be cowed or intimidated. Martyrdom is part of the genetic code of Catholics; who will not kill for their cause but will die for it.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The signs are there and they aren’t good. It started weeks ago. Minister Sarath Weerasekara and Secretary/Defence Maj. Gen. Kamal Gunaratna’s responses to the questions and criticisms by the Cardinal and the Catholic Church were hardly respectful and were rather testy. They were also irrelevant. Their truculent defence was that a large number of suspects had been indicted and that the slow pace was inherent in the legal process. But that didn’t answer the questions raised and points made by the Cardinal and the spokespersons of the Church.

There was also the episode of the Foreign Minister, Prof. G.L. Peiris seeking an audience with the Cardinal, not obtaining it and meeting the Papal Nuncio instead, while a Cabinet spokesperson Dr. Ramesh Pathirana said on the record that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa would meet Pope Francis during his visit to Italy.

The Cardinal then made the point that any attempt to bypass the Catholic Church of Sri Lanka and whitewash the Easter Sunday attack inquiry internationally just wouldn’t work, and that the Church having desisted from going global with its grievances, would now begin to do so.

Continue reading ‘The Church and the Catholic community, whether in Sri Lanka or any other part of the world, cannot be cowed or intimidated. Martyrdom is part of the genetic code of Catholics; who will not kill for their cause but will die for it.’ »

How Gun – toting State Minister Lohan Ratwatte Terrified and Humiliated Tamil Prisoners at the Anuradhapura Jail.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Lohan Evindra Ratwatte is a Sri Lankan politician who is often under the media spotlight for the wrong reasons. The 53 year old Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna(SLPP) Kandy district MP- known generally as Lohan – received a great deal of negative publicity last week over an incident in which he reportedly humiliated and terrified a group of Tamil youths incarcerated at the Anuradhapura jail. The Gotabaya Rajapaksa Government’s State Minister for Gem & Jewellery related Industries and State Minister of Prison Management & Prisoners’ Rehabilitation brandishing a pistol had forced the prisoners to kneel before him and had even placed his gun thrice to the head of a detained person. The incident caused shock waves nationally and internationally. Subsequently Lohan Ratwatte resigned from the prison management and prisoners rehabilitation minister post but continues to remain the State minister for Gem and Jewellery related industries.

Efforts made to communicate with the State minister Lohan Ratwatte or senior officials of the Prisons dept and ministry for the purpose of writing this article were unsuccessful. However with details gathered from a cross section of informed sources, it was possible to piece together the basics of what had happened in the Anuradhapura prison.

Continue reading ‘How Gun – toting State Minister Lohan Ratwatte Terrified and Humiliated Tamil Prisoners at the Anuradhapura Jail.’ »

The Rajapaksas have given Hambantota, – a colossal District Secretariat , an unused International Conference Centre, a cricket stadium mostly idle , six-lane highways without traffic , a white elephant International Airport and an International Seaport now given to the Chinese. Is this progress towards sustainable development for the people of Ruhuna?


By

Anila Dias Bandaranaike, Ph. D.

My father, Sam Wijesinha from Getamanne, a village in Hambantota District, took pride in his Southern heritage. He knew D.M. Rajapaksa (DM), his brother, D.A. (DA) and their families well. Sam was Secretary General of Parliament for almost two decades till 1981, and the first Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman) for 10 years thereafter. He worked closely with several political leaders during that time. Always courteous, he respected MPs who worked for the betterment of the people they represented.

Continue reading ‘The Rajapaksas have given Hambantota, – a colossal District Secretariat , an unused International Conference Centre, a cricket stadium mostly idle , six-lane highways without traffic , a white elephant International Airport and an International Seaport now given to the Chinese. Is this progress towards sustainable development for the people of Ruhuna?’ »

Prof.Senaka Bibile Outsmarted “Big Pharma” by Enabling the People to Obtain Medicinal Drugs at Affordable Prices Through his Brainchild the State Pharmaceutical Corporation


By

Prof.Tissa Vitarana

Prof.Senaka Bibile, a great Sri Lankan professor of Pharmacology, died 44 years ago on September 29, 1977, and this brief article is written in his memory. In my view he is one of Sri Lanka’s greatest products and a top achiever and all Lankans, especially the young, should know what he did and endeavor to emulate him to serve humanity and society regardless of personal gain or profit

With limited means, coming from rural Bibile in the Badulla district, he won a scholarship to Trinity College, Kandy (which he repaid once he became a doctor so that another poor student would also benefit, starting a new tradition). He excelled in his studies, despite taking to sports and music. He passed out of the Medical College, Colombo with a firstt class and several distinctions (surgery etc.).

Instead of becoming a rich surgeon, he chose to join the Pharmacology Department of the University to teach about the proper use of medicines and try to prevent poor patients dying due to the high price of drugs – a major health hazard at that time. He then obtained a Ph.D in Pharmacology in the UK. Back in Sri Lanka he became Professor in the Colombo Medical College for a long period before becoming the founder Professor of Pharmacology in the Medical Faculty of the University of Peradeniya and its Dean as well.

Continue reading ‘Prof.Senaka Bibile Outsmarted “Big Pharma” by Enabling the People to Obtain Medicinal Drugs at Affordable Prices Through his Brainchild the State Pharmaceutical Corporation’ »

All Powerful Gotabaya Rjapaksa Govt Surrenders to So Called “Rice Mafia”by Rescinding its gazette notification imposing maximum retail prices for rice.

It was a power struggle of a different kind, rarely seen in the country. It was not political. It was not a trade union struggle. It was not an armed struggle.

An Executive Presidency, a two-thirds parliamentary majority, a 20th Amendment that gave more powers to the President, even a state of emergency and the appointment of a military officer as the Commissioner General of Essential Services seemed no match to the power of the “rice mafia” as the Government was forced to back down from its gung-ho approach in fighting that mafia and reverse its gazette imposing a maximum retail price for rice.

The decision to rescind the gazette issued on September 2 by the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) was taken at the Cabinet meeting held on Tuesday. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is still in the United States of America.

The stated aim of imposing a maximum retail price was to bring down the soaring rice prices, the staple food of the masses right in the stomach. Many millers chose not to sell rice at the prices imposed by the CAA, leading to the imposition of a state of emergency and the appointment of Major General N.D.S.P. Niwunhella as Commissioner General of Essential Services.

The CAA then started raiding storehouses with camera crews where rice was being hoarded and forcibly buying the stocks at prices imposed through the gazette. On TV talk shows, a finger-wagging Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage asked the rice mafia to be warned that he was out to get them.

Continue reading ‘All Powerful Gotabaya Rjapaksa Govt Surrenders to So Called “Rice Mafia”by Rescinding its gazette notification imposing maximum retail prices for rice.’ »

The extreme privations that we are undergoing now have mostly been brought about by the sheer inability of this Govt to control the (Ministerial) arch robbers in its midst and the public servants who act in shameful league with them


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

When a ‘full time member’ (or its head, have it as you will) of Sri Lanka’s Consumer Affairs Authority records receiving death threats following his resignation over disclosures of multiple corruption scandals at Sri Lanka Sathosa, ranging from rigged sales of garlic, flour, undu and sugar to millions spent on the consumption of tea (and cheese) by Sathosa officials, there is little to be surprised at.

From the Central Bank bond scams to ‘garlic scams’

Let us examine this case as it is both unique and mundane at the same time, symbolising at once, what is perennially wrong with Sri Lanka and why patterns of governance (or rather non-governance) will never change unless citizens themselves change. This was a worthy who apparently once had belief in a Government which he helped to bring to power. Now in his disillusionment if not fury at the frauds that he has uncovered, he courts public attention, loquaciously speaking to the media at every turn and naming Ministers whom he alleges was behind the rackets.

Continue reading ‘The extreme privations that we are undergoing now have mostly been brought about by the sheer inability of this Govt to control the (Ministerial) arch robbers in its midst and the public servants who act in shameful league with them’ »

“There have also been some elements who have endeavored to disunite the Tamil National Alliance” says TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan

(Text of Statement issued by Rajavarothayam Sampanthan Member of Parliament for Trincomalee District and , Leader Tamil National Alliance)

TNA leaders, Members of Parliament, and other functionaries generally reside in their respective districts of the North and East. The Corona Virus has been an impediment to personal meetings and group discussions. This has led to lack of clarity on some matters.

The TNA’s main political objective is the evolution of a political solution through Constitutional measurers of the National Question. The Sovereignty of the peoples who have inhabited the country, meaning their powers of Governance fundamental rights and franchise in the whole country, and in their historical habitation, in keeping with commitments made by the Sri Lankan Government and leaders domestically and internationally, and also in keeping with international Covenants and Instruments which Sri Lanka has accepted. On this fundamental question the TNA has articulated its position quite clearly and is firm.

Continue reading ‘“There have also been some elements who have endeavored to disunite the Tamil National Alliance” says TNA leader Rajavarothayam Sampanthan’ »

Eight Tamil Prisoners who were Allegedly Threatened at Gun Point by State Minister Lohan Ratwatte at Anuradhapura Jail File Fundamental Rights Petition ;MA Sumanthiran PC to Appear for Petitioners at Supreme Court hearings


BY

Meera Srinivsan

As many as eight Tamil prisoners in Sri Lanka’s Anuradhapura prison on Thursday petitioned the country’s Supreme Court, seeking relief after a ‘gun-wielding’ Prisons Minister allegedly threatened them a fortnight ago.

The prisoners stated that they fear for their lives, asking to be transferred to a prison in the Tamil-majority Northern Province. Jaffna parliamentarian and senior lawyer M.A. Sumanthiran will appear for them in the case, media reports said.

Continue reading ‘Eight Tamil Prisoners who were Allegedly Threatened at Gun Point by State Minister Lohan Ratwatte at Anuradhapura Jail File Fundamental Rights Petition ;MA Sumanthiran PC to Appear for Petitioners at Supreme Court hearings’ »

Only the USA with its technological prowess, leading research institutions and universities, open society, institutions of governance and constitutional freedoms can provide a sustainable alternative to China’s advance in the Indo-Pacific.

By
Nirupma Rao

(Nirupama Rao served as India’s ambassador to America in 2011-13. Earlier, she was the country’s foreign secretary and its ambassador to China, among other diplomatic roles.)

In south asia and the Indo-Pacific, we see ourselves as a region in churn—the geopolitical pathways wind their way to conflict and to peace; they crisscross in perpetual motion. India through its history has been a hub country, porous and permeable, weathering waves of migration, conquest and assimilation, and providing the ultimate definition of being (as the English poet Kathleen Raine put it) “the place of every arrival”.

The region is uneasy about the likelihood of intensified America-China rivalry, particularly after America’s debacle in Afghanistan. The two powers’ competition, confrontation and conflict—or the alternative, an unbridled Chinese hegemony—ought not be the sole, binary choice. A healthy multipolarity among countries, with roles for mid-sized ones as much as for great powers, would provide the ideal political equilibrium for the region.

All involved must understand that the strategy of each country is to safeguard national power, uphold self-interest but also to ensure survival. When superpowers try to trample each other, the ground trembles and fissures deepen for everyone else. The creation of aukus, an agglomeration of Australia, Britain and America, marks a new iteration of naval power in the Indo-Pacific. It is clearly designed to counter China’s capabilities, yet it gives rise to new uncertainties and greater risks of confrontation.

The Indian Ocean is one of the busiest trade channels in the world and its security is of crucial strategic importance. Even as America gets tough on China over trade and technology, and as their armed forces are adversarial, many Asian countries, notably mid-sized powers, watch this emerging “tournament of shadows” with unease. Choosing between superpowers is hardly easy and both belong in the region. Governments in the Indo-Pacific want to avoid geopolitical games: they have lives to improve, economies to develop, borders to secure, infrastructure to build and dreams to fulfil.

New alliances for new challenges

The waning of trust in American power and influence, however, is troubling. Even without a formal alliance with India, the United States is viewed as a natural ally: as a democracy, a champion of freedom and pluralism, and with numerous family ties between the countries.

This is why India places a premium on groupings like the Quad, which enable co-operation with like-minded democracies including Japan and Australia, along with America. India is focused on interests such as: the security of sea lanes in the Indo-Pacific; supply chains that are resilient to disruptions and are not held hostage by China; and the negotiated settlement of disputes in consonance with a rules-based international order.
But the Quad must not neglect the continental dimension of the region’s priorities. It must not turn away from salvaging a “development dividend” for Afghanistan that empowers women and promotes minority rights. Co-operative “grids” will be required, involving China and even Iran and Russia. Regional unity against terrorist forces and the Taliban’s known propensity to interact with such elements is crucial. There is also a need to ensure that Pakistan—which is said to have masterminded the Taliban’s resurrection, and is virtually the keeper of this graveyard of empires and thus deeply mistrusted by many Afghans—learns to work for Afghanistan’s betterment rather than its continued ruin.

All this entails co-operation across strategic divides and the adoption of rational approaches that work for the good of the Afghan people.

America’s lack of a grand strategy in the region lets the Chinese see this period as one of great opportunity. The situation has helped China and Russia build a closer partnership, in a display of strategic and political alignment. Theirs is an attempt to define a new, political environment which emphasises dealing with threats to internal stability above everything. Their abilities in the dark arts of online misinformation let them disrupt the existing global order.
There is today a blurring of boundaries between peace and war, military and civilian—grey zones where actions stay below the threshold of major conflict and advanced technologies are deployed in virtual and physical spaces. The cyber domain is as central to the theatre of contest in the Indo-Pacific as is sea and land. One of the areas identified for co-operation in the Quad is technology, and there is scope for a “grand coalescence” among members to collaborate in defence, aerospace, infrastructure, cyber-security and science.

America’s strength in relationships

Despite the failure in Afghanistan, a perceived eclipse of its power and troubling internal divisions, the United States does not have the luxury of time to reassert itself. Only America, with its technological prowess, leading research institutions and universities, open society, institutions of governance and constitutional freedoms can provide a sustainable alternative to China’s advance in the Indo-Pacific.

Yet America’s competition with China must not chart a course for the future of the region in a way that causes irrevocable fault lines. Simplifications like “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” or picking sides do not apply in South-East Asia in particular. Nations there are not averse to practising what some call “promiscuous diplomacy”. Hedging and balancing are in their political dna.

This is where a better understanding of the complex environment and the support of countries like Japan, India, Indonesia, Vietnam and Singapore can be invaluable to navigate what would otherwise be a perilous passage for America through the Indo-Pacific, as competition with China replaces the give-and-take of dialogue and engagement. The future of Taiwan is just one area where both wisdom and allies are needed.

China’s overreach can be countered by a strategy that covers demonstrations of military preparedness, including joint exercises and training, political and strategic dialogue with the region’s democracies, co-operation in critical technologies, promoting trade and supply-chain integration, and infrastructure connectivity.

At the same time, America and India can tap well-established mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit and the asean Defence Ministers’ Meeting—which includes countries from outside the region. Countries in the region would prefer that America’s hub-and-spoke approach to security (where countries are connected to it but not to each other) be replaced by a regional order built on “multiple stilts of different sizes and functions” that match the architectural style for houses in the tropics, as nicely described by Evelyn Goh of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore.

The lessons of the past 20 years since 9/11 and the failures of America’s interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq show that more emphasis should have been placed on strengthening multilateral institutions, on reforming the United Nations to give voice to countries beyond a disunited five permanent Security Council members, and on abandoning economic sanctions as a default punishment that only raises ire against the West.
Today the world must tackle the misery and needs of millions of people displaced from their lands by the tumult of the post-9/11 world. America needs to lead the way, buoyed by its democratic values and an international order based on multilateralism.

Courtesy:The Economist

Mangala Samaraweera’s conscience’s mastery over the siren song of power and office made him a statesman whose stature will wax rather than wane as the years and decades pass.

By

Daniel Alphonsus

“This is not a Sinhala-Buddhist country.” This war cry, triumphantly proclaimed in the deepest south after the Easter bombings, were probably Mangala’s most famous words. And rightly so, for theycaptured the essence of the man.

The attacks unleashed a volcano of fear and hate, which no one could stop. Most were silent, some tried to soothe. It was only Mangala who dared confront. That confrontation arose from compassion. Compassion which also led him to comfort.

From his Matara home, that served as the office of the Mothers’ Front in the 1980s, to the Eid dinner at his Muslim bodyguard’s home after the attacks, Mangala always cared for those who lived in the dark shadow of oppression. He was often the only leader to speak, or march in solidarity. As a friend put it, with Mangala “power spoke truth”. This is why his loss continues to be felt in every corner of the island and will be for many more years to come.

Mangala’s piercing vision for his beloved Sri Lanka arose from his love of people. His dreams were not sterile blueprints but rich and colourful tapestries woven from the joys, hopes, laughs and tears of the people he encountered. The discrimination he personally felt did not make him bitter. Instead it endowed him with great sensitivity.

He wanted nothing more than for Sri Lankans – individually and collectively – to be free and to reach their fullest potential. To think their own thoughts, do what made them happy and to celebrate life in all its glory.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera’s conscience’s mastery over the siren song of power and office made him a statesman whose stature will wax rather than wane as the years and decades pass.’ »

Recent release of 15 elephants that were in the care and custody of the state back to persons who allegedly captured them unlawfully or purchased them from those who unlawfully captured them is saddening and disappointing

By

Otara Gunewardene

I am deeply saddened and disappointed by the recent release of 15 elephants that were in the care and custody of the state; back to persons who are alleged to have unlawfully captured them or purchased the said elephants from those who have unlawfully captured them.

These young elephants were taken into custody between 2010 and 2015 as evidence of illegal elephant trafficking. It is deeply upsetting to know that these wild animals will once again face life in chains, tormented by man. Even though the conditions the state provided for these majestic wild animals are not as ideal as their life in the wild, they were well cared for and free from stress, tension and lived in the company of their own kind.

Continue reading ‘Recent release of 15 elephants that were in the care and custody of the state back to persons who allegedly captured them unlawfully or purchased them from those who unlawfully captured them is saddening and disappointing’ »

Was all the decades-long agony of disappearances, killings, mocking at the Rule of Law, subverting Constitutions and perverting justice, worth it?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As President Gotabaya Rajapaksa accompanied by his spouse paid tribute a few days ago to Americans slain in 9/11, both with white roses in their hands at the memorial in New York, it is hard not to imagine how powerfully symbolic that gesture would have been if replicated on this country’s soil for countless victims of all ethnicities in Sri Lanka.

Immune to sorrows at home

‘At least, that’, one might say to the cynics who will undoubtedly and with good reason protest that symbolism, by itself, is not enough. Even so, such Presidential actions would have healed hearts, brought together grieving communities and deprived extremists on both sides of Sri Lanka’s ethnic divide, of fury laced powder for their divisive shots. But no, our Presidents have generally preferred to mourn fatalities overseas, express sympathy for that far away grief rather than the chest beating sorrows of innocents closer at home so to speak.

Instead, on the Wanni’s roads and culverts, protesting mothers whose children ‘disappeared’ as a result of state excesses more than a decade ago, die one by one, their agonies unsatiated. We learn through our religious teachings, from the Gautama Buddha to Jesus Christ, that the hatreds and fears of each generation breeds yet another generation gripped by those very same emotions.

Continue reading ‘Was all the decades-long agony of disappearances, killings, mocking at the Rule of Law, subverting Constitutions and perverting justice, worth it?’ »

Sri Lanka Needs to Realise that Bringing the Tamil Ethnic Issues to a Closure is Important for India.

By: Colonel R Hariharan

(The writer served as the head of intelligence with the Indian Peace Keeping Force in Sri Lanka 1987-90)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his first-ever address at the 76th UN general assembly session on September 22 spoke about transitional justice and reconciliation. But his widely reported readiness to have a dialogue with Tamil expatriates to address post-war reconciliation did not find a place in the speech.

This was not an oversight because in March 2021 his government had proscribed a number of Tamil groups such as Global Tamil Forum, British Tamil Forum and Canadian Tamil Congress. The government had also banned a number of individuals based in the UK, Germany, Italy, Malaysia under the UN terrorism designation law. The reason for banning them was their influence on Tamils in Sri Lanka and mould public policy abroad.

This was perhaps the reason the ban followed a scathing indictment of the Rajapaksa government by the UN high commissioner for human rights in her report. It had warned against the deterioration of human rights in Sri Lanka and highlighted “intensified surveillance and harassment of civil society organisations, human rights defenders and victims”.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Needs to Realise that Bringing the Tamil Ethnic Issues to a Closure is Important for India.’ »

The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists to indict the govts of Sri Lanka, Mexico and Syria for failing to deliver justice for the murders of Journalists Lasantha Wickrematunge, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, and Nabil Al-Sharbaji.


Leading press freedom organisations have taken the case over the murder of journalist Lasantha Wickrematunge to The Hague.

In an unprecedented effort to achieve justice for the killing of journalists, three leading press freedom groups have established a People’s Tribunal to investigate their murders and hold governments accountable.

The Tribunal, a form of grassroots justice, relies on investigations and high quality legal analysis involving specific cases in three countries. An opening hearing will be held on 2 November in The Hague.

Violence against journalists is on the rise worldwide. Since 1992, more than 1400 journalists have been killed, and in eight out of ten cases where a journalist is murdered, the killers go free. The persistently high level of impunity perpetuates a cycle of violence against journalists, posing a threat to freedom of expression.

Continue reading ‘The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists to indict the govts of Sri Lanka, Mexico and Syria for failing to deliver justice for the murders of Journalists Lasantha Wickrematunge, Miguel Ángel López Velasco, and Nabil Al-Sharbaji.’ »

Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama: Unforgettable Symbol of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tragedy

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(This article was first published seven years ago to commemorate the 25th death anniversary of Dr.Rajini.It is re-posted here without any changes to denote her 32nd death anniversary)

It was 25 years ago on September 21st 1989 that Dr. Rajini Thiranagama nee Rajasingham was killed in Jaffna. She was 35 years old at the time of her death.The 25th anniversary of her death is to be commemorated through a series of events next week in the northern capital. This is the first time that such a commemoration of Rajini’s memorable legacy is to be held in Jaffna, since the one held in 1989, a month after her death.

Dr. Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama

Dr. Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama (February 23, 1954 – September 21, 1989)

A Commemoration Meeting is to be held at the Medical Faculty, University of Jaffna on September 20th at 9.30 a.m. On the same day at 2 p.m a procession for peace, democracy and social justice will start at the Medical Faculty, University of Jaffna and end at the Veerasingham Hall with a short meeting.On September 21st a seminar will be held at 9 am on the theme “A more just and democratic society”.The venue is the Kailasapathy Hall, University of Jaffna.

Rajini was a contemporary of mine at Jaffna Collge,Vaddukkoddai where I completed my GCE- Advanced Level. Her father Mr.A. Rajasingham was the vice –principal during my time. Rajini born on February 23rd 1954 studied at Jaffna College(JC) from grade one till entering varsity except for a short period at Chundikkuli Girls College in Jaffna town. All of her sisters Nirmala,Sumathy and Vasuki were at JC too. In school she was known as Rajini but later on her name was spelled as Rajani .Yet we the old students of JC continue to refer to her as Rajini and I too am doing so while writing this article.

IMG_8074.PNG

St. James Church graveyard, Nallur-in January, 2012-pic by Saba Thambi

It is hard to believe that twenty-five years have passed since Rajini was brutally gunned down at Thirunelvely, Jaffna on September 21st 1989 while cycling back home from the Jaffna University. She was Professor of Anatomy at the Jaffna Varsity medical faculty. The 35 year old mother of two daughters –Narmada and Sharika- was also a human rights activist, feminist, critic of narrow nationalism and opponent of irresponsible militarism.

Continue reading ‘Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama: Unforgettable Symbol of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tragedy’ »

Murder Most Foul: Assassination of Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(S.W.R.D.Bandaranaike, the fourth Prime Minister of Independent Sri Lanka known then as Ceylon was the target of an assassination attempt on September 25th 1959. He succumbed to his injuries a day later on September 26th. This Article written last year is being re-posted without any changes to denote the 62nd death anniversry of SWRDB)

Sixty-one years ago on September 25th 1959 Solomon West Ridgeway Dias Bandaranaike (SWRDB) the Prime Minister of Sri Lanka known as Ceylon then was shot and seriously wounded by a Buddhist monk. Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike succumbed to his injuries and passed away the following day. Therefore September 26th 1959 got etched as an important date in the post-independence history annals of Sri Lanka.

The impact of that single assassination was tremendous at that time. The murder of a prime minister was sensationally shocking news. It was the first major political assassination experienced by the Island nation in the post-Independence era. In later years, political assassinations became a regular feature in Sri Lanka.. The death was an event of great historical importance too as it was the first ever assassination of a major political personality in the Island nation at that time. Thereafter September 26, 1959 got etched as an important date in the post-independence annals of Sri Lanka. It is against this backdrop that this column delves into what happened six decades ago relying to a very great extent on earlier writings in this regard.
Continue reading ‘Murder Most Foul: Assassination of Prime Minister SWRD Bandaranaike’ »

Seven Opposition Muslim MP’s from SLMC and ACMC who Vote with Govt in Parliament Complain to IGP, CID and Police HQ About Hate Speech Propagated Through Electronic Media Interviews by Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero

BY Pamodi Waravita

A number of Muslim Opposition Parliamentarians have filed complaints with Inspector General of Police (IGP) Chandana D. Wickramaratne, the Police Headquarters (HQ), and the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) regarding the alleged hate speech propagated by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera in a number of electronic media interviews conducted over the past month.

Speaking to The Morning in this regard, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Mujibur Rahuman said that he had filed a complaint with the Police HQ on 24 September, as he fears that the monk’s hate speech could result in racial tensions between the minority Muslim and majority Sinhala Buddhist communities.

“Seven MPs have filed a complaint with the CID and the IGP regarding the matter,” Muslim National Alliance MP Ali Sabri Raheem told The Morning yesterday (27).

Continue reading ‘Seven Opposition Muslim MP’s from SLMC and ACMC who Vote with Govt in Parliament Complain to IGP, CID and Police HQ About Hate Speech Propagated Through Electronic Media Interviews by Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Gnanasara Thero’ »

The arrogance and egoism of certain ‘learned’Muslims, the militancy of various groups, the thuggery and obstinacy of ACJU and politicians seeking personal gains are the reasons why MMDA is not reformed to date.


By

Shreen Abdul Saroor

The reform of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA)that Muslim women have been demanding for over four decades,is back on centre stage. Interestingly, the Muslim elite and religious and political representatives who were instrumental in continuously stalling any reforms now say they want reform; one needs to take this with a pinch of salt. While some male leaders have now come to accept the need for some changes to the MMDA, there has been fierce opposition against the decision of the cabinet, as part of a revised MMDA to abolish polygamy and the Quazi system.

Some even oppose to accommodate the choice of Muslim to marry under General Marriage Ordinance. Looking at the struggle and lived experiences of Muslim women and children, the main reasons for their grave suffering are the fact that the MMDA provides, promotes and protects polygamy without any checks and maintains a Quazi system that stands apart from the regular judicial system.

Surprisingly, and unfortunately, in their outraged rejection of the proposed amendments relating to polygamy and the Quazi system,many Muslim men seem to reduce their heritage and identity to polygamy and the Quazis!Those against the proposed reform rely on an outdated Quranic interpretation and align with the claim by the All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU)that theMMDA is a divine law and therefore needs a special system able to interpret sharia clauses. These views depict Islam as a faith that promotes inequality and injustice.The fundamental principles of justice, and fairness preached by the Quran have been conveniently forgotten.
Many of my human rights colleagues tell us now that this is not the right government to ask for such reforms. This is the same argument that many misogynist and elite Muslim men tell us whenever we talk about MMDA reform.

The struggle for reform has taken place across at least four successive regimes starting from Chandrika Kumaratunge. We are continuously told, each time, that it is not the right time. Then tell us, when is the right time? How many more children and adolescents need to be savaged by this system? How many more women need to be unfairly punished and thrown onto the streets to beg and children enrolled in madrasas that only teach to memorize the Quran.Now especially is not the time for silence.

Continue reading ‘The arrogance and egoism of certain ‘learned’Muslims, the militancy of various groups, the thuggery and obstinacy of ACJU and politicians seeking personal gains are the reasons why MMDA is not reformed to date.’ »

Sri Lanka has been cursed by alternating political regimes of either neo-liberal nonsense with no moorings to the concerns of ordinary men and women or racist Deep State leadership with a dash of plain and ordinary thuggery thrown in.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardena

Are we a nation of savage beasts that a drunk State Minister, ironically tasked to oversee prisons reforms, can ‘allegedly’ (a caveat that we are duty bound to enter) lurch into the Welikada and Anuradhapura prisons on sight-seeing expeditions to ‘show the gallows’ to his acolytes in one instance and threaten prisoners of Tamil ethnicity in another?

Violation of the law at several levels

Let us be clear. It is not prisoners who are facing ‘the gallows’ but the State of Sri Lanka. This is a classic example of raw political savagery that has crucified this nation in the eyes of the world.

It is no answer to say that Minister of Prisons Reforms and Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte was carrying a licensed firearm when he ‘allegedly’ put that firearm to the heads of two prisoners, saying that he can shoot them if he pleases. The issue is not whether the firearm was licensed or not but the fact that the law was violated at several levels in a manner that truly beggars the imagination

Firstly, not even a Minister holding a supervisory portfolio is legally entitled to ‘visit’ the prisons at his whim and pleasure, inebriated or not as the case may be. Secondly, as any child would know, a politician had no right to use prisoners as his chattels. What next, we may well question?

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has been cursed by alternating political regimes of either neo-liberal nonsense with no moorings to the concerns of ordinary men and women or racist Deep State leadership with a dash of plain and ordinary thuggery thrown in.’ »

Assassination of a Prime Minister – Revisiting the Bandaranaike murder case 62 years later


By Chandani Kirinde

Defending a man charged with the murder of a Prime Minister is not the most popular or easiest thing to do. More so when the slain Prime Minister happens to be S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike who, in April 1956, less than three-and-a-half years before his killing, had led a coalition of parties headed by the newly-formed Sri Lanka Freedom Party (SLFP) to a historic and decisive electoral win.

As with most governments in power, the goodwill of the public at the beginning of his term as Prime Minister had begun to recede over the years but both his supporters and opponents were left in shock and grief by his untimely and tragic death.

It was on the morning of 25 September 1959, a Buddhist monk who had come to the Prime Minister’s residence at Rosemead Place, Colombo 7 on the pretext of meeting him over an official matter, pulled out a revolver and fired at Bandaranaike. He was grievously injured and died the following day in hospital.

Police investigations into the shooting began immediately and hours after the shooting, Rev. Talduwe Somarama was identified as the man who had shot the Prime Minister. He and several co-conspirators were identified by the Police over the next few weeks and the Magisterial Inquiry began on 14 December 1959, before Chief Magistrate Colombo N.A. de S. Wijesekera.

Continue reading ‘Assassination of a Prime Minister – Revisiting the Bandaranaike murder case 62 years later’ »

Justice Minister Ali Sabry appoints Retired High Court Judge Kusala Sarojani Weerawardena to conduct an independent inquiry into the recent incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons involving State Minister Lohan Ratwatte.


BY Dinitha Rathnayake and Azzam Ameen

The report of the Prisons Department investigation into alleged incidents of drunkenness and threatening of Tamil political prisoners by former State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte, whilst at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons, is to be handed over to Commissioner General of Prisons Thushara Upuldeniya within two weeks.

Prisons Department Media Spokesman and Commissioner of Prisons (Admin and Rehabilitation) Chandana Ekanayake, speaking to The Morning, said that Prisons Commissioner S. Kodithuwakku, who led the investigation on behalf of the Prisons Department, would hand over the report to Commissioner General of Prisons Upuldeniya.

Meanwhile, Minister of Justice Ali Sabry has appointed High Court (HC) Judge (Retd.) Kusala Sarojani Weerawardena to conduct an independent inquiry into the recent incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons involving Ratwatte.

Continue reading ‘Justice Minister Ali Sabry appoints Retired High Court Judge Kusala Sarojani Weerawardena to conduct an independent inquiry into the recent incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons involving State Minister Lohan Ratwatte.’ »

Tamil Congress MP Selvrajah Kajenthiran and Two Others Arrested in Jaffna Under Quarantine Laws for Memorialising Former LTTE Stalwart Thileepan; Video footage of tarrest shows Police manhandling and shoving the MP into a Police vehicle.

By Azzam Ameen and Ruwani Fonseka

Ahila Ilankai Thamil Congress (AITC) MP Selvarajah Kajendren was arrested by the Jaffna Police today (23) while he was attending a memorial held for Rasaiah Parthipan, commonly known as ‘Thileepan’.

Thileepan was a Tamil Eelam revolutionary and member of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Video footage circulating of the arrest showed Police manhandling and shoving the MP into a Police vehicle.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Congress MP Selvrajah Kajenthiran and Two Others Arrested in Jaffna Under Quarantine Laws for Memorialising Former LTTE Stalwart Thileepan; Video footage of tarrest shows Police manhandling and shoving the MP into a Police vehicle.’ »

Justice Minister Ali Sabry Tells Parliament that a retired High Court Judge would be appointed to independently inquire into the incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons complexes involving former Prison Management and Prisoners Rehabilitation State Minister Lohan Ratwatte


BY

Pamodi Waravita

Justice Minister, President’s Counsel (PC) M.U.M. Ali Sabry, whilst “unequivocally and unconditionally” condemning the incidents which had occurred at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons complexes involving former Prison Management and Prisoners Rehabilitation State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, said yesterday (22) that a retired High Court (HC) Judge will be appointed to independently inquire into the incidents.

“The State Minister in question has already stepped down from the post. There are no interferences into the ongoing investigations by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL). The High Court Judge will also tender a report. Just like everyone else, this individual too is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Based on what the investigations reveal, the political and legal authorities, and the political Party to which he belongs, will take appropriate action,” said Ali Sabry PC in the Parliament yesterday.

Ali Sabry PC made these comments in response to an inquiry made by Ahila Ilankai Thamil Congress (AITC) Parliamentarian G.G. Ponnambalam, who questioned as to whether the Government would remove Ratwatte from his remaining Government portfolio as the Gem and Jewellery Related Industries State Minister and subsequently, from the Parliament as well.

Continue reading ‘Justice Minister Ali Sabry Tells Parliament that a retired High Court Judge would be appointed to independently inquire into the incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons complexes involving former Prison Management and Prisoners Rehabilitation State Minister Lohan Ratwatte’ »

“Fostering greater accountability, restorative justice, and meaningful reconciliation through domestic institutions is essential to achieve lasting peace.” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the UN

(Text of Speech made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the 76th UN General Assembly in New York on September 22, 2021)

Mr. President,
Secretary General,
Excellencies,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ayubowan.

I am honoured to represent Sri Lanka at this august gathering today.

Let me first congratulate His Excellency Abdulla Shahid on being elected President of the 76th session of the General Assembly.
Mr. President, you have long been a friend of Sri Lanka. We look forward to working closely with you in the year ahead.

I also take this opportunity to convey our appreciation of His Excellency Volkan Bozkir’s stewardship of the previous session of the General Assembly, and to commend Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his leadership in these difficult times.
Mr. President, The COVID19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on humanity.

I sympathise deeply with all who have lost their loved ones during the pandemic.

I thank frontline healthcare and essential workers around the world for their dedication and commend the World Health Organisation for its crisis response. I also greatly appreciate the rapid advances made by the scientific and medical communities in devising vaccines and treatment protocols to combat the virus.

At the same time, we must recognise that the challenges surrounding production, distribution, deployment and acceptance of vaccines must be overcome urgently if the spread of dangerous new virus strains is to be prevented. Ensuring that everyone, everywhere, is vaccinated is the best way out of the pandemic.
Although still a developing nation, Sri Lanka has been very successful in its vaccination programme.

Continue reading ‘“Fostering greater accountability, restorative justice, and meaningful reconciliation through domestic institutions is essential to achieve lasting peace.” President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the UN’ »

“The Problem with this Govt Seems to be its Doublespeak where President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Says Something which is Refuted by his Foreign Ministry”- M. A. Sumnthiran MP

(Text of Speech made in Parliament on Sep 22d 2021 by TNA Jaffna District MP Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran during the adjournment debate on the UN process )

Thank you presiding member for the time allocated for me to speak a few words on this adjournment motion.

The problem with the government seems to be its double speak. I have here with me a tweet by His. Excellency on the 21st of July this year, when he says and I quote” we are committed to work with the UN to ensure accountability and Human development” he says work with the UN on accountability “and achieve lasting peace and reconciliation” and then he says “we are dedicated to resolving the issues and ensure justice and reconciliation by implementing necessary institutional reforms”.

We welcomed it immediately whenever there has been a progressive move by the government we have publicly welcomed it. We tweeted, re tweeted the president’s tweet and we said we welcome and assure our support to the president’s commitment to work with the UN on accountability.

Continue reading ‘“The Problem with this Govt Seems to be its Doublespeak where President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Says Something which is Refuted by his Foreign Ministry”- M. A. Sumnthiran MP’ »

Justin Trudeau, who called a snap election in hopes of gaining a majority in the House of Commons, will instead continue to lead a minority government; Ordinary Canadians, though, have given Trudeau a grudging endorsement.

BY CANADIAN STANDARDS the election campaign was the ugliest in many years. Protests dogged the candidates of the main parties. Loutishness went “beyond the typical uptick” for federal elections, said the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. It came especially from anti-vaccine activists. This month someone threw gravel at Justin Trudeau, the Liberal prime minister, who says that vaccinations should be mandatory for federal employees and on aeroplanes and trains.

Yet the melodrama changed almost nothing. The early results of the vote held on September 20th suggest that Mr Trudeau, who had called a snap election in hopes of gaining a majority in the House of Commons, will instead continue to lead a minority government. The arithmetic in the 338-seat Parliament is expected to change little . Mr Trudeau will continue to depend on smaller parties, especially the left-leaning New Democrats (NDP), to enact his programme. The opposition Conservatives, which had 121 seats in the outgoing Parliament, are thought to have won roughly the same number in the incoming one.

None of Canada’s main political leaders will come out of the election with his standing much enhanced. Mr Trudeau, who strikes some voters as too privileged and excessively woke, has no good answer to the question of why it was necessary to hold an election during a fourth wave of the pandemic. The Liberals’ lacklustre performance may prompt speculation that this week’s election will be the prime minister’s last. The NDP’s leader, Jagmeet Singh, failed to establish his party as the rising challenger to the Liberals for the votes of left-leaning Canadians. He will try to nudge Mr Trudeau’s government to the left, but may find himself supporting much of what the prime minister proposes.

Continue reading ‘Justin Trudeau, who called a snap election in hopes of gaining a majority in the House of Commons, will instead continue to lead a minority government; Ordinary Canadians, though, have given Trudeau a grudging endorsement.’ »

“March 12 Movement”(M12M) Advocating a Clean Political Culture in Sri Lanka Calls for an independent committee Comprising members respected by society be appointed to investigate the two Incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons Concerning State Minister Lohan Ratwatte

By Buddhika Samaraweera

Claiming the ongoing investigations into recent incidents involving the former Prison Management and Prisoners Rehabilitation State Minister Lohan Ratwatte are not at a satisfactory level, the March 12 Movement (M12M), which advocates for a clean political culture, has requested that an independent committee with a membership respected by society be appointed to investigate the matter.

In a media statement, M12M Convener Rohana Hettiarachchi said that there would not be much public confidence in the ongoing investigation into the incidents led by a Commissioner of the Prisons Department, which is one of the parties associated with the incidents.

In the statement, the M12M claimed that Ratwatte’s resignation from the post of Prison Management and Prisoners Rehabilitation State Minister clearly shows that the latter was involved in the incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons.

Continue reading ‘“March 12 Movement”(M12M) Advocating a Clean Political Culture in Sri Lanka Calls for an independent committee Comprising members respected by society be appointed to investigate the two Incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons Concerning State Minister Lohan Ratwatte’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells U.N. Secry-Gen Antonio Guterres in New York that the internal issues of Sri Lanka would be resolved through an internal mechanism and that the Tamil Diaspora would be invited for discussions in this regard.


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

The United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has told President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that the UN will provide its full support to Sri Lanka in moving forward to promote unity among different communities.

The UN Secretary-General made these remarks during the meeting he held with the President at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, yesterday (19).

Mr. Guterres, warmly welcomed President Rajapaksa when he arrived at the United Nations Headquarters, reminisced about his visits to Sri Lanka in 1978 representing the Inter-Parliamentary Union and his visits to Kandy, Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and Trincomalee.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells U.N. Secry-Gen Antonio Guterres in New York that the internal issues of Sri Lanka would be resolved through an internal mechanism and that the Tamil Diaspora would be invited for discussions in this regard.’ »

Legendary Muslim Congress “Thalaiver” MHM Ashraff and the Tamils of Sri Lanka

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Legendary Muslim Congress Leader MHM Ashraff was killed on September 16th 2000 in a Helicopter crash.This article was written last year for the “Political Pulse” column in the “Daily Financial Times” to Commemorate his 20th death anniversary. It is being re-posted here without any changes to denote the 21st death anniversary of “Marhoom”MM Ashraff)

Today (16 September) is the 20th death anniversary of Mohammad Hussein Muhammad Ashraff, the legendary leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC). He was the Cabinet Minister in charge of Shipping, Ports, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in the Government of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga at the time of his death. He, along with 14 others, was killed in an air crash on 16 September 2000.

M.H.M. Ashraff had on that fateful morning boarded a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Mi-17 helicopter at the Police grounds in Bambalapitiya at about 9:30 am. Nine SLMC party officials and three bodyguards accompanied Ashraff. There were also two crew members from the SLAF. The flight destination was Ampara/Amparai.

Forty-five minutes later Air Traffic controllers lost radio contact with the helicopter being flown by squadron leader Shiran Perera. It was later discovered that the chopper had crashed over the Urakanda mountain range in the Aranayaka area in Kegalle District of Sabaragamuwa Province. Fifteen charred bodies were recovered from the burning wreckage. Ashraff’s funeral was held late night on the same day at Colombo’s Jawatte Muslim burial ground. He had earlier told family members that he should be buried within hours of his death.
Continue reading ‘Legendary Muslim Congress “Thalaiver” MHM Ashraff and the Tamils of Sri Lanka’ »

Tamil Prisoners in Anuradhapura Jail who Were Ordered at Gun Point to Kneel Down Before him by Lohan Ratwatte Request Transfer to Jaffna Because They Fear For Their Safety

By Azzam Ameen

Following the alleged incident where former State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte entered the Anuradhapura Prison and attempted to degrade and punish Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suspects by ordering them at gunpoint to kneel down in front of him, The Morning learns that the detainees affected Ratwatte’s behaviour have requested to be transferred to other prisons.

Speaking to The Morning, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Kavinda Jayawardhana who visited the prison along with SJB MPs Mano Ganesan and Rohana Bandara yesterday (18), said that the detainees have asked to be transferred to the Jaffna prison as they fear for their safety.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Prisoners in Anuradhapura Jail who Were Ordered at Gun Point to Kneel Down Before him by Lohan Ratwatte Request Transfer to Jaffna Because They Fear For Their Safety’ »

Gotabaya Govt signed agreement with New Fortress Energy Inc. past midnight at 12.06 am on Sep 17 transferring the Treasury’s 40% stake in the Yugadanavi Power Station in Kerawalapitiya to the US-based energy company Alleges JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake


By Pamodi Waravita

Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader and National People’s Power (NPP) Parliamentarian Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday (19) claimed that the Government of Sri Lanka had signed an agreement with US-based energy company New Fortress Energy Inc. past midnight on Friday (17), transferring the Treasury’s 40% stake in the Yugadanavi Power Station in Kerawalapitiya to the company.

“An agreement of national importance was signed at 12:06 past midnight. After that the foreigner who came for the signing went back to America on a flight at 2.00 a.m.,” he claimed at a media briefing held yesterday (19).

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Govt signed agreement with New Fortress Energy Inc. past midnight at 12.06 am on Sep 17 transferring the Treasury’s 40% stake in the Yugadanavi Power Station in Kerawalapitiya to the US-based energy company Alleges JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake’ »

No CCTV Footage Available of Controversial Incidents Concerning State Minister Lohan Ratwatte at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons Because CCTV Cameras are Not Installed in Both Jails Says Prisons Dept Official

By

Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya

Installation of CCTV cameras in the Welikada prison is currently underway and only three prisons in the country are equipped with CCTV camera system, the Prisons Department said .

In the wake of recent incidents at Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons involving State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, concerns were raised whether the controversial incidents captured in the CCTV systems at those prisons.

Continue reading ‘No CCTV Footage Available of Controversial Incidents Concerning State Minister Lohan Ratwatte at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons Because CCTV Cameras are Not Installed in Both Jails Says Prisons Dept Official’ »

Lawyer -Columnist Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena Nominated by Bar Association of Sri Lanka to Right To Information Commission


By

Azzam Ameen

As the five-year term of the first Right to Information (RTI) Commission will be coming to an end this month, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has exercised the right given to it under and in terms of Section 12(1) (a) of the Right to Information Act No. 12 of 2016 and nominated Ms. Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena to the RTI Commission.

“The name of Ms. Pinto Jayawardena, who is a sitting Member of the RTI Commission having been previously appointed upon the nomination by the organizations of publishers, editors and media persons, was unanimously approved by both the Executive Committee and the Bar Council of the BASL and has been communicated to His Excellency the President; the Honorable Speaker the and the Members of the Parliamentary Council,” a statement from the BASL detailed.

Continue reading ‘Lawyer -Columnist Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena Nominated by Bar Association of Sri Lanka to Right To Information Commission’ »

When Lohan Ratwatte Gets Promoted as Cabinet Minister will he be known as the “Muthu-menik Lohan Amathi, Sir”? The true Gem of Pohottuva Politics and Governance!


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

What a gem of a minister he is!

Who?

Who else, State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, the gem and jewel of today.

Why?

He resigned from his Prison Portfolio, not having done anything wrong, as he says it. He has gone beyond the stuff of any politician. He truly deserves to be given the highest regard by the Saubhagya Strategists. Just think of any politician of today, especially from the Pohottuva Team, who will resign from a portfolio for not having done anything wrong, when those who have done so many blatant wrongs, keep glued to their portfolios?

What do you think should follow?

Surely, it is so simple. Get promoted to the Cabinet. Take the “State” off his ministerial title and swear him in as the Minister of Prison Reforms, etc,, and Gem and Jewellery Industry.

Do you think that is the strategy of the Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour of the Gotabaya Politics?

Why not? Promotion, elevation or unearned freedom is the very stuff of today’s Rajapaksa governance. We don’t forget the pardoning of former Staff Sergeant Sunil Ratnayake, convicted with death sentence, for the murder of eight Tamil civilians inlcuding three children, affirmed by the Supreme Court.

Continue reading ‘When Lohan Ratwatte Gets Promoted as Cabinet Minister will he be known as the “Muthu-menik Lohan Amathi, Sir”? The true Gem of Pohottuva Politics and Governance!’ »

Writing Three Letters to Michele Bachelet Causes Turmoil Within the Tamil National Alliance

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) is currently in a state of turmoil. The current TNA crisis is linked up with the United Nations Human Rights Council(UNHRC) in Geneva. The issue is that of writing letters to the UN Human Rights Commissioner Ms. Michele Bachelet.

Writing Three Letters to Michele Bachelet Causes Turmoil Within the Tamil National Alliance ~ by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

As is well-known the TNA is the premier political configuration representing the Tamils of the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. The TNA comprising the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK), Tamil Eelam Liberation Orgnization (TELO) and the Peoples Liberation Organization of Tamil Eelam(PLOTE) has ten MP’s from all the five North Eastern electoral districts in the current Parliament. Six of the ten MP’s are from the ITAK while the TELO and PLOTE have three and one each respectively.The TNA contests elections under the House symbol of the ITAK.

TNA/ITAK symbol

Currently the TNA is experiencing turmoil between the constituent parties on the one hand and within the chief constituent on the other. There is inter-tension among the three constituents with the TELO and PLOTE ganging up against the ITAK. There is also intra-tension within the ITAK where a group of dissidents are rebelling against the official line of the party. Complicating matters further is the conduct of ITAK president Somasundaram Senathirajah -known as “Maavai” Senathirajah – who is allegedly playing a double game by playing footsie with elements hostile to the ITAK.
Continue reading ‘Writing Three Letters to Michele Bachelet Causes Turmoil Within the Tamil National Alliance’ »

“As a minister, I can walk into any prison at any time. I do not need anyone’s permission.Over the weekend I went to the Anuradhapura Prison only to check as I did with the other prisons. I never broke in and I never threatened any prisoner” Says State Minister Lohan Ratwatte in Interview With “Daily Mirror”

By
Jamil Husain

State Minister of Gem and Jewelry Related Industries Lohan Ratwatte who has pushed the government into a hot soup over allegations that he threatened a group of Tamil prisoners over the weekend, yesterday denied all accusations leveled against him saying he was ‘not stupid’ to resort to such action.

Breaking his silence for the first time since being forced to resign as the State Minister of Prison Reforms and Prisoners Rehabilitation, Ratwatte told Daily Mirror that he had not threatened the prisoners at the Anuradhapura Prison and had in fact visited the prison on a routine check only.

Continue reading ‘“As a minister, I can walk into any prison at any time. I do not need anyone’s permission.Over the weekend I went to the Anuradhapura Prison only to check as I did with the other prisons. I never broke in and I never threatened any prisoner” Says State Minister Lohan Ratwatte in Interview With “Daily Mirror”’ »

Wimal Weerawana Praises Lohan Ratwatte for Resigning his Portfolio when he found he had done something wrong and for Acknowledging his Wrongdoing and Taking Responsibility for wht he had done

By

Sheain Fernandopulle

Referring to the recent incident transpired in the Anuradhapura Prison involving State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa said Lohan set an example for political culture by resigning from the post following the incident.

He told reporters that it was obvious for people to make mistakes, but what is important is to admit their mistakes and make sure that they would not do the same in future.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawana Praises Lohan Ratwatte for Resigning his Portfolio when he found he had done something wrong and for Acknowledging his Wrongdoing and Taking Responsibility for wht he had done’ »

Three Separate Investigations Commence Into the Antics of State Minister Lohan Ratwatte at Welikade and Anuradhapura by the Prisons Dept, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the CID’PM’s Media Secy Welivita Denies Mahinda Rajapaksa From Italy was Involved in any Telephone Conversation with Lohan

BY Dinitha Rathnayake

The Prisons Department and the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) have commenced investigations into incidents at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prisons which involve former Prison Management and Prisoners Rehabilitation State Minister Lohan Ratwatte, while the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) is likely to begin its own investigation on the matter today (17).

Speaking to The Morning, HRCSL Commissioner Dr. Nimal Karunasiri said that as the initial stage of this investigation, statements would be recorded from prisoners and jailors, in addition to Ratwatte, as well as others who were involved in the incidents.

“We expect to release a report soon, which will be handed over to the respective officials for further investigations,” he added.

The Prisons Department has also commenced an investigation related to both the incidents where the recording of statements has already begun, according to Prisons Department Media Spokesman and Commissioner of Prisons Chandana Ekanayake. Speaking to The Morning, he said that Prisons Commissioner S. Kodithuwakku would lead the investigation on behalf of the Prisons Department.

Continue reading ‘Three Separate Investigations Commence Into the Antics of State Minister Lohan Ratwatte at Welikade and Anuradhapura by the Prisons Dept, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka and the CID’PM’s Media Secy Welivita Denies Mahinda Rajapaksa From Italy was Involved in any Telephone Conversation with Lohan’ »

Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners Chairman Senaka Perera alleges at press conference that attempts have been made to delete CCTV footage regarding Lohan Ratwatte’s Unruly Conduct at the Anuradhapura Prison.

By

Ruwani Fonseka

Attempts have been made to delete CCTV footage at the Anuradhapura Prison, Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners Chairman Attorney at Law Senaka Perera alleged at a press conference held on SEp 15.

He made such statements with regard to Former State Minister of Prisons and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte’s alleged offences committed inside the prison.

Continue reading ‘Committee for Protecting Rights of Prisoners Chairman Senaka Perera alleges at press conference that attempts have been made to delete CCTV footage regarding Lohan Ratwatte’s Unruly Conduct at the Anuradhapura Prison.’ »

Detenues at Anurdhapura Prison Tesify to Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission Representatives the Details of the Incident Concerning Lohan Ratwatte but Jailguards Say they only Provided Security to the State Minister and did not see any such incident

By

Ruwani Fonseka

The Human Rights Commission in Sri Lanka (HRCSL) visited the Anuradhapura prison on Sep 15 following the incident that took place last Sunday in which Former State Minister of Prisons and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte was allegedly involved, The Morning learnt.

During this visit, the HRCSL was able to the speak to the prisoners and the jailers at the Anuradhapura Prison Complex.

“The prisoners and jailers had two different things to say.

Continue reading ‘Detenues at Anurdhapura Prison Tesify to Sri Lanka Human Rights Commission Representatives the Details of the Incident Concerning Lohan Ratwatte but Jailguards Say they only Provided Security to the State Minister and did not see any such incident’ »

TNA Spokesman MA Sumanthiran Calls for the Arrest of State Minister Lohan Ratwatte Regarding the Anurdhapura Jail Incident and the Launching of a Full-scale Inquiry;”he (Lohan) and all responsible must be prosecuted”says Jaffna MP

By

Meer Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s prisons minister resigned on Wednesday, following allegations that he asked Tamil prisoners to kneel, threatening them at gunpoint.

A statement from the Presidential Media Division said: “Lohan Ratwatte, State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation has tendered his resignation, acknowledging his responsibility for the incidents”. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa accepted his resignation, it said.

Meanwhile, official sources told The Hindu that Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, currently on a visit to Italy, telephoned the Minister accused of threatening prisoners, to immediately resign, pending investigation.

Continue reading ‘TNA Spokesman MA Sumanthiran Calls for the Arrest of State Minister Lohan Ratwatte Regarding the Anurdhapura Jail Incident and the Launching of a Full-scale Inquiry;”he (Lohan) and all responsible must be prosecuted”says Jaffna MP’ »

PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Telephones Lohan Ratwatte From Italy and Tells him to Step Down Pending Inquiry; Mahinda Talks to Gotabaya Also;Lohan Takes Responsibility and Submits Resignation Letter which is Accepted by President.

By
JAMILA HUSAIN

State Minister of Prison Management, Lohan Ratwatta has resigned from his portfolio a short while ago. He has sent his resignation letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

The President’s Media Division in a statement said Ratwatta had tendered his resignation acknowledging his responsibility for the incidents that took place at the Welikada and Anuradhapura Prison premises.

Ratwatte informed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa regarding his decision today and the President accepted his resignation, the PMD said.

Continue reading ‘PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Telephones Lohan Ratwatte From Italy and Tells him to Step Down Pending Inquiry; Mahinda Talks to Gotabaya Also;Lohan Takes Responsibility and Submits Resignation Letter which is Accepted by President.’ »

“Lohan Ratwatte’s alleged conduct further undermines the government’s piecemeal efforts made to address the conditions of PTA prisoners, which is labelled as reconciliation.” -Amnesty International

Responding to reports that Sri Lanka’s State Minister for Prison Management and Prisoners Rehabilitation, Lohan Ratwatte, forcibly entered a state prison in Anuradhapura on 12 September and held Tamil prison inmates incarcerated under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) at gunpoint and threatened to kill them, Yamini Mishra, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Director said:

“These dumbfounding reports go to show that our ongoing concerns regarding Sri Lanka’s treatment of prisoners, especially the authorities’ torture and other inhumane and degrading treatment of PTA detainees are all too valid. They also demonstrate the level of impunity for criminal behaviour that is indulged at the highest levels of government. There must be a prompt, impartial and effective inquiry and the Minister must be held to account for his actions.

Continue reading ‘“Lohan Ratwatte’s alleged conduct further undermines the government’s piecemeal efforts made to address the conditions of PTA prisoners, which is labelled as reconciliation.” -Amnesty International’ »

Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) calls for the immediate resignation of State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte; CPA wants authorities to initiate a credible investigation into the alleged incidents, and take action without fear or favour.

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) today called for the immediate resignation of State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte for the authorities to initiate a credible investigation into the alleged incidents, and action taken without fear or favour.

In a statement, the CPA stated that it was deeply disturbed by media reports of two incidents this week where the State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte is alleged to have abused his position by entering two prisons inebriated, and attempted to assault remand prisoners.

On Sunday 12 September, the State Minister is reported to have entered the Welikada Prison with a group of friends. Subsequently he is reported to have travelled by helicopter to Anuradhapura where he had entered the Anuradhapura Prison and ordered two suspects at gunpoint to kneel down in front of him.

Continue reading ‘Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) calls for the immediate resignation of State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte; CPA wants authorities to initiate a credible investigation into the alleged incidents, and take action without fear or favour.’ »

Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK are deeply concerned about current human rights developments in Sri Lanka and call upon Govt to cooperate fully with the UN High Commissioner while remaining ready to support the Government on the implementation of resolution 46/1.

(Text of Statement Delivered by UK’s Ambassador to the UN and WTO in Geneva, Simon Manley on behalf of the Core Group of Sri Lanka at the 48th Session of the UN Human Rights Council on September 14th 2021)

Thank you Madam President

This statement is by the Core Group on Sri Lanka comprising Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK.

We thank the High Commissioner for her update on Sri Lanka and call for OHCHR to be granted the resources needed to implement resolution 46/1.

We recognise the challenges Sri Lanka is facing due to the COVID 19 pandemic and express our condolences to the people of Sri Lanka for the many lives that have been lost.

We continue to stress the importance of a comprehensive reconciliation and accountability process. We note Sri Lanka’s declared intent to promote reconciliation and to ensure the continuity of the work of the Office of Missing Persons and the Office for Reparations.

Continue reading ‘Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK are deeply concerned about current human rights developments in Sri Lanka and call upon Govt to cooperate fully with the UN High Commissioner while remaining ready to support the Government on the implementation of resolution 46/1.’ »

Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris reiterates Sri Lanka’s strong and continued cooperation with the UN Human Rights Council while rejecting the proposal for any external initiatives purportedly established by Resolution 46/1 because domestic processes are vigorously addressing the relevant matters

(Text of Statement by Prof G.L.Peiris Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka at the 48th Regular Session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on 14 September 2021)

< strong>Madam President,

Let me begin by reiterating our strong and continued cooperation with this Council and the United Nations mandated human rights system, in keeping with our Constitution and our international obligations voluntarily undertaken.

Twelve years ago, Sri Lanka eradicated LTTE terrorism on its soil. We have restored peace, security and stability for the benefit of our people. We held firm to our democratic traditions and elections were held at regular intervals with high levels of voter participation – most recently at the 2019 Presidential and 2020 Parliamentary polls. The Government is committed to holding the Provincial Council elections at the earliest.

We are dealing with post-conflict recovery from the perspective of healing. Most recently, 16 LTTE cadres convicted of serious terrorist crimes were granted Presidential pardons. The success of post conflict demining, reconstruction and resettlement programs has contributed immensely to national reconciliation.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris reiterates Sri Lanka’s strong and continued cooperation with the UN Human Rights Council while rejecting the proposal for any external initiatives purportedly established by Resolution 46/1 because domestic processes are vigorously addressing the relevant matters’ »

UN Human Rights Commissioner Michele Bachelet takes note of President Gotbaya Rajapaksa’s statement in June that the Sri Lankan Govt is “committed to work with the UN to ensure accountability” and will implement “necessary institutional reforms.” And Says “I look forward to seeing concrete actions to this effect”

(Oral Update on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka at the 48th session of the Human Rights Council by Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, 13 September 2021)


Distinguished President,

Excellencies,

I am pleased to update the Human Rights Council on Sri Lanka and the trends and issues identified in my last report.

I acknowledge the inputs sent by the Government in preparation for this update, and I note the President’s statement in June that the Government is “committed to work with the UN to ensure accountability” and will implement “necessary institutional reforms.”

I look forward to seeing concrete actions to this effect – in line with the recommendations that have been made in our reports and by various human rights mechanisms – and my Office stands ready to engage.

I also encourage the swift and public release of the reports of the national Commission of Inquiry that was appointed in January 2021, which I understand will complete its mandate by the end of this year, so that its work and recommendations can be assessed.
The current social, economic and governance challenges faced by Sri Lanka indicate the corrosive impact that militarisation and the lack of accountability continue to have on fundamental rights, civic space, democratic institutions, social cohesion and sustainable development.

A new state of emergency was declared in Sri Lanka on 30 August, with the stated aim of ensuring food security and price controls, amid deepening recession. The emergency regulations are very broad and may further expand the role of the military in civilian functions. The Office will be closely monitoring their application.

Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Commissioner Michele Bachelet takes note of President Gotbaya Rajapaksa’s statement in June that the Sri Lankan Govt is “committed to work with the UN to ensure accountability” and will implement “necessary institutional reforms.” And Says “I look forward to seeing concrete actions to this effect”’ »

Jacqueline Fernandez; Sri Lankan Jewel in Indian Hindi Filmdom Crown

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sri Lanka’s Jacqueline Fernandez who has made a name for herself in India as a successful film actress was very much in the news last week for reasons unconnected to her cinematic career. The luminous star of Sri Lanka who has been illuminating the Hindi cinematic firmament for several years was summoned by India’s Directorate of Enforcement Division to give evidence in an investigation into an alleged racket involving fraud, extortion and money laundering amounting to of over Two Billion Indian rupeers. The Directorate of Enforcement is a specialized financial investigation agency probing suspected financial crimes. The Enforcement directorate is under the Department of Revenue within the purview of the Indian Finance Ministry.

Pics via: https://www.facebook.com/AsliJacquelineFernandez

The suspected mastermind behind the alleged racket being investigated is an ace confidence trickster named Sukesh Chndrasekhar who is in jail. Jacqueline herself was an unwitting victim who had been enticed by Sukesh’s girlfriend and suspected partner in crime, Leena Maria Paul. Leena who is a film actress had befriended Jacqueline and lured her into the trap. She has also been arrested. Jacqueline appeared before the Enforcement Division on Aug 30 and was questioned by officials for over five hours. According to Indian media reports Jacqueline had provided crucial details to the officials.

The Indian media both electronic and print gave much exposure to Jacqueline’s appearance before the Directorate of Evidence. It also got much coverage in social media. This was hardly surprising because Jacqueline Fernandez is today a popular, successful actress in Hindi cinema. In a media environment dominated by COVID, Lockdowns, Afghanistan and political play, the news about Jacqueline may very well have been refreshingly welcome.

Continue reading ‘Jacqueline Fernandez; Sri Lankan Jewel in Indian Hindi Filmdom Crown’ »

Defence Secretary Gen.Kamal Gunaratne says there is irrefutable evidence regarding detained Lawyer Hejaz Hizbullah’s involvement in the Easter carnage


By Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary Gen. Kamal Gunaratne says certain interested parties are propagating lies that the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks had been carried out to influence the electorate at the 2019 presidential election.

Gen. Gunaratne says attempts are being made to drag President Gotabaya Rajapaksa into the controversy.

The former General Officer Commanding (GoC) of the elite 53 Division said so at a media briefing at the Defence Complex in Akuregoda, Battaramulla on Thursday (9).

SLPP presidential candidate comfortably won the election. It was followed by the SLPP triumph at the general election in 2020.

Continue reading ‘Defence Secretary Gen.Kamal Gunaratne says there is irrefutable evidence regarding detained Lawyer Hejaz Hizbullah’s involvement in the Easter carnage’ »

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa never sought an audience with Pope Francis during his visit to Italy States foreign ministry after Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said the visit was an attempt to mislead the Vatican about the 2019 Easter attack probe.

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa never sought an audience with Pope Francis during his visit to the Vatican, the foreign ministry said after the head of the country’s Catholic church Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith claimed the visit was an attempt to mislead the Vatican about the 2019 Easter attack probe.

“At no stage has the Prime Minister requested nor received an invitation to visit the Vatican for an audience with His Holiness the Pope,” the foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday (08).

The ministry said both the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister will visit Bologna, Italy, to take part in an international event which is to be attended by the Prime Minister of Italy and other dignitaries from Italy and other European countries.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa never sought an audience with Pope Francis during his visit to Italy States foreign ministry after Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said the visit was an attempt to mislead the Vatican about the 2019 Easter attack probe.’ »

Prime Miniser Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister GL Peiris are Trying to Mislead the Pope Over the Easter Sunday Bombings Investigation During their Italy Visit Alleges Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

By

Yohan Perera

Archbishop of Colombo, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, today alleged there were moves by the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister to mislead the Pope and international community over the Easter Sunday investigations during the Prime Minister’s visit to Italy which will begin tomorrow.

Opposing the move by the government to brief the Vatican about the investigations on Easter Sunday attacks, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith said the Sri Lankan Catholic Church had already briefed the Holy See about the situation.

He said the Vatican is expected to refer the issue to UNHRC in Geneva shortly.

Continue reading ‘Prime Miniser Mahinda Rajapaksa and Foreign Minister GL Peiris are Trying to Mislead the Pope Over the Easter Sunday Bombings Investigation During their Italy Visit Alleges Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’ »

What is the Emerging ‘food emergency’ in Sri Lanka?

By
Meera Srinivasan

On August 30, 2021, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, using powers vested in the country’s Public Security Ordinance, declared Emergency regulations pertaining to the distribution of essential food items.

The regulations sought to empower authorities to provide essential food items at a “concessionary rate” to the public by purchasing stocks of essential food items, including paddy, rice and sugar, at government-guaranteed prices, and prevent market irregularities and hoarding.

President Rajapaksa has appointed Major General N.D.S.P. Niwunhella as the Commissioner General of Essential Services to coordinate and ensure that people have access to essential supplies, a statement from the Presidential Media Division said.

Continue reading ‘What is the Emerging ‘food emergency’ in Sri Lanka?’ »

” We don’t expect to overcome a crisis of this magnitude on our own but hope well-wishers and the Opposition will cooperate to solve this crisis,” Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa

Basil Rajapaksa yesterday, in his first speech in Parliament as Finance Minister, painted a bleak picture of the economy and said that, amid the foreign exchange crisis, the country had lost around Rs. 1.6 trillion in Government revenue due to the COVID pandemic.

“The country is facing a serious foreign exchange crisis. Similarly, revenue has come down drastically. We don’t expect to overcome a crisis of this magnitude on our own but hope well-wishers and the Opposition will cooperate to solve this crisis,” Rajapaksa said.

Speaking during the debate on several finance Bills, Rajapaksa said that while the COVID-19 pandemic had aggravated the country’s economic woes, it was the poor economic management over previous decades which had led to this situation.

Continue reading ‘” We don’t expect to overcome a crisis of this magnitude on our own but hope well-wishers and the Opposition will cooperate to solve this crisis,” Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’ »

Along with his band The Gypsies, Sunil Perera wrote and performed songs with catchy tunes and clever words, often about Sri Lankan life and politics.

By Ranga Sirilal and Ayeshea Perera

Sunil Perera, one of the stalwarts of Sri Lanka’s baila genre – a memento of Portuguese colonisation – died on Monday aged 68, his family said.

He is believed to have died of Covid-related complications.
Along with his band The Gypsies, Sunil wrote and performed songs with catchy tunes and clever lyrics, often about Sri Lankan life and politics.

His song Uncle Johnson from 1987 related a hilarious tale of a ruined wedding anniversary party, while Signore focused on the laments of a defeated politician berating his ungrateful voters. Saima Cut Vela gave advice to a hysterical young woman convinced her husband was fatally ill when in fact he was just drunk.

Continue reading ‘Along with his band The Gypsies, Sunil Perera wrote and performed songs with catchy tunes and clever words, often about Sri Lankan life and politics.’ »

Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman was the Masterful Strategist and Shrewdest Tactician Among Tamil Political Leaders

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Saumiyamoorthy (spelled sometimes as Saumyamoorthy or Saumiamoorthy) Thondaman was the legendary co-founder and long-time leader of the Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC). Thonda, as he was widely known, played a prominent role in the country’s post-independence politics for many decades.

Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman (30 August 1913 – 30 October 1999;)

His political life was intertwined with the vicissitudes of the Indian Tamil people of Sri Lanka, who still form the most deprived section of Sri Lankan society. He was a latter-day Moses whose goal was to emancipate his people from the wretched plight they were in owing to the historical injustice of being de-citizenised and disenfranchised. Although he could not fully realise these aspirations during his lifetime, it cannot be denied that the pragmatic leadership of Thondaman helped the people he represented to better their circumstances from the dire position they were in after the dawn of Sri Lanka’s independence.

Continue reading ‘Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman was the Masterful Strategist and Shrewdest Tactician Among Tamil Political Leaders’ »

Sri Lanka’s “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”:President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Declares State of Emergency Through Public Security Ordinance to Make Rice, Dhal and Sugar Available to the Public at Reasonable Prices


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

In decades of the dreaded Public Security Ordinance (PSO) in Sri Lanka, this is perhaps the first time that the use of this law has been justified by the Office of the President as necessary to ensure the availability of staples such as rice, dhal and sugar to the populace at reasonable prices.

Does it need the PSO to rein in robbers?’

What an extraordinary fall for the mighty PSO, one might well chuckle. Even as the Government’s lawyers employ the full strength of their (palpably unconvincing) lungs to emphasize the awful consequences of the deployment of the PSO and the terrible fates that will befall crooked hoarders of essential supplies, the truth lies elsewhere. Furious citizens on the street, traipsing from store to store to buy what earlier used to be freely available, vent their outrage in no uncertain terms. ‘Does it need the PSO to rein in robbers who are hoarding rice?’ one enraged man asked.

‘If so, what is the point of declaring maximum retail prices of food items through gazettes and what is the use of the Consumer Affairs Authority?’ he bellowed. ‘This shows how they have reduced the gazette to a joke’ someone else said. They may well have added that not only the gazette but the PSO itself has been reduced to the state of a grinning cheshire cat. Indeed, the framers of the PSO (1947) may have been forgiven for not anticipating this extraordinary eventuality when they drew up a ferociously harsh law meant to deal with threats aimed at the existence of the State.

Ensuring rice, dhal and sugar to citizens would have been the furthest from their minds, we hazard reasonably enough to guess. Of course from one standpoint, the implications of this week’s Proclamation by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa declaring a state of emergency and consequently bringing Part Two of the PSO into operation forthwith, is serious enough. The Opposition is shouting itself hoarse, warning that this is one more step towards authoritarianism. Certainly the Government’s stated reason for doing so, namely to catch rogue traders wears very thin indeed.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s “Vistas of Prosperity and Splendour”:President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Declares State of Emergency Through Public Security Ordinance to Make Rice, Dhal and Sugar Available to the Public at Reasonable Prices’ »

Sri Lankan National Who was Shot Dead by New Zealand Police After Injuring 7 Persons in Knife Attack at an Auckland Supermarket Officially Identified as 32 Year Old Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen from Kattankudy in Batticaloa District


The Sri Lankan national shot dead inside a shopping mall in Auckland on Friday after he attacked several locals has been identified as Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen, a 32-year-old from the Eastern town of Kattankudy.

He went to New Zealand on a student visa in 2011 and then asked for political asylum claiming he and his father were experiencing problems in Sri Lanka with the authorities.
Sri Lankan Police yesterday launched an investigation into the man’s family and have already traced his mother.

New Zealand Police were being hampered in their investigations until a High Court suppression order preventing details about his identity and background being made public lapsed.

Samsudeen had applied for refugee status soon after arriving in New Zealand on a student visa in October 2011. His refugee status was granted on December 20, 2013 after a tribunal found he had a well-founded fear of facing harm if he returned to Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan National Who was Shot Dead by New Zealand Police After Injuring 7 Persons in Knife Attack at an Auckland Supermarket Officially Identified as 32 Year Old Ahamed Aathill Mohamed Samsudeen from Kattankudy in Batticaloa District’ »

Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry Submits 13 Page Document to UN and Diplomatic Missions Outlining “substantial progress on human rights issues through domestic processes and mechanisms” Prior to Commencement of UNHRC 48th Session in Geneva

Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris this week handed over to UN Head in Sri Lanka Haana Singer-Hamdy the first copy of a 13-page response to obviate criticism over non-implementation of key elements in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Resolution passed early this year.

The 13-page note prepared on the eve of the forthcoming UNHRC sessions points out that some of the main undertakings are either being implemented or nearing completion. Copies have also been delivered to Colombo-based diplomatic community via courier and to those based in Geneva.

Among such areas are the Office of the Missing Persons (OMP), the Office of Reparation (OR), developing a comprehensive transitional justice strategy, accountability and repealing of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA). “Notwithstanding the pandemic, Sri Lanka is determined and has made substantial progress on human rights issues through domestic processes and mechanisms,” the note says.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Foreign Ministry Submits 13 Page Document to UN and Diplomatic Missions Outlining “substantial progress on human rights issues through domestic processes and mechanisms” Prior to Commencement of UNHRC 48th Session in Geneva’ »

Remembering Comrade Bala Tampoe the Legendary Trade Union Leader on his Seventh Death Anniversary

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Veteran Trade Union Leader Philips Balendra Tampoe passed away at the age of 92 on September 1st 2014.Comrade Bala Tampoe as he was generally known created Trade union history by being the general secretary of the Ceylon Mercantile Union for an unbroken period of sixty – six years.To denote the seventh death anniversary of Comrade Bala Tampoe I am re-posting an article I wrote about him in May 2015 to mark his 93rd birth anniversary on May 23rd………………DBSJ)


Remembering Comrade Bala Tampoe the Legendary Trade Union Leader on his 93rd Birth Anniversary -May 23

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark” is perhaps an apt description of how the International Workers Day was observed in Sri Lanka on May 1st. Instead of being given pride of place on May Day, the workers and their trade union leaders were virtually ignored by the political parties conducting rallies and processions on workers day. The May day event has been transfigured or disfigured into a Political Tamasha by major political parties.

(null)

The pathetically fractured trade union movement and hopelessly debilitated working classes of Sri Lanka have either been unable or unwilling to check or counter this increasing politicisation and consequent diminution of the trade union sphere over the years. The transformation of May day into a political event where the workers were treated as children of a lesser god is only symptomatic of a malady that has afflicted this country for many decades. The sea of red that this writer witnessed on May day during his childhood slowly began changing colour to seas of green and blue over the years. With the presence of artistes and actors from India on stage, the meaning of May day got distorted as a cultural show.

Continue reading ‘Remembering Comrade Bala Tampoe the Legendary Trade Union Leader on his Seventh Death Anniversary’ »

The man who stabbed six innocent supermarket shoppers in a terrorist attack – before being shot dead by police – was an “ISIS-inspired known threat” who was under constant police surveillance, says New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.


A man has been fatally shot by police officers and six shoppers have been injured – including three critically – in horrific scenes at a West Auckland supermarket this afternoon.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was a terrorist attack carried out by a known threat, who was under constant police surveillance.

“What happened today was despicable. It was hateful, it was wrong. It was carried out by an individual, not a faith, not a culture, not an ethnicity but an individual person who is gripped by ideology that is not supported here by anyone in the community,” Ardern said.

Continue reading ‘The man who stabbed six innocent supermarket shoppers in a terrorist attack – before being shot dead by police – was an “ISIS-inspired known threat” who was under constant police surveillance, says New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.’ »

Sri Lankan National Supporter of Islamic State(IS) Shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great)Injures 6 Persons of whom 3 are Critical and one Serious in Knife Attack at Auckland Supermarket and is Shot Dead by New Zealand Police.

Police in New Zealand shot and killed a “violent extremist” after he stabbed and wounded at least six people in an Auckland supermarket.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the incident was a “terrorist attack” carried out by a Sri Lankan national who was under police surveillance.

The man, who has not been officially named, was a supporter of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group, she said.

Police killed the man within 60 seconds of the attack on Friday.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan National Supporter of Islamic State(IS) Shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great)Injures 6 Persons of whom 3 are Critical and one Serious in Knife Attack at Auckland Supermarket and is Shot Dead by New Zealand Police.’ »

32 Year old “Lone Wolf” Attacker arrived in New Zealand in October 2011, became a person of national security interest in 2016 and was recently sentenced to one year of supervision for possessing IS propaganda.-BBC

What do we know about the New Zealand attacker?

The man, whose identity cannot be revealed due to court suppression orders, arrived in New Zealand in October 2011. He became a person of national security interest in 2016.

He had been under round-the-clock monitoring and heavy surveillance due to concerns about his ideology. He was known to multiple agencies, and was also on a terror watchlist.

Continue reading ‘32 Year old “Lone Wolf” Attacker arrived in New Zealand in October 2011, became a person of national security interest in 2016 and was recently sentenced to one year of supervision for possessing IS propaganda.-BBC’ »

Extremism rears its head again in New Zealand -An Analysis

by Phil Mercer, BBC News

This callous act in Auckland will stir painful memories of the deadly mosque attacks in Christchurch in 2019.

In that attack, a lone gunman – a self-confessed white supremacist – murdered 51 worshippers. Once again, New Zealand’s geographic isolation and peaceful reputation have proved to be no defence against extremism.

The assailant had, for years, been identified as a threat to national security and was under 24-hour surveillance.
Continue reading ‘Extremism rears its head again in New Zealand -An Analysis’ »

India’s National Investigation Agency Probe into Seizure of Heroin and Arms Off Kerala Coast Leads to Suspicion of international drug running and weapon trading racket aimed at reviving the LTTE; Arrested Sri Lankan Tamil “Mastermind” Suresh Rajan and Associate Soundararajan Were Allegedly Working Closely with Known LTTE Sympathisers


By

Arun Janardhanan

An ongoing National Investigation Agency (NIA) probe into the seizure of 300 kg heroin, five AK-47 rifles and 1,000 live rounds of 9mm ammunition off the coast of Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram has led to speculation that an international drug running and weapon trading racket is aimed at reviving the Sri Lankan Tamil separatist group LTTE.

The case relates to the March 18 interception of a boat with the contraband by the Coast Guard following an intelligence input. The mastermind behind the operation was Sri Lankan Tamil Suresh Rajan, a resident of Colombo who had been living at Kundrathur, a Chennai suburb, for some time.

Continue reading ‘India’s National Investigation Agency Probe into Seizure of Heroin and Arms Off Kerala Coast Leads to Suspicion of international drug running and weapon trading racket aimed at reviving the LTTE; Arrested Sri Lankan Tamil “Mastermind” Suresh Rajan and Associate Soundararajan Were Allegedly Working Closely with Known LTTE Sympathisers’ »

If the lockdown is extended to 2 October, $ 2.2 billion would be lost, but 6,300 lives can be saved. 6,300 lives hang in balance. Whether they live or die depends on what the Rajapaksas prioritise – money or lives.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Our Hero who works, loving motherland forever If anyone is protecting the country, that noble man is you”
Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidential campaign theme song

The warnings were clear. Churches will be attacked on Easter Sunday. Authorities turned a deaf ear. The massacre happened. 269 innocent lives were lost.

Three days later Gotabaya Rajapaksa arrived from the US declaring his candidacy. He vowed to protect the good and punish the bad and rode the patriotic horse to a landslide win.

Now he and his family’s Government are being forewarned by a team of medical experts. In the report, Epidemiological and Economic Projections of Mitigation Measures for the COVID-19 Pandemic in Sri Lanka’s Roadmap, the warnings are as specific as those preceding the Easter Sunday massacre. If the lockdown is extended to 18 September, $ 1.67 billion would be lost; but 2,988 lives can be saved. If the lockdown is extended to 2 October, $ 2.2 billion would be lost, but 6,300 lives can be saved.

After the Easter Sunday massacre, Gotabaya Rajapaksa accused the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration of de-prioritising national security. “They did not give priority to national security… They were talking about ethnic reconciliation, then they were talking about human rights issues, they were talking about individual freedoms.”

His words fell on a soil made fertile by the blood of innocents. 6.9 million Lankans, the absolute majority of them Sinhalese and Buddhists, voted him into power, choosing safety over ethnic reconciliation, human rights and individual freedoms.

Today the safety of all Lankans is imperilled as never before. If the lockdown is not extended by another month, 6,300 lives will be lost – that is 23.4 times as many as the lives lost in the Easter Sunday massacre. Lankans of every ethnicity and religion, parents and children, spouses and siblings, lovers, relations and friends, 6,300 lives hang in balance. Whether they live or die depends on what the Rajapaksas prioritise – money or lives.

Continue reading ‘If the lockdown is extended to 2 October, $ 2.2 billion would be lost, but 6,300 lives can be saved. 6,300 lives hang in balance. Whether they live or die depends on what the Rajapaksas prioritise – money or lives.’ »

How much higher will the price of sugar rise to keep the “Rajavasala” Family happy?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

This lockdown is not as tough as it was expected to be. There is plenty of traffic on the roads, and very little stopping by the Police. People are also moving about, and most of those who called for a lockdown see it as a play of presidential politics: giving what you asked for, but not the way you wanted it.

During the last few. ‘lockdown’ days the figures of those infected with Covid-19 has gone up considerably, and the numbers, dead too. Those infections would have been before the lockdown began. So let’s keep watching the infection numbers and the death toll, in the coming weeks and months. Are we not sure of the deadly figures given by the Washington University some months ago, or the WHO and Medical Experts more recently?

Who cares? We have a Minister of Health who sees this as the task of the gods.

Now that the Cabinet Ministers have been shaken up, and the Delta variant of Corona has its own play, let’s all raise our hands and call for the help of the gods, with the Minister of Health Rambukwelle, doing a special dance at his favourite Devale.

By the way, do we have enough coconuts, or can we obtain them at a special reduced Covid pooja price, to get all the nuts needed to smash at every devale?

We will have to do without sugar for all the syrups that will be made at different devales to please the deities -at Seenigama, too.

Continue reading ‘How much higher will the price of sugar rise to keep the “Rajavasala” Family happy?’ »

Lessons From My Mangala Mamma:How a Fashion Designer Can Become a Finance Minister.

By

Chanchala Gunewardena

Mammi had many achievements in the telecom sector. My favorite of these was the installment of dial-up in my parents’ home, a personal windfall. When I was old enough to access a search engine I browsed my way through the good, bad, and mean spirited about my family. From both back in the day, but also iterated throughout his career despite mounting accomplishments, was the intriguing failure of many to compute how someone trained in one area, particularly in the apparently frivolous and effeminized inclination for fashion, could have the capacity for roles which were at least then considered the territory of the somber and the acceptably qualified few.

I concluded that the imagination gap that produces this question reflects the asker’s personal limitations and/or broader cultural, and educational constraints. And I contrast that with the great fortune that my family had in that my Khema Atthamma, born in 1929 Ceylon, married to the original Samaraweera politico (and anti-death penalty fighter), then widowed young to raise 3 children on a Lake House secretary’s salary, somehow shirked off fears and pragmatic pressures to bravely nurture a successful architect, designer, and travel agent (and the many other things they did beyond these titles).

Continue reading ‘Lessons From My Mangala Mamma:How a Fashion Designer Can Become a Finance Minister.’ »

“Do we really need an Army Commander with his unform emblazoned with medals to solemnly inform us that a country wide ‘lockdown’ will continue for another week?Is this not a cheapening of the military role of and by itself?


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawrdene

As much this millennium’s devastating global pandemic has brought deaths, destruction of livelihoods and mindless misery to millions across borders, there is a harsh mirror that it holds up to us. Political braggadocio and military might does not stop this virus; sensible public health leadership does. It is as simple as that.

Heedless and needless ruin

But Sri Lanka’s politicians are yet to learn that lesson, it seems. The result is catastrophically high human cost of not only the covid stricken and desperately vulnerable ‘hoi polloi’ crowding our hospitals and overflowing to open spaces but finally, the implacable reaching of virus tentacles into the high echelons of the Government, establishment, political and corporate elites One by one, each is struck down by the pandemic.

Meanwhile, the political and economic consequences of this colossal failure of Sri Lanka’s preferred military policy in dealing with the pandemic is inevitable.

Continue reading ‘“Do we really need an Army Commander with his unform emblazoned with medals to solemnly inform us that a country wide ‘lockdown’ will continue for another week?Is this not a cheapening of the military role of and by itself?’ »

“Tamil is the Language I Speak, so why not put Tamil Words into the Songs I Create?asks Swiss Tamil Pop Singer of Sri Lankan Origin – Priya Ragu

By
Alim Kheraj

When Priya Ragu signed her record deal, her parents told her not to give up her day job. “I thought: ‘I can work and do the music at the same time,’” says Ragu. The problem was that she was employed as a technical purchaser buying aircraft parts – hardly the sort of job you can do on autopilot.

For months, she balanced the two until the burden got too much. “I realised that mistakes were happening, and my boss was like: ‘Are you sure you want to carry on doing this?’ That’s when I decided to quit.”

That was only two months ago, and Ragu still hasn’t told her parents that she quit – although once they read this interview, her secret will be out. But given the trajectory of her career, they shouldn’t be surprised.

Since her breakout hit, the buoyant Good Love 2.0, the 35-year-old Swiss-Sri Lankan star has carved out a space for herself with a sound that blends the slinky R&B of Kehlani or Summer Walker with folk music from the Tamil population of south Asia and samples from Tamil-language “Kollywood” films. It’s a fusion filled with reverence for Ragu’s heritage and which has picked up praise from Vogue and Radio 1.

Continue reading ‘“Tamil is the Language I Speak, so why not put Tamil Words into the Songs I Create?asks Swiss Tamil Pop Singer of Sri Lankan Origin – Priya Ragu’ »

Remembering the Days When My Friend Mangala Samaraweera was Famously “Labelled” as Mangala Innocence.


By

Chandri Peris

When one hears a single bell toll, the message become clear. Someone within your community has passed. In the last few weeks, we have been hearing the bell toll over and over again with increasing rapidity until it reached a deafening crescendo this morning, Mangala is no more!

“Stop all the clocks – cut off the telephone – pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nothing now can ever come to any good.”

Many in Sri Lanka looked up to him and referred to him as a “True Patriot”. They pinned their hopes on him, eager to see him lead a country they all love to a better future. Those hopes now lie in shreds, like the smithereens of a coconut that has been dashed to appease a god who remains – just stone.

The Mangala I knew was a friend devoid of politics. He entered that hell the year that I left the hell that is Sri Lanka now! I knew him when he lived in a tiny government owned flat in Dehiwala. Fresh from his days at Central St. Martin’s School of Fashion, London, it was here that we spent many a day and night planning his first fashion show “The Post Nuclear Floor Show,” which I choreographed and presented.I have many memories of and with him; Kinross beach for midday swims when he used to pretend to be a crocodile, lunch packets of rice and curry from the shop around the corner bought just so as to flirt with the shop keeper, and wild nights that started at the Art Centre Club which rolled on and on (with Jagath, Ranjith, Feroze, Prasad, Boodhi, Vasantha, Kukka et al). He had this unforgettable sewing shop in Favela in Colpetty, where film stars from the silver screen used to come and get measured while we hid behind bales of tartan cloth and giggled. We both made shirts out of Batticaloa sarongs and thought we looked rather dashing! He had a wonderful sense of colour which I did my best to learn from and even copied. We laughed a lot in those days when none of us had any money. It was indeed the age of innocence!

Continue reading ‘Remembering the Days When My Friend Mangala Samaraweera was Famously “Labelled” as Mangala Innocence.’ »

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin Announces Indian Rupees 3170 Million Package to Benefit Sri Lankan Tamil Refugees in State’Proposed Measures Include Housing Reconstruction, Enhancing Education and Employment Opportunities,Raising Living Standards and Increasing Food Subsidies


Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Friday, August 27, announced a welfare package of Rs 317 crore, which includes rebuilding houses, for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in the state. A committee would be set up soon for their welfare, which shall, among other things, work towards long term solutions on matters like citizenship and making arrangements for those returning to Sri Lanka, he said.

Making a statement in the Assembly, the Chief Minister said Rs 261.54 crore would be allocated for improving infrastructure including reconstruction of houses for those living in camps, Rs 12.25 crore towards ensuring education and job opportunities and Rs 43.61 crore for raising their living standards.

Till date, 3,04,269 Lankan Tamils have arrived in Tamil Nadu since 1983. Of them, 58,822 people belonging to 18,944 families are housed in 108 camps spread across 29 districts and 34,087 people are living elsewhere after due registration, he said.
Assuring a dignified living for Tamil refugees, Stalin said

7,469 dilapidated tenements in camps would be rebuilt at a cost of Rs 231.54 crore and Rs 108.81 crore would be earmarked in the current fiscal year for construction of 3,510 new houses in the first phase. For improving basic amenities like drinking water, Rs 30 crore will be allotted and every year Rs 5 crore shall be set apart for developing such facilities. On the education front, CM Stalin said the government would bear the tuition and hostel fees of 55 students, who are children of refugees. Fifty students in engineering and five others in agriculture and agriculture-engineering streams would get the assistance based on marks secured.

Also, the government will remit the tuition and hostel fee of all post graduate students living in camps and Rs 1 crore would be allotted for the purpose, the CM said. Announcing a hike in scholarship, he said the assistance for those studying polytechnic courses would now be Rs 10,000 from Rs 2,500. For graduate studies in arts and science streams, the scholarship shall be increased to Rs 12,000 from Rs 3,000. For graduate level vocational courses, the scholarship would be increased to Rs 20,000 from Rs 5,000 and Rs 1.25 crore shall be set apart for the initiative.

For the every 300 Self Help Groups in camps, Rs 1.25 lakh would be provided as revolving and community investment fund and Rs 75,000 shall be given to 321 groups selected last year over and above the Rs 50,000 provided earlier.

In total, Rs 6.16 crore would be allotted for the purpose in the current financial year. Also, Rs 10 crore would be allotted to provide skill development training to 5,000 youngsters. The cash assistance to family heads would be increased to Rs 1,500 per month from Rs 1,000. The cash support shall be increased to Rs 1,000 from Rs 750 for adults and for children aged 12 and below, it would be Rs 500 from the present Rs 400. The increase would cost the exchequer an additional Rs 21.49 crore.

Free of cost cooking gas connection and stove would be provided to camp inmates at a one-time cost of Rs 7 crore and a subsidy of Rs 400 would be provided for five gas cylinders and Rs 3.80 crore shall be earmarked every year for this purpose.

The CM also announced that the rice provided to them over and above the 20 kilo entitlement shall also be provided free of cost. Presently, they get a subsidy of 57 paisa per kilo for rice above the 20-kg slab. “The government will bear the additional expenditure of Rs 19 lakh.” Stalin also announced enhanced support in other welfare schemes including those aimed at providing clothing and cooking utensils.

The Chief Minister said the proposed committee would be for providing appropriate support to refugees living in camps and outside. It would also look into enhancing basic amenities for them.

Courtesy;The News Minute

Only a Single Suicide Bomber Was Responsible for Explosive Attack on People Waiting at the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 26; At Least 95 Persons Comprising Afghan Civilians and 13 US Defence Personnel Killed;Over 150 Injured- Latest BBC Report


A powerful bomb blast struck the perimeter of Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport on Thursday, as civilians continued to seek to escape on flights from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

At least 95 people were killed and 150 others wounded.

The Pentagon confirmed 13 US service personnel were among those killed.

The bombing came hours after Western governments had warned their citizens to stay away from the airport, because of an imminent threat of an attack by IS-K, the Afghanistan branch of the Islamic State group.

Here is what we know about what happened.

Continue reading ‘Only a Single Suicide Bomber Was Responsible for Explosive Attack on People Waiting at the Abbey Gate of Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul on August 26; At Least 95 Persons Comprising Afghan Civilians and 13 US Defence Personnel Killed;Over 150 Injured- Latest BBC Report’ »

Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP)Launches Twin Suicide Bomber Attacks on Abbey Gate of Kabul Airport and Afghan Refugee Claim Processing Centre at Baron Hotel; Gunmen Open Fire After Explosions; At Least 12 US Defence Personnel and Over 60 Afghan Civilians Killed According to Preliminary Estimates.

AS THE AUGUST 31st deadline to conclude the evacuation of Afghanistan loomed, the drumbeat of warnings grew louder. On August 24th President Joe Biden warned of an “acute and growing risk” of a terrorist attack, by the local branch of Islamic State (IS), against Kabul’s airport, thronged by thousands of Afghans desperate to escape the Taliban’s rule. On August 25th several governments told their nationals to keep away from the airport. On August 26th a British minister warned that intelligence pointed to “a very imminent, highly lethal attack”. Alas, it came later that afternoon.

At least 12 American troops—thought to be 11 marines and one navy medic—and at least 60 Afghans were killed in two suicide-bombings, which the Pentagon described as a “heinous” and “complex” attack. General Kenneth McKenzie, head of America’s Central Command, which has responsibility for Afghanistan, said that the Pentagon was “still working to calculate the total loss”. One attack targeted the Abbey gate into Kabul airport, where many would-be refugees had gathered in a sewage canal (see map). The other struck the Baron hotel, 200 metres away, where British officials had been processing Afghan claims. Gunmen opened fire after both incidents.

Continue reading ‘Islamic State Khorasan Province (ISKP)Launches Twin Suicide Bomber Attacks on Abbey Gate of Kabul Airport and Afghan Refugee Claim Processing Centre at Baron Hotel; Gunmen Open Fire After Explosions; At Least 12 US Defence Personnel and Over 60 Afghan Civilians Killed According to Preliminary Estimates.’ »

Yoshita Rajapaksa Denies Social Media Reports that he slapped Iraj Weeraratne Thereby Causing the Well-known Musician to Resign Post of National Youth Services Council Director

By

JAMILA HUSAIN

Yoshita Rajapaksa ,Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has denied rumors that he slapped musician and song writer Iraj Weeraratne, which is why Iraj submitted his resignation as director of the National Youth Services Council (NYSC).

Yoshitha told Daily Mirror that such rumors being circulated on social media were baseless and he had no association to Weeraratne.

Continue reading ‘Yoshita Rajapaksa Denies Social Media Reports that he slapped Iraj Weeraratne Thereby Causing the Well-known Musician to Resign Post of National Youth Services Council Director’ »

“The US has torn itself apart in its counterinsurgent efforts because of its inability to define attainable goals and to link them in a way that is sustainable by the American political process.”- Dr.Henry Kissinger

By
Henry Kissinger

THE TALIBAN takeover of Afghanistan focuses the immediate concern on the extrication of tens of thousands of Americans, allies and Afghans stranded all over the country.

Their rescue needs to be our urgent priority. The more fundamental concern, however, is how America found itself moved to withdraw in a decision taken without much warning or consultation with allies or the people most directly involved in 20 years of sacrifice. And why the basic challenge in Afghanistan has been conceived and presented to the public as a choice between full control of Afghanistan or complete withdrawal.

An underlying issue has dogged our counterinsurgency efforts from Vietnam to Iraq for over a generation. When the United States risks the lives of its military, stakes its prestige and involves other countries, it must do so on the basis of a combination of strategic and political objectives. Strategic, to make clear the circumstances for which we fight; political, to define the governing framework to sustain the outcome both within the country concerned and internationally.

Continue reading ‘“The US has torn itself apart in its counterinsurgent efforts because of its inability to define attainable goals and to link them in a way that is sustainable by the American political process.”- Dr.Henry Kissinger’ »

Mangala, my dear, loyal and trusted friend, Rest peacefully. Your vision will be fulfilled. We will finish the job. We will never let you down

By

Krishantha Prasad Cooray

The loss of Mangala Samaraweera is a devastating blow to statesmanship in Sri Lanka. In the words of theologian James Freeman Clarke, “the difference between a politician and a statesman is that a politician thinks about the next election while the statesman thinks about the next generation.”

In that way, Mangala always put the truth and his moral convictions, his principles, before any election. Despite being a master political tactician instrumental in bringing three of the last four presidents into office, Mangala always thought first about the people of Sri Lanka, and second about politics and how to win elections.

He was never afraid to admit when he was wrong, nor was he shy to voice an opinion that may have been unpopular or politically courageous. Just weeks before he died, he told the public that as bad a state as the country is in today, he personally accepts responsibility for his own mistakes that contributed to our country’s plight. That calibre of sincere introspection is unheard of in Sri Lankan politics.

Continue reading ‘Mangala, my dear, loyal and trusted friend, Rest peacefully. Your vision will be fulfilled. We will finish the job. We will never let you down’ »

Mangala gave us hope of a more enlightened, kinder Sri Lanka. What will we do with that hope? Will we let it turn to despair?


By

Prof. Rohan Samarajiva

A big tree has fallen. What are the consequences?

Mangala went out on a high. A month ago, on 25 July, he had that news conference at Freedom Hub, surrounded by young people. On that day and in the subsequent media interviews, he said what he believed and felt, without compromise.

Back in 2020, when he was contemplating withdrawing from the contesting the General Election, I recall telling him the cameras will not be there for one who is not in politics. He disagreed, saying that he would be in politics, just not electoral politics. The media attention that he drew following the launch of the Radical Centre proved he was right, and I was wrong.

I worked closely with him on telecom reforms and on managing the civil conflict back in 1998-’99. Politics is the art of the possible. He was a practical politician. A doer.

As a liberal, he was in the minority in all the Cabinets served in and in all the political parties he worked in. That required compromise. But his compromises went only so far. Beyond a point, he did not yield. In these last months he spoke freely, without worrying about how the President or Prime Minister or the majority of the party leadership would perceive his comments. That would have been liberating.

Continue reading ‘Mangala gave us hope of a more enlightened, kinder Sri Lanka. What will we do with that hope? Will we let it turn to despair?’ »

Mangala Samaraweera Regarded the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and Samagi Jana Balawegaya as “two sides of the same coin” and stated Sri Lanka is “desperately gasping for a total U-turn” in policy direction.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s former Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera passed away on Tuesday at a private hospital here due to COVID-19 related complications. File | Photo Credit: R.V. Moorthy

The former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka was under treatment for COVID-19.

Mangala Samaraweera, a former Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka and a notable advocate of liberalism from the country’s dominant Sinhala-Buddhist polity, passed away at a private hospital in Colombo after treatment for COVID-19-related complications failed. He was 65.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera Regarded the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna and Samagi Jana Balawegaya as “two sides of the same coin” and stated Sri Lanka is “desperately gasping for a total U-turn” in policy direction.’ »

“You have not died, Mangala. Your exceptional Vision for Lanka and the world lives on.Dearest Mangala, you will live with every battle waged to build a better Sri Lanka.”-Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga

(TEXT Of MESSAGE FROM FORMER PRESIDEN CHANDRIKA BANDARAAIKE KUMARATUNGAON THE PASSING AWAY OF FORMER MINISTER MR. MANGALA SAMARAWEERA)

Mangala, my dearest friend, brother, comrade-in-arms.

On this dark day, you have lost your battle for life.

Your family and friends fought with you, cried and prayed to keep you alive. We too lost this battle.

But you have not died, Mangala. Your exceptional Vision for Lanka and the world lives on. The battle we fought side by side, will live forever.

Dearest Mangala, you will live with every battle waged to build a better Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘“You have not died, Mangala. Your exceptional Vision for Lanka and the world lives on.Dearest Mangala, you will live with every battle waged to build a better Sri Lanka.”-Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga’ »

Tamil National Alliance expresses deep sorrow at the untimely passing away of former Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera who remained a truthful friend of the Tamil People.

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

Tamil National Alliance express our deep sorrow at the untimely passing away of Mr. Magala Samaraweera, former minister and truthful friend of the Tamil People.

Mr. Samaraweera entered politics in 1989, and became a minister in 1994 in the government of President Chandrika Bandaranayeka Kumarasthunga and lead the “Sudu Nelum” movement campaigning for a political solution to the Tamil National Question.

He continued with his Anti – communalist stand right until his death.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance expresses deep sorrow at the untimely passing away of former Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera who remained a truthful friend of the Tamil People.’ »

Visionary Leader Mangala Samaraweera Afflicted with COVID Passes Away at Private Hospital in Colombo; Outspoken Politician From Matara was a True Patriot and Radical Centrist

Sri Lanka’s former finance minister Mangala Samaraweera passed away Tuesday ( Aug 24) in hospital where he was being treated for Coronavirus, a coordinator for the former minister said.

The 65-year-old Samaraweera contracted the virus earlier this month and was receiving intensive care unit (ICU) treatment at the Lanka Hospital, despite being fully vaccinated.

When unconfirmed reports surfaced last week that Samaraweera passed, sources close to him said he was in fact on the mend and was responding well to treatment.

Continue reading ‘Visionary Leader Mangala Samaraweera Afflicted with COVID Passes Away at Private Hospital in Colombo; Outspoken Politician From Matara was a True Patriot and Radical Centrist’ »