Former Cabinet Minister Nissanka Wijeyeratne was a Versatile and Multi-Faceted Personality.

By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj


“And one man in his time plays many parts”
,stated William Shakespeare in his play “As you like it”. The above mentioned observation by the Bard of Avon is quite appropriate in describing the life and work of Dr.Nissanka Wijeyeratne whose 100th birth anniversary was celebrated on June 14.

Nissanka Parakrama Wijeyeratne known popularly as Nissanka was a military officer ,scholar, poet, Government Agent, Permanent secretary, ),Parliamentarian, Cabinet Minister, Ambassador and above all the Diyawadane Nilame of the Sri Dalada Maligawa in a productive life spanning eight decades. This article is to commemorate the birth centenary of this versatile, multi-faceted personality who rendered yeoman service to his motherland.

Nissanka Parakrama hailing from a prominent Sabaragamuwa province family was born in Colombo on 14 June 1924. He was the second son of Sir Edwin (EAP) and Lady Leela Wijeyeratne of Buddhenipola Walauwa,Kegalle. Sir Edwin Wijeyeratne served as Home Minister in the first post-independence Cabinet of Prime Minister D.S. Senanayake and was later Colombo’s envoy to London and New Delhi.Nissanka’s elder brother Tissa was a barrister and diplomat who also wrote fiery articles in newspapers under the pseudonym “Sinhaputra”.Younger brother Cuda was a medical doctor and consultant psychiatrist.

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Will the current positions taken by Sajith Premadasa and Anura Dissanayake Regarding the 13th Amendment help bring about a positive change in the misconceptions among Sinhalese society about devolution of power?

By Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Although many amendments have been brought to the Sri Lankan Constitution during a period of more than four-and-a-half decades, which were detrimental to democratic governance, no major controversy has been raised against them.

However, the 13th Amendment (13A), which has a relatively democratic dimension, has been in the Constitution for more than three-and-a-half decades but has been controversial for a long time.
The 13A, introduced following the July 1987 Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord to introduce the system of Provincial Councils (PCs) has not been properly implemented by any government in office so far. Political controversies arise from time to time regarding that amendment. As the country looks ahead to the Presidential Election, there is another possibility of controversy raging regarding the 13A.

Last week in Jaffna, the two main candidates in the upcoming Presidential Election, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)-led National People’s Power (NPP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake, announced that their future governments would implement the 13A.

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The proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to grant a six months extension to Sri Lanka’s Attorney General has put the hapless holder of that office in the centre of a vicious political whirlwind


By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

The proposal by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to grant a six months service extension to Sri Lanka’s Attorney General has put the hapless holder of that office in the centre of a vicious political whirlwind that further damages the already badly battered public reputation of the chief law officer of the land.

A red hot political coal

This must be said clearly and categorically. Absent that extension, the incumbent Attorney General will retire later this month. This controversial proposal has been placed with his customary aplomb by the President before the Constitutional Council (CC) sans any reflection on the grievous impact that this may have on constitutional propriety.

That proposal is now being tossed like a red hot coal by the CC from one week to the next. All this hot air comes in the backdrop of a looming national poll (presidential or parliamentary as the case may be) and in the wake of the President’s favourites in the United National Party (UNP) declaring that polls should be postponed.

This does not augur well for the health of the nation’s constitutional democracy, to put it gently. To add insult to injury, the President has reportedly justified this move by claiming that the incumbent Attorney General has been engaged in constant discussions with the Catholic Church regarding ongoing prosecutions related to the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks by home-grown jihadists.

He has also cited close involvement of the state law office in legal proceedings relating to claims of compensation over the enormous marine destruction caused by the sinking of the fire engulfed X-Press Pearl ship.

First, the President and his advisors need to be educated on the doctrine of the continuity of state responsibilities in office irrespective of the change of individual officers in that seat. If reasons of ‘close engagement’ in ongoing prosecutions (the sum and substance of the duties of the Attorney General) had been advanced in the past to justify extending the terms of Attorneys Generals, the holders of those posts would have had to die standing up in their shoes as it were, in order for their successors to be fortunate enough to come into office.

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Range Bandara’s “Loud Thinking” about Election Postponement Damages Ranil’s Election Campaign in the Short Term.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sri Lanka’s political stage was enlivened last week by the solo performance of United National Party (UNP) general -secretary Palitha Range Bandara. Addressing a media briefing on 28 May, the policeman turned politician came out with a suggestion that the presidential election due this year and the Parliamentary election scheduled for next year should be postponed while the terms of office for both should be extended by two more years. The former Puttalam district and ex-state minister wanted a resolution passed by Parliament to that effect and ratified by the people at a referendum.

The essence of what Palitha Range Bandara proposed was this -. Ranil Wickremesinghe took over the country’s leadership at a time of a great economic crisis. Considerable progress has been achieved by the Wickremesinghe Govt to remedy the situation. A degree of economic stability has been established but more time is needed to ensure greater economic stability.

Presidential elections are due this year and parliamentary polls next year. These elections along with the election campaigns could affect the current momentum of economic recovery. The steady progress of economic growth could be disrupted. As such both elections should be postponed so as to continue with the journey towards greater economic stability and growth.

The current terms of office of the President and Parliament should be extended by two more years for both. A proposal to this effect should be presented in Parliament as a resolution and passed by all political parties together and followed up by a referendum to get the people’s support and endorsement. Thus the president and Govt could continue unfettered for two more years and achieve economic stability for Sri Lanka.


Non-Starter

The above in essence was Range Bandara’s suggestion as revealed to the media. Whatever the merits or otherwise of the proposal, it was obvious from the start that Palitha’s project was a non -starter. In the first place, it was unclear as to whether the envisaged postponements and extensions of the terms of office were constitutionally feasible. Even if it were so, gaining two-thirds support in Parliament was hardly possible. Furthermore obtaining the people’s endorsement at a referendum was virtually impossible.

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The Economic Transformation Bill offers imaginary solutions to real problems. The Bill is not a blueprint for efficiency but its antithesis.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“The silence is a danger in itself”

Seamus Heaney (The Burial at Thebes)

Ten years: that was how long three State institutions didn’t pay EPF and ETF monies to their retired and deceased employees.

Most victims of this act of criminal injustice suffered and died in silence. A few (about 2,000) filed court cases. The larger society, including the media, political parties and the labour movement, didn’t know, didn’t care.

This injustice happened in the only place it could have been perpetrated with legal, political, and societal impunity: the plantation sector. The culprits were the three State-owned plantation companies. The excuse was that these companies made losses. How many state-owned enterprises make profits? Do the loss-making ones (which include CEB, CPC, and Air Lanka) deny their employees EPF and ETF payments? What would happen if they even tried?

Two weeks ago, the cabinet approved a proposal by President Wickremesinghe to set aside Rs. 5 billion to pay these long overdue monies. The Deputy Minister of Finance “… highlighted the severe difficulties faced by a large number of employees due to non-payment of their provident and trust fund contributions…” (FT – 1.6.2024).

Such impunity is possible because an absolute majority of victims are the most discriminated against people in Sri Lanka: Upcountry Tamils.

Transporting Indians as indentured labour across the British empire began in 1834 and continued till 1917. Many were lied to, some even kidnapped. The first Indian Tamils were brought to Ceylon to pick coffee. They stayed to pluck tea. More were brought because most Sinhalese shunned the work as too onerous and too demeaning. They still do. Now, Up-country Tamils too are moving away from an industry which treats them as less than human, and less than citizens.

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International Tribunal Comprising Three Former Judges from India,Nepal and Sri Lanka States it is “horrified by the stark realities” of the lives of Sri Lanka’s tea and rubber plantation workers,

By
Meera Srinivasan

An international tribunal of former judges from the region said it was “horrified by the stark realities” of the lives of Sri Lanka’s tea and rubber plantation workers, after hearing testimonies from workers and trade unions.

Hailing from the island nation’s Malaiyaha Tamil community, tens of thousands of workers are engaged in tea and rubber production. They earn vital foreign exchange for the country that is struggling to rebuild its economy after the dramatic meltdown of 2022. Last year, Sri Lanka’s revenue from tea exports totalled $1.3 billion, while rubber-based exports fetched $930 million, according to the Export Development Board.

However, the workers who toil in the country’s plantations continue to work and live in abysmal conditions. “It has shocked the conscience of the Tribunal that such practices could continue unabated in the modern civilised world,” members said in their findings, echoing concerns that trade unions, local activists, and UN experts have flagged in the past.

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India voted emphatically for political, social, and economic inclusion, for a more consultative government, and for the sanctity of the Constitution.


By

Nirupama Subramanian

Emphatic. An election result that throws up no outright winners would not be normally described as that. But this was no normal election. It was an election for the democratic heart and soul of India. And, in this sense, the results of the 2024 Lok Sabha election, which left the BJP with less than a majority, were emphatic.

An emphatic rejection of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s creeping authoritarianism, his and Home Minister Amit Shah’s two-man regime, and their divisive politics, anti-federal tendencies, and idea of “development” that lined the pockets of crony capitalists without improving the lives of the common people. An emphatic vote for political, social, and economic inclusion, for a more consultative government, and for the sanctity of the Constitution and the guarantees and protections written into it for all citizens.

One could describe the verdict as Modi’s India-not-shining moment, similar to the shock defeat in 2004 of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government. But it would not be out of place to go back even further and draw a parallel to the 1977 election. The last 10 years often evoked comparisons to the 1975-77 Emergency, with the Modi government’s reign of fear, his crackdown on political rivals, dissidents, and the media using Central law enforcement agencies and military grade surveillance, and the centralisation of power. This is why this verdict is as historic as the punishment by voters to Indira Gandhi in 1977 for the Emergency.

Unlike Indira Gandhi, Modi has not been voted out. The BJP is still the single largest party, with wins in 240 constituencies. It made headway in some new ground even as it lost some old. It won 36.57 per cent of the vote share, a drop of only 0.73 percentage points from last time’s 37.3 per cent. The party will form the government with the help of its allies, the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), the Janata Dal (United), or JD(U), the Shiv Sena, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the JanaSena Party, the Janata Dal (Secular), the Lok Janshakti Party (Ram Vilas), and other smaller parties. Together, the combine has 293 seats in the Lok Sabha. Modi is all set to be Prime Minister for a third term.

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Dr Siri Kannangara was a rheumatologist, best known by Sri Lankans for the immense services he rendered in sports medicine.

By

Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Lord Buddha, elaborating on the notion of sorrow (dukkha) in the first sermon he delivered after attaining Enlightenment, observed that having to associate with those who are repugnant is sorrowful and being apart from those who are loved is also sorrowful — appiyehi sampayogo dukkho, piyehi vippayogo dukkho. So, we choose to avoid and insulate ourselves from the distasteful while we seek the company of people we find agreeable. When they leave, we are saddened. When they depart, never to return, we are distraught.

A few days ago, I realised that while any kind of separation from someone who is likeable is never a happy thing, there are instances when it is devastating. I had just received a text from my friend Prof Arjuna De Silva, and he wanted to know ‘if the story about Dr Siri was true.’ I called two of Dr Siri’s closest friends, Ranjith Page and Dr Harindu. Both confirmed that he had passed away in Dubai. I am shocked and saddened beyond belief.

Dr Siri Kannangara was a rheumatologist, best known by Sri Lankans for the immense services he rendered in sports medicine. To me, he was either ‘Doc’ or ‘Siri’. But I know for a fact that this was how almost all Sri Lankans, whether patients or otherwise, addressed or referred to him. He was a physician who made his patients believe that he was a friend. He was always self-effacing and treated all Sri Lankans as though they were close relatives in an immense extended family.

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Sajith-Anura Televised Debate on ITN Fizzles out Due to SJB Leader Premadasa not Turning up at Studio;JVP leader AK Dissanayake Participates in ITN’s “Tulawa”Hosted by Sudarman Radaliyagoda Instead

Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa did not attend the scheduled televised debate with National People’s Power (NPP) leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake on the Independent Television Network (ITN) last night (June 6).

While Premadasa was absent, Dissanayake participated in the Thulawa political program, which was hosted by veteran broadcaster Sudarman Radaliyagoda.

Earlier in the day SJB MP Nalin Bandara voiced the party’s dissatisfaction with the ITN regarding its organisation of the debate between the SJB and the rival NPP. MP Bandara conveyed the party’s concerns in a letter to the state broadcaster, highlighting discrepancies in the planning process.

Continue reading ‘Sajith-Anura Televised Debate on ITN Fizzles out Due to SJB Leader Premadasa not Turning up at Studio;JVP leader AK Dissanayake Participates in ITN’s “Tulawa”Hosted by Sudarman Radaliyagoda Instead’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe Opens New Political Office in Colombo on Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatte to Coordinate and Direct Future Operations Regarding Presidential Elections

(Text of Press Release Issued by the President’s Media Division on 6 June 2024)

President Ranil Wickremesinghe inaugurated his new political office in Colombo today (06) at an auspicious moment. The office, located on Sir Ernest de Silva Mawatha, will serve as the center for future political operations.

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How did Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Appoint Diana Gamage as a National List MP when she was not a Sri Lankan Citizen? Colombo Addl Magistrate Orders CID to Investigate the Matter and Report Back to Court.

By Kumudu Upul Shantha

Colombo Additional Magistrate Manjula Rathnayake issued an order, yesterday (5), directing the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) to submit a report to the Court regarding an alleged error made by Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) General Secretary Ranjith Maddumabandara. This pertains to the inclusion of former MP Diana Gamage’s name in the SJB’s National List in 2020, despite her not holding citizenship in the country.

Following a complaint lodged with the CID by a resident of Magampitiya (South), Dompe named Y.A. Saman Nishantha, the Court took action to address the matter.

Continue reading ‘How did Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Appoint Diana Gamage as a National List MP when she was not a Sri Lankan Citizen? Colombo Addl Magistrate Orders CID to Investigate the Matter and Report Back to Court.’ »

UNP Re-structures Party Leadership to Face Elections. Harin Fernando appointed National Elections Organizer ; Ravi Karunanayake and Ronald Perera to Serve as Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Elections

The United National Party (UNP) made key appointments for its upcoming election campaign at a meeting held at Sirikotha on Sunday June 2nd.

At the meeting chaired by Party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, several key positions were filled to strengthen the party’s election strategy.

Harin Fernando was appointed as the National Election organiser while Ravi Karunanayake was named the National Secretary, and Ronald Perera will serve as the Deputy General Secretary of elections.

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Defying Doomsday Predictions of Exit polls the Congress -led INDIA -Bloc of Opposition Parties Shock the Ruling BJP in vital states, thereby resetting India’s political landscape.


By Yashraj Sharma

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost its national majority after suffering major losses in key states, marking a dramatic shift in a political landscape it has dominated for the past decade.

The BJP emerged, comfortably, as the country’s single-largest party in the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s parliament. But with most votes counted after India’s six-week-long election on Tuesday, the BJP was well short of its performances from 2014 and 2019.
Unlike both those elections, when the BJP won clear majorities on its own in a house of 543 seats, it was poised to end up with 240 seats this time around. The halfway mark is 272 seats.

By contrast, the opposition INDIA alliance, led by the Congress party, was projected to win more than 200 seats, significantly higher than exit polls had predicted. Released on June 1 after the final phase of India’s election cycle, the exit polls had suggested that the BJP would outdo its 2019 tally of 303 seats.

Modi and his party are still likely to be able to form India’s next government — but will be dependent on a clutch of allies whose support they will need to cross the 272-seat mark. The BJP with its allies, in a coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), was projected to win around 282 seats.

“India will likely have an NDA government, where the BJP does not have a majority on their own, and coalition politics will come into real play,” said Sandeep Shastri, the national coordinator of the Lokniti Network, a research programme at the New Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS).
On Tuesday evening, Modi claimed, in his first comments after the results were declared, victory for his NDA coalition. “We will form the next government,” he said, speaking to thousands of supporters gathered at the BJP’s party headquarters in New Delhi.

Continue reading ‘Defying Doomsday Predictions of Exit polls the Congress -led INDIA -Bloc of Opposition Parties Shock the Ruling BJP in vital states, thereby resetting India’s political landscape.’ »

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wins third term in Elections; BJP led NDA gets 291 seats while the Congress -led INDIA Bloc wins 234 seats

BY VARGHESE K. GEORGE ,NISTULA HEBBAR

Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a third term in power on June 4, but he will be dependent on allies as the BJP fell almost 32 short of the halfway mark of 272 seats in the Lok Sabha. The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 291 seats against the Congress-led INDIA bloc’s 234 seats. The Congress won 99 seats compared to 52 in 2019.

The BJP faced setbacks in strongholds and ended up with lower tallies in Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, while its southern foray yielded only marginal returns. Its hopes of expanding in West Bengal were dashed. However, Odisha went according to the BJP’s script where it rose to power for the first time and posted wins in 19 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats.

The Congress’s unprecedented outreach to OBC voters in alliance with the Samajwadi Party paid rich dividends in Uttar Pradesh, where the alliance won 44 seats, bringing the BJP tally down to 35 from its earlier tally of 62 seats in 2019, in the battleground State. In Bihar, the Congress-RJD alliance on the same plank failed to enthuse the voters and the NDA alliance held its own.

Continue reading ‘Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wins third term in Elections; BJP led NDA gets 291 seats while the Congress -led INDIA Bloc wins 234 seats’ »

Stunning Election Results Humble India’s Strongman Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is Forced to Form Coaition Govt with Alliance Partners – “The Economist”

Ahead of the general election that concluded on June 1st Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, was expected to romp home. His charisma, combined with an emphasis on infrastructure development, welfare payments to the poorest and a polarising Hindu nationalism, looked unbeatable. Mr Modi exuded a confidence that matched those predictions. He claimed that his Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp) and its allies would win upwards of 400 seats in the 543-seat parliament.

Early results from the vote count on June 4th appeared to put that target out of reach. After more than 50% of the votes had been counted, Mr Modi’s alliance still looked headed for victory, with the bjp and its allies ahead in 290 seats, compared with the opposition’s 235. Yet the bjp itself appeared to be on course to lose more than 60 seats compared with the last election in 2019, with results mid-afternoon putting its tally at 238, down from 303 in 2019.

Crucially, that means that it will rely on its alliance partners to control parliament (272 seats are needed for a majority). Final results are expected late on Tuesday or early on Wednesday. The spectacle of the Modi machine faltering has shocked the public, the political world and financial markets: the country’s benchmark share index fell by 6%.

The electoral surprise follows a deeply divisive campaign. From the start, opposition politicians and other critics had bemoaned the lack of a level playing field in the election. Opposition politicians were jailed on corruption charges that they called politically motivated. Congress, the main opposition party, said its bank accounts were frozen, hindering campaigning. Meanwhile Mr Modi used at times stridently anti-Muslim campaign rhetoric. All of this may have been motivated by worries about diminishing support for the bjp.

Continue reading ‘Stunning Election Results Humble India’s Strongman Prime Minister Narendra Modi who is Forced to Form Coaition Govt with Alliance Partners – “The Economist”’ »

ரங்க பண்டாரவின் உரத்த சிந்தனையும் ரணிலின் தேர்தல் பிரசாரமும்

டி.பி.எஸ். ஜெயராஜ்

ஐக்கிய தேசிய கட்சியின் பொதுச்செயலாளர் பாலித ரங்க பண்டாரவின் ஓரங்க நாடகத்தினால் இலங்கை அரசியல் அரங்கு கடந்தவாரம் சுறுசுறுப்படைந்தது. பொலிஸ்காரராக இருந்து அரசியல்வாதியாக மாறிய அவர் மே 28 கொழும்பில்
செய்தியாளர்கள் மகாநாடொன்றில் உரையாற்றியபோது இவ்வருடம் நடைபெறவிருக்கும் ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தலும் அடுத்த வருடம் நடத்தப்பட வேண்டியிருக்கும் பாராளுமன்ற தேர்தலும் ஒத்திவைக்கப்படவேண்டும் என்கிற அதேவேளை ஜனாதிபதியினதும் பாராளுமன்றத்தினதும் பதவிக்காலங்கள் இரு வருடங்களினால் நீடிக்கப்படவேண்டும் என்று யோசனையை முன்வைத்தார். அதற்காக பாராளுமன்றத்தில் தீர்மானம் ஒன்று நிறைவேற்றப்படவேண்டும் என்றும் மக்களின் அங்கீகாரத்தைப் பெறுவதற்கு சர்வஜன வாக்கெடுப்பு ஒன்று நடத்தப்படவேண்டும் என்றும் முன்னாள் புத்தளம் மாவட்ட பாராளுமன்ற உறுப்பினரும் இராஜாங்க அமைச்சருமான அவர் கூறினார்.

பாலித ரங்க பண்டார முன்வைத்த யோசனையின் சாராம்சம் இதுதான் ;

“ நாடு பாரிய பொருளாதார நெருக்கடி ஒன்றை எதிர்நோக்கிய ஒரு நேரத்தில் ரணில் விக்கிரமசிங்க நாட்டின் தலைமைத்துவத்தைப் பொறுப்பேற்றார். நிலைவரத்தை சீராக்க விக்கிரசிங்க அரசாங்கம் மேற்கொண்ட நடவடிக்கைகளின் விளைவாக கணிசமான முன்னேற்றம் ஏற்பட்டிருக்கிறது. ஓரளவு பொருாதார உறுதிப்பாடும் ஏற்படுத்தப்பட்டது. ஆனால் பெருமளவு பொருளாதார உறுதிப்பாட்டை உத்தரவாதப்படுத்துவதற்கு மேலும் கால அவகாசம் தேவை.

இவ்வருடம் ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தலும் அடுத்த வருடம் பாராளுமன்ற தேர்தலும் வருகின்றன. இந்த தேர்தல்களும் அவற்றுக்கான பிரசாரங்களும் தற்போதைய பொருளாதார மீட்சிப்போக்கை பாதிக்கக்கூடும். சீரான பொருளாதார வளர்ச்சிப் போக்கு சீர்குலைக்கப்படலாம். அதனால் பாரிய பொருளாதார உறுதிப்பாட்டையும் வளர்ச்சியையும் நோக்கிய பயணத்தை தொடருவதற்கு வசதியாக இரு தேர்தல்களும் ஒத்திவைக்கப்பட வேண்டும்.

தற்போதைய ஜனாதிபதியின் பதவிக்காலமும் பாராளுமன்றத்தின் பதவிக்காலமும் இரு வருடங்களினால் நீடிக்கப்படவேண்டும். இது தொடர்பிலான யோசனை ஒரு தீர்மானமாக பாராளுமன்றத்துக்கு கொண்டுவரப்பட்டு சகல கட்சிகளினதும் ஆதரவுடன் நிறைவேற்றப்பட வேண்டும். மக்களின் ஆதரவையும் அங்கீகாரத்தையும் பெறுவதற்கு சர்வஜன வாக்கெடுப்பு ஒன்று நடத்தப்படவேண்டும். இதன் மூலமாக ஜனாதிபதியும் அரசாங்கமும் மேலும் இரு வருடங்களுக்கு பதவியில் இருந்து பொருளாதார உறுதிப்பாட்டைச் சாதிக்கக்கூடியதாக இருக்கும்.”

ரங்க பண்டாரவின் யோசனையின் சாதகங்களும் பாதகங்களும் எவ்வாறிருந்தாலும், அதற்கு ஆதரவு கிடைக்கக்கூடிய வாய்ப்பு இருக்கவில்லை. முதலாவதாக, உத்தேச தேர்தல்கள் ஒத்திவைப்பும் பதவிக்காலங்கள் நீடிப்பும் அரசியலமைப்பு ரீதியாக சாத்தியமாகுமா என்பது தெளிவில்லை. அவ்வாறு இருந்தாலும் கூட பாராளுமன்றத்தில் மூன்றில் இரண்டு பெரும்பான்மை ஆதரவைப் பெறுவது பெறுவது சாத்தியமில்லை. மேலும் சர்வஜன வாக்கெடுப்பு ஒன்றில் மக்களின் அங்கீகாரத்தைப் பெறுவது அறவே சாத்தியமில்லை.

Continue reading ‘ரங்க பண்டாரவின் உரத்த சிந்தனையும் ரணிலின் தேர்தல் பிரசாரமும்’ »

The Six Face(t)s of CWC Chief Arumugan “Thamby” Thondaman


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Former Cabinet Minister,Nuwara Eliya district Parliamentarian and Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) leader Arumugan Thondaman would have celebrated his 60th birthday on 29 May,if he were alive today. Thondaman passed away due to a cardiac arrest four days before his 56th birthday four years ago on 26 May 2020. He was serving as a Minister in the cabinet of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the time of his death. This week’s “political pulse” – with the aid of my previous writings – focuses on Arumugan Thondaman to denote his 60th birth anniversary.

Let me begin with two points about his name and pet name. Thondaman’s first name Arumugan is spelled with an N at the end. However it is frequently misspelled by the media as Arumugam with an M instead of N. I too have been guilty of this error at times. I remember his illustrious grandfather Saumiyamoorthy Thondaman gently admonishing me once “ He is Arumugan not Arumugam”.

One reason for this mistake is due to both names having more or less the same meaning. They both refer to Lord Muruga the God with six faces in the Hindu Pantheon. “Arumugam” means six faces while “Arumugan” means six-faced.

The second point is about Arumugan’s pet name- He was called “Thamby” which means younger brother in Tamil. Thamby is used widely as a pet name for male kids in many Tamil households. In many instances the pet name Thamby remains in use even after the children mature into adults.

In Arumugan’s case ,he was the fourth of five children. He was also the only boy among the children. Arumugan’s three elder sisters called him Thamby. The pet name stuck and extended beyond the family circle.

Arumugan himself encouraged people to call him Thamby. I can recall my first conversation with him via telephone more than twenty-five years ago.. When I addressed him as “Mr.Thondaman” he simply said “Thambynnae Sollunga” (just say Thamby).

Continue reading ‘The Six Face(t)s of CWC Chief Arumugan “Thamby” Thondaman’ »

“Operation Sajaba” Intends to Deplete SJB Through Large Scale Crossover of MPs to Ranil Wickremesingh’s Side..

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sri Lanka’s United National Party (UNP) suffered a humiliating electoral defeat in the 2020 Parliamentary elections. Electoral debacles were nothing new to the UNP which is referred to by some as the grand old party. In 1956 the UNP got only eight seats in a Parliament of 101 MPs. In 1970 the party won 17 seats in a Parliament of 157 MPs.2020 was distinctly different. For the first time in its history ,the UNP failed to get even a single MP elected to Parliament. Mercifully the UNP polling 249,435 (2.15%) votes was entitled to a national list MP. Thus the UNP had a single MP in a Parliament of 225 MPs.

UNP leader and former prime minister Ranil Wickremesinghe had been a MP continuously for 43 years since 1977. In the 2015 elections, Wickremesinghe topped the list of Colombo district candidates with over 500,000 preference votes. Yet Ranil too was buried in the 2020 avalanche of defeat. Ranil whose detractors used to ridicule him in the past as “Mr.Bean” and ‘serial loser” was virtually written off. It was said that Ranil Wickremesinghe’s political career had ended.

Yet, Ranil like the mythological phoenix rose from the ashes. After being absent from the House for 10 months,Ranil Wickremesinghe re-entered Parliament on 23 June 2021 as UNP national list MP. The advent of the “Aragalaya” protest resulted in the then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa resigning. Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed Ranil Wickremesinghe as Prime Minister on 12 May 2022. Earlier Gota had offered the post to Opposition leader Sajith Premadasa and Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka. Both were reluctant to take up the challenge.

The Aragalaya had been launched with the demand “Gota go home” or “Go Home Gota”. This objective was realised in July 2022. Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled the country and resigned from abroad as President.Ranil took over as acting president on 14 July 2022. On 20 July 2022, Wickremesinghe was elected by Parliament as executive president. 134 out of 225 MPs voted for him. Ranil Wickremesinghe was sworn in as Sri Lanka’s eighth executive president on 21 July 2022.

In the early days after he assumed office Ranil Wickremesinghe engaged in efforts to entice MPs from the parties in opposition to the side of the treasury benches. His intention was two-fold. Firstly he wanted the Government to be broadly representative as possible. Secondly he wanted to reduce his dependence on the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna(SLPP) as much as possible.

Continue reading ‘“Operation Sajaba” Intends to Deplete SJB Through Large Scale Crossover of MPs to Ranil Wickremesingh’s Side..’ »

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

by D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(P. Leela was the uncrowned queen of song in the realm of Tamil films during the fifties and sixties of the last century.Born in 1934, Leela passed away in 2005.This Article written in 2015 is re-posted here without any changes to denote Leela’s 90th Birthdy on May 19)

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

Porayathu Leela (P. Leela)

♥♬ Porayathu Leela (P. Leela) ♬♥

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

Can Ranil Wickremesinghe Regain the Support of Tamil and Muslim Voters at the 2024 Presidential Elections?


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sri Lanka’s last official census was taken in 2012. According to that census, Sri Lanka’s majority ethnic community the Sinhalese comprises 74.9 % of the island nation’s population. Numerically, the second largest ethnicity is the Sri Lankan Tamils who are 11.1% of the population. The third largest ethnicity is the Sri Lankan Muslims or Moors who comprise 9.3% of the population. The fourth largest ethnic group is the Tamils of Indian origin known as “Malaiyagath Thamizhar” (Hill Country Tamils) who are 4.1%.

The three numerical minorities namely the Sri Lankan Tamils, Muslims and Indian Tamils together are 25.5% of the population. These three ethnic groups form the majority in some Sri Lankan districts. In other districts they are a substantive segment of the population. Since the people of all districts vote together in the Presidential elections, the entire island is transformed into a “single” constituency with a 74.9% Sinhala majority and 25.5 % non – Sinhala minorities.

Therefore the three ethnic minorities have played a significant role in presidential elections from the time the executive presidency was introduced. The voting pattern of the Tamil and Muslim communities in previous presidential elections was discussed in detail by this column last week.

The focus of this series of articles has been on incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s strategy and plans about contesting the 2024 presidential polls. As such this week’s article would try and assess the plus and minus points of President Wickremesinghe vis a vis the Tamil and Muslim voters.

Ranil Wickremesinghe as mentioned earlier has generally been popular among the Tamil and Muslim voters of Sri Lanka. The bulk of Tamil and Muslim voters supported him in 1999 and 2005 when he directly contested the presidential elections. The three minority ethnicities also strongly supported the presidential candidates backed by Ranil in 2010, 2015 and 2019 namely Sarath Fonseka, Maithripala Sirisena and Sajith Premadasa.

Continue reading ‘Can Ranil Wickremesinghe Regain the Support of Tamil and Muslim Voters at the 2024 Presidential Elections?’ »

Gnanasara Thera was able to say and do anything without fear of the law during the Rajapaksa regime. During the reign of the Rajapaksas, Gnanasara Thera criticised Ranil Wickremesinghe in words that are Unmentionable.The Thera was so useful to the Rajapaksas that he was appointed head of a Presidential Task Force.


By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

When the Colombo High Court sent Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera to prison two months ago, it was not unexpected that intense efforts would be made to get him out as soon as possible.

The Chief Prelates of Sri Lanka’s three main Buddhist chapters have jointly written to President Ranil Wickremesinghe to pardon and release him on the occasion of the Vesak festival. The day after this news was published, it was also reported that Gnanasara Thera’s name was not in the list of prisoners to be released on the occasion of Vesak. So it doesn’t seem possible for him to come out soon.

If someone else had been the president, perhaps Gnanasara Thera would have been released from prison last week. But it seems unlikely that the current President will show any urgency in this matter. During the reign of the Rajapaksas, Gnanasara Thera criticised Wickremesinghe in words that cannot be put in writing.

Earlier, a request for a pardon and release of Gnanasara Thera was made by a State Minister within days of his imprisonment. However, his appeal did not receive much attention in the public domain.

It can be hoped that many people would not have failed to consider the views expressed by the Mahanayaka Theras about Gnanasara Thera in the letter written to the President in the context of public opinion about him.

The Mahanayaka Theras mentioned in the letter that Gnanasara Thera had raised his voice for the Sinhalese Buddhist nationality and had taken steps to inform the security forces of important information regarding the activities of extremists in the country.

“He acted as the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force set up to draft an act to implement a common legal system under the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept. He presented valuable recommendations to the Government and worked with a good understanding of national unity. He played an important role in certain Sinhalese nationalist organisations and worked to win the hearts of society and strive for social cohesion,” the Chief Prelates said in the letter.

Continue reading ‘Gnanasara Thera was able to say and do anything without fear of the law during the Rajapaksa regime. During the reign of the Rajapaksas, Gnanasara Thera criticised Ranil Wickremesinghe in words that are Unmentionable.The Thera was so useful to the Rajapaksas that he was appointed head of a Presidential Task Force.’ »

Be it the ethnic conflict or the attempts to overthrow the government, innocents paid with their lives. Under the guise of national security, many who had no involvement in either of the conflicts were also killed.


By

Kshama Ranawana

Each year in May, since the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in 2009, Tamils gather together to remember their dead. And every time they are harassed by the police, even to the point of being arrested.

It was no different this month; media reports stated that four Tamils, of whom three were women were arrested in the Trincomalee area for sharing Kanji, in remembrance of their dead.

In Colombo human rights activists and some members of the Tamil community gathered on a beach to remember lives lost in the 3o year ethnic conflict, and to share a bowl of kanji.

Ultra Sinhala nationalists attempted to disrupt the gathering, but this time aroud at least. the police turned them away.

Continue reading ‘Be it the ethnic conflict or the attempts to overthrow the government, innocents paid with their lives. Under the guise of national security, many who had no involvement in either of the conflicts were also killed.’ »

The dubious record of our police is primarily for arresting Tamil women cooking porridge or dragging away a Sinhalese comedian or a Muslim) poet on the basis of advocating national, racial or religious hatred


By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

Amidst the not-so-happy transformation of Vesak from the serene marking of an incomparably sacred event in the Buddhist calendar to an indulgent if not excessive race to compete with the ‘biggest pandal’ or the largest ‘dansal’ (generous gifting of food to the public), President Ranil Wickremesinghe has sublimely remarked that the long lines of Sri Lankans patiently waiting for free food means that ‘life is returning to normal.’

Vesak contradictions and political excess

There are, of course, multiple interpretations to these (unprecedented) numbers crowding ‘dansal’ tents across the country. Another reason that may have escaped the President’s sunny mind is that crowds jostle for free food in the backdrop of large swathes of the rural populace and daily wage earners in cities being hit by (unprecedented) levels of poverty in the wake of the eruption of Sri Lanka’s economic crisis in 2022.

This has particularly affected mothers and children suffering from acute malnutrition leading to aid agencies tripling their efforts in remote regions.

These unfortunates live a world apart from the city-elite that the President typically surrounds himself with. But in the spirit of loving kindness to all beings, let us refrain from being too acerbic about Presidential optimism in that regard.

Certainly, it gladdened the spiritual heart to see the hosting of interfaith Vesak ‘dansals’ as well as the gifting of free vegetables to the poor in slum communities and the charitable feeding of animals to mark the birth, enlightenment and passing away of the Gautama Buddha.

That is more in keeping with the philosophy of the middle path that the Buddha taught rather than ostentatious displays of garishly festooned pandals with flashing green, red and blue neon lights and electronic television channels vulgarly trying to rival with each other to put on the best ‘Vesak show.’

Indeed, Vesak ‘dansals’ of ‘kanji’ (porridge) should have been organised across the North and the East. That would have been a fitting lesson to the colossal imprudence of the police who had arrested Tamil women communally partaking of ‘kanji’ just a week before.

Continue reading ‘The dubious record of our police is primarily for arresting Tamil women cooking porridge or dragging away a Sinhalese comedian or a Muslim) poet on the basis of advocating national, racial or religious hatred’ »

2024 ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தலில் தமிழ், முஸ்லிம் வாக்காளர்களின் ஆதரவை ரணிலால் மீண்டும் பெறமுடியுமா?

டி.பி.எஸ். ஜெயராஜ்

இலங்கையில் உத்தியோகபூர்வ சனத்தொகை கணக்கெடுப்பு 2012 ஆம் ஆண்டில் மேற்கொள்ளப்பட்டது. அந்த கணக்கெடுப்பின் பிரகாரம் இலங்கையின் பெரும்பான்மை இனத்தவர்களான சிங்களவர்கள் சனத்தொகையில் 74.9 சதவீதத்தினராக இருந்தனர். எண்ணிக்கையில் இரண்டாவது பெரிய இனத்தவர்களான இலங்கைத் தமிழர்கள் 11.1சதவீதத்தினராக இருந்தனர். மூன்றாவது பெரிய இனத்தவர்களான இலங்கை முஸ்லிம்கள் 9.3 சதவீதத்தினராகவும் நான்காவது பெரிய இனத்தவர்களான ‘ மலையகத் தமிழர்கள் ‘ என்று அறியப்படும் இந்திய வம்சாவளித் தமிழர்கள் 4.1 சதவீதத்தினராகவும் இருந்தனர்.

எண்ணிக்கையில் சிறுபான்மை இனத்தவர்களான இலங்கைத் தமிழர்களும் முஸ்லிம்களும் இந்திய தமிழர்களும் சனத்தொகையில் 25.5 சதவீதத்தினராக விளங்கினர். இந்த மூன்று இனத்தவர்களும் இலங்கையின் சில மாவட்டங்களில் பெரும்பான்மையானவர்களாக விளங்குகிறார்கள். ஏனைய மாவட்டங்களில் இவர்கள் சனத்தொகையில் கணிசமான பிரிவினராக இருக்கிறார்கள். ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தலில் சகல மாவட்டங்களிலும் உள்ள மக்களும் ஒன்றாக வாக்களிப்பதால் முழு இலங்கையுமே ‘ ஒரு தனித் தொகுதியாக ‘ மாற்றப்படுகிறது. அதில் பெரும்பான்மை இனத்தவர்களான சிங்களவர்கள் 74.9 சதவீதத்தினராகவும் சிங்களவர்கள் அல்லாத ஏனைய இனத்தவர்கள் 25.5 சதவீதத்தினராகவும் அமைகின்றனர்.

அதனால் நிறைவேற்று அதிகார ஜனாதிபதி ஆட்சிமுறை அறிமுகப்படுத்தப்பட்ட நாட்களில் இருந்து மூன்று சிறுபான்மை இனத்தவர்களும் ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தல்களில் குறிப்பிடத்தக்க பாத்திரத்தை வகித்திருக்கிறார்கள். முன்னைய ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தல்களில் தமிழர்களும் முஸ்லிம்களும் வகித்த பாத்திரத்தை பற்றி விரிவாக எனது முன்னைய கட்டுரையில் எழுதியிருந்தேன்.நான் அண்மைய வாரங்களாக தொடர்ச்சியாக எழுதிவந்த கட்டுரைகளில் 2024 ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தலில் போட்டியிடுவதற்கான தற்போதைய ஜனாதிபதி ரணில் விக்கிரமசிங்கவின் தந்திரோபாயங்கள், திட்டங்கள் தொடர்பில் கவனம் செலுத்தினேன். அதனால் இன்றைய கட்டுரையில் தமிழ், முஸ்லிம் வாக்காளர்கள் தொடர்பில் ஜனாதிபதி ரணிலுக்கு இருக்கக்கூடிய சாதக பாதகங்களை ஆராய்கிறேன்.

ஏற்கெனவே குறிப்பிட்டவாறு ரணில் இலங்கை தமிழ் வாக்காளர்கள் மத்தியிலும் முஸ்லிம் வாக்காளர்கள் மத்தியிலும் பொதுவில் செல்வாக்குடையவராக இருந்து வந்திருக்கிறார். அவர் நேரடியாகப் போட்டியிட்ட 1999 ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தலிலும் 2005 ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தலிலும் தமிழ், முஸ்லிம் வாக்காளர்கள் அவருக்கு பருமளவில் வாக்களித்தார்கள். 2010, 2015, 2019 ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தல்களில் அவர் ஆதரித்த வேட்பாளர்களான சரத் பொன்சேகா, மைத்திரிபால சிறிசேன, சஜித் பிரேமதாச ஆகியோரை மூன்று சிறுபான்மை இனச்சமூகங்களும் உறுதியாக ஆதரித்தன.

Continue reading ‘2024 ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தலில் தமிழ், முஸ்லிம் வாக்காளர்களின் ஆதரவை ரணிலால் மீண்டும் பெறமுடியுமா?’ »

Poverty of Hope Among Sri Lankan Tamils due to Widespread Economic Misery Compounded by the 2022 Financial Crisis and a Fractured Tamil Polity

BY

MEERA SRINIVASAN

When Antony Jesurathnam Mariapushparani, 62, recalls the horrific final days of Sri Lanka’s civil war in striking detail, it is hard to believe it has been 15 years since its end.

“That is where we prepared and had the kanji (porridge); that is where we headed to cross the Vattuvagal bridge; that is where we waited,” she says breathlessly, showing once-bloody spots in Mullivaikkal, a village in Mullaitivu district on the north-eastern coast. Many Tamil civilians had crossed the bridge in May 2009, hoping that moving into government-controlled territory on the other side would be safer.

Today the village looks calm, with large, empty plots of land. Palmyra trees line the roads and the fields are lush after recent showers. “You will not know the desperation we experienced or the tears we shed here. I saw the destruction with my own eyes,” she says of the time when tens of thousands of Tamils, including women, children, and infants, were killed in the Sri Lankan armed forces’ final offensive, even in areas declared a “no fire zone”. Some in Sri Lanka and beyond have likened this bloodbath to Israel’s ongoing deadly war in Gaza.

As survivor accounts like Mariapushparani’s make evident, memories don’t die. “That is where bodies were heaped,” she says finally, pointing ahead. It is the site of carnage in Mullivaikkal, where Tamil families assemble every May 18, the last day of the final battle between the Sri Lankan military and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), to pay homage to relatives.

After the remembrance ceremony, where those assembled lit lamps and offered flowers to photographs of their relatives, Mariapushparani sits under the lone neem tree in the barren, sandy ground, for some respite from the scorching sun.

Hailing from Mullaitivu, she moved to Mullivaikkal village after the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, unaware of the next wave of destruction she would witness in barely five years. Having endured staggering losses and hardships like virtually every family in the district — her son has been missing since 2010 — she has one word to describe the current situation of Tamils: “Varumai (poverty)”.

Continue reading ‘Poverty of Hope Among Sri Lankan Tamils due to Widespread Economic Misery Compounded by the 2022 Financial Crisis and a Fractured Tamil Polity’ »

Sudath Mahadivulwewa’s “My Red Comrade” is an excellent film, with fine direction, a masterful script, skilful use of sound and lighting and impeccable performance from the leads.It is a commendable and brave experimentation in filmmaking.


By

Lionel Bopage

Sudath Mahadivulwewa’s latest film, now in cinemas, is openly political and experimental. A major aspect of the film is a debate between the old view of revolution and a more modern one
Sudath Mahadivulwewa, the producer of the film ‘My Red Comrade’, is well-known for his various feature films, documentaries, theatre work and social awareness campaigns, in Sri Lanka.

His latest film is openly political and experimental. A major aspect of the film is a debate between the old view of revolution and a more modern one which is construed to be more inclusive. The film conveys a message “think simple as a child, and do not make things more complicated than necessary”.

To demonstrate this, the film uses a Native American fable about a wolf. How the wolf gets into us from the environment we are brought in; an environment in which we receive our education, the media we are exposed to and the conscious choices we make:

The moral of the tale being what wolf to feed and what wolf we must reject. It appears to have been used as a metaphor for capitalism which has destructively transformed the extraction and exploitation of the environment and human beings.

Considering the environment the vast majority of people labour under, what are the political social issues springing from that inequitable and destructive system that the protagonists of the film debate on?

The title of the film itself denotes that it will be about the Left. The very first scene confronts us with the repressive state apparatus and its victims. Without overwhelming us, the scene expertly draws our attention to think about these issues.

Continue reading ‘Sudath Mahadivulwewa’s “My Red Comrade” is an excellent film, with fine direction, a masterful script, skilful use of sound and lighting and impeccable performance from the leads.It is a commendable and brave experimentation in filmmaking.’ »

‘In Sri Lanka of 2024, kanji is a four letter word.By criminalising kanji making, another generation of Tamils is being told that even such a simple act of mourning can turn you into a criminal. Your dead have less value your grief less legitimacy because of your ethnicity.”


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“A state of permanent war…where violence pervades all spheres of life, where the rich flourish and the poor live in misery; a state that will be deserted by the best of its children?” Yuri Avnery (Countercurrents)

In Sri Lanka of 2024, kanji is a four letter word.

During the long Eelam war, all sides committed horrendous atrocities. Sri Lankan forces, the LTTE and anti-Tiger Tamil groups all were guilty to varying degree of every conceivable crime, murder downwards.

The war was never jus ad bellum or jus in bello. The path to it and the path through it were lined with avoidable errors and unnecessary crimes. During the second and third Eelam wars, the LTTE committed more crimes than did the Sri Lankan forces including, and especially, against its own people (think of child soldiers for starters).

This would change with the advent of Rajapaksa rule. As Prof. Rajan Hoole pointed out, “From 2006 the government began to do what would have been unthinkable after 1987. Intense shelling and deliberate displacement of Tamil populations became integral to its military strategy…” (Himal, February 2009).

The LTTE never cared how many Tamils it killed to “liberate” them from the Sri Lankan state. The Rajapaksa regime too didn’t care how many Tamils it killed to “liberate” them from Tiger Eelam. The Rajapaksas justified every excess and every atrocity in the name of Sri Lanka, just as the LTTE did in the name of Eelam. Anything goes was the perception on both sides. Our crimes were kosher. Only their crimes were crimes.

Continue reading ‘‘In Sri Lanka of 2024, kanji is a four letter word.By criminalising kanji making, another generation of Tamils is being told that even such a simple act of mourning can turn you into a criminal. Your dead have less value your grief less legitimacy because of your ethnicity.”’ »

Tamil and Muslim Voting Trends in Past Presidential Elections.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

This is the fourth article in a series focusing on Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and his evolving strategy to contest the forthcoming 2024 Presidential elections. In a political climate where deliberate attempts are being made to mislead people about Wickremesinghe’s presidential election plans and prospects, the objective of this series is to analyse in detail the game plan and stratagems adopted by Ranil to face the 2024 presidential hustings. Since Ranil Wickremesinghe is the incumbent president, priority is being given to him. However after this series is concluded, I do intend writing about other presidential aspirants and their election campaigns also in the future.

The Sri Lanka Election Commission aannounced last week that the 2024 Presidential Elections would be held on a date between September 17 and October 16 this year. The Election Commission was reiterating what was already known. Though a specific date has not been announced, it is speculated widely that the poll is likely to be held in late September or early October.

As in the past, there would be many contenders for the presidency. Some have openly declared their intention to contest while media reports mention names of other potential contestants. However, only three persons are likely to be the main candidates with winning potential. They are the incumbent President Ranil Wickremesinghe, Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa and Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)/National People’s Power (NPP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake.

Triangular Tussle

Continue reading ‘Tamil and Muslim Voting Trends in Past Presidential Elections.’ »

Thousands of Tamils Converge at Mullivaaikkaal On Mullaitheevu district coast to remember their Kith and Kin were killed 15 years ago in the Final phase of the war in May 2009

By

Meera Srinivasan

Thousands of Tamils on May 18 converged in Mullaivaikkal, along Sri Lanka’s north-eastern coast, to pay homage to their relatives killed in May 2009, in the final battle of the island’s protracted civil war.

As the war escalated before its gruesome end, lakhs of Tamil civilians were pushed to this narrow strip of land, declared a ‘No Fire Zone’ by the government. Tens of thousands, including women and children, died in the indiscriminate shelling of the armed forces, while scores were seriously injured.

Families gathered at the venue on Saturday and placed photographs of their loved ones in the sandy ground near the sea, offered prayers with flowers, food, and by lighting lamps. Antony Jesurathnam Mariapushparani, a Mullaitivu resident, has vivid images from May 18, fifteen years ago.

“Only those of us who were here know how many children died, how many senior citizens died. I saw how they just stacked up bodies in tractors and dropped them here,” she said. Pointing to the main road adjacent to the venue, she said, “it was there that we had our last kanji (porridge).”

Continue reading ‘Thousands of Tamils Converge at Mullivaaikkaal On Mullaitheevu district coast to remember their Kith and Kin were killed 15 years ago in the Final phase of the war in May 2009’ »

Is s it too much to allow the North and the East to remember lives of their loved ones felled in the conflict as much as the Sinhala-South remembers their fallen soldiers?


By

Kishali Pinto -Jayawardene

If the Sri Lankan State tried with all its might and main to look ridiculous in the eyes of the world, it could not do better than the preposterous performance of law enforcement agencies in the North and East during the formal remembrance of those who died during the ending of Sri Lanka’s decades-old ethnic conflict on May 18th each year.

Manifest absurdities in the North and East.

Fifteen years after that inexpressibly sad phrase of the country’s turbulent history with images of emaciated men, women and children of the Wanni emerging out of the blood soaked sands of Mullivaikkal with haunted eyes, we have state agents performing miserable antics that only play into global anti-Sri Lanka propaganda machines with gusto. This is the result of police panjandrums acting to the directive of an Inspector General of Police whose record stands in abrupt contrast even when compared to his less than perfect immediate predecessors and his patron, the Minister of Public Security whose own record is no better.

Perhaps if they and their subordinates employ a smidgen of common sense rather than strut their stuff in the former war theatre, we would not have to witness these manifest absurdities. This year, we have the farcical spectacle of Tamil civilians who tried to mark that period with the partaking of the traditional ‘kanji’ (porridge or rice gruel) being summarily arrested. The humble porridge is of enormous significance as this was all that many of those caught in the defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) by Sri Lankan state forces, had to eat at that time.

So at what point does the communal consumption of ‘porridge’ become a national security threat to the State? On that same logic, when the South ate milk rice with celebratory crackers when former President Ranasinghe Premadasa was assassinated by the LTTE (though we had other nonsensical versions spun by those with vested ambitions), the police should have gone around arresting all and sundry?

This time, the grounds advanced to prevent the consumption of porridge in public spaces were variously that this was for ‘health reasons’, to prevent discord in the multi-ethnic East and as they amounted to ‘commemorating’ the LTTE and calling for its revival.

Continue reading ‘Is s it too much to allow the North and the East to remember lives of their loved ones felled in the conflict as much as the Sinhala-South remembers their fallen soldiers?’ »

If the Current situation continues, there is a danger that Sri Lankan Tamils will become a group of people that the world does not pay attention to and Tamil politicians will become a group of people who make impractical political slogans and only crow within the confines of the peninsula.


By

Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

Fifteen years have passed since the end of Sri Lanka’s brutal civil war, which lasted for about 30 years. None of the main political problems have been resolved. The country is not progressing economically either. Instead, we saw that all the problems worsened and the country reached a state of chaos and bankruptcy.

A large part of the southern Sinhalese polity does not seem to think that there is a pressing need to find a negotiated political solution to the national ethnic problem that has torn the country apart. In these 15 years, the country has not moved an inch towards finding a political compromise that would fulfil the legitimate political aspirations of the minority communities.

Even the implementation of the 13th Amendment (13A), which has been a part of the Constitution for more than three decades, has finally become impossible. In no other country in the world do we see political forces taking to the streets to protest against the implementation of a constitutional provision.

Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who never failed to claim credit for providing what he called courageous political leadership to defeat the Tamil Tigers militarily in war, had the rare historical opportunity to find a political solution to the ethnic problem with the support of the Sinhalese people 15 years ago.

However, he deliberately ignored that opportunity and pursued more aggressive ethnic majoritarian politics with the dream of ruling Sri Lanka for a long period. He liberally used the war victory to divert the attention of the Sinhalese people from the main issues affecting them. That regressive strategy helped him and his family to stay in power for a few more years but did nothing good for the Sinhalese people.

It did not take long for the truth to be exposed that the ethnic majoritarian mobilisation was essentially a cover-up for misrule and corruption. However, the south still does not seem to have learnt a proper lesson from it.

Continue reading ‘If the Current situation continues, there is a danger that Sri Lankan Tamils will become a group of people that the world does not pay attention to and Tamil politicians will become a group of people who make impractical political slogans and only crow within the confines of the peninsula.’ »

Diana Gamage’s speech, body language and behaviour in parliament often outdid unruly behaviour usually associated with bullies and thugs.


By

Kshama Ranawana

It’s high time Diana Gamage took a hard look at herself in the mirror!

When the Supreme Court ruled in favour of petitioner Oshala Herath, that Diana Gamage is not a citizen of Sri Lanka, she told a media conference that she does not accept the ruling. She also went on to say that the ruling wronged all Sri Lankan women.

Now that is rich, coming from her.

Her foray into parliament was through the Samagi Jana Balawegaya as one of their national list candidates. But she lost no time in switching loyalities, when she broke ranks to vote in favour of then President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s 20th amendment to the Constitution.

Since then she has been at logger heads with the SJB, never losing an opportunity to browbeat their members during parliamentary debates. Despite switching party loyalties, Gotabaya did not return the favour, but current president Ranil Wikcremasinghe did, when he appointed her State Minister for Tourism.

From facts presented to the courts, and now discussed openly in the public arena, it seems that Diana employed devious methods to enter politics and parliament.

Continue reading ‘Diana Gamage’s speech, body language and behaviour in parliament often outdid unruly behaviour usually associated with bullies and thugs.’ »

70th Anniversary of the Historic 55 Day Battle of Ðiên Biên Phú , from March 13 to May 7, 1954. In which the French Army was catastrophically defeated by the Vietnamese Forces led by Ho Chi Minh and Võ Nguyên Giáp


By

Patrick Lawrence

I had the most salutary email the other day, a reviving lift amid these, humanity’s darkest days, surely, in the memory of anyone living. It was from George Burchett, an Australian painter who resides in Hanoi, the city of his birth.

George was born in Hanoi because he is the offspring of Wilfred Burchett, one of the towering greats among 20th century correspondents. Wilfred is celebrated for many things, one of which is his coverage of Vietnam’s anti-imperialist wars, of which there are two, from the North.

And George wanted to remind those who receive his privately distributed newsletter, People’s Information Bureau, that it is time to mark the 70th anniversary of the victory of the Viêt Minh, Ho Chi Minh’s revolutionary movement, over the French at Ðiên Biên Phú, a valley in the remote highlands hard by the Laotian border in northwestern Vietnam.

The battle of Ðiên Biên Phú lasted 55 days, from March 13 to May 7, 1954. Two months after the French were catastrophically defeated they signed the Geneva Accords, wherein they agreed to withdraw all forces not only from Vietnam but also from Cambodia and Laos, France’s other colonial possessions in Indochina.

The Viêt Minh victory at Ðiên Biên Phú makes riveting history all by itself. John Prados, a lately departed friend, wrote my favorite among the many books on the topic. As the French grew desperate, he recounted in The Sky Would Fall (Dial, 1983), the Eisenhower administration made plans to intervene against the Viêt Minh — plans that included America’s second use of atomic bombs.

Continue reading ‘70th Anniversary of the Historic 55 Day Battle of Ðiên Biên Phú , from March 13 to May 7, 1954. In which the French Army was catastrophically defeated by the Vietnamese Forces led by Ho Chi Minh and Võ Nguyên Giáp’ »

“I consider this moment, 15 years after the end of the armed struggle, as the opportune time to reflect and act on the changes that had happened in the political, social and economic positions of the Tamils.”

By

M.A.Sumanthiran MP

This week we commemorate the 15 year anniversary of the Mullivaikkal killings and other atrocities. It was a time when our people were locked into a narrow strip of land with no avenue for escape and had to survive only on kanji, while losing many loved ones and seeing many others maimed due to heavy shelling and shootings.

When the sound of guns and bombs eventually ceased, many were shot dead by the army as they emerged from the war zone. Men and women of a certain age were forced to surrender to the security forces, never to be seen again. The others were forcibly herded into camps surrounded by barbed wires and kept as prisoners for over one and a half years unlawfully. No one has been prosecuted or found guilty for any of these serious international crimes to date.

In the reports of the Panel Of Experts dated 31st March 2012 handed over to UN Secretary General and the OISL international inquiry released in September 2015, the fact that several internal crimes were committed during the last stages of the war and that persons responsible should be prosecuted and punished have been strongly recommended.

The Sri Lankan government co- sponsored Resolution HRC/30/1 on the 1st of October 2015, at the UNHRC which underline the importance of the participation of investigators, prosecutors, defence attorneys and judges in a judicial mechanism. However the Sri Lankan government later resiled from that commitment.

I consider this moment, 15 years after the end of the armed struggle, as the opportune time to reflect and act on the changes that had happened in the political, social and economic positions of the Tamils.

Continue reading ‘“I consider this moment, 15 years after the end of the armed struggle, as the opportune time to reflect and act on the changes that had happened in the political, social and economic positions of the Tamils.”’ »

கடந்தகால ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தல்களில் தமிழர்களும் முஸ்லிம்களும் வாக்களித்த போக்குகள்

டி.பி.எஸ். ஜெயராஜ்

2024 ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தல் எதிர்வரும் செப்டெம்பர் 17 ஆம் திகதிக்கும் அக்டோபர் 16 ஆம் திகதிக்கும் இடைப்பட்ட ஒரு திகதியால் நடத்தப்படும் என்று இலங்கை தேர்தல்கள் ஆணைக்குழு கடந்தவாரம் அறிவித்தது. ஏற்கெனவே தெரிந்த விடயத்தையே தேர்தல்கள் ஆணைக்குழு திரும்பக் கூறியிருக்கிறது. பிரத்தியேகமான திகதி ஒன்று அறிவிக்கப்படவில்லை என்றபோதிலும், தேர்தல் செப்டெம்பர் பிற்பகுதியில் அல்லது அக்டோபர் முற்பகுதியில் நடத்தப்படக்கூடிய சாத்தியம் இருக்கிறது.

கடந்த காலத்தைப் போன்று ஜனாதிபதி பதவிக்கு பலர் போட்டியிடுவார்கள். சிலர் தேர்தலில் போட்டியிடும் தமது விருப்பத்தை வெளிப்படையாகக் கூறியிருக்கின்ற அதேவேளை, போட்டியிடக்கூடிய மற்றையவர்களின் பெயர்கள் ஊடகங்களில் வெளியாகின்றன. ஆனால், வெற்றி வாய்ப்பைக் கொண்ட பிரதான போட்டியாளர்களாக மூவர் மாத்திரமே இருக்கின்றனர். தற்போதைய ஜனாதிபதி ரணில் விக்கிரமசிங்கவும் எதிர்க்கட்சி தலைவர் சஜித் பிரேமதாசவும் ஜனதா விமுக்தி பெரமுன (ஜே.வி.பி. ) / தேசிய மக்கள் சக்தியின் தலைவர் அநுரா குமாரதிசாநாயக்கவுமே அவர்கள்.

முக்கோணப் போட்டி

Continue reading ‘கடந்தகால ஜனாதிபதி தேர்தல்களில் தமிழர்களும் முஸ்லிம்களும் வாக்களித்த போக்குகள்’ »

Mahinda Opposes Re-structuring of Economy. If Wickremesinghe fails to save the do-or-die reform agenda of the government from the Rajapaksa’s dynastic scheming, history would not be kind to him.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Like the rest of his ilk in this part of the world, Mahinda Rajapaksa overstayed his welcome in power. He ran the economy to the ground as he did with the national carrier, which he re-nationalized out of a fit of rage after its Emirates management refused to deplane fee-levying passengers to make room for his entourage.

He tried on a dynastic power grab that went spectacularly wrong, ending in the worst-ever financial crisis since the independence.

But, like every crook and conman in Third World politics, Mahinda Rajapaksa thrives in a sense of inviolability and a culture of impunity fostered by the very system that sustains their political existence.

So last week, he was back, opposing the restructuring of the whoopingly loss-making state-owned enterprises, whose total loss in 2022 alone was Rs 744 billion (US$ 2.5 billion at the current exchange rate). Rajapaksa’s opposition to their divesture is a political manoeuvre, not for himself, but for the heir apparent political scion Namal.

Continue reading ‘Mahinda Opposes Re-structuring of Economy. If Wickremesinghe fails to save the do-or-die reform agenda of the government from the Rajapaksa’s dynastic scheming, history would not be kind to him.’ »

“We are hypocritical when we say what happened in Sri Lanka is an internal matter for Sri Lanka, but what happens in Palestine is not an internal matter for Israel. That is double speak. ! If you are true to what you are saying Sign the ICC Rome statute “- MA Sumanthiran MP

(Text of speech made in Parliament by ITAK Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran during Adjournment motion debate on 14 May 2024)

Thank you deputy speaker for the time allocated for me to speak on this very important, adjournment motion that has been moved by Honorable Rauff Hakeem.

I wish to approve of and support the sentiments expressed by the proposer and seconder of this motion. The situation that prevails in Palestine today is horrible, a very serious issue and cannot be ignored by any civilized country or people.

But while I speak on that issue, I will also later in my speech refer to the double speak and hypocrisy of the members of this House as they debate this issue.

Much was said about the hypocrisy of the West,White supremeists and I concur with those sentiments. The world is aghast at the blatant hypocrisy that the Western Nations that promote or pay lip service to Human rights, International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, persecution and international crimes of that nature.

They are turning a blind eye, not only just turning a blind eye, but they are supporting the state terrorism that is being prosecuted by the state of Israel on the hapless people of Palestine.

The political situation of this issue is rather complicated as I said at the last motion that was discussed in this House, I don’t wish to go into that aspect, but only limit myself to the concern for the humanitarian issues.

People are being killed in mass scale. A disproportionate number of children have died already. Women and children who have died account for more than half the number of the dead and that demonstrates the injustice of this whole operation.

It is also important to note that there is a complicit arrangement between Hamas and the state of Israel,much the same way the Easter bombing happened in this country.

It is always useful for leaders of countries whose popularity is dipping to show an enemy of the State and then become popular on that.

This is the most heinous way of remaining in power. We have seen that happening in this country, too. But what’s happening in Palestine has been exposed by right thinking people in the western nations today.

Not only in the western nations but right thinking jewish people. I’ve seen a video of a holocaust survivor who says “not in my name; not in our name”. And he explains that what is happening today is very similar to what he and others had to undergo under the Nazis regime. He cites similarities and says, how can I support this? This cannot be done in my name. Yes, the holocaust was a horrible thing that happened to the jews. But what they are doing now to the people of Palestine is exactly the same.

Continue reading ‘“We are hypocritical when we say what happened in Sri Lanka is an internal matter for Sri Lanka, but what happens in Palestine is not an internal matter for Israel. That is double speak. ! If you are true to what you are saying Sign the ICC Rome statute “- MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Four Sri Lankan Tamils in Eastern Province Arrested for commemorating their loved ones killed in the final phase of the civil war in 2009 ;Tamils’ Right to Memorialise the dead Put into Sharp Focus

By

Meera Srinivasan

The recent arrest of four Tamils in Sri Lanka’s Eastern Province — when they commemorated their loved ones killed in the final phases of the civil war in 2009 — has put Tamils’ right to memorialise in sharp focus yet again.

The police said the arrests were based on magistrate court orders that ruled against holding such commemorative events, citing reasons of “public health” and “attempts to revive” the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that the Sri Lankan military eliminated.

According to local Tamil media reports, three women, including a university student, and a man were arrested by the police in Sampur, located in the eastern Trincomalee district late on Sunday. Video footage widely shared on social media showed the police dragging a woman from her home.

Another court in the Eastern Province on Tuesday issued an order observing that commemorating members of the LTTE may lead to a “revival of terrorist activities” in the country, and “disrupt people’s everyday lives”.

Continue reading ‘Four Sri Lankan Tamils in Eastern Province Arrested for commemorating their loved ones killed in the final phase of the civil war in 2009 ;Tamils’ Right to Memorialise the dead Put into Sharp Focus’ »

What is greatly interesting about the Diana Gamage Saga is the different approaches taken by the Supreme Court and a majority decision of the Court of Appeal with profound implications on the roll of the judicial dice in each instance.

By

Kishali Pinto- Jayawardene

Leaving apart the typically hysterical political brouhaha about the unseating of Diana Gamage, former (and largely unlamented) Member of Sri Lanka’s Parliament, what is greatly interesting about this otherwise distasteful saga is the different approaches taken by the Supreme Court and a majority decision of the Court of Appeal with profound implications on the roll of the judicial dice in each instance.

That vexatious issue citizenship

This concerned a parliamentarian whose seat was challenged by a social activist on the basis that she was the holder of a British passport thus ceasing to be a citizen of Sri Lanka and by virtue of Article 91 read with Article 89 of the Constitution, was disqualified from holding office as a Member of Parliament.

Significantly, the legal remedy sought was the rarely used Writ of Quo Warranto. This required Gamage to show ‘by what authority she claims to hold office and continue to function as a Member of Parliament.’

In other words, she could not simply sit back, fold her hands and pretend blissful ignorance. The factual position by which the challenge rose or fell depended on two questions.

First, did Gamage cease to become a citizen of Sri Lanka either voluntarily or through the operation of law?

Secondly, did Gamage resume the status of a citizen according to law?

These matters had to be determined by way of documents placed before court. And the admission or rejection of the documents on which that determination depended, became highly contentious.

Materially different judicial approaches were reflected, resulting in different conclusions of each Court. While the (majority) decision of the Court of Appeal dismissed the challenge to Gamage’s parliamentary seat, the Supreme Court unseated her.

In fact, the Supreme Court delivered a somewhat stinging admonition to the Court of Appeal in categorizing as ‘threadbare,’ its finding that, statements made by the Deputy Controller of the Department of Immigration and Emigration to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) did not amount to ‘admissible evidence.’

Continue reading ‘What is greatly interesting about the Diana Gamage Saga is the different approaches taken by the Supreme Court and a majority decision of the Court of Appeal with profound implications on the roll of the judicial dice in each instance.’ »

“Ranil Ralla”: Will Wickremesinghe ride on a Winning Wave?

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

May Day was at one time a significant event of the workers,for the workers and by the workers. It is not so nowadays where the working class has been relegated to the back seat. The political class has taken over. The rhetoric however echoes and re-echoes on May day but the reality is different. The May Day events have been turned into a political exercise where competing political parties engage in a show of strength by mobilising huge crowds.

May 1st 2024 saw – according to some newspapers – 41 May Day related rallies,meetings or seminars being held throughout the country.Other newspapers lowered the number to 22.. Pride of place was given to Colombo where the UNP, JVP/NPP, SLPP and SJB held their rallies. All four parties had big crowds but the attendance was highest at the JVP rally. Furthermore the JVP rallies in Matara and Anuradhapura also had large crowds. Compared to the “thun Sinhala” rallies the JVP rally in Jaffna was a poor show.

The Ceylon Workers Congress(CWC) which is the largest trade union representing plantation workers of Indian descent held its rally in Kotagala. The CWC Is a constituent of the Government headed by President Ranil Wickremesinghe. CWC General Secretary Jeevan Thondaman is a cabinet minister in the Govt. Ranil Wickremesinghe was the chief guest at the huge CWC rally.

President Wickremesinghe brought “glad tidings of great joy” to the workers gathered in Kotagala. Ranil announced to a wildly cheering audience that the daily wage of plantation workers has been raised from Rs 1000 to Rs 1700. The 700 rupee increase amounted to a 70% pay rise. The president displayed a copy of the Gazette proclamation to the people. The plight of the plantation workers has prompted many to describe them as the “wretched of the up-country earth”. The daily wage increase would no doubt provide a degree of economic relief to them.

Continue reading ‘“Ranil Ralla”: Will Wickremesinghe ride on a Winning Wave?’ »

Diana Gamage who came to Parliament on the Samagi Jana Balawegaya(SJB) National List, has been an MP for almost four years without being a citizen of any country.

By Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

The Sri Lankan Supreme Court’s landmark judgment last week that State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage was legally ineligible to serve as a Member of Parliament (MP) on the grounds that she was not a Sri Lankan citizen raises some crucial questions.

The Supreme Court gave the ruling after hearing an appeal filed by social activist Oshala Herath challenging the Appeal Court’s dismissal of his petition against Gamage’s membership in Parliament.

Gamage, who came to Parliament on the National List of the main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), began to support the then Gotabaya Rajapaksa Government.

Her support for the Government continued after Ranil Wickremesinghe took office as President and she was also appointed as State Minister of Tourism. She earned a dubious name for her ridiculously controversial speeches about the night economy and cannabis cultivation.

Former Colombo District MP Mujibur Rahman of the SJB has been nominated to fill the vacancy in Parliament caused by her disqualification. He resigned from his position as an MP to contest the mayoralty of Colombo in the Local Government Elections, which were scheduled to be held in the early part of last year and were later postponed indefinitely. This is an opportunity for him to come back to Parliament as the Local Government Elections are not likely to be held in the near future.

How was this allowed?

Continue reading ‘Diana Gamage who came to Parliament on the Samagi Jana Balawegaya(SJB) National List, has been an MP for almost four years without being a citizen of any country.’ »

Your mother is the one who will stand by you even if the entire world is against you. Christobel Cooray my Amma stood by me. She stands by me. It’s love, unadulterated. Children are reminded of all that when Mother’s Day comes around


by Krishantha Prasad Cooray

There is no day in the calendar that can be called ‘Mother’s Day,’ not as far as mothers themselves are concerned. They don’t cease to be mothers on days that are not called ‘Mother’s Day.’ And yet, the 12th of May or rather the second Sunday in the month of May, as originally designated by Woodrow Wilson, then US President, is important, not so much for mothers as it is for their children. Children, who soak in the love and affection and are protected from anxiety and harm day in and day out, are reminded of all that when Mother’s Day comes around.

All of us have seen mothers. We have seen the mothers of our parents and the mothers of our own children. We have known the mothers of our friends and the mothers of their children. It occurred to me, however, that today, as mothers the world over are celebrated, but it is not a collective or the idea of ‘motherhood’ that is important. We remember our own mothers. I remember mine, my Amma.

Mothers make enormous sacrifices for their families. So did mine, Christobel Cooray, and indeed so she does to this day. She taught her three sons many things, but most importantly the non-negotiable characteristics of friendship and loyalty. We were taught from a very young age to stand by our friends through thick and thin. What I remember most, however, is her insistence that we look out for the weakest and poorest among us.

Continue reading ‘Your mother is the one who will stand by you even if the entire world is against you. Christobel Cooray my Amma stood by me. She stands by me. It’s love, unadulterated. Children are reminded of all that when Mother’s Day comes around’ »

முக்கால் நூற்றாண்டு போராட்டமும் எமது தேசத்தின் எதிர்காலமும்

ம. ஆ. சுமந்திரன் பா.உ

2009 மே மாதம் நிகழ்ந்த முள்ளிவாய்க்கால் படுகொலைகளை இந்த வாரம் நாம் நினைவுகூருகிறோம். யுத்தத்தின் இறுதிக்கட்டத்திலே எந்தத் திசையிலும் தப்பியோட முடியாமல், தொடர்ச்சியாக அன்பானவர்களை இழந்தவண்ணமாக, வெறுங்கையர்களாக எமது மக்கள் , உணவில்லாமல், கஞ்சி மட்டும் குடித்தபடி, பாரிய நெருக்கடியிலும், துயரத்திலும் கழித்த நாட்கள் இவை.

துப்பாக்கி, வெடிகுண்டு சத்தங்கள் மௌனித்த பின்பு, தாம் அகப்பட்டிருந்த இடத்திலிருந்து மக்கள் வெளியேறிய போது, பலர் அரச படைகளினால் சுட்டுக்கொல்லப்பட்டதும், மற்றவர்கள் பல விதங்களில் துன்புறுத்தப்பட்டதும் அனைவரும் அறிந்த உண்மை. குறித்த வயதெல்லைக்குட்பட்ட ஆண்களும் பெண்களும் அரச படைகளிடம் சரணடைய வேண்டுமென வற்புறுத்தப்பட்டு தங்கள் உறவினர்களால் அப்படியாகக் கையளிக்கப்பட்டவர்கள் இன்றுவரை காணாமலாக்கப்பட்டிருக்கின்றார்கள். எஞ்சியவர்கள் முட்கம்பி வேலிகளுக்குள் கைதிகளைப்போல அடைக்கப்பட்டு, ஒன்றரை வருடத்திற்கு மேல் சட்டவிரோதமாக தடுத்து வைக்கப்பட்டிருந்தார்கள். இத்தனை கொடூரங்களும் உலகமே பார்த்திருக்க அரங்கேற்றப்பட்டு 15 வருடங்கள் இன்று நிறைவடைகின்றன. இன்றுவரை இந்த சர்வதேச குற்றங்களுக்காக ஒருவருக்கெதிராகத் தானும் வழக்கு தாக்கல் செய்யப்படவில்லை, ஒருவரும் குற்றவாளியாக காணப்படவுமில்லை.

ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மனித உரிமைகள் பேரவை 2014 ஆம் ஆண்டு OISL என்ற முழுமையான சர்வதேச விசாரணை ஒன்றை நடாத்தி, அதன் அறிக்கையை 2015 செப்டம்பர் மாதத்தில் வெளியிட்டிருக்கின்றது. அந்த அறிக்கையிலும் அதற்கு முன்னர் ஐ.நா.செயலாளர் நாயகத்திற்கு கொடுக்கப்பட்ட 2012 மார்ச் 31 திகதியிட்ட நிபுணர் குழுவின் அறிக்கையிலும் யுத்தத்தின் இறுதிக் கட்டங்களில் பல சர்வதேசக் குற்றங்கள் இழைக்கப்பட்டதற்கான ஆதாரங்கள் இருப்பதாகவும், அதற்கு பொறுப்பானவர்கள் சட்டத்தின் முன் நிறுத்தப்பட்டு தண்டிக்கப்பட வேண்டும் என்றும் கூறப்பட்டுள்ளது.

2015 அக்டோபர் 1 ஆம் திகதி ஐக்கிய நாடுகள் மனித உரிமைகள் பேரவையில் ஸ்ரீலங்கா அரச அனுசரணையுடன் நிறைவேற்றப்பட்ட 30/1 என்ற தீர்மானத்தில் சர்வதேச விசாரணையாளர்கள், சட்டத்தரணிகள், வழக்கு தொடுநர்கள் மற்றும் நீதிபதிகளினுடைய பங்கேற்புடன் நீதிமன்ற பொறிமுறையொன்றை ஏற்படுத்துவதாக உறுதி கூறப்பட்டிருந்த போதிலும், ஸ்ரீலங்கா அரசு பின்னர் அந்த வாக்குறுதியிலிருந்து பின்வாங்கிவிட்டது.

ஆயுதப் போராட்டம் முடிவடைந்த பின்னர் கடந்த 15 ஆண்டு காலத்தில் தமிழர்களின் அரசியல், சமூக, பொருளாதார நிலைப்பாடுகளில் ஏற்பட்டிருக்கின்ற மாற்றங்கள் சம்பந்தமாக சிந்தித்து செயலாற்றுவதற்கான பொருத்தமானதொரு தருணம் இதுவென்று நான் நினைக்கின்றேன்.

Continue reading ‘முக்கால் நூற்றாண்டு போராட்டமும் எமது தேசத்தின் எதிர்காலமும்’ »

Unseated MP Diana Gamage Alleges that she was Disqualified as a Parliamentarian due to a Conspiracy Orchestrated against her by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya; Accuses SJB of Hatred Politics and Urges Women to be Cautious in voting for the Leader of the Opposition in Elections

Embattled former State Minister Diana Gamage yesterday expressed her refusal to accept the recent Supreme Court ruling that disqualified her from Parliament, due to the political conspiracy behind it.

Addressing the media for the first time following the ruling, Gamage levelled accusations against Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa, SJB General Secretary Ranjith Madduma Bandara, and several others, alleging they had orchestrated political conspiracy against her. She claimed that this plot has led to her disqualification and subsequent loss of her Parliamentary seat.

“I hold the utmost respect for the Courts, but I find myself unable to accept their judgement due to the political machinations orchestrated by the SJB leader and the General Secretary of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB). My critique is not directed at all MPs within the SJB; there are some who maintain integrity and honour,” she said.

The former Minister said the SJB’s politics of hatred was evident in their behaviour yesterday. She declared that an attack on her represents an attack on all women in the nation.

“I fearlessly voiced the truth and advocated for the women of our country. The Opposition leader and a select few collaborated to initiate this case, relentlessly striving to remove me. This has been a four-year battle,” she declared.

“The politics of hatred has prevailed, at least for now,” she lamented. She urged the women of Sri Lanka to exercise caution when casting their votes for the Opposition leader in the upcoming polls.

Despite her absence from Parliament, Gamage pledged to persist in her fight for all women in the country, assuring that the truth will eventually come to light for the people.

She revealed ongoing discussions with her legal representatives, expressing willingness to pursue an appeal if feasible. Additionally, she confirmed the return of all Government property and her resignation from the ministerial position.

Following her disqualification from Parliament, Gamage faced further setbacks as the Colombo Magistrate’s Court imposed an overseas travel ban on her yesterday.

Colombo Magistrate Thilina Gamage issued this directive after considering a request presented by the Counsels representing the petitioning party involved in the case concerning her dual citizenship.

Copies of the order were also forwarded to the offices of the Controller General of Immigration and Emigration, as well as the Director of National Intelligence.

In response, Gamage asserted that she has no intentions of leaving the country. “Why should I leave the country? This is my homeland; I was born here, and my family has deep roots in the South, spanning generations,” she affirmed.

Courtesy:Daily FT

Sri Lanka to Purchase Power at 8.26 cents per kWh from India’s Adani Green Energy which will generate 484 MW Power Annually from a 442 $ millon wind power project at Mannar and Pooneryn in the Island’s Northern Province


By
Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka has agreed to purchase power at $0.0826, or 8.26 cents, per kWh from Adani Green Energy, which is executing a wind power project in Mannar and Pooneryn in the island’s Northern Province.

The country’s Cabinet cleared a proposal on Monday for a 20-year power purchase agreement with Adani Green Energy for the development of wind power stations to produce 484 MW of power. “On the current exchange rate considered as 1 $ = [Sri Lankan] ₹300, the cost of energy will be ₹24.78 per kWh,” Minister of Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekera said on social media platform ‘X’ on Tuesday. “The current average cost of energy in SL is ₹39.02 per kWh,” he added.

While Sri Lanka would pay in Sri Lankan Rupees, based on the prevailing exchange rate at the time of payment, according to the minister, details of clauses on possible revisions in rates were awaited.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka to Purchase Power at 8.26 cents per kWh from India’s Adani Green Energy which will generate 484 MW Power Annually from a 442 $ millon wind power project at Mannar and Pooneryn in the Island’s Northern Province’ »

The Tamil Nationalist Who Dubbed Himself as the “King of Eelam”.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The protracted struggle by Sri Lankan Tamils to achieve justice and equality in the Island has brought into prominence several colourful and controversial personalities. Among such persons was a Tamil Nationalist political activist who adopted the nom de plume “Eelaventhan”meaning King of Eelam. Eelaventhan whose real name was MK Kanakenthran was active in Tamil politics for over seven l decades. He served as a member of Parliament in Sri Lanka from 2004 to 2007. The nonagenarian Eelaventhan passed away in Toronto, Canada on 28 April 2024. His death was widely reported in Sri Lankan Tamil newspapers with even editorials being written about him.

Eelaventhan whose full name was Manickavasagam Kanagasabapathy Kanakenthiran was born on 14 September, 1932 in Jaffna. The father Kanagasabapathy was a station master in the Railway department. His mother Sivayogam was a housewife. Though hailing from Colombothurai in Jaffna, the family resided in Nallur. MK Kanakenthiran studied at St.Johns College ,Jaffna and Wesley College ,Colombo. Equally fluent in Tamil and English, he joined the Central Bank as a Translator and retired as head of the Tamil translation division in 1980.

Kanakenthiran got enamoured of politics in his late tees n and joined the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) known in English as the Federal Party in 1952. He became a devout Tamil nationalist and ardent political activist in 1956 after Sinhala was made the official language of Ceylon as Sri Lanka was known then. He began writing articles for the ITAK’s newspaper “Suthanthiran” under the pseudonym “Eelaventhan” meaning King of Eelam. He also began addressing political meetings as Eelaventhan.

Continue reading ‘The Tamil Nationalist Who Dubbed Himself as the “King of Eelam”.’ »

Why did Minister Tiran Alles sign the outsourcing deal with VFS Global when there’s no rationale for outsourcing since Lankan officials have been handling on-arrival visas since 2012 without a problem.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

On every side are seen the burial ground of dreams.” Faiz Ahmed Faiz (The Subject of Poetry)

President Ranil Wickremesinghe expects Lankan rupee to appreciate further and reach 280 per dollar by June. Namal Karunaratna, a leading light of the NPP/JVP, states that rupee will start sliding soon, reaching 400-500 per dollar. He dismisses the rupee’s strong performance as a fluke caused by a recent spate of dollar loans.

Karunaratne’s analysis is wrong. The rupee is gaining mainly due to the boom in tourism and influx of foreign remittances. As some independent analysts have pointed out, the value of the rupee could fall in the second half of the year if vehicle imports are allowed. But the rupee would plunge to the depths of Karunaratne’s expectations only if the Wickremesinghe administration makes a Gotabaya-style error.

The still ongoing visa controversy might fit the bill.

The issue here is not the introduction of new visa categories – approved by Cabinet and Parliament – but the opaque outsourcing of on-arrival visa issuance. As Sri Lanka Immigration and Emigration Officers Association points out, there’s no rationale for outsourcing since Lankan officials have been handling on-arrival visas since 2012 without a problem.

In a letter written to the President, major travel associations concur: “The previous system was straightforward and extremely easy to use for those with limited IT knowledge.” The new system asks more questions – such as facebook and twitter links – and charges a convenience fee on top of visa fee, turning Sri Lanka into a more expensive destination compared to many a regional competitor.

The Minister of Tourism professes to be unhappy with the outsourcing (why he kept silent about it all this time is another matter). Industry professionals seem not to have been consulted. They warn that tourist arrivals might fall due to added expense and increased complexity of the new system. If their concerns turn out to be correct, this could be a (slower-burning) disaster on par with Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s going-organic-in-one-season fiasco.

The question is, why? Why dump a system that was working well? If Lankan emigration and immigration officers offered to handle the expanded system for one dollar per visa, as they claim, why outsource it at $ 18 per visa?

Why the failure to consult tourism industry stakeholders before making the decision?

Continue reading ‘Why did Minister Tiran Alles sign the outsourcing deal with VFS Global when there’s no rationale for outsourcing since Lankan officials have been handling on-arrival visas since 2012 without a problem.’ »

State Minister Diana Gamage Unseated as MP ! Supreme Court in Unanimous Ruling States the Samagi Jana Balawegaya Appointed National List MP is disqualified to be a Parliamentarian as she has no Sri Lankan Citizenship.


The Supreme Court in a unanimous verdict delivered yesterday unseated State Minister Diana Gamage.

The Court held that Gamage was disqualified to be a Parliamentarian as she has no Sri Lankan citizenship. As a result a new seat in Parliament opens up for Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB).

Justice Janak De Silva reading portions of the judgment in open court said that Gamage has failed to prove her Sri Lankan citizenship before the Court.

“Besides, all that the 1st Respondent needs to do is to provide the relevant declaration made by the Minister or the exemption granted to her. That may well have been the answer to the pending criminal proceedings.” he said.

Continue reading ‘State Minister Diana Gamage Unseated as MP ! Supreme Court in Unanimous Ruling States the Samagi Jana Balawegaya Appointed National List MP is disqualified to be a Parliamentarian as she has no Sri Lankan Citizenship.’ »

Sri Lankan authorities are facing a backlash over higher visa costs that could deter tourists , after a new visa portal, run by VFS Global, for online visa application processing Started Operations from 17 April 2024.

By

Meera Srinivasan

A fortnight after Sri Lanka switched to a new visa issuing system, authorities are facing a backlash over higher visa costs that could deter tourists, “Indian involvement”, and “corruption” in the subject minister’s push to outsource visa processing.

Beginning April 17, 2024, Sri Lanka’s Department of Immigration and Emigration directed travellers to a new visa portal, run by VFS Global, for online visa application under various categories. The formerly used Electronic Travel Authorisation system, known for its speed and accessibility, was scrapped.

The move followed a Cabinet decision last year, based on a proposal from Public Security Minister Tiran Alles, to appoint GBS Technology Services & IVS Global – FZCO and VFS Global as authorised agents for the online submission of visa applications for foreigners visiting Sri Lanka. Subsequently, the three companies formed a consortium and signed an agreement with Sri Lankan authorities, according to officials.

With the introduction of the new system, Sri Lanka’s visa nearly doubled, along with the introduction of a $18.5 service fee and $5 convenience fee charged by VFS Global.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan authorities are facing a backlash over higher visa costs that could deter tourists , after a new visa portal, run by VFS Global, for online visa application processing Started Operations from 17 April 2024.’ »

Public Security Minister Tiran Alles has a penchant for conduct that sits oddly with his ministerial duties, the latest being his declaring ‘Open Sesame’ to the police to use their weapons to ‘eliminate criminals.

By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

Do the actions of the Wickremesinghe Presidency and his Cabinet reflect strategic decision-making on the cusp of majorly significant national elections in Sri Lanka?\


The Government’s markedly asinine behaviour

The latest controversy to erupt is over the Cabinet outsourcing the handling of on-arrival visas to foreigners at the national airport to a ‘private company.’ This is in the wake of a Sri Lankan’s fury at the company’s representatives refusing a visa for his wife at Katunayake going viral on social media. We are told by the Presidential Secretariat that the company was only ‘processing’ the visa process while Sri Lankan immigration officers had the ‘final say’ on the matter.

The Secretariat has also claimed that the company in question is used by other countries to process visa applications for non-nationals entering their borders. But do those countries permit its representatives to strut around at the border point of entry?

That is strictly a matter for immigration officials and is a question of high national sensitivity if not security.

The Minister of Tourism has frantically denied that he had anything to do with the unseemly row attributing the change in procedure to a Cabinet paper by Public Security Minister Tiran Alles. Adding richness to this unsavoury cake, he has also confessed to a ‘problem’ as his observations as Tourism Minister had not been called for.

A Public Security Minister who heightens security concerns?

Continue reading ‘Public Security Minister Tiran Alles has a penchant for conduct that sits oddly with his ministerial duties, the latest being his declaring ‘Open Sesame’ to the police to use their weapons to ‘eliminate criminals.’ »

Ranil Plans to Contest 2024 Presidential Election as an independent non -party common candidate (Nirpakshika Podu Apekshaya) backed by a group of parties, organizations and key individuals


By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The first part of this article published in the “Daily Mirror”of 20 April 2024 under the heading “Ranil Wickremesinghe caravan moves on despite barking dogs” has evoked a lot of reader responses. In a climate of Ranil-bashing many seem to be happy that Wickremesinghe’s courageous decision to accept the challenge of leading the country on the road to economic recovery and the limited yet commendable progress achieved by his Govt has been acknowledged. As mentioned in the concluding paragraph of last week’s article, this second part of the article would be focusing on the strategy being devised by Ranil Wickremesinghe to win the 2024 presidential stakes.

The forthcoming presidential election is due in late September or early October this year. It is a given that the incumbent president Ranil Wickremesinghe will be contesting despite the fact that he has not made a formal announcement to that effect yet. He has been pointedly dodging or deflecting questions from the media on this topic. Nevertheless it is common knowledge that Wickremesinghe will be a presidential contender this year..

Ranil Wickremesinghe, a 75 year old lawyer, has been immersed in politics for over 50 years. He has been an MP for almost 44 years. Ranil has served as leader of the opposition for naout 18 years. He has been a deputy minister and cabinet minister. Above all Wickremesinghe has been sworn in as Prime minister six times. Impressive as it is, this record of service will not be Ranil Wickremesinghe’s lasting political legacy.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Plans to Contest 2024 Presidential Election as an independent non -party common candidate (Nirpakshika Podu Apekshaya) backed by a group of parties, organizations and key individuals’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe Announces 700 Rupee Pay Increase to Plantation Workers at Ceylon Workers Congress May Day Rally at Kotagala; Current Daily Wage Rs 1000 Goes up to 1700 Rupees.


By
Meera Srinivasan

With a presidential election expected later this year,the May Day rallies o fall main political parties in Sri Lanka seemed a prelude to their poll campaigns.

Leaders of various political camps made a direct pitch to the people in their respective public events, seeking their support in what would be the first election since the island nation’s debilitating economic crisis in 2022.

A year into the International Monetary Fund’s programme, that brought with it tough austerity measures, many Sri Lankans are reeling under the impact of steep tax hikes, and higher fuel and energy prices, amid high living costs.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe, who participated at the May Day event of the Ceylon Workers’ Congress in Kotagala in the Central Province, where many Malaiyaha Tamils, including estate workers reside and work, announced a hike in the daily wage of plantation sector workers, to LKR 1700 (roughly ₹ 477).

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe Announces 700 Rupee Pay Increase to Plantation Workers at Ceylon Workers Congress May Day Rally at Kotagala; Current Daily Wage Rs 1000 Goes up to 1700 Rupees.’ »

UNP Kalutara Ex-MP Palitha Thewarapperuma was Called a “Hitha Honda Chandiya”(Good Hearted Strongman/Thug)


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

In life, he was a controversial character who was mostly in the news for the wrong reasons.. He was a Parliamentarian who brandished a knife against a fellow MP during a brawl in the House. He had a notorious reputation for getting things done in the way he wanted by engaging in pressure tactics often resorting to fisticuffs. He even attempted suicide once by hanging himself on a ceiling fan. Generally people outside his home district perceived him as a thug and bully who tried to browbeat others.

In Death, this overall negative image of the man turned topsy-turvy. There was an outpouring of genuine grief and sorrow at his funeral proceedings. People from all walks of life in his home district mourned his untimely death. Large crowds paid their respects and attended his funeral. Political leaders and politicians of different hues marked their presence at the funeral house. Whatever his image in life, the man’s death demonstrated that he was indeed popular among the masses notwithstanding his “toughie”reputation.

I am of course referring to former Kalutara district Parliamentarian Palitha Thewarapperuma who died of accidental electrocution on 16 April 2024. As stated earlier , this United National Party(UNP) stalwart from Kalutara had a controversial negative image. Yet his funeral on 19th April and the rituals of mourning that preceded it, saw huge crowds in attendance. Palitha Thewarapperuma’a death was truly felt as a loss to the community and genuinely lamented.

Two of the action films in which my all time favourite Sinhala film hero Gamini Fonseka acted in were “Chandiya”made in 1965 and “Hitha Honda Minihek” made in 1975. It appears that a large number of Palitha Thewarapperuma’s supporters and fans perceived him as a combination of the titles of these two Gamini Fonseka fims. He is referred to as a “Hitha Honda Chandiya” or Good-hearted Strongman/thug. Incidentally in 1987 there was another Sinhala film called “Hitha Honda Chandiya” starring Jeevan Kumaratunga. It seems that Palitha Thewarapperuma was essentially a good man who served the common people well. Much of the strong arm tactics he deployed too was in their interests. Hence Palitha is supposedly a Hitha Honda Chandiya. Other references are “Chandi Mahathaya” and “Chandi Pali”.

Continue reading ‘UNP Kalutara Ex-MP Palitha Thewarapperuma was Called a “Hitha Honda Chandiya”(Good Hearted Strongman/Thug)’ »

The SJB and the JVP/NPP do not seem to have broken with Rajapaksa economics entirely. Both parties seem to think that Sri Lanka can have guns, rice, low taxes and low borrowings if corruption and waste are eliminated.

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Doubt is not a pleasant condition. But certainty is an absurd one.” Voltaire (Letter to Fredrick the Great – 28.11.1770)

Sri Lanka’s road to ruin was marked by miracles.

The story, born in mystery, spread across the land at the speed of light. Luminous rays were emanating from Buddha statues. For three days in August 2006, people thronged temples, media provided live coverage, work stopped, roads clogged and international flights pushed back.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa was ecstatic that the first sighting happened in a temple in his hometown of Tangalle. His supporters hailed the “miracle” as a sign from on high that their leader was divinely mandated to restore Sri Lanka to her ancient glory.

The Rajapaksas, swept out of office electorally in 2015, would return triumphantly in 2019, on the wings of another “miracle”, this one sent from the Cobra Land (Naga Lokaya).

Authenticated by the chief incumbent of the ancient Kelaniya temple, the “miracle” hailed the appearance of yet another divinely mandated hero-leader to save the motherland, Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Now the Rajapaksas are planning a third coming. Namal Rajapaksa is the new king-in-waiting, shepherded by Uncle Basil, he of seven brains, according to Rajapaksa devotees. Whether a new “miracle” will appear in this election cycle is uncertain. Even if it does, the voters are unlikely to be susceptible.

Not to the Rajapaksas. Their time is over, at least for now. But the attitudes, the long ingrained habits of expecting magic in politics and leaders with capacities beyond natural survive and thrive. Faith brought us to ruin. Even as we rail at the main authors of our misfortune, we continue to elevate blind belief over reason or facts.

In the general election held immediately after the Second World War, British people opted to elect a leaders suited to the peaceful present than to the warring past. They understood that, post-war, the task was not to save the empire or battle enemies real or imaginary but to build a fairer society. So they picked the uncharismatic, non-heroic Clement Attlee and the Labour Party over the war-winning prime minister and living legend Winston Churchill.

We in Sri Lanka did not have the same sense. We believed that the war-winner could win economic battles as well. We also believed that, like in the fairy tales, he should be rewarded with sovereignty over us for defeating the Tiger.

Continue reading ‘The SJB and the JVP/NPP do not seem to have broken with Rajapaksa economics entirely. Both parties seem to think that Sri Lanka can have guns, rice, low taxes and low borrowings if corruption and waste are eliminated.’ »

ITAK Batticaloa MP Shaniyan Rasamanickam Urges President Wickremesinghe to Arrest TMVP B’caloa MP Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan to find out the truth about Easter Bombing attacks’ reveals explosive details about alleged crimes committed by “Tripoli Platoon” in Parliament speech

Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) Batticaloa District MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam on Thursday accused the infamous Tripoli platoon, a paramilitary intelligence unit, of involvement in the Easter Sunday attacks in 2019.

Speaking during the debate on the Easter Sunday attacks, Rasamanickam said the group had been involved in a spate of killings since early 2005, long before the Easter Sunday attacks.

The MP said the platoon made up of Muslim, Tamil and Sinhalese operatives was set up in 2005 and persons linked to it such as Police Faiz, Khaleel and Army Mohideen are linked to serious crimes.

He alleged that in 2004, Police Faiz established an organisation called ‘Imanian Nenjangal’ as part of a state intelligence operation to foster Islamic extremism in the country. He also noted that Khaleel was one of the main accused in the murder of former MP Joseph Pararajasingham along with Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pulikal (TMVP) MP Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan alias Pillayan. “Khaleel was later released from prison during the tenure of Gotabaya Rajapaksa,” the MP pointed out.

Continue reading ‘ITAK Batticaloa MP Shaniyan Rasamanickam Urges President Wickremesinghe to Arrest TMVP B’caloa MP Sivanesathurai Chandrakanthan to find out the truth about Easter Bombing attacks’ reveals explosive details about alleged crimes committed by “Tripoli Platoon” in Parliament speech’ »

Five Policemen Comprising an Inspector,Sub-inspector and three Constables Found Guilty of Killing Eight Tamil Civilians at Bharathipuram in Trincomalee district 26 Years ago Sentenced to Death by Anuradhapura High Court Manoj Thalgodapitiya


By Ranjith Padmasiri

The Anuradhapura High Court on Friday passed a death sentence on five police officers who were found guilty of killing eight Tamil civilians at the Bharathipuram village in Kantale, Trincomalee 26 years ago.

The sentence was passed by High Court Judge Manoj Thalgodapitiya.
The five police officers were attached to the Bharathipuram police post and were charged with unlawful assembly with the intention to commit murder.

Those sentenced were Constable Chandrathna Banadara, Constable Nimal Premasiri Konara, Inspector R.M. Ranaraja Bandara, Sub Inspector Y.L. Somaratne, and Constable Senarath Bandara Medawela.

Continue reading ‘Five Policemen Comprising an Inspector,Sub-inspector and three Constables Found Guilty of Killing Eight Tamil Civilians at Bharathipuram in Trincomalee district 26 Years ago Sentenced to Death by Anuradhapura High Court Manoj Thalgodapitiya’ »

The “Unholy “Row Between Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and Ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Regarding the Easter Sunday Attacks by Home Grown Jihadists on 21 April 2019

By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

An (un)holy row has erupted between Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, head of Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church and former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa regarding ‘who said what’ in the aftermath of the Easter Sunday attacks on April 21st 2019 by ‘home grown’ jihadists.


Symbolic punishment is insufficient

Examining several aspects of this dispute is relevant against the wider backdrop of Sri Lanka’s painful struggles with political accountability.

Marking the fifth anniversary of the attacks last week, the Church repeated its call for the perpetrators to be punished. That has not yet transpired apart from the Supreme Court holding former President Maithripala Sirisena together with his defence and intelligence officers responsible for failing to protect the security of the country.

But that decision is largely symbolic in value, hardly deserving of the degree of punishment that must follow if the scales of justice are to be balanced fairly. These attacks started a train of events that not only brought unbearable anguish for the victims but also, in true Greek tragic form, resulted in the decimation of Sri Lanka as a nation.

These are not uncommon happenings. On the contrary, they have been played out time and time again in ‘politically unstable’ nations of the global South as well as in developed democracies as some may like to style the global North.

Yet to return to the fate of this unfortunate land, it was a fear cloud of the Easter killings coupled with the dangerously seductive promise of a ‘Sinhala Buddhist monarch’ that led to Gotabaya Rajapaksa sweeping into power a few months later in November 2019.

Continue reading ‘The “Unholy “Row Between Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith and Ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Regarding the Easter Sunday Attacks by Home Grown Jihadists on 21 April 2019’ »

The Ranil Wickremesinghe Caravan Moves Forward Despite Barking Dogs.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“ The Dogs bark but the Caravan moves on”is a proverbial saying of supposedly Turkish origin. Caravan in this instance refers to a group of people, animals or vehicles on the move. As is natural members of the canine species respond to the strange sight of a caravan in their midst by barking. This is especially so if there are animals in the caravan. Despite the dogs barking, the carava proceeds on its journey. The moral is that an individual or group must continue on the journey towards their destination even if there is vocal opposition.

In Sri Lanka’s current political environment this saying is most applicable to the progress of President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s administration. Ranil took over the reins of Government when the country was at the nadir of an unprecedented economic crisis. A cash strapped Govt without foreign exchange faced massive shortages of food, fuel, electricity and other essentials. It was a crisis of great magnitude that triggered off a historic public protest named “Aragalaya”(struggle) which toppled the all-powerful Rajapaksa regime..

Apart from the economic aspect of the crisis there was another dimension too. The “Aragalaya”had been hi-jacked by self-styled “revolutionary”elements who posed a grave law and order threat. Orchestrated attacks were launched by organized “mobs” against Govt MPs numbering more than 70. Their movable and immovable assets were damaged or destroyed. One MP was beaten to death and another critically injured in an assault.

Many Government ministers including those of the “Medamulana clan”quit their posts. Several ministers and MPs deserted the seemingly sinking “Pohottuwa”ship and crossed over to the opposition declaring themselves to be “independent”. Then Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa regarded at one time as the “Darling of the Sinhala masses” was besieged at “Temple Trees”by an armed mob that threw “Molotov Cocktails” (petrol bombs) and set a portion of the premier’s official residence on fire. Mahinda along with family members had to be rescued by helicopter. Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa faced with multitudes of protesters was evacuated to Trincomalee on a naval ship along with his spouse. Later he fled to Singapore via Maldives and resigned the presidency from there.

It was in such a volatile, violent climate that Ranil took up the responsibility of salvaging the country and leading it on the path to economic recovery. He first became Prime Minister in May and then President in July 2022. Ranil was not Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s first choice. He offered the premier post to Oppsition leader Sajith Premadasa first. He offered it next to Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka. Both lacked the courage to accept the offer and face the challenge. Ranil was selected by default. It proved to be best choice.

Continue reading ‘The Ranil Wickremesinghe Caravan Moves Forward Despite Barking Dogs.’ »

Why is there so much braggadocio about drug pushers being arrested and drug caches being seized, but nothing concrete is done to stop the inflow of drugs?


by Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Robert Frost once wrote, ‘Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.’ It’s a place like Hotel California in the popular Eagles song by that name — you can check out any time you like but you can never leave.

It’s all about family. The prodigal son or daughter can return. And when they do, other residents cannot pack their bags and leave, however distasteful the returnee has turned out to be or the returning is.

And even if they are far away, ‘family’ remains, in our thoughts and in our hearts, whether they are ‘prodigal’ or not. Indeed, while there are degrees of prodigality or extravagant behaviour that displease friends and relatives, few things can make people grieve as extreme addiction to narcotics and alcohol.

It is a ‘family matter’ unlike anything else. It is in fact a household matter wherever the addict may reside.
Alcohol and drugs are not new. It would be hard to find anyone who has not had to consider writing an essay about ‘the drug problem’ while at school.

So we all know about dangerous drugs, narcotics and illegal substances. We know their names and we’ve noticed how the names have changed. We know there’s education on the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. We know there are laws and the kind of measures adopted by law enforcing agencies.

There’s no dearth of information. Raids, arrests and seizure of drugs are regularly reported. We are told they are destroyed. In fact, just the other day Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe announced that the incinerator built in Wanathavilluwa for the purpose of destroying narcotic drugs produced before courts will be opened next month.

Continue reading ‘Why is there so much braggadocio about drug pushers being arrested and drug caches being seized, but nothing concrete is done to stop the inflow of drugs?’ »

For five long years , Sri Lankan governments have thumbed their noses at the Catholic church leading the call for accountability and justice for the Easter Sunday bombings.


By

Kshama Ranawana

Election fever is hotting up in Sri Lanka, and this time around the most coveted by Opposition parties are those affected by the 2019 Easter Sunday bombings.

It’s been a long five years of waiting for the masterminds to be publicly named and brought to justice. Yet, incumbent governments choose to ignore the plight of the injured, and surving family members and their cries for accountability.

The governments of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe have studiously ignored the evidence placed before them. Instead, they’ve appointed those named and even fined by the courts for dereliction of duty to positions of command and power.

For five years the governments have thumbed their noses at the Catholic church leading the call for accountability and justice for the Easter Sunday bombings.

To fill that void, stride in the Samagi Jana Balavegaya (SJB)and the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) led National People’s Power (NPP). Both parties are promising decisive action against the perpetrators whenever they win power.

Continue reading ‘For five long years , Sri Lankan governments have thumbed their noses at the Catholic church leading the call for accountability and justice for the Easter Sunday bombings.’ »

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Arrives in Sri Lanka to Inaugurate Iran -funded Irrigation and Power Project amid Media Reports of “Western Pressure” on Colombo; Lankan President Wickremesinghe Thanks his Counterpart and says “Global South must Strive for Strength and Autonomy”.


By

Meera Srinivasan

The Global South must strive for their strength and autonomy, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe said on Wednesday, even as he thanked his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi, who inaugurated a key power and irrigation project in the island nation.

Expressing “gratitude to Iran for their technical support”, Mr. Wickremesinghe emphasised that without Iran’s assistance, Sri Lanka would not be able to execute the crucial $514 million irrigation project.

Consequent to the project, around 6,000 hectares of agricultural land in three southern and central districts will receive water supply, his office said. Further, the project is expected to generate and add 120 MW to the national grid.

Continue reading ‘Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi Arrives in Sri Lanka to Inaugurate Iran -funded Irrigation and Power Project amid Media Reports of “Western Pressure” on Colombo; Lankan President Wickremesinghe Thanks his Counterpart and says “Global South must Strive for Strength and Autonomy”.’ »

The whole discourse of the Easter Sunday attack is degenerating into a sordid freakshow where the state, and not the Islamists who blew up the innocents, stand accused.


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Five years ago, on Easter Sunday, a group of local Islamists carried out coordinated suicide attacks targeting three churches and tourist hotels, killing over 270 worshipers and tourists and wounding 500 others.

The fifth anniversary of that heinous crime, which fell last Sunday (April 21), turned out to be a sordid display of politicking by the political parties, the catholic clergy and other usual culprits, who claim to campaign for justice for the victims.

The National People’s Power of the JVP issued a seven-point agenda that it said would be implemented if it comes to power to hold accountable those responsible for the tragedy and serve justice to the victims.

Sajith Premadasa, the Leader of Samagi Jana Balawegaya, also made a similar pledge in Parliament, promising to launch a fresh commission of inquiry, with the participation of local and international experts within two months of his election.

At a separate event to commemorate the Easter Sunday victims, he said he “would not get into deals” with the ‘mahamolakaruwan’ (Masterminds) of the Easter Sunday attack.

At a commemoration event at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochchikade, the scene of carnage five years ago, Malcolm Cardinal Ranjit, who seems to have an opinion on anything and everything, resorted to a scathing attack on the former president, the incumbent and the Sri Lankan state.

Continue reading ‘The whole discourse of the Easter Sunday attack is degenerating into a sordid freakshow where the state, and not the Islamists who blew up the innocents, stand accused.’ »

Gnanasara Thero’s rhetoric, which eminently qualifies as hate speech during a press conference called by him, was directly aimed at the Muslim religion and its founder in referencing the Kuragala pre- historic archaeological site.


By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

That a State Minister has called upon President Ranil Wickremesinghe to pardon Gnanasara Thero now serving his most recent sentence of four years handed down by the Colombo High Court last month for ‘outraging religious feelings’ of adherents of the Islamic faith in 2016, should surprise no one.

Politico-military-religious impunity

No doubt, the State Minister in question is largely insignificant in the larger scheme of political realities. Even so, there is little doubt that his sentiments will be applauded by many in his party, the Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP).

That this monk has repeatedly thumbed his nose at the law and had been convicted previously (for contempt of court), later granted a Presidential pardon by Maithripala Sirisena is merely incidental to the matter.

This is all part of the culture of politico-military-religious impunity that the Rajapaksas (and also others) employed to stultify Sri Lanka’s emergence as a vibrant modern democracy despite all the promise of a post-independent State with high literacy and human development indicators.

The country has become a beggar of South Asia, only a narrow step in front of Afghanistan in consequence thereof. This is due to the political use of ethnic, religious and racial divides as battering rams to mock at the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Gnanasara Thero’s rhetoric, which eminently qualifies as hate speech during a press conference called by him, was directly aimed at the Muslim religion and its founder in referencing the Kuragala pre- historic archaeological site.’ »

The Easter Sunday victims have been political pawns these past five years, just as the many others who lost family members in the various conflicts the country have been through.They too, are still awaiting justice.

By

Arjuna Ranawana

Five years on, Sri Lanka’s Easter Sunday bombings has left us with more questions than answers.

Both the Gotabaya Rajapaksa government and now the Ranil Wickremesinghe tenure has been shown up poorly in terms of ensuring the masterminds and those who failed to prevent the bombings are bought to book.

As one sifts through various reports and discussions on the Easter Sunday bombings which took the lives of 315 and injured at least 600, one must, as Sunanda Deshapriya, activist and investigative journalist told a webinar recently, ask whether that tragedy was preventable.

If it was, then why was it not?

The webinar was organised by the Solidarity Movement for Justice and Truth (SMJT).

One interesting fact that investigators discovered, Deshapriya said, was that a phone number used by one of the bombers, was amongst a series used by the infamous ‘Tripoli Brigade’ that is alleged to be behind the Lasantha Wickrematunga murder.

Continue reading ‘The Easter Sunday victims have been political pawns these past five years, just as the many others who lost family members in the various conflicts the country have been through.They too, are still awaiting justice.’ »

Mangala Samaraweera was a leader who saw things that others didn’t see. He was bold and had the courage of his convictions, never afraid to stand up for what he believed, whether or not the world appreciated it, and indeed whether or not it was a marginal or minority position that he was espousing.

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Mangala Samaraweera would have turned 68 today, and had he not succumbed to Covid-19, I am certain we would have met and raised a cheer for all that is worthy of celebration even in the worst of times.

He left us at a critical moment in our political history. Indeed, critical or not, his presence would have made a difference, for he was endowed not only with rare charisma but tirelessly used his bully pulpit to unite Lankans across ethnic, religious or age barriers, even sacrificing his parliamentary seat without a second thought.

Especially today, five years after the Easter Sunday attacks, with Catholics island-wide still feeling vulnerable from the absence of justice, Mangala would have reached out to honour the lives of those souls who perished in that barbaric assault. He would have had zero patience for any of the political gamesmanship that is denying closure to the 279 mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, husbands and wives who were slain that tragic Easter Sunday morning.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera was a leader who saw things that others didn’t see. He was bold and had the courage of his convictions, never afraid to stand up for what he believed, whether or not the world appreciated it, and indeed whether or not it was a marginal or minority position that he was espousing.’ »

SJV Chelvanayakam and the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK)/Federal Party(FP).

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) known in English as the Federal Party will celebrate its 75th Birthday in December this year. The premier political party of the Sri Lankan Tamil people known as “Ilankai Thamizhar”in their mother tongue was born on 18 December 1949. On that day, a group of sixty Tamils including two parliamentarians and two senators convened at the Government Clerical Service Union (GCSU) hall in Colombo.

That historic conclave resulted in the launching of a new political party with the avowed goal of establishing an autonomous State for the Tamil-speaking people of Ceylon (as Sri Lanka was known then) within a united island. The new party was named in Tamil as “Illankai Thamil Arasu Katchi” meaning Ceylon Tamil State or Tamil Government Party.

However, the party’s founders described it as Federal Party in English. According to renowned political scientist Prof. A.J. Wilson, the new party’s name was not Federal Party but merely an explanation of what the party stood for. “Its leaders insisted that the word ‘State’ denoted a unit within a federal set-up and not a sovereign State as some of its detractors alleged,” wrote Wilson in his book titled ‘Sri Lankan Tamil Nationalism.’.

Officially, the new party was named in English as “Illankai Tamil Arasu Katchi” and became known by the acronym ITAK. In popular parlance, it was called the Federal Party or FP. S.J.V. Chelvanayakam was elected as the first president of the fledgling party while Dr. E.M.V. Naganathan and V. Navaratnam were the joint general secretaries. It was the ITAK which introduced the demand for federalism into Sri Lanka’s post-independence political discourse. Although 74 years has passed since the party was born, ITAK continues to remain wedded to the federal idea.

A Tamil political party completing 75 years of existence in the Sri Lankan political landscape is indeed a milepost achievement. As such the 75th birthday party would indeed be a joyful event for the ITAK/FP. Unfortunately there is an atmosphere of doubt as to who would cut the cake or light up the candles for the festive occasion because the party is currently in the grip of a crisis of its own making. It is uncertain whether the situation would change for the better or worse by the end of the year.

Continue reading ‘SJV Chelvanayakam and the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK)/Federal Party(FP).’ »

A US “Kaputa” (Crow) ,a Lankan “Nariya” (Fox) and a Presidential Election “Feast”.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The encounter between the Fox and Crow is an ancient tale heard by most Sri Lankans in their childhood days. The crow has a vadai or kavun or piece of cheese in its beak. The crafty fox wants it and flatters the crow into thinking it is a harmonious singer with a sweet voice. The fox entreats the crow to sing. The foolishly vain crow opens its mouth to sing and drops the titbit it has in its beak. The smart fox runs off with it, l eaving behind a dejected crow. This story has been made famous by singers like MS Fernando (Sora Gathu Keju Kaala) and AE Manoharan (Ka Kaa Kakakaka Ka Ka Ka) in their songs too.

A modern version of this fable is currently unfolding in Sri Lanka . In a reversal of the old story, the crow tries to deceive the fox now. A “Kaputa” (Crow) from the US meets with a “Nariya”(Fox) in Sri Lanka. The fox is planning to devour a feast , fit for a king sorry President. The crow wants to prevent it. So it resorts to many stratagems including a ‘blow hot blow cold” approach to compel the fox from partaking of the presidential feast. This Americanized crow is regarded by its followers as a brilliant bird with seven brains.

Despite the US crow’s persistent efforts the Lankan fox does not budge. The wily animal knows that the prospective presidential feast is the best meal it can have in a long,long life of political disappointments. Reynard also knows that the crow though a tactical ally is actually a strategic enemy. Hence the Fox gives the crow a patient hearing and then proceeds with preparations to devour the Presidential feast. In spite of racking its seven brains, the outfoxed crow is flummoxed and does not know what to do except to get its minions “caw caw” in the media.

Basil’s Return

Continue reading ‘A US “Kaputa” (Crow) ,a Lankan “Nariya” (Fox) and a Presidential Election “Feast”.’ »

Complaint Lodged with Illegal Assets Investigation Division that Actress – Model Piyumi Hansamali is Allegedly Using Range Rover vehicle (CBH 1949) Worth 100 Million Rupees that was Earlier Used by Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


By

Chaturanga Pradeep Samarawickrama

Mage Rata organization president Sanjaya Mahawatta today, lodged a complaint with the Illegal Assets Investigations Division, calling for an inquiry into model Piumi Hansamali using the Range Rover vehicle previously used by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.
“It is clear that an election is near and politicians tend to inject all their saved black money into the upcoming election campaigns and it has become a good time for the people who engage with money laundering activities.

“Accordingly, we have some doubts on how Piumi Hansamal managed to get the Range Rover vehicle (CBH 1949) which was used by former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

“The question arises whether the Range Rover vehicle was given to the former president or if Gotabaya has given it to Piyumi,” said Mahawatta and further alleged that the model currently resides in a super luxury apartment, owns other properties and leads an exceedingly luxurious lifestyle.

Therefore, there are suspicions that Piumi Hansamali is being utilized for money laundering activities involving politicians’ black money, he charged.

Continue reading ‘Complaint Lodged with Illegal Assets Investigation Division that Actress – Model Piyumi Hansamali is Allegedly Using Range Rover vehicle (CBH 1949) Worth 100 Million Rupees that was Earlier Used by Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

“Siva Senai”(Siva’s Army) Leader Sachithananthan Weakens Tamil Nationalism Further by Widening the Hindu-Christian Divide.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Current media coverage in Sri Lanka is heavily focused on the forthcoming Presidential elections. Though officially not announced yet, it seems a foregone conclusion that the presidential poll would take place later this year. Several potential candidates ranging from incumbent president Ranil Wickremesinghe to media magnate Dilith Jayaweera are tipped to be in the presidential fray.

Adding to this fluid state of affairs are recent attempts by vested interests to field a “Hindu” as a common presidential candidate in the 2024 election. Even as people were becoming aware of efforts by interested parties to nominate a Hindu presidential candidate, the head of a Hindu organization in Northern Sri Lanka issued a public statement calling for a common candidate to contest the forthcoming presidential poll on behalf of all Hindus in the Island. Furthermore Hindus were asked to vote for Mano Ganesan MP as the presidential candidate.

Kanapathipillai Sachithananthan the founder- leader of the “Siva Senai” (Army of Siva) movement in Sri Lanka issued a statement that was published in the Tamil newspaper “Eelanaadu” of 5 April 2024. Sachithanathdan is known as “Maravanpulavu” Sachithananthan and “Maravanpulavu Sachi” on account of his native village in Jaffna –Maravanpulavu in the Thenmaratchy division of the peninsula.An Indian magazine once referred to Sachithananthan as a “Hindutvavaadhi”(Votary of Hindutva).

Sachithananthan in his statement said that the Hindu religion in Sri Lanka was under grave threat. He alleged that extremists belonging to the Buddhist, Christian and Islamic religions were attempting through various means to reduce the number of Hindus in Sri Lanka. Compared to these three religions, Hindus had little political power in the country,he said.

The “Siva Senai”leader pointed out in his statement that three big elections were expected in due course in Sri Lanka. He called upon the Hindus to voice their support strongly for candidates with deep-rooted Hindu backgrounds in these elections

Sachithananthan also stated that if a common Hindu candidate contested the presidential election, 20 Lakhs of Hindus living in the North, East, West, South and Central parts of Sri Lanka would vote for that person. The Siva Senai leader called upon Hindus to nominate Mano Ganesan as the common Hindu candidate and vote for him at the Presidential poll.

Continue reading ‘“Siva Senai”(Siva’s Army) Leader Sachithananthan Weakens Tamil Nationalism Further by Widening the Hindu-Christian Divide.’ »

The International Court of Justice has no jurisdiction over war crimes other than genocide, which encourages complainants to allege genocide even when the facts do not support it. That cheapens the taboo against genocide and discredits the ICJ- “The Economist”

The killing started on April 7th 1994, as members of the presidential guard began assassinating opposition leaders and moderates in the government. Within hours the genocide of Rwanda’s minority Tutsis was under way. It was among the fastest mass killings in history: 100 days later three-quarters of Rwanda’s Tutsis, about 500,000 people, were dead.

Most were killed not by the army but by ordinary Hutus, the majority group. “Neighbours hacked neighbours to death,” wrote Philip Gourevitch, an American journalist. “Doctors killed their patients, and schoolteachers killed their pupils.”

The roughly 2,500 United Nations peacekeepers in Rwanda did almost nothing. Agathe Uwilingiyimana, the moderate Hutu prime minister, was among the first to die. She had been guarded by 15 un peacekeepers, but they surrendered. Lando Ndasingwa, the Tutsi leader of the Liberal party, called the peacekeepers, saying that soldiers were preparing to attack his home. An officer promised to send a detachment, but was still on the phone when he heard gunfire. “It’s too late,” Lando said.

The world stood by and watched. Roméo Dallaire, the Canadian general commanding the peacekeepers, was warned beforehand of the extermination plan. In a cable to Kofi Annan, then the un’s peacekeeping chief, he said he planned to raid arms caches and pre-empt the genocide.

Annan refused permission and ordered him to do nothing that “might lead to the use of force”. Three weeks into the genocide, the Security Council voted to withdraw all but about 270 peacekeeping troops. “This world body aided and abetted genocide,” the general later wrote.

Thirty years later, the Rwandan genocide is remembered as one of two events in the 1990s that prodded a guilt-ridden world to pledge never again to stand aside and allow mass atrocities. The other was the massacre by Bosnian Serbs of thousands of Muslim men and boys in Srebrenica the following year.

In 2005 the un General Assembly unanimously adopted the principle that all countries have a “responsibility to protect” (r2p) people from genocide and war crimes, by force if necessary. The dream was that from Rwanda’s horrors would emerge a well-policed world.

Continue reading ‘The International Court of Justice has no jurisdiction over war crimes other than genocide, which encourages complainants to allege genocide even when the facts do not support it. That cheapens the taboo against genocide and discredits the ICJ- “The Economist”’ »

Karuna”s Rebel Tigers May Have Lost the Eastern Battle but Ultimately the Prabhakaran-led LTTE Lost the Eelam War.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The once powerful Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) waged war against the Sri Lankan state for over thirty years. The LTTE known popularly as the tigers was the determining force in Sri Lankan politics for nearly two decades. The decline of the LTTE began in 2004 when its Batticaloa and Amparai district special commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias “Col”Karuna led an eastern tiger revolt against the LTTE supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran. Although “Col” Karuna – also known as “Karuna Ammaan” – was defeated militarily by the LTTE, subsequent events demonstrated that the Eastern split weakened the LTTE considerably and ultimately led to its downfall in 2009.

Twenty years have passed since the Karuna-led Eastern tiger revolt in March-April 2004. This article is the fourth and final of a series focusing on the LTTE’s eastern split.In the first article published on March 16, 2024 ,the background and reasons for the Eastern Tiger revolt were discussed in detail. In the second article published on March 23, 2024 the course of events leading to the conflict in the aftermath of “Col” Karuna’s rebellion were recounted. The third article published on 30 March 2024 narrated details of the Tiger vs Tiger confrontation that commenced 20 years ago on Good Friday. This fourth and final article is about how Karuna’s eastern tiger revolt ended and how the “Karuna faction “of the LTTE turned into the TMVP.

As stated last week , the mainstream LTTE had struck back effectively by launching the “Good Friday” attack. Karuna’s fighters had been routed on multiple fronts. Though Karuna cadre retreated or withdrew from several areas in the east, there were still regions under Karuna’s control. Karuna’s political headquarters “Thenagam” was at Karadiyanaaru and military headquarters “Meenagam” at Tharavai. His own jungle hide out “Marutham” was at Kudumbimalai. Karuna, therefore, was expected to entrench himself in this region and hold out.

Continue reading ‘Karuna”s Rebel Tigers May Have Lost the Eastern Battle but Ultimately the Prabhakaran-led LTTE Lost the Eelam War.’ »

What Is NPP Presidential Candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Position on Thorny Issues like “!3 Plus”, “Federal Solution” and Militarisation of the State?


By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

National People’s Power (NPP) presidential candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s pronouncement in Jaffna earlier this week that he did not come to bargain for votes by assuring that he would give ’13 plus’ or a ‘federal solution’ begs the crucial question as to what exactly is the NPP’s public position in regard to these and other thorny issues including the militarisation of the Sri Lankan State?


Blind loyalty to rhetoric

To be clear, these core dysfunctions have monstrously perverted constitutional democracy in this country, reducing the Sinhala majority as well as Tamil and Muslim minorities to pathetic ‘nothing-beings’ in their own land. As we may recall, an ‘ethnic war’ and the emergence of a ‘Sinhala Buddhist saviour’ became weapons of choice for majoritarian demagogues, most particularly the Rajapaksas, to inflict cruel injustices on Sri Lankans, including their slavishly supplicating loyalists from the South.

Ironically those very supplicants have become the first victims of the Rajapaksa-triggered bankruptcy in 2022. But that blind loyalty to seductive rhetoric was precisely why manifest idiocies of a supremacist Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency came about, including an overnight ban on the importation of chemical fertiliser which paralysed agriculture production, the effects of which are still being felt.

Close upon that came the conscienceless refusal to allow Muslims to cremate their covid-19 dead. There was no roar of public anger.

Why? This was because the mantle of a war winning hero had been carefully manufactured as a construct to keep public protest at bay. That savage deception succeeded beyond the wildest dreams of its architects.

The Sri Lankan public was told, much like heedless children, ‘you do not know anything, we are the adults, we will do it the proper way.’ And quite unlike children, this is exactly what the people did until that spectacular citizens’ uprising (‘aragalaya’) in 2022. For all its negativities, this displaced the Rajapaksa State and shook the political establishment to its core.

Continue reading ‘What Is NPP Presidential Candidate Anura Kumara Dissanayake’s Position on Thorny Issues like “!3 Plus”, “Federal Solution” and Militarisation of the State?’ »

Remembering Harriet Winslow the Founder Principal of Asia’s First All-Girls Boarding School – Uduvil Girls’ College in Jaffna.


By

Shiranee Mills

In the bicentennial year of Uduvil Girls’ College, especially during the month of April, our thoughts dwell closely on the founder principal of the school, Harriet Wadsworth Winslow (née Lathrop), whose birthday falls on April 9. Born in 1796, in Norwich, Connecticut, in the USA, Harriet from a young age, was filled with a yearning to serve in distant lands as a missionary.

She was fortunate in meeting and marrying a young pastor, Rev. Miron Winslow, who also had similar interests. The newly married young couple along with missionaries Mary and Levi Spaulding and others, set sail from Boston on the 8th of June, 1819, heading to Ceylon – their future mission home. The Winslows and the Spauldings had their first glimpse of their mission station in Uduvil on an April morning in 1820. Harriet was just 24 years old.

In keeping with the tradition of missionary wives, Harriet maintained a detailed memoir in which she describes her first impression of their future abode as- “a long single storey house with a verandah in front”.

Continue reading ‘Remembering Harriet Winslow the Founder Principal of Asia’s First All-Girls Boarding School – Uduvil Girls’ College in Jaffna.’ »

When “Aiyo” Sirisena Accused India’s RAW of Plotting to Assassinate Him While he was the President.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Putting your foot in your mouth” is a figurative expression about a person saying or doing something that should not be done or not have been said, especially if it embarrasses the person concerned or someone else. Among those who frequently put their feet into their mouhs are politicians of all kinds and hues and from all parts of the world.

Sri Lanka the miracle of Asia is second to none in this sphere. From “Apey George” George E de Silva of Kandy in the past to CV Wigneswaran of Jaffna in the present, there have been several politicians in this resplendent Island who are famous for this.. However the greatest of all politicians in this respect arguably is Pallewatte Gamaralage Maithripala Yapa Sirisena who served as the sixth executive president of Sri Lanka from 2015 to 2019. Such is his reputation for doing or uttering inappropriate things that Sirisena has acquired the prefix “Aiyo”. Many refer to him as “Aiyo” Sirisena nowadays.

Maithripala Sirisena is a man of many surprises. He has displayed a penchant to make controversial remarks and startling revelations on more than one occasion. Most of these sensational disclosures explode in the public domain with a powerful bang and then fizzle out into pathetic whimpers. A huge example in this respect was Sirisena’s unfounded allegation in 2018 that India’s RAW was plotting to kill him.

Easter Bombings

The latest outburst emitted by former president Sirisena is currently receiving much media exposure. This was about the dastardly bombings in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday five years ago. On 21 April 2019, explosive suicide bumber attacks were conducted by Islamic “Jihadists” in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa. Three Luxury Tourist Hotels, Two Catholic Churches and an Evangelical Christian Church were targeted within a brief time span on Easter morning. 269 People including 45 foreign nationals were killed. Over 500 were injured. Most of the victims were guests at the Hotels or worshippers in Churches including children attending Sunday School.

Continue reading ‘When “Aiyo” Sirisena Accused India’s RAW of Plotting to Assassinate Him While he was the President.’ »

There are cricketers and gentlemen, but gentleman cricketers are rare. Lanka’s Former Cricket Captain Michael Tissera who Celebrated his 85th Birthday is one, for so many reasons.


By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

When people who have the same first name meet up, there’s name-related humour. The more, the merrier, obviously, especially if they are good friends and enjoy friendly banter. Today I am thinking of three people who share the name Michael: Michael Tissera, Michael Sproule and Michael De Zoysa, all three who played cricket for St Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia. The first of course is the bigger name associated with the gentleman’s game.

Today I remember these three gentlemen sending everyone into fits of laughter as they talked among themselves, each referring to the others by name. It went something along the following lines: ‘Yes Michael, as I was telling Michael…but Michael, when I explained to Michael, Michael kind of agreed, but then again Michael…’ And it went on!

This is about one of them. Tissera. Michael Tissera, known to all cricket lovers or, well, perhaps those who followed the game long before the heroics of Aravinda, Roshan, Arjuna, Murali, Sanga etc., long before Sri Lanka obtained test status; Michael Tissera, who celebrated his 85th birthday on the 23rd of March and attending of which was a privilege and an honour.

Continue reading ‘There are cricketers and gentlemen, but gentleman cricketers are rare. Lanka’s Former Cricket Captain Michael Tissera who Celebrated his 85th Birthday is one, for so many reasons.’ »

Sri Lanka sees no reason for re-opening talks on Katchatheevu that India gave up 50 years ago says Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry in First Official Reaction by Sri Lanka to Remarks made by Indian PM Modi and Foreign Minister Jaishankae


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka sees no reason for re-opening talks on Katchatheevu that India gave up 50 years ago, Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry has said, in the first official reaction yet to the recent remarks of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on the island.

“This is a problem discussed and resolved 50 years ago and there is no necessity to have further discussions on this,” he told a local news television channel on April 3.

Earlier, Colombo-based official sources told The Hindu that the Ranil Wickremesinghe administration refrained from commenting on the development, as it was a clash between two political parties in the run-up to elections. “The comments are about who was responsible for giving up the island to Sri Lanka, not about whose territory it is part of now. So, there is nothing for Sri Lanka to comment on, really,” an official said, requesting anonymity owing to the “sensitivity” of the issue.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka sees no reason for re-opening talks on Katchatheevu that India gave up 50 years ago says Sri Lanka’s Foreign Minister Ali Sabry in First Official Reaction by Sri Lanka to Remarks made by Indian PM Modi and Foreign Minister Jaishankae’ »

How the LTTE Crushed “Col” Karuna’s Eastern Tiger Revolt Through Force.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The course of war between the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) and the Sri Lankan armed forces was drastically altered by the 2004 eastern revolt headed by former tiger commander of the Batticaloa and Amparai districts Vinayagamoorthy Muralidharan alias “Col”Karuna. The LTTE was split vertically and horizontally as a result and gradually weakened. By 2007 the LTTE ceased having territorial control in the Eastern province.

This article is the third in a series about the intra-tiger split of 2004 and the fratricidal war that followed. In the first article published on 16 March 2024 the background and reasons for the Eastern Tiger revolt were discussed in detail. In the second article published on 23 March 2024 the course of events leading to the conflict in the aftermath of “Col”Karuna’s rebellion were recounted. This third article relates details of the Tiger vs Tiger confrontation that commenced 20 years ago on Good Friday.

As stated in the previous articles, Karuna after the split had concentrated the bulk of his forces in the Koralaipattru division of north Batticaloa. He expected an invasion across the Verugal river, which demarcates the border between Batticaloa and Trincomalee districts. Karuna set up lines of defence to the south of the river.

Initially, Karuna patrolled most major highways coming into Batticaloa-Amparai districts and also the coast. Later, he relaxed his guard along the seaboard and roads because a large-scale movement of Tiger cadre and weapons would be considered a violation of the prevailing ceasefire. Besides, such movement had to be through government-controlled zones. Hence Karuna was confident that a massive LTTE attack was not possible.

Karuna also left the sprawling Amparai district virtually unguarded. As for the rest of Batticaloa district , Karuna mainly focussed on fortifying the areas north of Chenkalladdy, some areas on the western shore of the lagoon and the Tharavai-Kudumbimalai region. This left many gaping holes in his defence.

The LTTE exploited these skilfully by infiltrating the region in twos and threes. Many members of the LTTE intelligence wing moved in clandestinely as well. Some trained LTTE “Leopard” commandos also did so. Thus a powerful fifth column was created.
Moreover Karuna failed to retain the loyalty of several frontline eastern leaders. Among those who fled to the Wanni were Karikalan, Ramesh, Kausalyan, Praba, Jegathan, Bawa, Ram, Ramanan and Nagesh.

Another advantage Prabakaran had was the presence of nearly 1,800 eastern cadre in the Wanni on various assignments and as part of different units. This was explained clearly in the two earlier articles.. After the split, most of these cadre were found trustworthy enough to be sent along with the commanders for combat.

Continue reading ‘How the LTTE Crushed “Col” Karuna’s Eastern Tiger Revolt Through Force.’ »

Namal Rajapaksa anointed at Tangalle Meeting as king-in-waiting plus enabler and defender of Sinhala-Buddhist Lanka Torch of leadership passing from father and uncle to son/nephew. The SLPP is the only Lankan party founded to enthrone a family.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“We too live in a time when political structures we inhabit are fluid and perhaps on the cusp of great and potentially dangerous changes.” – Richard Whatmore (The end of enlightenment)

Namal Rajapaksa had his crowning as crown prince last week. The SLPP titled the Tangalle meeting, “Let’s begin the Battle from Hambantota”. Battle to return the Rajapaksas to power under a President Namal, if not in 2024, then in 2029; or someday.

In the propaganda images, young Namal is foregrounded, kurahan shawl and all, against a backdrop of Mahinda and Basil Rajapaksa. The new trinity. The SLPP going through generational change. Torch of leadership passing from father and uncle to son/nephew. The SLPP is the only Lankan party founded to enthrone a family. It can renew itself only by staying the same.

At Namal Rajapaksa’s crowning, Father Mahinda and Uncle Chamal were prominent presences (the latter made a speech, the former didn’t). Uncle Basil stayed out of limelight, but this was clearly his show. He was paid due obeisance by most of the speakers, starting with nephew Namal.

Uncle Gotabaya, though, was Banquo’s ghost, silent, barely acknowledged, yet omnipresent. After all, the succession fest was so downbeat because it happened in a politico-economic context Gotabaya Rajapaksa, more than anyone else, helped create – a bankrupt country full of hurting and angry people. That reality could be seen in the not quite natural smiles of the leaders, the vacant looks of the followers, the blustering on stage, and the general air dispiritedness.

After the final Eelam war ended, President Mahinda Rajapaksa was hailed as High King (Maha Raju), and ‘the god who won the land’ (derana dinu devidun). Rajapaksa political outfits were more than traditional parties; they emanated not just the odour of monarchy but also the intoxicating aroma of religion. Last week’s gathering in Hambantota showed a crowd of worshippers whose faith is shaken, who don’t see a clear path ahead to their own paradise. Believers who have lost their inner fire.

Continue reading ‘Namal Rajapaksa anointed at Tangalle Meeting as king-in-waiting plus enabler and defender of Sinhala-Buddhist Lanka Torch of leadership passing from father and uncle to son/nephew. The SLPP is the only Lankan party founded to enthrone a family.’ »

The constant provocative claims on Sri Lankan territory, especially from the highest echelons of power in India, would only force our country to seek security guarantees elsewhere. it would be tragic for all concerned if Sri Lanka needs to apply the foreign policy theory of finding ‘friends’ elsewhere to protect itself against a ‘near foe’. -Daily FT

(Text of Editorial Appearing in the “Daily Financial Times”of 2nd April 2024 Under the Heading “Katchatheevu was not India’s to “give away”)

Last week, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi once again raised a popular trope on the sovereignty of Katchatheevu and criticised his political opponents, the Congress party for ‘ceding’ the island to Sri Lanka in 1974 by the then Indira Gandhi government. An issue settled many decades ago, amicably through diplomatic negotiations, has in recent times been resurrected for political expediency.

It is a distortion of the facts, a dog whistle to South Indian nationalism and a dangerous and unnecessary provocation of a friendly neighbour that could have serious repercussions.

It is a popular narrative among Indian politicians to claim that the Katchatheevu Island was “gifted” to Sri Lanka by a magnanimous Indian Government. The truth however is far more nuanced. Negotiations between the two countries were exhausting, spanning two administrations in both countries. Then Secretary to the Ministry of Defence and Foreign Affairs W.T. Jayasinghe led the Sri Lankan negotiations. He presented a comprehensive historical and political case for the sovereignty of the islet lying with Sri Lanka. This was accepted by both sides in the 1970s and the matter resolved with Sri Lanka’s sovereignty being accepted in an exchange of letters between the two States.

The agreement, while accepting the sovereignty of Sri Lanka, also allowed for Indian fishermen to dry their nets in the island and pilgrims from India to visit the annual festivities of the church situated there without any immigration formalities. This practice has continued to this date.

Continue reading ‘The constant provocative claims on Sri Lankan territory, especially from the highest echelons of power in India, would only force our country to seek security guarantees elsewhere. it would be tragic for all concerned if Sri Lanka needs to apply the foreign policy theory of finding ‘friends’ elsewhere to protect itself against a ‘near foe’. -Daily FT’ »

“By raking up the contentious matter of Katchatheevu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an unhealthy trend of politicising an issue for electoral gains, and one that has bearing on ties with Sri Lanka.”- The Hindu


(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Hindu”of 2nd April 2024 Under the Heading “No man’s land: Playing politics over Katchatheevu “)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, by raking up the contentious matter of Katchatheevu, has set an unhealthy trend of politicising an issue for electoral gains, and one that has bearing on ties with Sri Lanka.

Mr. Modi, on March 31 on X, stated that “new facts reveal how Congress callously gave away #Katchatheevu”. Even though the State BJP, like other parties in Tamil Nadu, has been talking about the island’s retrieval, the situation gets complicated when its national leadership too lends its voice.

As with the Congress-led UPA government, the BJP-led NDA regime too has seen the islet as a part of Sri Lanka. In 2022, the External Affairs Ministry (MEA) informed the Rajya Sabha that “Katchatheevu lies on the Sri Lankan side of the India-Sri Lanka International Maritime Boundary Line [IMBL]”.

In 2013, the UPA regime told the Supreme Court that the question of retrieval did not arise as no territory belonging to India was ceded to Sri Lanka. It contended that the islet was a matter of dispute between British India and Ceylon and that there was no agreed boundary, a matter settled through the 1974 and 1976 agreements, leading to the IMBL.

A little after Mr. Modi became Prime Minister, an MEA affidavit in the Madras High Court stated that sovereignty over Katchatheevu “is a settled matter”. But the present government has also been telling Parliament that the matter relating to the islet is sub judice as it was before the Supreme Court.

Continue reading ‘“By raking up the contentious matter of Katchatheevu, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set an unhealthy trend of politicising an issue for electoral gains, and one that has bearing on ties with Sri Lanka.”- The Hindu’ »

Sri Lankan Newspapers Hit out Strongly Against “Katchatheevu”Remarks by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar


By
Meera Srinivasan

The Sri Lankan government is yet to comment on the recent remarks by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar on Katchatheevu, but the island nation’s media took a critical view of the development, while fishermen’s associations urged Sri Lankan authorities to take up the issue of bottom trawling more vocally with the Indian government.

The Colombo-based English newspaper Daily Mirror, in its editorial on Tuesday, noted: “Sadly, even the seemingly unflappable Indian External Affairs Minister – Jaishankar – has dropped all pretence of statesmanship and has joined hands with his premier to rouse communal feelings in the hope of gaining a few votes in Tamil Nadu.” “Lanka desires to be left to its own devices away from India’s internal politics,” it said.

The editorial was responding to Mr. Modi’s claim — and Dr. Jaishankar’s subsequent media statement which sought to back it — that the Congress party “callously gave away” Katchatheevu to Sri Lanka. In its editorial titled ‘Katchatheevu was not India’s to ‘give away’’, business newspaper Daily Financial Times termed their remarks “a distortion of the facts, a dog whistle to South Indian nationalism and a dangerous and unnecessary provocation of a friendly neighbour that could have serious repercussions”.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Newspapers Hit out Strongly Against “Katchatheevu”Remarks by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister S.Jaishankar’ »

Former President Maithripala Sirisena Informs Maligakanda Magistrate Lochani Abeywickrema that he would not Provide a Fresh Confidential Statement in Court as he has already done so to the CID

By LAKMAL SOORIYAGODA

Former President Maithripala Sirisena has informed the Maligakanda Magistrate’s Court that he will not provide a confidential statement before the magistrate in connection with his controversial revelation regarding the Easter Sunday attacks.

Court had earlier directed the former President to appear before Court on April 4 following a request by the Criminal Investigations Department (CID).

Continue reading ‘Former President Maithripala Sirisena Informs Maligakanda Magistrate Lochani Abeywickrema that he would not Provide a Fresh Confidential Statement in Court as he has already done so to the CID’ »

S.J.V.Chelvanayakam: Respected “Gandhian”Tamil Political Leader was a Christian by religion and a Hindu by culture.


By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(This article was first written in 1997 for a special volume commemorating the birth centenary of Tamil political leader SJV Chelvanayakam. It is being reposted with slight changes to denote his 126th birth anniversary on March 31)

On September 6th 1977, Lalith Athulathmudali, then Minister of Trade said in Parliament “Samuel James Velupillai Chelvanayakam was born in Ipoh…. ..Ipoh is known as the cleanest City in Malaysia. Perhaps it was in the fitness of things that Mr. Chelvanayakam’s life was marked by a cleanliness unknown in contemporary politics.” Athulathmudali was speaking on the vote of condolence for SJV Chelvanayakam then.

JR Jayewardene then Prime Minister also spoke on the vote of condolence for the FP and later TULF leader. He said “I have not met anyone in my community or any other community who said that Mr. Chelvanayakam would let you down” These sentiments were merely endorsing what veteran journalist Mervyn de Silva had written in 1963 “For all his physical frailties he is known as the uncrowned King of the North. Chelvanayakam’s antagonists will willingly testify to his integrity”.

Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam was born in Ipoh Malaysia on 31st March 1898. His Birth centenary year begins tomorrow. He was from Thellippalai in Jaffna. His father Visvanathan Veluppillai was a businessman in Malaysia. SJV’s mother Harriet Annamma’s maiden name was Kanapathippillai.

When Chelvanayakam was four years of age the family with the exception of his father moved back to Thellippalai so that the children could obtain a good education.SJV a protestant christian attended Union College Thellippalai, St. John’s College Jaffna and finally St. Thomas’ College Mt. Lavinia (located at Mutwal then) Later his first cousin Anandanayagam became Warden of the same institution. At STC Chelvanayakam was a contemporary of SWRD Bandaranaike with whom he was to cross swords politically many a time later.

Continue reading ‘S.J.V.Chelvanayakam: Respected “Gandhian”Tamil Political Leader was a Christian by religion and a Hindu by culture.’ »

How FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Fought the Indian Army in 1989 as the Trincomalee JVP Commander “Gemunu”


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (Peoples Liberation Front) led Jathika Jana Balawegaya ( National People’s Power is a left-leaning, working class-oriented broad front consisting of the JVP and 27 other organisations. These entities comprise small parties, trade unions, rights groups, Women, student and youth organisations.

The JVP is the pivotal, pre-eminent force in the NPP. The JVP as well as the NPP are led by Anura Kumara Dissanayake MP. A.K. Dissanayake is perceived as a front runner in the forthcoming Presidential race.

AK Dissanayake contested the 2019 Presidential elections and finished a poor third with 418,553 votes (3.16%). At the 2020 Parliamentary polls, the JVP-led NPP contesting under the compass symbol got only three MPs comprising two elected and one appointed from the national list .

Given this poor electoral performance in 2019 and 2020, few would have expected the JVP/NPP to be a potential “winner” in the 2024 Presidential elections. However the political climate seems to have changed in favour of the compass now. Apart from well-attended mass- meetings and political rallies, several political surveys and opinion polls seemingly indicate that the JVP/NPP may be riding the crest of a wave similar to Latin America’s ‘pink tide’.

Continue reading ‘How FSP Leader Kumar Gunaratnam Fought the Indian Army in 1989 as the Trincomalee JVP Commander “Gemunu”’ »

After unforgivably allowing a disaster of the magnitude of the 2019 attacks on churches and hotels to occur at the hands of local jihadists, what is the point of parading military men before churches now?

By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

Does the Sri Lankan Government believe that posting hundreds of military officers with guns at the ready in front of churches during the Christian Holy Week, will suffice to mitigate monumental lapses on the part of the State in not (properly) investigating or prosecuting those responsible for the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks?

The commonality of ‘justice denied’

Is this not part of the many charades in regard to ‘investigating’ gross human rights abuses where the State itself is complicit in the same?

This is irrespective of targeting ethnic or religious minorities (Tamil/Muslim) or for that matter, the (Sinhala) majority itself whose common blood has soaked Sri Lanka’s soil since independence.

That commonality of justice denied has been a damning truth carefully avoided by political demagogues, not only the Rajapaksas.

Indeed, the collective call for justice has not been used to powerful effect by victims either except in singularly fleeting instances where mothers of the disappeared from the North to the South joined hands in the nineteen eighties.

True to form, that struggle was politically co-opted by Mahinda Rajapaksa and (the late) Mangala Samaraweera wearing the garb of rights conscious opposition parliamentarians and soon died a natural death.

And so we are at this point today, where the nation has been bankrupted by leaders who ‘captured’ and subverted democratic governance under beguiling labels. Those false promises included ‘yahapalanaya’ (good governance a la Wickremesinghe style, 2015-2019) and ‘leadership by a strongman’ (2019-2022) under the Viyathmaga stamp of Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

That culminated in the shameful fleeing of Rajapaksa like a refugee to various countries who refused to accept him after popular fury toppled his Presidency in 2022.

Continue reading ‘After unforgivably allowing a disaster of the magnitude of the 2019 attacks on churches and hotels to occur at the hands of local jihadists, what is the point of parading military men before churches now?’ »

“Isso vadai”Cart and “Kottu Rotti”Stand Vendors Forbidden on Galle Face Green from 2024 Independence Day; SLPMCS Cites Sanitation Issues as Reason but Others Suspecct “Gentrification” of vendors and Plans of moving them to Underground spaces as real motive


By Mimi Alphonsus

When renowned global TV chef and documentarian, Anthony Bourdain, tried street food on Galle Face Green for his episode in Sri Lanka in 2017, the public seaside walkway bustled with “issovadai” carts and “kottu” stands. Today, it’s a starkly different story.

The vendors say the authorities have told them to clear out. Some have returned home, to Slave Island, without work. But many have shifted their carts to the Galle Road border, resisting police and risking turf wars with preexisting roadside sellers.

Galle Face Green goes back to 1859 when it was used for British colonial sporting events. Over the years, it transformed into an iconic space where the public gather to eat street food, fly kites and watch the spectacular sunsets.

Nowhere to go

One vendor who has sold “vadai” there since the 1990s insisted they were the original “keepers” of the landmark: “Before the soda sellers came; before the Municipality set up stands in 1996; before the UDA [Urban Development Authority] introduced plastic ‘Coca-Cola’ shops in 2014; before Gotabaya [Rajapaksa] built the cement stalls under the walkway and rented them out in 2022; before all of this, our mobile vadai carts were here.”

They all now risk permanent eviction, they allege. The Sri Lanka Port Management & Consultancy Services (Pvt.) Ltd. (SLPMCS), a government-owned company under the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) removed vendors for Independence Day celebrations. This was standard practice. This time, however, they were not allowed to return.

Continue reading ‘“Isso vadai”Cart and “Kottu Rotti”Stand Vendors Forbidden on Galle Face Green from 2024 Independence Day; SLPMCS Cites Sanitation Issues as Reason but Others Suspecct “Gentrification” of vendors and Plans of moving them to Underground spaces as real motive’ »

Sections of the Tamil Brahmin Community Protest Strongly against Controversial Singer T.M.Krishna Being the Recipient of the “Sangeetha Kalanidhi”Award from the Chennai Music Academy.

By
Lakshmi Sreeram

(Lakshmi Sreeram is a musician and teaches at Ahmedabad University.)

The Sangitha Kalanidhi is a coveted award given annually by The Music Academy, Chennai, to a Carnatic musician. By convention, the designated awardee presides over that year’s prestigious Music Conference and over the other concerts in December.

This year, The Music Academy awarded it to T.M. Krishna. This set off a string of protests in the Carnatic music community, with prominent musicians withdrawing from the year’s conference, since it will presided over by a person they accuse of repeatedly offending the community with charges of casteism and Brahmin domination in the Carnatic world.

I was once a judge of a Carnatic music competition held at a premier sabha in Chennai. I was stunned when my fellow judge made a comment about a talented young contestant who apparently did not “look like a Brahmin”. “Such a mismatch between the face and the music—do you see?” I was thrown and confused, not willing to believe such blatant casteism.

When I said I had scored her among the top five, he aggressively dismissed the idea, saying: “We can’t give prizes to ‘them’ (Avaalukku ellaam prize kudukka mudiyaadu).” I regret to this day that I did not make an issue of it. Not only was he openly casteist, but he had assumed that I, too, would naturally share his prejudice.

Is Carnatic music dominated by the Brahmin community? Undeniably, yes. Are they, or are some of them, unwelcoming of other communities? Yes, consciously and unconsciously, although it is denied.

A brilliant musician, T.M. Krishna has, over the years, accused the community of this and much else. He has constantly pointed out aspects of the underbelly of this world, which are at variance with the beautiful and complex melodic system that lies at its heart.

What Krishna could have done perhaps is first create an archive of various people’s experiences of casteism, such as mine above, and also his own personal experiences before making sweeping, abrasive statements that have often sounded like judgments denouncing an entire community as though they were self-evident truths. The complexity of the issue of caste, after all, defies even well-considered scholarly statements.

But the reality of caste is hard to deny. When Dushyant Sridhar, a Harikatha artiste who, too, has withdrawn from the conference, said that nobody in the Carnatic music world denies or stops other castes from coming in, he is either in denial or is being disingenuous.

The sense of upper-caste community, the shared norms of behaviour and values that permeate the Carnatic music world is something that makes it hard for outsiders to penetrate it. This is besides the blatant casteism.

One understands Sridhar’s anguish when he asks: “How can an aastika [believer] tolerate it when this person [T.M. Krishna] juxtaposes a Tyagaraja composition that breathes devotion to Rama with a song on Periyar who wanted to garland Rama with chappals?”

For Krishna, it does not matter “whether a song is about Rama or a wall… only the music between ‘ra’ and ‘ma’ is relevant.” But this, like other stances he has taken, may not withstand scrutiny. For instance, when he sings of Periyar, is only the music between “pe”, “ri” and “yar” relevant? Is he not evoking Periyar’s politics of protest through the song?
In any case, lyrics are very important in the Carnatic tradition, which has an umbilical connection with the Bhakti movement. The centrality of the compositions of the Carnatic Trinity (Tyagaraja, Muthuswami Dikshitar, and Syama Sastri of the 18th century), all of which are devotional in content, and the close links of Carnatic music with the Harikatha or religious discourse tradition have meant that Hindu devotion is a strong presence.

Does this mean that you can only be a part of this world if you are a Hindu believer? Clearly not. Chinnaswami Mudaliar, whose passion for this music was instrumental in getting Subbarama Dikshitar to bestow upon the Carnatic world the Sangita Sampradaya Pradarsini, a priceless source of compositions of the Trinity and others, was a Catholic.

Does it make no difference to the music if one is a Hindu believer or not? When one sings the charanam line of the composition Jnanamosagaraadaa, for example: “paripoorna nishkalanka niravadhi sukhadaayaka”, a description of Rama as perfect, flawless, and eternal provider of bliss, does it resonate differently if one is a devout Hindu and does that lend an extra dimension to the music?

One wants to say yes. But T.M. Krishna’s own renditions of these and other compositions are unsurpassed in their emotive content. We know that other front-ranking musicians today are quietly atheist.

The great Semmangudi Srinivasa Iyer said in an interview that bhakti (devotion) is essential to Carnatic music; bhakti not for any deity, but for the music itself.

A K.J. Yesudas, whose very name means slave of Jesus, loves this music and renders it emotionally. So does the Sheikh Maulana family of Nagaswaram artists. Is their music inferior because they are not Hindu?
This issue, too, like the caste issue, is too complex to be addressed in sweeping pronouncements.

In awarding Krishna, The Music Academy has cast its vote for the art that is Carnatic music, irrespective of other considerations. The Academy is the leading light of Chennai’s famous December music season.

When, in 2015, Krishna announced that he would no longer participate in the “socially narrow and stifling” music season and reiterated his charges of casteism, populism, and the prevailing sabha culture, he clearly implicated the Music Academy. Despite this, if the Academy has awarded Krishna this year, it is creditable.

Certainly, hidden in this is the Academy’s acknowledgment that there is at least a kernel of truth in Krishna’s criticisms of its world. If he had hurled completely baseless charges, it is doubtful the award would have been given to him.

This is also why so many in the community are angered. How could the Academy, the bastion of Carnatic music, validate Krishna’s politics, even if only implicitly? How could it indulge in such unforgivable self-reflection and self-criticism?
Krishna deserves this coveted award and many others for his music alone. But, as many wonder, how is it consistent with his journey thus far to accept it? As one astute observer put it, this ghar wapsi is bewildering. And, this is not the first time that Krishna is not walking the talk.

On the other hand, the anger of those who are protesting is stupefying. There is a reference to Periyar in the note written by the singer duo Ranjani and Gayatri (RaGa sisters) to The Music Academy president N. Murali, who has called it “vituperative and in poor taste”. Periyar was brutal in his anti-Brahmin stances, but to reference him in a protest against Krishna in the context of a Carnatic music award is shocking and absurd.
• .
Predictably, the RaGa sisters’ social media post has garnered great support from people heralding them as keepers of the “Sanatana Dharma”. In the charged political environment that has seen the spread of Hindutva, the Hindu links of Carnatic music are being valorised more than ever before, and evoking Periyar in such contexts serves only to further polarise the larger community.

The issue is snowballing and there have been calls to boycott the Academy. Such sentiments are hardly consistent with love for the music and assume the colour of identity politics. Us versus Them. And in this post-truth world, everything is seen to have a hidden agenda, as doubtless this article will too.

It is a peculiar fate: Carnatic music, which is historically enmeshed in Hindu bhakti, is also heralded as art music. This has led to repeated eruptions. The furore over Carnatic musicians singing Christian songs is a recent example. At its heart lies the old conflict: Does one see Carnatic music as art or bhakti? Depending on the singer and the listener, it can be either or both. Whether one can dictate what it ought to be is a different matter. But co-existence seems a fraught project in these times.

Courtesy:FRONTLINE

Gnanasara Thero Convicted for causing harm to national and religious harmony by making a threatening statement against the Kuragala Islamic religious site during a 2016 press briefing in Colombo. “Remarks during the press conference were intentional and malicious expressions of religious animosity”Concludes Court


By T. Farook Thajudeen

Colombo High Court Judge Aditya Patabendige yesterday handed down a sentence of four years of rigorous imprisonment to Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera and a fine of Rs. 100,000 over a contentious statement made by him about Islam and Muslims in 2016.

The Judge ordered an additional one year of imprisonment if the Thera fails to pay the imposed fine.

In delivering the verdict, High Court Judge Patabendi declared the monk guilty of the two charges brought against the Thera. Patabendi sentenced him to two years’ imprisonment for each charge and imposed an additional fine of Rs. 50,000 for each offence.

Furthermore, the Judge ruled that the prison terms for the defendant should run consecutively, totalling four years.

The hardline Buddhist monk was indicted by the Attorney General for causing harm to national and religious harmony by making a threatening statement against the Kuragala Islamic religious site during a 2016 press briefing in Colombo.

Accordingly, the monk was charged under section 291 (b) of the Penal Code.

Continue reading ‘Gnanasara Thero Convicted for causing harm to national and religious harmony by making a threatening statement against the Kuragala Islamic religious site during a 2016 press briefing in Colombo. “Remarks during the press conference were intentional and malicious expressions of religious animosity”Concludes Court’ »

Why are the Foreign Diplomats in Colombo Taking a great Interest in the JVP/NPP and Meeting with Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Other Leaders?

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

These days, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP)/National People’s Power (NPP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake and top-level party stalwarts are busy receiving a beeline of foreign diplomats, who seem eager to know what is going through those elusive minds.

That is an achievement for the party that languished on the sideline. Their luck has changed since the Indians showed a sudden interest and invited the JVP leadership to New Delhi, where they met, among others, Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, and travelled to Modi’s home turf, Gujarat to learn the Gujarati model of development.

The JVP misread the invite as the Indians had acknowledged that the party would be the next government in waiting and Anura Kumara, the prospective president. Quite a hubris for a party that had not managed to poll over five per cent of the popular vote in the last decade. The JVP’s best performance was when it ran on the back of Chandrika Kumaratunge’s People’s Alliance after she staged a constitutional coup in 2003.

Continue reading ‘Why are the Foreign Diplomats in Colombo Taking a great Interest in the JVP/NPP and Meeting with Anura Kumara Dissanayake and Other Leaders?’ »

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galaboda Atte Gnanasara Thera sentenced by Colombo High Court to four-year-rigorous imprisonment for making a hate speech against the Islamic religion

By LAKMAL SOORIYAGODA

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galaboda Atte Gnanasara Thera was today sentenced to four-year-rigorous imprisonment for making a hate speech against the Islamic religion on Kuragala Temple.

Colombo High Court Judge Adithya Patabendige further ordered Gnanasara Thera to pay a fine of Rs.100,000 for making hate speech on Kuragala Temple during a press conference held in Colombo.

Continue reading ‘Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galaboda Atte Gnanasara Thera sentenced by Colombo High Court to four-year-rigorous imprisonment for making a hate speech against the Islamic religion’ »

Tiger vs Tiger: How Prabhakaran’s Mainstream LTTE and Karuna’s Eastern Tigers Prepared for Fratricidal Conflict.


By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

This week’s Column is the second of a series of articles denoting the 20th anniversary of the revolt headed by former eastern tiger commander Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias “Karuna Ammaan” against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) hierarchy. Although the rebellion was crushed, its impact and consequences helped greatly to determine the course of war in favour of the Sri Lankan armed forces.

In the first article published last w eek(16 March 2024 Daily Mirror (“Col” Karuna’s Eastern Tiger revolt against LTTE 20 years ago) the background and reasons for the Eastern tiger revott were discussed in detail. In this second article the course of events leading to the eruption of the intra-tiger fratricidal conflict in the aftermath of “Col”Karuna’s rebellion would be recounted, relying on some of my earlier writings.

All hell was expected to break loose after “Col”Karuna the eastern regional commander of the LTTE raised the banner of revolt against the Wanni based tiger hierarchy on 3 March 2004. However the LTTE leadership displayed restraint in the initial period .Instead of launching a powerful military offensive against the renegade Tiger chieftain, the LTTE began overtly soft-pedalling the issue while engaging covertly in activities aimed at undermining Karuna.

LTTE political wing head Suppiah Paramu Tamilchelvan announced on 6 March 2004 at a press conference in Kilinochchi that tiger supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran had explicitly instructed his cadre to refrain from any military action to resolve the situation. Assuring the world at large that the Tigers would diffuse the crisis very quickly, Tamilchelvan also stated that there would be no bloodshed.

Interestingly, Tamilchelvan had earlier dismissed the Karuna affair as a minor matter and ridiculed Karuna as a single individual without any support.The glib pronouncements of Tamilchelvan, or for that matter any Tiger leader, were viewed sceptically, given the LTTE’s track record of deception and acting in bad faith.

Continue reading ‘Tiger vs Tiger: How Prabhakaran’s Mainstream LTTE and Karuna’s Eastern Tigers Prepared for Fratricidal Conflict.’ »

The growing public disenchantment with Israel, and the mounting protests, is forcing many American, British and European politicians to rethink their unconditional support for Israel’s genocidal war.

By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Whether the victims of October 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims of dehumanisation, how do we resist?” Jonathan Glazer, director of The Zone of Interest (Oscar acceptance speech)

The Pali Canon has the original tale but it’s the version in the commentaries we know. In both stories, she is Kisa Gotami, a thin girl who marries young. Then comes the divergence. In the story we know she loses her baby to illness, refuses to accept his death and rushes from healer to healer, cradling the dead body, seeking life. The Buddha is her final refuge. He tells her to bring a mustard seed from a house into which death hasn’t entered. She walks the length and breadth of the city. In every house someone has died, sometime.

In Gaza, most families have suffered a violent death in the last five months. According to a March survey by the Palestinian Centre for Survey Research, 60% of Gazans have lost at least one family member since Israeli offensive began. More than 32,142 reported deaths as I write. Seventy percent of the victims are women and children.

This spectacle of blood, this daily dose of death and destruction visited on a captive population is creating a sea change in global opinion against Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has become an embarrassment even to those politicians who bear hugged him in the immediate aftermath of Hamas’ murderous attack and continued to embrace him as the Israeli military machine killed 1,000, 5,000, even 10,000 Gazan children. The number of murdered children is now 13,430 in under six months. How many more children would be killed if this war continues for another month, six months, a year? The calculations are easy to make but harder to swallow even for many US politicians.

So Chuck Schumer, the staunchly pro-Israel majority leader of the US senate, warned, “Israel cannot survive if it becomes a pariah.” And Nancy Pelosi, former American speaker and another dyed in the wool Israeli supporter, agreed. The nakedness of the war has become unaffordable for many of Israel’s international enablers. They prefer it to be veiled. (Not Donald Trump though. His son-in-law Jared Kushner enthused about the “very valuable” waterfront properties in Gaza during a February discussion in Harvard about the Middle East).

Some Israelis are finally becoming aware of the cost of war to themselves. “Bibi – stop killing Israel” read a giant banner carried by Israeli protestors demonstrating outside Mr Netanyahu’s private home. The protestors want Mr. Netanyahu to step down and hold early elections (elections are due only in 2026). He may not survive an immediate election but Israel’s hard right will, those extremists who want to starve Gazans to death or dream of a second Nakba or the Third Temple on the land Al Aqsa mosque stands today. Mr. Netanyahu might not be popular but the war is. Still. Most of those who protest against Mr. Netanyahu don’t see the genocide next door, the dying babies, the wailing parents. Only the growing international opprobrium resulting from that carnage.

Continue reading ‘The growing public disenchantment with Israel, and the mounting protests, is forcing many American, British and European politicians to rethink their unconditional support for Israel’s genocidal war.’ »

Presidential Election to be held first in October First week. President Wickremesinghe Rejects Basii Rajapaksa Proposal to Hold Parliament Elections First. Ranil, Anura and Sajith in Triangular Tussle for Presidency


By

Jamila Husain

President Ranil Wickremesinghe has informed his close associates and hinted to his cabinet that the Presidential Election will be held as scheduled, indicating Basil Rajapaksa’s failure in convincing the President to hold the Parliamentary Polls first, the Daily Mirror learns.

A senior political source said that Wickremesinghe had in the past two cabinet meetings discussed the elections and indicated that the Presidential Election would be held as scheduled.
Although the Elections Commission is yet to be notified officially, sources said that the elections will be held in the first week of October.

The three main candidates who will run for the presidency are Ranil Wickremesinghe from the UNP, Sajith Premadasa from the SJB and Anura Kumara Dissanayake from the NPP.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Election to be held first in October First week. President Wickremesinghe Rejects Basii Rajapaksa Proposal to Hold Parliament Elections First. Ranil, Anura and Sajith in Triangular Tussle for Presidency’ »

How and Why Eastern Tiger Commander “Col” Karuna Revolted Against the LTTE Leaders Prabhakaran 20 Years ago.

By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) organization fought the armed forces of Sri Lanka for 33 Years in pursuance of its political goal of establishing a separate state called Tamil Eelam in the Northern and Eastern provinces of the Island. The LTTE known generally as the tigers had the reputation of monolithic unity. This image was seriously dented in 1993 when the LTTE’s former deputy leader Gopaalswamy Mahendrarajah alias “Mahathaya” was arrested and executed on the orders of tiger supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran for alleged treason . There was also a related purge of cadres suspected of being Mahathaya loyalists.

Despite this internal crisis in 1993, the LTTE continued to wax in the years that followed. Though the LTTE was basically a guerilla outfit, the tigers began to acquire the attributes of a conventional army and engaged in positional warfare by seizing and retaining territory. The dawn of the new millennium in 2000 saw the LTTE controlling the greater part of the Northern mainland known as the Wanni, the lower part of the Jaffna peninsula and swathes of territory in all three districts of the Eastern province.

In February 2002, the Government of Sri Lanka with Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe at the helm, entered into a ceasefire and peace talks with the LTTE. The peace process was facilitated by Norway. A monitoring mission comprising representatives from Scandinavian countries was set up to oversee and supervise the ceasefire. It was during this ceasefire period that the LTTE suffered a very serious debacle.

The tiger unity image that was dented by the Mahathaya affair was shattered beyond repair by an internal splitt in the LTTE in 2004. The then Eastern commander of the LTTE Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan alias “Karuna Ammaan” and “Col”Karuna rebelled against the leadership of Veluppillai Prabhakaran.Karuna framed the revolt as one of Eastern assertion of equality against Northern hegemony.

The Eastern LTTE revolt spearheaded by Karuna was militarily suppressed by the mainstream LTTE. Hundreds of tiger cadres died in the fratricidal conflict. Karuna himself fled to the south of Sri Lanka and ultimately sought the protection of the Sri Lankan state. The breakaway Eastern tiger group known as the “Karuna faction”formed a politico-military organization called the “Thamil Makkal Viduthalip Puligal” (TMVP )meaning Tamil People Liberation Tigers. The TMVP aligned itself with Sri Lankan intelligence authorities and played a crucial ,decisive role in militarily combatting the LTTE.

20 years have passed and much water has flown under the bridge since the eastern tiger revolt. Nevertheless the episode that fragmented the LTTE ,remains an important chapter in the history of the ethnic conflict. It is against this backdrop that this column re-visits the Eastern LTTE revolt led by Muraleetharan alias “Col?Karuna this week. I shall be drawing from some of my earlier writings for this article.

Continue reading ‘How and Why Eastern Tiger Commander “Col” Karuna Revolted Against the LTTE Leaders Prabhakaran 20 Years ago.’ »

Environmentalists and Mannar residents fear that the Adani wind energy project could spell danger to the biodiversity of the area and impact people’s livelihoods that are tied to the coastal environment.


By

Meera Srinivasan

A wind power project being executed by Adani Green Energy in northern Sri Lanka has run into controversy, with locals and environmentalists raising concern over its possible impact on the coastal region and livelihoods.

In February last year, Sri Lanka’s Board of Investment cleared the company’s $ 442-million project at two wind energy-rich sites in the island’s Northern Province. “The project expects to add 250 MW in Mannar and 234 MW in Pooneryn to the national grid,” Sri Lanka’s Minister for Power and Energy Kanchana Wijesekara said on social media platform ‘X’ on March 14, following a discussion with Adani Green’s Executive Director Sagar Adani on a power purchasing agreement that is yet to be finalised.

The Sri Lankan government aims to meet the country’s growing energy demands with 70% renewable energy by 2030. The ambitious target will require investment totalling over $ 11.5 billion, according to official estimates. India has pledged close cooperation with Sri Lanka in the field of renewable energy and the first meeting of a Joint Working Group (JWG) on Renewable Energy — constituted under an agreement signed by the two governments last year — was held in Colombo on March 11, 2024. India has also provided a $ 11 million grant to Sri Lanka to build hybrid renewable energy systems” in Delft or Neduntheevu, Nainativu and Analaitivu islands off Jaffna peninsula in the island’s north, displacing a Chinese project.

Continue reading ‘Environmentalists and Mannar residents fear that the Adani wind energy project could spell danger to the biodiversity of the area and impact people’s livelihoods that are tied to the coastal environment.’ »

The West’s Double Standards and Hypocrisy is not a Justifiable reason for Sri Lanka to plead bland denial of its own responsibilities and indulge in patently superficial ‘transitional justice’ exercises. Has this charade not gone on long enough?

By

Kishali Pinto- Jayawardene

As familiar wrangling in Geneva takes place over the review of Sri Lanka by the United Nations Human Rights Council, there is an eminently sound argument to be made, (ad nauseam until the point is acknowledged) that the country’s many ineffective bodies on transitional justice established to meet ‘international scrutiny’ actually harm the Rule of Law.

The State is arguing a bad brief

That harm occurs through repetitive mandates that overlap with each other with the State expending vast amounts of resources on institutions that go nowhere and do nothing other than stir scorn from the very ‘victims’ whom they are supposed to help. Indeed, it is infinitely wearisome to keep track of these mechanisms on Missing Persons, Reparations and now a proposed Truth Commission.

Earlier this month, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva submitted to the 55th Sessions of the Council that the Government remained ‘steadfast and unwavering…in strengthening the foundations of national unity, post conflict reconciliation and human rights.’ But the evidence that was put forward to establish that promise remained thin on the ground.

That is, apart from the routine citation of a promised Truth Commission and that the Office of Missing Persons had ‘met’ with complainants. There was a faintly ludicrous claim that sixteen persons had been found ‘alive’ in 2023. Meanwhile, an Office for National Unity and Reconciliation had been established by statute, the Council was told.

Continue reading ‘The West’s Double Standards and Hypocrisy is not a Justifiable reason for Sri Lanka to plead bland denial of its own responsibilities and indulge in patently superficial ‘transitional justice’ exercises. Has this charade not gone on long enough?’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Insidious. Book on the Alleged Conspiracy to Oust him is drenched in inflammatory racism and religious hatred. It qualifies as incitement.


By
Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

“…The point I made about the Aragalaya being fundamentally, an anti-Sinhalese and anti-Buddhist enterprise from the beginning to the end”
(Gotabaya Rajapaksa, THE CONSPIRACY, p 172)

Dr. Colvin R. de Silva’s position on the executive presidency was slightly more nuanced than the flat denunciation by Dr. N.M. Perera. While criticising the 1978 Constitution, he took pains in a contribution to the Lanka Guardian magazine to emphasise that the Jayewardene presidential system, though deriving from the Gaullist model of France, has significant accretions and distortions which brought it more into line with those of Francophone Africa.

Colvin pointed explicitly to the tyrant Jean-Bedel Bokassa of the Central African Republic. He quipped that the main danger of the over-concentration of power in the 1978 Jayewardene Constitution is that “someday we may not only have to suffer a bad president but also a mad president”.

If the Gotabaya presidency provided the proof of that proposition, GR’s recent memoir, The Conspiracy, is reconfirmation of the absolute validity of comrade Colvin’s dire prediction.


Political ignorance

In his Introduction, Gotabaya says that when a leader is ousted by a mass unrest, he is either a dictator or has been an elected leader who has entrenched himself and manipulated the system for a long time, while he [Gota] himself had been elected only two plus years before his ouster. His underlying argument is that it is unprecedented, therefore unjustified, illegitimate and obviously a conspiracy. Evidently, Gota’s political illiteracy encompasses ignorance about the political history of the Rajapaksa family itself.

Gota seems unaware that ‘1956’ came downstream from the Great Hartal (‘Maha Harthaalaya’) of August 1953. That was a mass uprising against a government that had won a general election just one year before, in 1952. The Hartal was in protest against a cut in the rice subsidy—far less traumatic than the hell that Gotabaya put the citizenry through.

Called and led by the LSSP and CP, the Hartal was far more forceful than the Aragalaya of 1952. For decades afterwards, the LSSP-CP commemorated the Hartal annually. Left legends heroized the trade union militants who had wielded homemade hand-bombs during that struggle (some were injured). Women stopped trains by baking hoppers on the tracks. Public infrastructure was sabotaged, damaged. Unlike in the Aragalaya, the Federal party joined the Hartal from the North. Police shooting killed 10 people. The Cabinet was evacuated onto an American ship moored in the harbour. In the face of roiling mass anger, Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake, elected the previous year, resigned.

Like Ranil Wickremesinghe, Gotabaya’s acknowledged hero Sir John Kotelawala was never once elected to the country’s leadership. He was appointed (they should’ve picked RG Senanayake), after Dudley Senanayake resigned as PM in the face of the Hartal. The ruling UNP remained in office, just as the SLPP does, until the election.

Though the SLFP didn’t participate as a party in the Hartal, SWRD Bandaranaike chaired the Hartal kick-off rally (indubitably with the Rajapaksas present) at Galle Face Green, the scene of the Aragalaya/GotaGoGama 2022. That irony of history is delectable.


Lanka’s worst leader

Gotabaya’s identification of the main, though not exclusive, internal source of the conspiracy as comprehended by him retrospectively after a long period of reflection, is grimly insidious. His identification or framing is drenched in inflammatory racism and religious hatred. It qualifies as incitement.

Let’s be fair and quote him at some substantive length, instead of paraphrasing him or cherry-picking phrases from his book. Remember, all of this is also in the Sinhala edition of this book. Consider the effect on the Sinhala-Buddhist reader, over years.

“…Due to a multiplicity of factors, the Tamil and Muslim communities both came together in the Aragalaya to oppose me. This was obvious in all the protests held especially in Colombo and may have been motivated by the fear that if I continued in power, the Sinhala Buddhists would have been strengthened to the detriment of the minorities.

…As I pointed out in the introduction to this book, my very election to power was the result of a contest between the Sinhala and Buddhist interests on the one hand and all non-Sinhala and non-Buddhist elements on the other hand. Sections of the Roman Catholic Church also joined this lineup from the end of 2021 onwards despite the excellent relationship that I had maintained with the Catholic Church up to that time.

If anyone was under the impression that the objective of the Aragalaya was to eliminate fuel queues, gas queues and shortages of medicines and other essential items and to ease the hardships of the people, that is a delusion. The people participating in the Aragalaya had very different objectives and priorities. From day one, the so-called Aragalaya was an operation inimical to Sinhala and particularly Sinhala-Buddhist interests, and it was well supported by foreign interests that had much the same objectives.” (pp. 89-92)

“…The point I made about the Aragalaya being fundamentally, an anti-Sinhalese and anti-Buddhist enterprise from the beginning to the end”. (Postscript, p 172)

“…One of the reasons why I was elected President was because of the feeling that the Sinhalese had lost their rightful place in their own country…The Sinhalese and especially the Sinhala Buddhists are now once again on the back foot.” (Postscript, pp 169-177)

“…However, my departure from office has left unaddressed the three main issues that got me elected to power—the fact that the Sinhalese and particularly the Sinhala Buddhists are being taken for granted, ignored, sidelined, downtrodden and humiliated by various foreign and local powers, the deterioration of the economy and the massive indebtedness of the country, and the total failure on the law and order, national security and intelligence fronts. These unaddressed issues will have to be dealt with by another leader in the future. My fervent hope is that Sri Lanka finds this leader sooner rather than later.” (Postscript, p 179)

While I reject the interpretation that traces Sri Lanka’s economic collapse back to 1948, my first book (Vikas, New Delhi 1995) sources Sri Lanka’s “Protracted Crisis” in the postcolonial failure to build a unified Sri Lankan identity and nationhood.

As repeatedly identified by Singapore’s Lee Kuan Yew, Ceylon’s tragedy was the inability to integrate the majority and minorities on the basis of non-discrimination and meritocracy. According to Lee, the principal problem was Sinhala majoritarian chauvinism. If that was the root cause of Sri Lanka’s protracted crisis, then the most explicit advocate of that ideology among all of Ceylon’s/Sri Lanka’s leaders since Independence, has been Gotabaya Rajapaksa. This is evidenced in the quotes above, which show that even after the Aragalaya and his ouster, his chauvinism has not been dissipated or tempered by experience. In The Conspiracy, he spews the kind of racism that Cyril Mathew did, which ignited Black July 1983.

Missing majority

Gotabaya’s anti-minority reconstruction of his ouster is not merely morally reprehensible, it flies in the face of logic and reason. Had the Aragalaya been minoritarian, why was the majority silent, especially when the ruling party was the SLPP? What happened to the 6.9 million Sinhala Buddhists who voted for him? Why was there no majoritarian
backlash to defend the great champion of the Sinhala Buddhists?
When Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the 2015 election, there was stupefied grief among the majority. For months, hundreds of thousands of people journeyed South and kept lining up outside Medamulana to see MR and persuade him to return to give them leadership. Nothing of the sort happened in Gotabaya’s case, during or after the Aragalaya, to date.

What ethnicity or religion does Gotabaya think the millions of farmers whose crops were ruined by his lunatic fertilizer policy belonged to? They were mostly Sinhala Buddhists.

Why does he think the soldiers in the barracks were in sympathy with the Aragalaya demonstrators and consorting with them on the streets? Because their parents, extended families and villages were suffering due to Gotabaya’s policy of ‘agricide’. They were mostly Sinhala Buddhists.

What does he think is the ethno-religious background of the overwhelming majority of university students who spearheaded the Aragalaya? For generations they have been mainly from rural Sinhala Buddhist families.

Far from the Aragalaya being minoritarian in composition, the one part of the island that did not participate in that great struggle, unlike during Hartal 1953, was the North and East (with the solitary, sporadic exception of the Eastern university). If it was the Tamil and Muslims who were the main force of the Aragalaya and were chiefly motivated to oust Gotabaya, why then were those areas of the island in which they preponderate almost totally silent and unmoved by the Aragalaya?

Gotabaya was not ousted by any darn conspiracy. He was ousted because his irrationality in policy was matched only by his autocratic arrogance in discourse and style. His ignorance and arrogance far outweighed his competence, and his triple attributes of irrationality-arrogance-incompetence traduced the Lankan ethos and exceeded the threshold of tolerance of its sovereign people.

Gota was chased from the Presidency by the unarmed citizenry, i.e., by ‘people’s power’, because he had neither enough intelligence nor empathy; neither sufficient brains nor heart. If Gota had enough brains he would have known that Sri Lanka wasn’t a military barracks but a democratic republic in which the citizens were sovereign. He wouldn’t have ordered the overnight, island-wide ban of chemical fertilizer-weedicide-pesticide, without a pilot project in a single district, despite not having a single precedent of success anywhere on the planet, and against the written plea of all agricultural experts and agronomists (April 2021). He would have reversed course when it was obvious that the policy was hitting export crops and reducing our foreign exchange earnings. The real “intelligence failure” was of Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s own intelligence.

If Gota had a heart, he would have been moved by the wailings, entreaties and later, the curses, of the poor peasants, as seen from every part of the country, including the Rajapaksas’ traditional Southern support base, on TV newscasts each night.

Nor did he give a damn about the exploding gas cylinders which were killing people in the kitchens of their homes. The cylinders were exploding because the authorities Gota had appointed had approved changes in ratios of the gases in the cylinders. The Gotabaya administration’s ‘investigative’ teams attempted to blame the victims, saying the gas cylinders had been imperfectly connected to the cookers or the connecting mechanism had not been renewed in time and therefore been corroded.

Most of those crying and beseeching peasant women, and the families in mourning due to the ‘barrel bombs’ exploding in homes, were Sinhala Buddhists.

So, Gotabaya, the champion of Sinhala Buddhism, wrecked the traditional historical-civilizational base of the Sinhala Buddhists, and the food self-sufficiency of the nation—the peasantry and the paddy fields.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s mind is mirrored in his chapter on Organic Fertilizer. His method is that somebody brings him some idea of potentiality irrespective of context, or he has a bee in his own bonnet, and he arbitrarily imposes a ban without any further consultation, prior study or pilot project. He does not appoint expert panels in the subject to prepare a feasibility report. He grapples with the predictable issue of shortfall by some slapdash solution, e.g., a shipload of organic fertilizer, paid for in dwindling foreign currency, from China, to serve the agricultural needs of the whole country.

Gotabaya claims the conversion to organic agriculture was contained in his election manifesto Vistas of Prosperity. That’s more obfuscatory lie than fact. ‘Vistas’ said (in Sinhala) the conversion would be “within the forthcoming decade” and “organic fertilizer production speeded-up, to that end”. That hardly justifies Gotabaya’s whacko, monstrous, overnight countrywide ban.

Easter massacre spin

Gotabaya writes that “Sections of the Roman Catholic Church also joined this lineup from the end of 2021 onwards despite the excellent relationship that I had maintained with the Catholic Church up to that time.” ‘Up to that time’, ‘the excellent relationship’ he had maintained with the Roman Catholic Church included jailing an Indian nun belonging to the Order founded by Mother Teresa, and sending the Army into Rathupaswela where they shot into a church, made Catholic nuns kneel outside, pulled out a man who had been sheltering in the church (and phoned his wife reassuringly from there) and caved his head in with gun-butts.

Gotabaya’s book has a long chapter on the Easter massacre and subsequent inquiries. He reiterates the ‘ISIS Only’ line. That’s plain ‘organic fertilizer’, i.e., bulls**t.
On Oct 7th 2024, Hamas attacked Israeli soldiers (killing 350) and civilian ‘kibbutzim’. Hideous as the civilian killings were – though incomparably outweighed by Israel’s genocidal war on Gaza—there was a logic: these were perceived as settler-occupiers on Palestinian lands originally belonging to the refugee families in Gaza. Now, what if instead of attacking Zionist soldiers and settlers, Hamas had massacred – suicide-bombed–the small Christian community in Gaza or the larger one in the West Bank? That would have made no sense because there was never any enmity between the two.

Similarly, the targeting of Catholic and Christian churches and churchgoers on Easter Sunday by Zahran’s group makes no sense whatsoever. There were never any issues between them. The “Christchurch, NZ” explanation makes zero sense. This attack was by a homegrown Islamist group not a group of alienated recent immigrants as in the West, or a multinational, cross-border, nomadic group like ISIS. There was a history of violent Islamophobia perpetrated since 2012 by militant Sinhala Buddhist organizations like the BBS, but no such targets were attacked in retaliation. Sinhala Buddhists were avoided and utterly uninvolved Catholics and Christians slaughtered instead. Where’s the motivation for suicide-bombers?

Gotabaya is accurate about one thing: starting “end of 2021”, the prayer campaign and demonstrations by the Catholic community seeking justice for the victims of the Easter massacre formed the prequel to the Aragalaya which toppled him.

Any possible culpability –sins of commission or omission– of former top securocrats in the Easter massacre which tilted the 2019 nomination and presidential election outcome, will surely be investigated by an independent inquiry appointed by a new post-election Government, and wouldn’t be covered by Presidential immunity.

Gota’s grotesque hypocrisy

Gotabaya rails against the status of the Sinhala Buddhists today: “…the Sinhala Buddhists are being taken for granted, ignored, sidelined, downtrodden and humiliated by various foreign and local powers…”

If so, all this is being perpetrated under/by the leadership of Ranil Wickremesinghe who was Gota’s pick over Sarath Fonseka (p150) as Prime Minister, which positioned him for the presidency to which he was elected (rejecting Dullas Alahapperuma) by the SLPP led by the Rajapaksas. Whatever is allegedly befalling the Sinhala Buddhists is also perpetrated by a heavily SLPP-dominated Cabinet.

Gotabaya’s book exemplifies why, 15 years after we won the war–capped by victory in the UNHRC Geneva diplomatic battle–in May 2009, we haven’t won the peace. Hawkishly obstructionist as postwar Secretary/Defence, Gotabaya as President implemented a Netanyahu-type policy especially in the East. The Aragalaya gave peace a chance.

Courtesy:Daily FT

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Book “The Conspiracy” is a Banal Conspiracy Theory Repetition Without Substantive Proof to Bolster it.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Mountains have laboured and brought forth a mouse!. Former Sri Lankan President Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa has after many poya days reportedly authored a book. The political grapevine had been buzzing for several months that a book by the ex-president known popularly as Gota and Gotabaya was in progress. It was supposedly a bombshell book with explosive revelations. The book belied such expectations..It was a damp squib!

Gotabaya Rajapaksa released a statement on March 6th that his book will be launched on March 7th 2024. He also posted on X as follows – My book “The Conspiracy to oust me from the Presidency” will be available in English and Sinhala at leading bookstores from tomorrow, Thursday, March 7th, 2024. The firsthand experience of an internationally sponsored regime change operation.”

There was no public book launch event. The books both in Sinhala and English were available for purchase at many Sri Lankan bookshops from morning onwards on March 7th. The English version had 179 pages and was priced at 1800 rupees. The title was “The Conspiracy to oust me from the Presidency”. The words ‘The Conspiracy” were in strikingly large capital letters. The cover had Gota;s picture and the line ‘How internationally-sponsored regime change made a mockery of the democracy of Sri Lanka’.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Book “The Conspiracy” is a Banal Conspiracy Theory Repetition Without Substantive Proof to Bolster it.’ »

M..N. Nambiar: Legendary “Villain” of Tamil Cinema who Terrified People by his Grimaces and Scowls.


By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The 105th birth anniversary of the man named Manjeri Narayanan Nambiar or M.N. Nambiar fell on 07 March 2024. The popular Tamil film actor excelled in playing the villain on screen. Nambiar was a terrible villain who could terrify people by merely grimacing and scowling. M.N. Nambiar was arguably the greatest screen villain of Tamil cinema.

Rare individual

Nambiar was a rare individual who played villainous roles on screen while remaining a virtuous person with saintly qualities off-screen. Contrary to his villainous screen persona, Nambiar was in real life a teetotaler and vegetarian and, above all, a man who upheld ethical values without any scandal or gossip ever being attributed to him.
He was also a great devotee of Sabarimalai Shree Aiyappan and undertook annual pilgrimages to the shrine for over 65 years. He was one of those instrumental in popularising the comparatively unknown deity over the years. He initiated mountain-trekking pilgrimages at a time when it was not ‘fashionable’ to worship Shree Aiyappan on the scale it is being done today. As a result, he was hailed not merely as a ‘Guruswamy’ but a ‘Mahaguruswamy’ by Aiyappan devotees.
Former film actress and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalitha Jayaram worshipped at the octogenarian’s feet and sought his blessings on her 60th birthday. Tamil superstar and Aiyappan devotee Rajnikanth is another who regularly got himself blessed by the Mahaguruswamy.

Ironically, Nambiar, in spite of his unblemished character, was perceived as a dastardly villain by millions of movie-goers on account of his on-screen image while others guilty of off-screen villainy were hailed as good men due to their screen performances.

Continue reading ‘M..N. Nambiar: Legendary “Villain” of Tamil Cinema who Terrified People by his Grimaces and Scowls.’ »

ITAK Jaffna Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran the only Opposition MP to Participate in IMF Proposals Review Meeting for Opposition Leaders; Raises Concerns Over Lack of Transparency and absence of published technical assistance reports from the IMF regarding several recommendations

By Maneshka Borham

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP M. A. Sumanthiran stood as the only Opposition member in attendance at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposals review meeting for opposition party leaders held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday.

Despite President Ranil Wickremesinghe extending invitations to the opposition including the main Opposition party, the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), the majority declined to attend.

Speaking to Daily FT after attending the meeting, Sumanthiran said he took the opportunity to address various concerns regarding the IMF proposals at the discussion, notably focusing on the issue of transparency.

Specifically, the TNA MP said he highlighted the absence of published technical assistance reports from the IMF regarding several recommendations of concern.

Continue reading ‘ITAK Jaffna Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran the only Opposition MP to Participate in IMF Proposals Review Meeting for Opposition Leaders; Raises Concerns Over Lack of Transparency and absence of published technical assistance reports from the IMF regarding several recommendations’ »

United National Party members find themselves marginalized within the Samagi Jana Balawegaya states President Ranil Wickremesinghe at Kulliyapitiya Rally; appeals to former UNP members who joined the SJB to return to the UNP

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday (Mar 10) said the government has launched a revolution with relief for the people and these efforts will be intensified in the future despite challenges.

The President emphasized that the current era and challenges faced by the country demands everyone to work in unity to rebuild the country sans narrow politics.

Speaking at the inaugural public rally of the United National Party at the Kuliyapitiya Municipal Council Stadium yesterday (10), the President emphasized the importance of collective action for national progress.

Themed “Reality,” the series of public gatherings drew a substantial crowd for its debut event in Kuliyapitiya.
Marking his first public address at a UNP rally since assuming office, President Wickremesinghe received a warm reception from the large gathering.

The President asserting that the foundational principles of the United National Party are absent in the Samagi Jana Balawegaya, appealed to former United National Party members who joined the SJB to unite back with UNP for safeguarding the nation from indebtedness and contribute to constructing a secure future for generations to come.

Continue reading ‘United National Party members find themselves marginalized within the Samagi Jana Balawegaya states President Ranil Wickremesinghe at Kulliyapitiya Rally; appeals to former UNP members who joined the SJB to return to the UNP’ »

“ Indian Fishermen have destroyed all marine resources in the Indian territorial waters using destructive bottom trawling techniques and they are doing the same in our waters also for a long time and things have gradually become worse. That is why our fishermen are protesting.” Says Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda


Sixty-nine Sri Lankan fishing boats are in Indian custody, Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda has said during a recent televised interview.Hundreds of Indian boats arrive in Sri Lankan waters and use destructive bottom trawling techniques in the territorial waters of Sri Lanka, the Minister said.

“They have destroyed all marine resources in the Indian territorial waters using these disastrous techniques and they are doing the same in our waters. This has been happening for a long time and things have gradually become worse. That is why our fishermen are protesting.”

Devananda said that during the war, Sri Lankan fishermen had not been able to fish in certain parts of the country’s territorial waters. During our absence, Indian fishermen started poaching in our waters, he said.

“Now, our fishermen are back but the Indians are not stopping. They are extracting our resources. The war ended 15 years ago, and we have still not been able to solve this. This is partially our fault. We have not taken up this issue forcefully. We must tackle this issue legally and diplomatically,” he said.

Continue reading ‘“ Indian Fishermen have destroyed all marine resources in the Indian territorial waters using destructive bottom trawling techniques and they are doing the same in our waters also for a long time and things have gradually become worse. That is why our fishermen are protesting.” Says Sri Lankan Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda’ »

34 Year old Dhanushka Wickramasinghe Returned Home From Work to Find his Wife, four Children and an acquaintance killed: 19 Year old Febrio de Zoysa a Sri Lankan Student at Algonquin College in Ottawa Charged in Courts as Suspect

By Nadine Yousif

A Sri Lankan father who survived the mass murder of his family in Canada said he returned home from work on Wednesday to find his wife and four young children had been killed.

Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, 34, was also attacked but managed to subdue the suspect.

He is now recovering in hospital from a slash to the eye and one of his hands.

A 19-year-old Sri Lankan student who was living with the family was charged with the deaths.

The new details of the night the Wickramasinghe family was killed emerged from a series of media interviews with Bhante Suneetha, the resident monk at a local Buddhist monastery in Ottawa that the family attended.

Continue reading ‘34 Year old Dhanushka Wickramasinghe Returned Home From Work to Find his Wife, four Children and an acquaintance killed: 19 Year old Febrio de Zoysa a Sri Lankan Student at Algonquin College in Ottawa Charged in Courts as Suspect’ »

Batticaloa District MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam Accuses Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena of attempting to Assault him Within Parliament at Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s Office; Says Attack on him was prevented by State Minister Ashoka Priyantha and Raises Privileges Issue

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam accused Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena of attempting to assault him in the Parliamentary complex yesterday.

Raising a privilege issue in Parliament, MP Shanakiyan said that the incident occurred at the Prime Minister’s Office at the Parliamentary complex when he went to meet the Prime Minister concerning an issue in Batticaloa.

“MP Rohitha Abeygunardena tried to assault me in the Parliament a short while ago. This happened in the Prime Minister’s office within the Parliament complex. I have raised a privilege issue and am concerned for my safety as he has threatened to assault me outside Parliament as well,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Batticaloa District MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam Accuses Kalutara District MP Rohitha Abeygunawardena of attempting to Assault him Within Parliament at Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena’s Office; Says Attack on him was prevented by State Minister Ashoka Priyantha and Raises Privileges Issue’ »

Sri Lanka is part of the social, cultural and civilizational landscape of the Indian subcontinent. Sri Lanka could have become the window to India in the 80s and in the early 90s when New Delhi underwent liberalization.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Eighteen months back, when the people languished long hours in lengthy queues to buy that elusive gas cylinder and regular blackouts punctured the day and night amidst economic hardship, there was an unusual unity.

Hundreds of thousands people who gathered at the Galle Face Green protest site and took part in many demonstrations across the country came from all walks of life. Petty ethnic politics that pitted people against each other was relegated.

That was not just because the Rajapaksas- who resorted to ultra-nationalism to prop up their familial regime- were finally revealed to what they truly had been for all that time: a corrupt kleptocratic familiocracy.

That was also because traditional Tamil politics that equally thrived in pitting Tamils and Sinhalese to appear more nationalistic than their peers were forced to scale back. You did not have Sritharan, Vigneswaran and Elilan’s wife, Ananthi, at the ‘Go Gota Gama’.

Those days, I noted, when the queues get shortened, the country would revert to the old habits.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka is part of the social, cultural and civilizational landscape of the Indian subcontinent. Sri Lanka could have become the window to India in the 80s and in the early 90s when New Delhi underwent liberalization.’ »

The Central Bank of Sri Lanka Increases the Already High salaries of Employees by 70 % across the Board while Preaching to the Suffering Public to Tighten their Belts and Pay Higher Taxes for the Country’s Benefit


By
Kishali Pinto -Jayawardene

An exceedingly strange ‘logic’ underlines Governor of the Central Bank Nandalal Weerasinghe’s claim that bringing legislative controls to prevent the Central Bank granting gargantuan salary hikes to its employees from the highest level to the lowest office assistant, will impact on the ‘independence’ of the Bank.

Morality or the law?

This will, in turn affect the economy and return Sri Lanka to a ‘troubled state’ he had said. The thrust of his argument is to the effect that, the brouhaha over the salary hikes were ‘exaggerated,’ that the morality (or otherwise, let me swiftly add) of the Bank’s actions can be ‘discussed’ but that, bringing a law subjecting the national banking regulator to ‘controls’ in that regard is a ‘major risk.’

In addition, much like the conscience stricken albeit irrepressible thief who confessed to his crimes and then later tried to plead his ‘openness’ in admitting his thievery as a defence in court, the Governor offers an explanation that salary hikes had been granted earlier as well. The difference this time around, he says, was that the Bank had gone public regarding the same.

It appears that he is under the assumption that the Bank ought to be congratulated for ‘going public.’ But we are not any more in an era where such details can be kept hidden, much like an official secret of the colonial days of old. That justification of ‘going public’ is not a fig leaf that suffices to cover the absurdity of proposing these hikes.

Continue reading ‘The Central Bank of Sri Lanka Increases the Already High salaries of Employees by 70 % across the Board while Preaching to the Suffering Public to Tighten their Belts and Pay Higher Taxes for the Country’s Benefit’ »

Ronnie De Mel the Socialist MP who Ushered in a Capitalist Economy as Finance Minister.


By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

The ascension of Junius Richard Jayewardene to the premier seat of poitical power in 1977 paved the way for a drastic transformation of Sri Lanka’s politico-economic landscape and environment. J.R. Jayewardene known popularly as “JR” ushered in political, economic and electoral changes that utterly changed Sri Lanka. In the words of William Butler Yeats “All changed, changed utterly”

The advent of JR as Prime Minister in 1977 and as the first executive president in 1978 saw great changes in three vital spheres. Firstly the economy was liberalised and free enterprise encouraged. Secondly the Westminster model of Parliamentary governance introduced by the British was turned into an executive presidency. Parliament was de-valued. Thirdly the prevailing “first past the post winner” electoral practice was replaced with the proportional representation scheme.

These three changes have utterly changed Sri Lanka. JR’s right hand man or chief deputy in executing the economic changes was his finance minister Ronnie de Mel. Ronald Joseph Godfrey de Mel known as Ronnie de Mel and Ronnie , served in the Jayewardene Government as Finance minister for a continuous stretch of 11 years from 1977 to 1988. It was Ronnie who was instrumental in establishing a free or capitalist economy in Sri Lanka.

Ronnie de Mel born on 11 April 1925 ,passed away in Colombo at the age of 98 on 27 February 2024. The veteran politician represented the Devinuwara constituency in Parliament from 1967 to 1989 for a period of 20 years. He later served as Matara district MP from 1994 to 2001. Thereafter he was a national list MP from 2001 to 2004. The jewel in Ronnie de Mel’s parliamentary career crown was his lengthy stint as finance minister. This column focuses on Ronnie de Mel this week

Continue reading ‘Ronnie De Mel the Socialist MP who Ushered in a Capitalist Economy as Finance Minister.’ »

Two Adults and Four Children Brutally Murdered in Suburban Home in Ottawa,Canada. Another Hospitalised with Injuries. All victims of Sri Lankan Origin.Police Arrest 19 Year old Student from Sri Lanka as Lone Suspect

By Joy SpearChief-Morris, Mark Colley, and Jennifer Pagliaro

Police have charged a 19-year-old man with the murder of two adults and four children in an Ottawa-area townhouse Wednesday night, which police say is the largest murder in recent memory in the city.

Febrio De-Zoysa is believed to be in Canada from Sri Lanka as a student and was living in the house, police said. He has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder.

Police found the victims — a Sri Lankan family that was new to Canada — inside the home at what they described as “a horrific scene,” after being called just before 11 p.m. to Barrhaven, a quiet suburb.

“This was a senseless act of violence perpetrated on purely innocent people,” Ottawa police chief Eric Stubbs said. “This one will undoubtedly weigh on the hearts of everyone for a long time.”

A mother, 35, and four children died from injuries from a “knifelike object.” A 40-year-old family acquaintance living at the house was also found dead.

The father was injured and transported to hospital, where he is in serious but stable condition.

Continue reading ‘Two Adults and Four Children Brutally Murdered in Suburban Home in Ottawa,Canada. Another Hospitalised with Injuries. All victims of Sri Lankan Origin.Police Arrest 19 Year old Student from Sri Lanka as Lone Suspect’ »

The JVP, by organising ex-military as ex-military, seems to be making a great leap forward in militarising politics and – indirectly – politicising the military. Another Rubicon is being crossed, with predictable results

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Are we so morally sick, so deaf and dumb and blind, that we do not understand this?”
Ariel Dorfman (The Washington post – 24.9.2006)

In 2023, bankrupt Sri Lanka added $ 16.6 billion to its central government debt, an increase of 21%.

Sri Lanka ranks a high 43 in Global Militarisation Index and a low 83 in Social Progress Index. When it comes to militarisation, Sri Lanka outranks most developed countries. We also outrank our neighbours, including India (77); only Pakistan, at 44, is slightly ahead of us.

Soon after the WWI, the then French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau reportedly said that generals are always fighting the last war. In Sri Lanka too, generals (and many politicians) are still readying for the last (Eelam) war. Almost a decade and a half after Eelam war ended, Sri Lanka continues to spend huge chunks of her scarce resources on her flaccid military.

Even bankruptcy has not changed our spending priorities. Defence costs continued its upward trend in the 2024 Budget. Just one statistic suffices to indicate our bleak future. In the 2024 Budget, more money was allocated for education. Yet, defence allocation (allocation for police was separate) was almost twice as high as the allocation for education.

In The Rise and Fall of the Neoliberal Order, historian Gary Gerstle explains how America’s ballooning defence budget (due to Vietnam War) helped undermine the New Deal order and pave the way for the Neo-Liberal order. “Having to service demands for both guns and butter, the US economy began to overheat; inflation ensued.”

Lankan opposition’s seeming belief in the possibility of cutting taxes and spending more on social development while maintaining military costs at high levels is nothing short of economic insanity.

Sri Lanka ranks 61 in terms of population and 17 by military size. Over-staffing is a problem not only in civilian state institutions but also in the military. In January 2023, the Wickremesinghe administration announced its promise to reduce military size to 135,000 by 2024 and to 100,000 by 2030.

Has that promise been kept? Are there any plans to use a chunk of the defence budget to help early retirees find new civilian occupations via education/training? Probably not.

In 1944, when WWII was still raging, the US passed a bipartisan bill on how to deal with its massive military, post-war. The solution was twofold – immediate demobilisation and generous programs to help veterans return to civilian economic and social life. The most outstanding provisions of the GI Bill included providing veterans four years of education and training in a university or college, a monthly stipend for that period, and Government guaranteed loans at low interest rates to buy/build a business, home, or farm.

Continue reading ‘The JVP, by organising ex-military as ex-military, seems to be making a great leap forward in militarising politics and – indirectly – politicising the military. Another Rubicon is being crossed, with predictable results’ »

Ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Writes Book in which he Attributes his dramatic ouster in 2022 by a citizen’s uprising to a conspiracy hatched by ‘certain foreign and local parties’


By

Meera Srinivasan

Two years after his dramatic ouster from office by a popular people’s movement, Sri Lanka’s former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has sought to defend his tainted regime, by launching a book that attributes his political downfall to a “conspiracy” involving foreign and local parties.

Announcing his book ‘The Conspiracy to oust me from the Presidency’ on March 6, Mr. Gotabaya said in a statement: “From the time I was elected President in November 2019, certain foreign and local parties were intent on removing me from power.”

During Mr. Gotabaya’s Presidency from November 2019 to July 2022, Sri Lanka experienced its worst economic crisis since Independence in 1948, as the country ran out of dollars for essential imports, following a host of fiscal decisions taken by his government. Citizens spent days in long queues, struggling to access basic food items, cooking gas, and medicines, while grappling with prolonged power cuts in their homes.

Holding his government responsible for their suffering, people from diverse backgrounds took to the streets in a historic protest along capital Colombo’s seafront and in several other districts across the island nation.

They relentlessly agitated with the demand “Gota go home”, eventually forcing the besieged leader to flee the country and subsequently resign in July 2022, less than three years since he was elected President, and barely two years after his pulled together a formidable majority in Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Ex-President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Writes Book in which he Attributes his dramatic ouster in 2022 by a citizen’s uprising to a conspiracy hatched by ‘certain foreign and local parties’’ »

Pandora Papers name Sri Lankan Public Security Minister Tiran Alles as the owner and director of Banham Ventures Limited and Brompton Properties registered in the British Virgin Islands Since July 2017


The name of a top Sri Lankan politician has emerged in the latest release of Pandora Papers two years after the first leak of financial secrets of shell companies in overseas tax shelters.

The individual, a minister in President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s cabinet, has been identified as the beneficial owner of two such firms registered in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), a known tax haven.

Tiran Prasanna Christopher Alles is listed as the owner and director of Banham Ventures Limited and Brompton Properties since July 2017. Both are incorporated in the BVI.

Continue reading ‘Pandora Papers name Sri Lankan Public Security Minister Tiran Alles as the owner and director of Banham Ventures Limited and Brompton Properties registered in the British Virgin Islands Since July 2017’ »