How Ex- LTTE Commander “Col”Karuna Was Deported To Sri Lanka in 2008 After Being Arrested, Detained and Convicted in Britain

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj‘

With Parliamentary Elections being scheduled for 5 August, most political parties and independent groups contesting the polls have commenced their respective campaigns in a big way. The hopelessly-divided chief Opposition, seemingly bereft of valid issues to raise, has eagerly seized upon the ‘Karuna Amman admission of Elephant Pass killings’ to target the SLPP Government.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and ‘Karuna’ Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan

It is well-known that Vinayagamoorthy Muraleetharan alias Karuna, former Eastern Regional Commander of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who broke away from the Tigers in 2004, actively collaborated with the armed forces, after Mahinda Rajapaksa was elected President in 2005. The services rendered by Karuna and his Tiger breakaway group known was of immense value to the ruling regime in successfully prosecuting the war against the LTTE then.

Continue reading ‘How Ex- LTTE Commander “Col”Karuna Was Deported To Sri Lanka in 2008 After Being Arrested, Detained and Convicted in Britain’ »

Premature Explosion of Bomb at House of Rehabilitated Ex-LTTE couple in Iyakkachchi Leads to Uncovering of Plan by Group of ex-LTTE cadres and Youths to Mark “Black Tigers Day” in Mullaitheevu on July 5th;Two Bombs and Detonators Discovered;Injured Husband Taken to Anuradhapura While Teacher Wife is Arrested

By Dinasena Rathugamage

The bomb which exploded prematurely in a house at Iyakkachchi, Kilinochchi, on Saturday, was to be taken among other things to Mullaithivu for a clandestine operation to mark the Black Tiger day, which fell on Sunday, according to police.

The first Black Tiger, Vallipuram Vasanthan, drove a small truck laden with explosives into the army camp at Nelliady, Jaffna on 5 July 1987, killing himself and some soldiers. Immediately afterwards, LTTE cadres stormed the camp overwhelming the stunned soldiers.

Investigators said a group of former LTTE cadres and several youth in Kilinochchi had been planning to mark the Black Tiger Day.

Continue reading ‘Premature Explosion of Bomb at House of Rehabilitated Ex-LTTE couple in Iyakkachchi Leads to Uncovering of Plan by Group of ex-LTTE cadres and Youths to Mark “Black Tigers Day” in Mullaitheevu on July 5th;Two Bombs and Detonators Discovered;Injured Husband Taken to Anuradhapura While Teacher Wife is Arrested’ »

A new constitution by itself is no panacea for Tamils as Federalism is a “no go” area for President Rajapaksa but there are a host of other “doables”.

By

Col R Hariharan

Election contretemps

The much debated and delayed Sri Lanka parliamentary election is now scheduled to be held on August 5. After missing two dates set earlier for the election, after the disposal of eight fundamental rights cases, the Election Commission (EC) announcement came with a lot of conditions on conduct of campaigning as well as the elections, thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Each general election has its own flavor; but never before Sri Lanka had to conduct an election when the administration was fighting a global pandemic threatening the country. This makes the present election extraordinary because the Covid-19 pandemic has dislocated normal life and queered the pitch of usual election narratives of political parties.

However, the gods seem to be favouring President Gotabaya Rajapaksa as the Covid pandemic is showing signs of being tamed. The virus strike rate started falling by end of May and as on June 30, it stands at 2042 cases with only 10 deaths, according to WHO statistics. This is a record any nation can be proud of; and it comes in handy to boost the election prospects of the President’s Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP). Yet another good news for the public was the lifting of the curfew imposed to contain the pandemic from March 20 onwards; the day-long curfew had continued for more than a month, before the timings were modified to night times in most of the areas.

The election will test the ability of the Election Commission (EC) and the administration to conduct it as per the health guidelines to control the spread of the virus.

Continue reading ‘A new constitution by itself is no panacea for Tamils as Federalism is a “no go” area for President Rajapaksa but there are a host of other “doables”.’ »

President Rajapaksa Appoints Five Member Committee to Examine and Report on Developing the State -run Jaya Container Terminal and the East Container Terminal to be Constructed Together With India and Japan

Wading into the issue of the East Container Terminal (ECT), President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday appointed a five-member committee to examine and report on how to develop both the State-run Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) and the new ECT of the Colombo Port.

The committee is headed by Ministry of Ports and Shipping Secretary M.M.P.K. Mayadunne, Ministry of Industrial Export and Investment Promotion Secretary M.P.D.U.K. Mapa Pathirana, Ministry of Roads and Highways Secretary R.W.R. Pemasiri, Ministry of Power and Energy Secretary Wasantha Perera and Sri Lanka Ports Authority Chairman Gen. (Retd) R.M. Daya Ratnayake are the other members of the committee.

The committee, according to the President’s Media Division (PMD), has been tasked with examining several issues including the procurement procedure and related concerns with regard to the development of JCT, assess Jaya Containment of the compliance to the Cabinet decision, and the observation of the Minister of Finance connected with the Cabinet Decision dated 26 July 2017, on enhancing the deep berth capacity and modernisation of the Jaya Container Terminal (JCT) of the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) and also examine as to why JCT was not developed prior to ordering of required machinery.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Appoints Five Member Committee to Examine and Report on Developing the State -run Jaya Container Terminal and the East Container Terminal to be Constructed Together With India and Japan’ »

“The constitutional proposals in Sajith Premadasa’s manifesto are identical to the proposals in the draft constitution tabled in Parliament by UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in early 2019” – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

(Text of a media release issued on July 5th 2020 by the Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa under the heading “SJB a cat’s paw of communalistic political parties”)

The leader of the newly formed Samagi Jana Balawegaya was the UNP presidential candidate in 2019. The manifesto that Sajith Premadasa issued for the presidential election titled in Sinhala ‘Sri Lankawe idirigamanata seemawak netha, ekwa gamana yamu’ had a chapter titled ‘Janathawage Vyawasthawa’ on pages 15-16 which contained the following proposals.

• Replacing the word ‘unitary’ with the formulation ‘undivided and indivisible’ in describing the Sri Lankan state.

• Devolving the powers of the central government to the provinces to the maximum extent possible.

• Creating a second chamber of Parliament made up of provincial council representatives to further limit the powers of the central legislature.

• Abolishing the exclusive financial powers of Parliament and allowing provincial councils to raise funds independently.

• Placing the district secretaries and divisional secretaries under the purview of the provincial councils.

• Setting up a separate constitutional court to adjudicate in disputes between the central government and the provincial councils.

The constitutional proposals in Sajith Premadasa’s manifesto are identical to the proposals in the draft constitution tabled in Parliament by UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in early 2019. An essential precondition to the division of this country is to remove from our Constitution the phrase ‘unitary state’ which has a special technical meaning. The international community can then take note of the fact and act accordingly.

Continue reading ‘“The constitutional proposals in Sajith Premadasa’s manifesto are identical to the proposals in the draft constitution tabled in Parliament by UNP leader Ranil Wickremasinghe in early 2019” – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Summoning Sri Lanka’s celebrated cricketers Before investigation committee to inquire into a wild allegation by a politician with a sleazy reputation was to simply demonstrate that those who are in the seats of power can humiliate anyone and disparage anyone.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

What does the summoning of Sri Lanka’s celebrated cricketers to appear before a special investigation committee of the Ministry of Sports tasked to inquire into a wild allegation by a former Sports Minister that the 2011 ICC Word Cup cricket final was ‘fixed’ have in common with the ad hoc appointments of Task Forces and Commissions of Inquiry?

Riddle of the Rule of Law

This may seem like the fabled riddle of the Sphinx which, as the ancient legend has it, used to sit outside the city walls of Thebes and ask riddles of anyone who passed by. The most noted of these was the question as to “what goes on four legs at dawn, two legs at noon, and three legs in the evening?” Those who could not answer were fated to die by the monster. That is, until Oedipus responded correctly by saying, ‘”man, who as a baby crawls on four legs, then walks on two legs as an adult and in old age walks with a cane as his third leg…,” whereupon it was the Sphinx which became so enraged that it immediately committed suicide.

Those who wish this country well may indeed hope and pray that the citizenry will answer the riddle of the Rule of Law that we face as correctly as Oedipus so that modern political monsters may be consigned to a similar electoral fate as the Sphinx. For answering this riddle at least is not that complicated as the Greek myth. Ridiculous allegations relating to a match played nine years ago by a politician known best for his sleazy reputation was not with the intention of actually following his complaint through but simply to demonstrate that those who are in the seats of power, can humiliate anyone, disparage anyone.

The powerful message conveyed here is not only the fact that the allegation was made, as farcical as that may be but also that, a purported ‘inquiry’ was instituted. And the dropping of this ‘inquiry’ in the face of a public outcry or not, is no reason to cheer as some opposition politicians seem to think.

Continue reading ‘Summoning Sri Lanka’s celebrated cricketers Before investigation committee to inquire into a wild allegation by a politician with a sleazy reputation was to simply demonstrate that those who are in the seats of power can humiliate anyone and disparage anyone.’ »

Electing an MP of one’s choice is a bedrock principle of parliamentary democracy That is now being endangered by the Elections Commission’s actions.

by C.A.Chandraprema

As the parliamentary election campaign gathers momentum, candidates belonging to all political parties are chafing under the Elections Commission’s decision to implement the 1981 elections law to the letter. At this moment, the rule that all candidates are most annoyed with is their inability to display their number so that voters will know who to vote for. Only those with the wherewithal to be able to get their numbers known to the voting public through advertisements in the media will be able to survive such restrictions. But even in such cases, there will be so many such advertisements appearing in the formal media, TV and newspapers, that none will stand out except for those of the richest candidates who will be able to afford longer and more intense coverage.

Last week, this columnist wrote on the Elections Commission’s decision to implement the law to the letter stating that this may motivate Members of the new Parliament to change the law once they are elected. That was due to the fact this writer has been drawing attention to these incongruities and anomalies in the elections law for years. Last week’s column drew some sharp rebukes from politician friends on both sides of the divide. One said that it was all very well for journalists to be discussing the practicalities of the elections law but for those contesting this election, life has become a nightmare. To be sure, there is another side to this story, which has to be laid out. Even veteran politicians who have been contesting elections for years have to inform their constituents about their number so that they can get the required number of preference votes.

It’s nearly 40 years since the Parliamentary Elections Act of 1981 was passed and there is much speculation as to why the Elections Commission decided to implement that law in its entirety at this election when it was never implemented at any previous parliamentary election. For one thing, this is the first time that a parliamentary election is being held by the present Elections Commission, which was appointed only at the end of 2015. Until this Elections Commission was appointed, the work of the Commission was carried out by the Elections Commissioner who was Mahinda Deshapriya. If this election was also being held by him in his capacity as the Elections Commissioner, the greater likelihood is that it would have been held in the old way with certain provisions of the elections law being ignored by an agreement between the Elections Commission and the political party secretaries.

This writer is probably the only journalists who has interviewed all three members of this Elections Commission together. That was on a programme on ART TV some years ago. At that interview, this writer brought up this issue in the parliamentary elections law and it transpired that Mr N.A.Abeysekera one of the members of the present Elections Commission had been in the Legal Draftsman’s department when the 1981 Parliamentary Elections law was drafted. If he had something to with drafting the present elections law, it’s unlikely that he will be happy that sections of the law are being openly ignored by the elections authorities, the police, the political parties and the candidates. So we can perhaps guess where this push to implement the elections law to the letter may have come from.

Continue reading ‘Electing an MP of one’s choice is a bedrock principle of parliamentary democracy That is now being endangered by the Elections Commission’s actions.’ »

Police End Inquiry Into Alleged Match Fixing of 2011 World Cup Final:Match Fixing Allegations by Mahindananda Aluthgamage Rubbished by After Probe by Special Investigations Unit

by Imesh Ranasinghe

The probe into whether the 2011 Cricket World Cup final was fixed so that Sri Lanka would lose launched by the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the Ministry of Sports is over.

The head of the Chief of the SIU SSP Jagath Fonseka has told Media that the statements of cricketers who were questioned are genuine.

A statement released by Police headquarters at 4:20 pm said no evidence of match-fixing has been revealed.

Continue reading ‘Police End Inquiry Into Alleged Match Fixing of 2011 World Cup Final:Match Fixing Allegations by Mahindananda Aluthgamage Rubbished by After Probe by Special Investigations Unit’ »

Mahindananda Aluthgamage’s Claim of Having Complained to International Cricket Council in 2011 About Match Fixing in 2011 Denied by Head of ICC Anti Corruption Unit Alex Marshall Who Says There is no Record of Any Letter From Sports Minister Then

by Rex Clementine

Hours after Sri Lanka Police announced that they were discontinuing an investigation that the 2011 Cricket World Cup final was fixed, the International Cricket Council issued a statement saying that they had no reason to believe that the final was corrupt or did not feel the need to initiate an inquiry.

Police were instructed to start investigations by the government after former Sports Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage claimed that there was foul play in the 2011 final, a close game won by India. Aluthgamage also said that he had asked the ICC in 2011 to investigate the game.

“There is no record of any letter regarding this matter sent by the then Sri Lanka Sports Minister to the ICC,” Head of ICC Anti Corruption Unit Alex Marshall said in a statement.

Continue reading ‘Mahindananda Aluthgamage’s Claim of Having Complained to International Cricket Council in 2011 About Match Fixing in 2011 Denied by Head of ICC Anti Corruption Unit Alex Marshall Who Says There is no Record of Any Letter From Sports Minister Then’ »

Sri Lanka Increases Surveillance along its northern coast following reports of some Sri Lankan refugees in India attempting to return by boats following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic

By

Meera Srinivasan and T.K. Rohit

Sri Lanka has raised surveillance along its northern coast, following reports of some Sri Lankan refugees in India attempting to return by boats following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, authorities in Tamil Nadu denied any large-scale attempts by refugees to leave the country illegally.

“We have alerted the Navy, coastal police, grama sevakas [local administrators]and fisher folk to be alert,” P.S.M. Charles, Governor of the Northern Province, told The Hindu on July 2. “We have received information that some of the refugees are trying to leave India because of the coronavirus situation there. They might just hop on to fishing boats and enter Sri Lanka illegally,” she said.

The Sri Lankan authorities’ apprehension seems to have risen after a father-daughter duo, who were residents of the Pooluvapatti Sri Lankan Refugees’ Camp in Coimbatore, arrived in Sri Lanka from Tamil Nadu by boat early in June. Sri Lankan police took them into custody on arrival and also arrested six other Sri Lankans who “helped them” enter the island.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Increases Surveillance along its northern coast following reports of some Sri Lankan refugees in India attempting to return by boats following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic’ »

How “Col” Karuna’s Eastern Tiger Revolt Was Crushed By LTTE Chief Prabhakaran

by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

Vinayagamoorthy Muraleetharan alias “Karuna Amman” a.k.a. “Col” Karuna has got himself into hot water by shooting his mouth off at an election meeting in the East. The former Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) commander for the Batticaloa and Amparai districts who defected from the tigers after revolting against former LTTE supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran in 2004 later collaborated with the Sri Lankan armed forces and played a crucial role in the military defeat of his erstwhile organization.

Prabhakaran and Karuna

He was amply rewarded by the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Govts which nominated him as national list MP twice, appointed him twice as Deputy – minister of National Integration and Rehabilitation and even made him a vice-president of the Sri Lanka Freedom Party(SLFP) then.

Currently Karuna Ammaan is the chief candidate on the Amparai District list of the ‘Ahila Ilankai Thamizh Maha Sabha’ (All Ceylon Greater Tamil Council). With an intense election campaign being conducted , political party speakers and propagandists are engaged in banter and riposte with each other giving as good as they get. So when the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Chairman of the Karaitheevu Pradeshiya Sabha Krishnapillai Jeyacyril stated Karuna was more deadly than the corona pandemic, Karuna too responded at another meeting.
Continue reading ‘How “Col” Karuna’s Eastern Tiger Revolt Was Crushed By LTTE Chief Prabhakaran’ »

Ilham and Inshaf: Why Did The Ibrahim Brothers Become Suicide Bombers?

By Samanth Subramanian

There’s a video of the exact moment Inshaf Ibrahim decided to abandon his life as a rich young man and turn into a mass murderer. In one sense, he had made up his mind weeks earlier, which was why he was loitering in the Cinnamon Grand hotel’s breakfast buffet on Easter Sunday last year in Colombo, strapped into a knapsack of explosives. Once he arrived, though, he appeared to dither.

Later, investigators picked him out of CCTV footage, standing near a vacant table, wearing a baseball cap and a T-shirt, his back to the camera. In the footage, he moves like a perplexed penguin. Two steps forward, half a step back, a turn, another turn: a choreography of hesitation. Perhaps he is reconsidering?

But no, the investigators concluded; he is waiting for more people to come in. Finally, a microsecond of stillness, arms heavy by his side; then his hands reach toward the front of his waist, and the film goes dark.

Continue reading ‘Ilham and Inshaf: Why Did The Ibrahim Brothers Become Suicide Bombers?’ »

Karuna Ammaan’s Boast of Killing 2000-3000 Soldiers in One Night at Elephant Pass.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Vinayagamoorthi Muraleetharan alias “Karuna Amman” a.k.a. “Col” Karuna is currently very much in the news. The former Eastern Regional Leader of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) who broke away from the LTTE in 2004 and collaborated with the Sri Lankan armed forces in combatting the Veluppillai Prabhakaran-led Tigers appears to be in trouble today due to shooting his mouth off at an election meeting.

Pic taken on March 8, 2004-Karuna with cadres after the split~(pic~courtesy: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai)

The LTTE’s eastern warlord’s defection along with thousands of cadres weakened the Tigers considerably then. Furthermore, the information and assistance provided by Karuna and his band of erstwhile Eastern Tigers was of immense value to the Sri Lankan armed forces in their fight against the LTTE at that time.

Yet, all that seems forgotten today as many voices bay for Karuna’s blood over a provocative statement he allegedly made where he reportedly claimed to have killed 2,000-3,000 soldiers in one night at Elephant Pass.

Continue reading ‘Karuna Ammaan’s Boast of Killing 2000-3000 Soldiers in One Night at Elephant Pass.’ »

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Tamil Media Representatives That “the TNA did not speak about issues such as lack of drinking water, road development to ensure easy access or issues with regard to overall economic development in the North”


Renewing his pledges to address issues in the North, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday said the Government will set up a mechanism to increase investment in the Northern Province to improve living standards in area and support communities still struggling to overcome the impact of the conflict.

The Prime Minister expressed these views during a meeting held with representatives of the Tamil media at Temple Trees.

He acknowledged investors were not keen on investing in the Northern Province and noted the Government will introduce measures to lower the risk for investors and encourage job creation in the region still lagging behind most human development indicators and provincial contribution to the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) even though the conflict ended 11 years ago.

“We are always pushing investors to invest in the North and we have taken measures to lower their risk and increase their returns. When I was in office I introduced several programs to develop infrastructure in the North, which will encourage investors to invest in the Northern Province,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Tells Tamil Media Representatives That “the TNA did not speak about issues such as lack of drinking water, road development to ensure easy access or issues with regard to overall economic development in the North”’ »

The UN Core Group on Sri Lanka Wants SL to ensure that the country’s democratic space remains open and accountable and callsfor detentions and arrests to follow due process and be compliant with international norms and universal rights


The UN Core Group on Sri Lanka yesterday called on Sri Lanka to ensure that the country’s democratic space remains open and accountable, and called for detentions and arrests to follow due process and be compliant with international norms and universal rights.

UK International Ambassador for Human Rights Rita French delivered this statement on behalf of Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Montenegro and the UK, who make up the Core Group on Sri Lanka.

She cited the example case of lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah, who has now been detained for almost three months without charge or presentation before the court, and called for an end to impunity for the violations and abuses of the past.

She also reiterates the Group’s profound disappointment at the Government’s decision to no longer support the UN resolution which the previous Government had cosponsored.

Continue reading ‘The UN Core Group on Sri Lanka Wants SL to ensure that the country’s democratic space remains open and accountable and callsfor detentions and arrests to follow due process and be compliant with international norms and universal rights’ »

There is no evidence that any Lankan Muslim turned to armed violence and weapons training against Sinhalese, BEFORE the anti-Muslim agitation by the Bodu Bala Sena


By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The regime’s promises and claims of “putting professional expertise first” is belied by the fact that having placed ex-military brass is in charge of everything from archaeology to agriculture, not to mention virtue—matters in which they have no particular expertise—President Gotabaya Rajapaksa delivered a parade-ground dressing down on prime time TV to the Central Bank economists.

By contrast, one didn’t see on TV news the President upbraiding whoever was responsible for sending the Navy unprotected into anti-corona roundups and on home leave without testing.

The President didn’t seem to know or care that the Central Bank Chief Prof. W.D. Lakshman has been the economics teacher of generations of university students (his Sinhala-language textbook is the standard work), the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Colombo, an authority in his field whose service to the larger field of education and by extension the nation, deserves respect. Any president sets a public example, and should set one of respecting an authentic “guru” (not a fake “viyatha”). That’s a sign of virtue.

As Dr. P.B. Jayasundera would confirm, not even the perfectionist President Premadasa launched a public tirade against experts and top professionals in his employ. Today, an “angry autocrat” style is in.

Continue reading ‘There is no evidence that any Lankan Muslim turned to armed violence and weapons training against Sinhalese, BEFORE the anti-Muslim agitation by the Bodu Bala Sena’ »

Parliament must pass laws that MPs cannot engage in defamation of members of the Election Commission so as to make the EC look the other way out of fear when party leaders wreak havoc.

By

S.Ratnajeevan H. Hoole

Our main job on the Election Commission is to uphold election laws and conduct free and fair elections. Of necessity, this involves interdicting election law violations, usually by powerful politicians. Politicians promote the fiction that when they violate the law, we must not name them; that naming them is to violate Commission neutrality. As a result, after the Parliamentary Elections Act was enacted in 1981, there has been no major conviction of a politician, although several violent election violations have occurred during certain polls.

A powerful former militant who successfully attacked Elephant Pass and took it over, issued a video in Nov. 2017 using hate speech on Muslims for electoral gain. A complainant sent me the video and I passed it on to the Commission which in turn sent it to the Police. The matter seemed to have died there because subsequent to crossing over to the government, he has been in favour, working with our governments in alleged atrocities; mainly against Tamil politicians and civilians and hunting the LTTE. He can spill lots of beans.
That militant gentleman is contesting elections and, presumably, is aware that large sections of the Tamil public blame him for his supposed betrayal of the LTTE. He who issued the video in February 2018 to tap into Tamil communalism against Muslims now, as elections near, badly needs that vote again.
The governments in turn have handled him with kid gloves because, if charged with anything, he can reveal the criminal activities in which he allegedly colluded with our governments. So that complaint from Nov. 2017 was in abeyance for two and a half years – until last week. Sinhalese nationalists object to his boast and have to be appeased. The CID Cyber Crimes Division therefore called me and wanted a statement from me on what they called my complaint. Analysts I spoke to say that this testimony they want from me is to scare this writer into silence and tap in turn into Sinhalese communalism. And once the elections conclude, the matter will be dropped because they dare not confront him.

Continue reading ‘Parliament must pass laws that MPs cannot engage in defamation of members of the Election Commission so as to make the EC look the other way out of fear when party leaders wreak havoc.’ »

Had Veluppillai Prabhakaran heeded the advice of Comrade Shanmugathasan he and his militia may not have been obliterated on the banks of the Nandikadal lagoon.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Birth Centenary of “Comrade Shan On July 3rd

A political personality must be judged against the backdrop of his/her own time but also viewed with the benefit of hindsight so as to ascertain the more lasting relevance of his/her effort. So it is with Nagalingam Sanmugathasan, better known as N. Sanmugathasan and best known as “Comrade Shan”, the centenary of whose birth falls of July 3rd 2020.

To reverse the usual sequence, let us begin with the time we are living in. Noam Chomsky, the world’s most prominent and influential public intellectual said in a widely quoted recent interview that we are approaching the most dangerous point in human history” He followed it up in a more recent interview on the current wave of protests in the USA saying “The first thing that comes to mind is the absolutely unprecedented scope and scale of participation, engagement, and public support. If you look at polls, it’s astonishing. The public support both for Black Lives Matter and the protests is well beyond what it was, say, for Martin Luther King at the peak of his popularity, at the time of the “I Have a Dream” speech.” (Jacobin magazine June 2020)

In order to understand the historical roots of the strong protest movement –which surveys show has 61% of white participants, though the Black Lives matter movement is the core– the US media has begun to seek out figures from the old Black Panther Party (BPP). Counterpunch magazine recently interviewed Billy X Jennings, Black Panther Party veteran, aide to Huey P Newton, pall-bearer of George Jackson, and BPP archivist, on the subject of the recent protests. In answer to a question he replied: “I would take this back to some learning. When I first joined the BPP I read a book called Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-Tung. Mao said that at some point “a single spark can start a prairie fire”. We are seeing the spark in the streets since Floyd’s murder….”

Mao Zedong was a titan of 20th century history and one of the most consequential history-makers of modern times. He was a great ideological, intellectual and philosophical influence on several generations. Even today, the leading French philosopher Alain Badiou regards himself a Maoist.

Continue reading ‘Had Veluppillai Prabhakaran heeded the advice of Comrade Shanmugathasan he and his militia may not have been obliterated on the banks of the Nandikadal lagoon.’ »

“Karuna may have given up murdering people, but the yahapalana cabal has not given up trying to divide the country” – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday urged Sri Lankans not to get distracted by minor issues overblown by the opposition like Karuna Amman’s campaign claim that he killed thousands of soldiers in one night at Elephant Pass, but to have the broader picture in mind when it cause to politics.

“If we are able to distinguish what is important from what is unimportant and always have the broader picture in mind, our people will always be the winners”, the Premier said.


The full text of the PM’s speech on “Defeating domestic and foreign conspiracies against Sri Lanka”:

Continue reading ‘“Karuna may have given up murdering people, but the yahapalana cabal has not given up trying to divide the country” – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

The silence of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka is shameful given that former greats of the profession stood up to the State even in the most chilling of times.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Governance in Sri Lanka today is transitioning from a constitutional (albeit flawed) system of checks and balances to tugs of war between competing political power centres that are constrained not by the Constitution or statute but by the sheer praxis of force. In that unseemly struggle over which looms the spectre of a militarised command hierarchy, civil liberties of individuals will receive short shrift. We see that with powerful effect today.

Transition to a state of exceptionalism

This transition must be clearly acknowledged so that expectations as well as strategies thereto are tailored to its crude realities. This would apply across the board, including to conventional beliefs regarding the promise of impartial justice on constitutional principle. Lamentations therefore when the Bench fails to deliver are useless. Let me be clear. This is not to downgrade constitutional institutions or to minimise the high importance of voices of conscience who make themselves heard above the political din, the cowardice or the self serving interests of their colleagues.

One such example was the Fort Magistrate who, this week, prevented officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) from showing photographs of an attorney, arrested under the country’s anti-terrorism law, to children before the lawyer was produced to the children in an identification parade. According to the CID, the suspect had been allegedly indoctrinating the children in jihadist ideology. That clear violation of the law was stayed and the identification parade was consequently cancelled.

Continue reading ‘The silence of the Bar Association of Sri Lanka is shameful given that former greats of the profession stood up to the State even in the most chilling of times.’ »

Should the leader of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka not have the right to make statements that relate to the politics in the country, which will affect voting by Catholics?

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The restrictions of Covid-19 have not removed the enthusiasm of the General Election, with statements by non-leader candidates drawing more attention than huge crowds at meetings or the distribution of goodies among voters. Karuna Amman and Harin Fernando are the main players in the current political drama.

The Elections Commission has controlled the crowd size at meetings, and certainly moved to stop the goodie spread, with its move to stop former president and present SLPP candidate Sirisena, distributing scholarships to students and having tea with older supporters in Polonnaruwa.

Karuna Amman, alias Vinayagamoorthy Muralitharan, was a Tamil Tiger fighter for over 20 years and a regional LTTE leader as well. Later, he was the leader of a breakaway faction of the LTTE – the Tamil Makkal Viduthalai Pukkal – and mind you, also a National List MP of the Mahinda Rajapaksa UPFA government, Minister of National Integration and a Vice President of the SLFP. That is his great spread of politics in Sri Lanka, after the years in terrorist combat and leadership.

He has taken pride in being more dangerous than the Covid-19, and greater pride in telling that he killed more than 3000 army soldiers at Elephant Pass and other battlegrounds of the LTTE. The CID has now recorded a statement from him on this soldier-killing saga. But, why did the CID have to bother about this at all. Does the Police not know that loud, screaming or even shrieking boasts are part of the electoral politics of Sri Lanka?

Oh yes, the boast here was about 3000 soldiers killed. There are louder calls now for the death sentence to be imposed on this brutal killer, even though that sentence is suspended in the country.

Continue reading ‘Should the leader of the Catholic Church in Sri Lanka not have the right to make statements that relate to the politics in the country, which will affect voting by Catholics?’ »

Many of Mangala Samaraweera’s “New Deal” Proposals are at variance with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s vision for the country as spelled out in his 2019 elections manifesto.

By Lasanda Kurukulasuriya

Former minister Mangala Samaraweera’s decision not to contest the upcoming parliamentary election, despite his name being on the candidates list, is unlikely to have been an arbitrary one. Samaraweera is not the type of politician to fade into oblivion simply based on the chance that he may lose. An advocate of far-reaching neoliberal reforms, his leanings towards a pro-US foreign policy are well known. A high point being his signing up to make Sri Lanka a co-sponsor of a US-led anti-Lanka resolution at the UN Human Rights Council in 2015, when he was foreign minister. In all likelihood Samaraweera has a clear political plan in mind, for which he has powerful backers.

Days before his announcement to the people of Matara that he was stepping down from parliamentary politics, and asking them not to tick his name on the ballot paper, Samaraweera issued a wordy statement on his proposals for economic reform. Titled ‘A New Deal for Sri Lanka,’ it described, in apocalyptic tones, a picture of doom and gloom that he said the country was facing, soon to manifest in conditions of mass unemployment, debt and hunger. For the first time, a default on sovereign debt was expected, he said. In the electoral context, it remains unclear to which faction the former finance minister will hitch his political fortunes.

Fast-tracking the MCC

Two days after the New Deal statement, on 9th June, the Sri Lanka police carried out a brutal assault, followed by arrests, of a group they said planned to stage a demonstration near the US Embassy in Colpetty, over the murder of George Floyd, an African-American, by a White police officer in Minneapolis, USA. Video footage that went viral showing the man being suffocated under a policeman’s knee, shocked the conscience of the world. It triggered unprecedented protests in cities across the USA and Europe, that drew tens of thousands of multi-racial protestors for days on end.

The incident also triggered renewed debate over the structural aspects of racism and police violence in neoliberal society. Floyd was not the first such victim. “In the dominant narrative, the debate is framed in terms of “racist policemen” or African Americans that ‘do not respect the police,’” wrote Silvia Arana in a 2016 article in ‘Latin America in Movement’ website. “But the reality is that the racism and the abuse of police power fulfill a vital function for the neoliberal system: the police are used to repress poor African-American communities, with the aim of avoiding any form of rebellion in the face of the sacking of resources and the concentration of wealth in the hands of the elites.”

Continue reading ‘Many of Mangala Samaraweera’s “New Deal” Proposals are at variance with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s vision for the country as spelled out in his 2019 elections manifesto.’ »

All Candidates Suffering Under irrational and inexplicable restrictions Imposed by Current parliamentary elections law Who Get Elected to Parliament Must Get Together And Enact Much Needed Amendments to Election Law

by C.A. Chandraprema

An issue that this writer has been highlighting in this newspaper from time to time for the past several years has now finally come home to roost and how! Today it has become a national issue affecting the candidates of all political parties in the country. This Parliamentary election will have to be fought strictly according to the rules laid down in the Parliamentary Elections Act of 1981. One cartoonist aptly portrayed the situation by depicting the present election as a situation where all contestants are standing by to participate in a swimming contest with their hands tied behind their backs and with the Chairman of the Elections Commission with the whistle to signal the start. Another cartoonist depicted a candidate putting up a poster of himself with his number in his own bedroom because the Elections Commission has banned the display of posters everywhere else.

The evening news bulletins showed one candidate in the Badulla district, being forced to remove stickers advertising his candidacy on a vehicle. A previous news bulletin showed a car that had been ‘caught’ by the police for no other reason than it had stickers advertising a candidate. Last Thursday’s Divaina reported former Parliamentarian P.Harrison as having told supporters that he will have a picture of the Chairman of the Elections Commission with his (Harrison’s) number put up in his office so that the Elections Commission will not be able to take it down. On Thursday, officials from the Elections Commission visited the headquarters of the Samagi Jana Balawegaya in Colombo and ordered them to remove images of Sajith Premadasa from the signs on the building because he is a candidate contesting the election. Former Minister Ajith P. Perera was shown standing in front of the SJB headquarters complaining that the new rules imposed by the Elections Commission were very unreasonable.

SLPP candidate Indika Anuruddha was shown on the TV news bulletins expressing his perplexity as to why all these restrictions are being applied at this election when such restrictions were not applied at previous elections.

Continue reading ‘All Candidates Suffering Under irrational and inexplicable restrictions Imposed by Current parliamentary elections law Who Get Elected to Parliament Must Get Together And Enact Much Needed Amendments to Election Law’ »

A tongue lashing by the President of senior officials in the banking sector may please those who want the President to exercise dictatorial powers in governance.

by Prof. Savitri Goonesekere

During the last few weeks, the media has paid a great deal of attention to fundamental rights cases filed in our Supreme Court. The electronic media, typically expressed half-truths or incorrect information on what these cases were about. Sadly, but perhaps not unexpectedly, opposition parties who should have been concerned with the matter, failed to contradict the toxic messages on the TV, regarding this litigation in the Supreme Court.

Most people thought that the petitioners were just being nasty, trying to prevent a General Election, and challenging the President’s right to dissolve Parliament. Opinions expressed, in analyzing the legal provisions were either dismissed as irrelevant legal jargon, or another contribution to partisan politics.

When the Supreme Court dismissed all the petitions, on June 2, 2020, after long hearings, without giving reasons, there was closure on the debate. Their Lordships had expressed a unanimous opinion that all the petitions had no merit, and that was the end of the matter.

Some of us, analyzing the issue of postponed elections and incapacity to summon a new Parliament, due to Covid 19, requested the President in public appeals to act under Article 70 (7) of the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘A tongue lashing by the President of senior officials in the banking sector may please those who want the President to exercise dictatorial powers in governance.’ »

Milinda Moragoda urges political parties to consider abolishing the Provincial Council system

Milinda Moragoda, Founder of the Pathfinder Foundation and former Cabinet Minister, called on political parties to clearly state their positions on the Provincial Council system in their policy platforms for the forthcoming general elections. He urges parties to consider repealing the 13th Amendment, thereby abolishing the Provincial Council system.

Moragoda reiterated his earlier proposal that the Provincial Councils should be abolished and power be directly devolved to empowered and reconfigured local, urban and municipal councils, since these bodies operate closest to the citizenry, and are thus in a better position to address and solve community-level problems.

Continue reading ‘Milinda Moragoda urges political parties to consider abolishing the Provincial Council system’ »

Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake asks CID Officers to Leave His Chambers After They Tried to Show Photographs of Arrested Lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah To Children Prior to Recording Statements From Them; Identification Parade with 10 Child Witnesses Cancelled Due to Defence Lawyers Protesting Against Exercise to “Legitimise an Illegal Process.”

Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayaka said in open court that officers of the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) had attempted to show photographs of Hejaaz Hizbullah at his chambers prior to the recording of statements from two children.

When the matter was taken up before Dissanayake on 24 June, he told Hizbullah’s lawyers that prior to the recording of the statements from the two children, this attempt had been made: “I want to reveal this. The CID officers tried to show pictures and I had to tell them to leave the Chamber.”

Two children had made “voluntary statements” on 12 May to the Magistrate on camera regarding Hizbullah. An identification parade was to be held including Hizbullah with 10 children being summoned as witnesses to identify Hizbullah.

Continue reading ‘Fort Magistrate Ranga Dissanayake asks CID Officers to Leave His Chambers After They Tried to Show Photographs of Arrested Lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah To Children Prior to Recording Statements From Them; Identification Parade with 10 Child Witnesses Cancelled Due to Defence Lawyers Protesting Against Exercise to “Legitimise an Illegal Process.”’ »

Gotabaya a Standalone President Acting Extra-Constitutionally Without a Parliament

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

JR Jayewardene and Gotabaya Rajapaksa:A tale of Two Executive Presidents – Part Three

The entry of Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa into the presidential race in 2019 brought about a paradigm shift in the mode and manner of contesting elections by major political party fielded presidential candidates. In the past all candidates who fancied themselves as prospective executive presidents paid special attention to minority community parties and voters in Sri Lanka. Gotabaya Rajapaksa changed all that in practice.

Many reasons in favour of an elected executive president were trotted out by the J.R. Jayewardene-led United National Party (UNP) Government in 1978 when it introduced the executive president system to Sri Lanka. One of the plus points mentioned was that the executive presidency was advantageous to the numerical minority ethnicities of the country. This assertion that the executive presidency was beneficial to the minority communities of Sri Lanka did have a certain degree of validity.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya a Standalone President Acting Extra-Constitutionally Without a Parliament’ »

If the Incumbent Lankan Regime with its ‘Asiatic Authoritarian-militarist mode’ is Perceived by India and the US as having Transitioned to a category of China’s “most favoured” States Like Pakistan,Cambodia and Myanmar the Consequences could be Unfavourable.

By

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

It was hardly a textbook example of the “correct handling of contradictions” (Mao). Future historians may conclude that the achievable dream of the 21st century as an Asian Age in a multipolar world order, died in mid-June 2020 in the Himalayas, in the Galwan valley in Ladakh.

The ferocious and lamentable clash between India and China with its tragic loss of lives is probably unlikely to escalate into armed conflict, but it marks a parting of the ways; the relationship will never be the same again. This rift will impact a number of important world forums and initiatives negatively. More fundamentally, it is certain to have inaugurated a fairly prolonged if low-intensity Cold War in Asia which will significantly impact and reshape global alignments and the overall strategic balance of forces in all regions, and most critically, the strategic dynamics in our own South Asian region.

World history today is being driven and will be driven in the foreseeable future by the relationship between the Great Powers—the USA, China and Russia—and the role that the Big Powers like India and emergent powers like Iran, Turkey and Indonesia play in relation to that Grand Triangle.

Continue reading ‘If the Incumbent Lankan Regime with its ‘Asiatic Authoritarian-militarist mode’ is Perceived by India and the US as having Transitioned to a category of China’s “most favoured” States Like Pakistan,Cambodia and Myanmar the Consequences could be Unfavourable.’ »

Premadasa Impeachment Move Showed That a President Facing a Hostile Parliament was Vulnerable.

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

JR Jayewardene and Gotabaya Rajapaksa: A Tale Of Two Executive Presidents -Part Two

Junius Richard Jayewardene’s reign as Executive President which began in 1978 came to an end in 1988. Even at the tail-end of his tenure, the grandmaster of political chess did toy with the idea of contesting for a third term by amending the Constitution again. Fortunately, for all concerned, such an eventuality did not occur.


JR was dissuaded from taking the extreme step of contesting a third time. He was 82 and his wife Elena was determined that JR should retire from politics. JR too was so inclined. By July 1988, it became known among close confidantes that JR was not going to contest again. But in a tactical move to keep the SLFP guessing and presidential aspirants in the UNP quiet, JR kept the question of his contesting again wide open for a long time.

Continue reading ‘Premadasa Impeachment Move Showed That a President Facing a Hostile Parliament was Vulnerable.’ »

Five Inernational Organizations Call Upom Sri Lankan authorities to stop targeting, intimidating, and harassing journalist Dharisha Bastians and her family and Ensure Their Safety

(Text of a Media Communique Released by the Human Rights Watch of a Joint Statement Issued by the Amnesty International,Committee to Protect Journalists, Front Line Defenders. Human Rights Watch and Reporters Without Borders on behalf of Beleaguered Sri Lankan Senior Journalist Dharisha Bastians)

The Sri Lankan authorities should stop targeting, intimidating, and harassing journalist and woman human rights defender, Dharisha Bastians, and her family. The Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Front Line Defenders condemn this assault on human rights and press freedom in Sri Lanka and call on the Sri Lanka Police to immediately stop the harassment and ensure Bastians’ safety.

Bastians is being targeted by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) in its investigation into what the Sri Lankan government maintains is a false claim of abduction by an employee of the Swiss Embassy. Swiss officials assert that the incident took place. Since December 2019, the CID has tried to link Bastians, and several others, to an inquiry into the alleged false accusation by the Swiss employee, seemingly attempting to prove some form of conspiracy. Pro-government media have conducted a campaign against Bastians and her family, supported by attacks on social media, labeling her a traitor and criminal.

Bastians is the former editor of the Sunday Observer newspaper, a state-owned English language weekly. She is also a contributor to the New York Times. Bastians has written extensively on human rights, militarization, corruption, religious freedom, democracy, and political rights in Sri Lanka. Her writing has consistently highlighted the struggles of people targeted by successive governments, especially religious and ethnic minorities.

Continue reading ‘Five Inernational Organizations Call Upom Sri Lankan authorities to stop targeting, intimidating, and harassing journalist Dharisha Bastians and her family and Ensure Their Safety’ »

JR Jayewardene and Gotabaya Rajapaksa: A Tale Of Two Executive Presidents

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa who was sworn in as Executive President on 18 November 2019 has been in office for six months now. He has been compelled to cope – and continues to cope – with several challenges during his brief but eventful tenure.

However, it is not my intention to evaluate Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s presidential performance in this article. Instead I would like to focus on how the nature of the executive presidency has undergone transformation in a very unique mode in the past few months that he has been in office.

Due to exceptional circumstances, Gotabaya Rajapaksa is arguably Sri Lanka’s first “standalone Executive President not dependent on the Legislature” today. In this he may have surpassed even the presidential vision of Junius Richard Jayewardene who introduced the presidential system of government in 1978. Jayewardene, known popularly as “JR,” envisaged the powerful presidency functioning in tandem with Parliament. Even though JR wanted a president not dependent on Parliament, he always acted through Cabinet and Parliament and preserved the parliamentary system without trying to operate outside it.
Continue reading ‘JR Jayewardene and Gotabaya Rajapaksa: A Tale Of Two Executive Presidents’ »

COVID-19 has compelled us to ask questions about leaders and leadership. What kind of leaders do we have?

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

“It is better to lead from behind and to put others in front, especially when you celebrate victory when nice things occur. You can take the front line when there is danger. Then people will appreciate your leadership.”_ — Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela was a rare leader. It would be hard to imagine two individuals like Mandela inhabiting the earth at the same time. In fact, very few countries can boast of several leaders like him in their respective histories. This rarity is probably why he is celebrated not just in South Africa but the world over. Nelson Mandela is the leader every country wants to have but doesn’t. The Nelson Mandela yearning gains greater currency when the world, a nation or even a political party faces a serious leadership crisis.

It can be said with certainty today that COVID-19 not only took the world by surprise but threw it into confusion and even chaos. Unexpected turns of events can do that, but if humankind has overcome adversity that arrives unexpectedly and in magnitudes of this nature, more often than not it is because of resolute leadership.

COVID-19 exposed a lot of weaknesses and errors in multiple spheres of humanity but none so stark as our lack of good leadership. There was no global response to speak of. The World Health Organization, for all its good intentions, was caught wrong-footed. The leaders of powerful nations quickly opted to play a blame-game, pointing fingers at each other. Naturally, while there was no concerted global effort to combat the pandemic, individual countries, including the economically powerful, floundered.

Continue reading ‘COVID-19 has compelled us to ask questions about leaders and leadership. What kind of leaders do we have?’ »

The Plot Within the TNA Targeting Party Spokesman Sumanthiran

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran was in the eye of a raging political storm some weeks ago due to a YouTube interview given by the 56-year-old President’s Counsel cum politician to the “Truth with Chamuditha” show. A few of the questions and answers in Sinhala were picked up by a Tamil TV – reportedly aligned to a northern politician which allegedly mistranslated the words of Sumanthiran with a mischievous slant. This in turn led to a cacophony of angry voices over mainstream Tamil media and social media — within and outside Sri Lanka — berating the former Jaffna district parliamentarian and accredited spokesperson of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) and Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK) for what he had purportedly stated in the interview.

Political attacks being launched against Sumanthiran is nothing new. The lawyer -politician with liberal, relatively-moderate views has been the favourite target of “hawks” on either side of the ethnic divide in the past. The striking difference this time was that much of the attacks emanated from within the TNA in general and the ITAK in particular.Many TNA ex-MP colleagues of Sumanthiran including ITAK leader Somasundaran”Maavai” Senathirajah issued statements critical of Sumanthiran without even contacting their erstwhile fellow parliamentarian to verify facts. This was followed by many Tamil media reports about a series of “consultations” organised by Senathirajah among TNA ex-MPs to discuss the removal of Sumanthiran as party spokesperson and ouster from ITAK.
Continue reading ‘The Plot Within the TNA Targeting Party Spokesman Sumanthiran’ »

I May be a Doctor Fighting COVID-19 But Now I am Only a Daughter Crying in Isolation For Her Departed Father!

By
Dr. Nachiar Thondaman

(Dr. Nachiar Thondaman working in a middle-eastern country is the eldest daughter of CWC Leader and Sri Lankan Cabinet Minister Arumugan Thondaman who passed away on May 26th 2020. She arrived in Colombo days ago but is undergoing quarantine isolation in accordance with anti-COVID health procedures.Unable to participate in her Father’s funeral proceedings, Dr. Nachiar took to the pen and wrote down her random thoughts as a letter to him in a bid to cope with her personal tragedy. By doing so, she has revealed the softer side of Arumugan who has a tough strong man image due to his style of politics. A part of this letter was read out by her brother Jeevan at Thondaman’s funeral. The Daughter’s letter to her Father is published here in full)

“Appah” Arumugan with Children Nachi, Viji &Jeevan

Dear Father,

How are you doing? It has been days since I got that dreaded call and found out that you had left us. After hours of travel and endless tears, I eagerly reached home only to be quarantined. Every day I see what this disease can do, and how many lives it has taken, however my irrational anger is deafened by my duty as a doctor.

Arumugan With Eldest Daughter and Son in Law on Wedding Day

Continue reading ‘I May be a Doctor Fighting COVID-19 But Now I am Only a Daughter Crying in Isolation For Her Departed Father!’ »

The “Crucial flaw” affecting credible investigation into any ‘high profile’ crime in Sri Lanka is its “capture by the political arm of the State”- Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena.

By

Meera Srinivasan

As investigators in Sri Lanka move into the “final stages” of the probe into the April 2019 Easter terror bombings, concerns over apparent lack of adherence to due process have risen from several quarters.

Sri Lanka police recently said they are about to conclude investigations of the deadly serial bombings that claimed 279 lives last year; having arrested over 200 suspects in connection with the case. However, as more arrests make headlines, lawyers, civil society activists and rights groups flag apparent lapses in adherence to the law.

In particular, the April 14 arrest of attorney at law Hejaaz Hizbullah has drawn much attention. The lawyer has been in detention for two months after he was arrested under Sri Lanka’s draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) that civil liberties activists have long wanted repealed. The former Maithripala Sirisena-Ranil Wickremesinghe government, having promised to repeal the Act, didn’t.

Continue reading ‘The “Crucial flaw” affecting credible investigation into any ‘high profile’ crime in Sri Lanka is its “capture by the political arm of the State”- Kishali Pinto-Jayawardena.’ »

Ex-Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Writes Letter to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa In Defence of the Central Bank After President Gotabaya Rajapaksa castigates CB Officials Publicly

Sri Lanka’s ex-Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera has come out to defend the central bank after it was slammed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for inaction saying a credit guarantee scheme is needed to help move loans.

Ironically Samaraweera’s economic program was hit by monetary instability in 2018 triggered by pro-cyclical rate cuts and liquidity injections which led to a collapse of the currency in that year, leading a fall in demand, slowing growth and a spike in inflation in 2019 (stagflation).

In an open letter to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa who is also finance minister Samaraweera said the central bank has taken a number of initiatives after the Coronavirus crisis.

The central bank had cut rates, cut the reserve ratio, bought Treasury bills injecting liquidity and lost foreign reserves.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera Writes Letter to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa In Defence of the Central Bank After President Gotabaya Rajapaksa castigates CB Officials Publicly’ »

If President Rajapaksa Continues to Centralise Power in the Presidential Secreariat Like Appointing an ex-DIG an Ombudsman Thereby , Dupicating Constitutional Institutions Then What is the Need For a Constitution in Sri Lanka?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

If President Gotabaya Rajapaksa can be so bold as to set up institutions running parallel to constitutional bodies situated in his Presidential Secretariat, the consequential question arises as to what need is there of a Constitution for Sri Lanka?

Duplication of constitutional institutions

This query becomes pertinent in regard to the recent appointment of an Ombudsman, a retired Deputy Inspector General (DIG) to boot, tasked with inquiring into public grievances and complaints. That appointment was made despite a constitutional office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration (Ombudsman) being functional for decades, albeit historically critiqued in respect of the limitations of that office.

This is even more an insidious undermining of the constitutional process than the appointment of military-led Task Forces to take over manifold civil and policing functions, ranging from building a lawful, disciplined and virtuous nation to protection of archeological sites in the East. We would expect more Task Forces, stuffed with military and police appointees to be on the horizon with all the deadly inevitability of an incoming tidal wave. But even so, to duplicate constitutional institutions is quite another manifestation of the steady creation of an omnipotent centralisation of power in the Presidential Secretariat which has gone largely unremarked.

Continue reading ‘If President Rajapaksa Continues to Centralise Power in the Presidential Secreariat Like Appointing an ex-DIG an Ombudsman Thereby , Dupicating Constitutional Institutions Then What is the Need For a Constitution in Sri Lanka?’ »

Does the Tamil polity have the wisdom and maturity to undertake a critical analysis of the strategies that need to be adopted in the post-COVID-19 world?

By Veeragathy Thanabalasingham

COVID-19, the pandemic that is claiming lives all over the world, has thrown global politics into disarray, crafting a new normal in which nothing will be the way it was.

Political scholars are writing extensively on the challenges that will characterize the post-pandemic world order.

This is the time for international cooperation and solidarity among the super powers. This is the time for world leaders to come together to deal with the challenges the pandemic has forced on humanity. But at a time of shared concerns, what we are being cautioned about is the danger of a new cold war.

The world is all too familiar with the 50-year cold war between the United States and the Soviet Union in the aftermath of the Second World War. There has been no war preceding this current bout of unease, but the last three months have illustrated how a cold war between two economic superpowers, the United States and China, could create new camps of nations in the post-pandemic world.

In this context, countries will have to formulate strategies taking into account economic considerations and geopolitical advantages. At the same time, communities that are battling against authoritarianism and discrimination need to engage in a considered assessment of their future. There is no doubt that the plight of such communities will be determined by what transpires in the post-COVID context.

When viewed in this context, it is important to seriously consider the possible impact new thinking will have on the struggle of the Tamil community in Sri Lanka for a political solution to the ethnic problem, and for justice.

Continue reading ‘Does the Tamil polity have the wisdom and maturity to undertake a critical analysis of the strategies that need to be adopted in the post-COVID-19 world?’ »

April 2019 Easter Bombings Investigation now focusing on financial networks connected to suicide bombers with role of foreign groups being Suspected; 200 suspects so far arrested

By Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s probe into the April 2019 Easter terror bombings is in its “final stages”, authorities have said, while raising suspicion that the suicide bombers were funded by “two foreign outfits”.

The Colombo Crime Division, Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and the Terrorism Investigation Department (TID), who are investigating the attacks of last summer, have arrested over 200 suspects since.

The coordinated bomb blasts at three luxury hotels in Colombo and three churches in Colombo, nearby Negombo, and the eastern city of Batticaloa, were the deadliest attacks in Sri Lanka’s post-war decade, claiming 279 lives.

On what remains to be found out in the ongoing probe, police spokesman Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Jaliya Senaratne said investigators are focusing on the financial networks connecting the suicide bombers.

Continue reading ‘April 2019 Easter Bombings Investigation now focusing on financial networks connected to suicide bombers with role of foreign groups being Suspected; 200 suspects so far arrested’ »

Father Ernest Poruthota Was the Patron Saint of Sinhala Theatre and Film.

By
Dr.Sarath Amunugama

I thought of writing this note as I am one of the few survivors from the halcyon days of the nineteen seventies when Father Ernest Poruthota nurtured a small group of young middle class urbanites who were breaking into the hitherto exclusive preserves of Sinhala theatre and film.

Many of these young men came from the ‘’Catholic Belt’’ which extended from Colombo North to Wennappuwa and had many good bilingual schools. They were managed by distinguished Catholic missionaries from Italy, France and Belgium.

Among their accomplishments was the promotion of acting and hymn singing which prepared some of their students, among them Tony Ranasinghe, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Ravindra Randeniya to think of a future on stage and screen.

These Catholic students were all in thrall to the Minerva Players of Negombo which gave star billing to Rukmani Devi and her husband Eddie Jayamanne. Their mansion ‘’Jaya Ruk’’ in a suburb of Negombo [sold when the glamorous pair fell on bad times] was the cynosure of all eyes and confirmed to ambitious young aspirants that the arts could pave the way to riches as well as fame.

But the man who cracked the whip, both metaphorically and in real life as we now know, was B A W Jayamanne, Eddie’s elder brother, who was playwright, producer, financier, actor and manager of the Minerva Company.

Continue reading ‘Father Ernest Poruthota Was the Patron Saint of Sinhala Theatre and Film.’ »

Lucien de Zoysa: Cricketer, actor, playwright, producer, cricket commentator, journalist and raconteur extraordinary

by R. B. Wijesinha (Jnr.)

Had Bertie Wijesinha been alive on May 24, he would have been 100 years old. Sadly, he fell just short of his century. This year is also the 25th anniversary of the passing of his great friend, teammate and fellow commentator, Lucien de Zoysa. Four years older than Bertie, their association began from the Royal-Thomian Cricket Match of 1936; Bertie’s first and Lucien’s last. They have both written books about their cricketing days, “First Love’ by Lucien and “The Love of a Lifetime’ by Bertie, both publications a ‘must read’ for those interested in the evolution of the game in Sri Lanka.

They counted the likes of Sargo Jayawickrama, F. C. (Derrick) De Saram, Mahadevan Sathasivam, C. I. (Ievers) Gunasekera, Ben Navaratne, Mahes Rodrigo, D. S. Jayasundera, Sathi Coomaraswamy and others, as team mates and friends; legends all who contributed what cricket historians of the future will claim was the Golden Age of Sri Lankan Cricket, laying the foundations and setting the standards of the formidable Test Cricket playing Nation it was to become.

Mine is a personal tribute to (Uncle) Lucien in emotions based on the opening paragraph of Bertie’s chapter on his great friend. It reads thus,

One man in his time plays many parts! So was it with Lucien Edward! Cricketer, actor, playwright, producer, cricket commentator, journalist and raconteur extraordinary. Not a great deal, however, has been told of Lucien the man; the human aspect of his nature. It is a sentimental journey which I now undertake, his spirit, as it were, walking beside me!

Continue reading ‘Lucien de Zoysa: Cricketer, actor, playwright, producer, cricket commentator, journalist and raconteur extraordinary’ »

The chaos reigning on the streets of the USA should ensure the re-election of President Donald Trump as many Americans would see him as the only thing standing between them and total anarchy

by C. A. Chandraprema

If Sri Lanka’s own experience is anything to go by, the chaos reigning on the streets of the USA should ensure the re-election of President Donald Trump at the presidential elections later this year. In 1988, Prime Minister R. Premadasa’s victory at the presidential elections of that year was more or less assured by the campaign of terror launched by the JVP. Many ordinary people who were not loyalists of any particular political party feared that if there was a change of government, Mrs Sirima Bandaranaike the then leader of the SLFP would not be able to contain the JVP. It was this fear of handing over the reins of power to a party that was not showing signs of being able to cope with the JVP that motivated many people to vote for Premadasa. The fact that the SLFP was known to be talking to the JVP to obtain the latter’s help to win the presidential election did not do anything to reassure voters either.

The same sentiment may well ensure Trump’s re-election in the USA. Ordinary Americans cannot possibly be pleased at what is happening on the streets of their country right now. The run up to the 2016 presidential election saw American politics descending to the level of Sri Lankan politics with vilification, smear campaigns and false propaganda taking centre stage. The introduction and spread of the use of new communication technologies such as smart phones, the internet and the social media during the second decade of the 21st century added fuel to the fire in Sri Lanka. The fall of the Rajapaksa government in January 2015 was due in large measure to their inability to respond effectively to the barrage of false propaganda against them. It’s a well known fact that all this was organized and funded from 2009 through 2015 by foreign elements who were hell bent on effecting what they called ‘regime change’ in Sri Lanka by fair means or foul.

After having experienced a deluge of propaganda and vilification resulting in the Rajapaksa government being washed away by its force, we Lankans watched while a similar deluge of propaganda and vilification washed over the USA in the run-up to the 2016 presidential elections. But the result in the USA in 2016 was different. Donald Trump won against all odds – despite all the vilification, smear campaigns, and bias of the mainstream media. That marked a turning point in global politics together with the Brexit vote in the UK a few months earlier. It was not the conservatives but the liberals in the universal political divide who had mastered the art of the demonization of political opponents, smear campaigns, vilification and false propaganda. This was as true of the USA as it was of Sri Lanka, which is why in the second decade of the 21st century, there was such a resemblance between Sri Lankan politics and US politics.

Continue reading ‘The chaos reigning on the streets of the USA should ensure the re-election of President Donald Trump as many Americans would see him as the only thing standing between them and total anarchy’ »

President Trying to bypass Prime Minister, Cabinet and Ministries and establish a form of direct government coming under his control Through Presidential Task Forces – National Peoples Front


The National People’s Power (NPP) yesterday, expressed grave concern regarding the appointment of a series of Presidential Task Forces (PTFs) by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in recent times. Issuing a press release the NPP stated that PTFs posed a significant threat to democracy in Sri Lanka and pledged to resist such attempts to bypass mandated, established and accountable public institutions.

“We will not allow democracy to be weakened in this country,” the NPP said, calling on the public to be vigilant and support their efforts. The NPP stated that the appointment of Presidential Task Forces is a prerogative which lies with the President, to look into special issues or problems.

However, they expressed concern that President seems to view Presidential Task Forces as an alternative government. “The President seems to want to bypass established public sector institutions which include his own Prime Minister, Cabinet and Ministries and establish a form of direct government coming under his control,” the NPP statement read, pointing out that as of yesterday, six PTFs have been established on a range of issues.

Continue reading ‘President Trying to bypass Prime Minister, Cabinet and Ministries and establish a form of direct government coming under his control Through Presidential Task Forces – National Peoples Front’ »

“Yahapalana” Minister Who Faced Protess for Allegedly Giving “Dud” Job Appointments to the Youths of Hambantota is now Contesting From Colombo Instead of Hambantota – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa

Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa has in a speech called on all candidates to be mindful of the election related guidelines issued by the health authorities and also to conduct an environmentally friendly and exemplary election campaign.


The following is the text of the PM’s speech:

After the Presidential election of 16 November 2019, we will be able to convene a new Parliament only in August 2020. The 19th Amendment provision which forbids the dissolution of Parliament until the lapse of four and a half years and the Covid-19 pandemic have together brought about a situation, where the whole country has been in a transitional stage for nine full months. We have never before, experienced a situation like this in our political history. This Parliamentary election is essential to complete the change that the people of this country initiated at the Presidential election last year.

This election is a democratic right that we won with great difficulty. The yahapalana political parties tried to get this Parliamentary election delayed by petitioning courts but the Supreme Court did not permit that to happen. You will recall that the yahapalana government arbitrarily delayed the local government elections for three years and made it impossible to hold the provincial council elections. The people now have the democratic right to elect a government of their choice.

Continue reading ‘“Yahapalana” Minister Who Faced Protess for Allegedly Giving “Dud” Job Appointments to the Youths of Hambantota is now Contesting From Colombo Instead of Hambantota – Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Mangala Samaraweera is firm in his conviction that he should move away from the extremely rotten old political culture and commit himself to the cause of building a new mass political movement aimed at rescuing the country.

By

Victor Ivan

The decision reached by Mangala Samaraweera who is considered a colourful, controversial, daring and creative political figure in the old or the traditional political landscape of Sri Lanka, which is currently on the verge of decay and death, to abandon the course of traditional politics and choose to tread on an alternative path can be seen as a silver line in the pitch darkness.

Despite the serious cardiac condition suffered a few days ago, I am bound to produce this brief note analysing the factors that led to Mangala Samaraweera’s sudden change of political course to tread on a new path.

He had several rounds of discussions with me before he chose this new path. He was aware that I was an activist of the Punarudaya movement when he had discussions with me. We both had longstanding acquaintances, and there were occasions when we had even entered into heated arguments in public debates on various issues of public importance. For some time we did not have close contact, which resumed during the latter part of the regime of the previous Government.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera is firm in his conviction that he should move away from the extremely rotten old political culture and commit himself to the cause of building a new mass political movement aimed at rescuing the country.’ »

Indian and Chinese Troops Clash in Galwan Valley Along Sino-Indian Border in Most Serious Incident Since 1962 War: Officially India Acknowledges 20 Dead but China Remains Silent Though US Intelligence Estimates at Least 35 Chinese Casualties

By Keith Jones

The most serious border clash between Indian and Chinese troops since the two countries fought a brief border war in 1962 has reportedly resulted in dozens of fatalities.

Fighting erupted Monday night in the Galwan Valley, one of at least four places along the disputed Sino-Indian border where troops have been arrayed against each other in close quarters for more than a month.

Initial Indian government reports said three Indian army personnel, including a commissioned officer, died in the fighting. But later Tuesday, the fatality figure was dramatically revised, with the Indian Army issuing a statement that said a further “17 Indian troops who were critically injured … at the standoff location and exposed to sub-zero temperatures in the high altitude terrain have succumbed to their injuries.”

Till now, the Chinese government has not acknowledged any fatalities. But the editor of the Chinese state-aligned Global Times indicated in a tweet that at least some Chinese soldiers were killed in the clash, which reportedly lasted for several hours.

The Times of India has claimed that Indian intercepts of Chinese communications have revealed that there were at least 43 Chinese casualties, including unspecified numbers of dead and critically injured. US News and World Report, meanwhile, reported that “American intelligence believes 35 Chinese troops died” in the clash, “including one senior officer.”

Continue reading ‘Indian and Chinese Troops Clash in Galwan Valley Along Sino-Indian Border in Most Serious Incident Since 1962 War: Officially India Acknowledges 20 Dead but China Remains Silent Though US Intelligence Estimates at Least 35 Chinese Casualties’ »

Sri Lankan educators fear that the uneven access to gadgets and internet connection among students might bring new divides in the country’s free education system.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Forced to shift to online platforms due to the coronavirus pandemic, Sri Lankan educators fear that the uneven access to gadgets and internet connection among students might bring new divides in the country’s free education system.

Ever since Sri Lanka reported its first local case of COVID-19 on March 10, public health authorities have been on high alert. With frontline health workers and the military leading the fight against the virus, the country went into curfew for nearly two months, simultaneously shutting its airports and ports to visitors.

Schools and universities have remained closed during the time, swiftly opting for online tools and platforms to continue with the academic calendar. Wasting no time, authorities issued gazette on the subject, while the University Grants Commission (UGC) wrote to all vice-chancellors in March, asking them to “minimise the damage to this academic year”, by adapting to online platforms. The UGC also offered free access to online resources for all university students and faculty members.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan educators fear that the uneven access to gadgets and internet connection among students might bring new divides in the country’s free education system.’ »

SSP Who Allegedly Suppressed Evidence to Shield Suspected Murderers of Lasantha Wickrematunge Appointed Director of CID;Slain “Sunday Leader”Editor’s Daughter Ahimsa Asks National Police Commission to Remove A.R. Prasanna J. Alwis and Take Steps to Produce him in Court as Ordered by Acting IGP Before 2019 Presidential Election


Ahimsa Wickrematunge, the daughter of late journalist and Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge, has appealed to the Police Commission to block the appointment of SSP A.R.P.J. Alwis as Director of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

Wickrematunge releasing a statement said that Alwis was ordered to be arrested in connection to her father’s murder and he was unsuited to such a high office.

The full statement is given below.

My father, Lasantha Wickrematunge, was murdered in Attidiya on 8 January 2009. His murder is being investigated by the CID. In October 2019, the CID reported to the Mount Lavinia Magistrates Court that in 2010, the then Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Terrorist Investigation Division (TID) SSP A.R. Prasanna J. Alwis, had suppressed evidence and shielded suspects in order to screen my father’s murderers from punishment. Such crimes are each punishable by up to seven years in prison.

Continue reading ‘SSP Who Allegedly Suppressed Evidence to Shield Suspected Murderers of Lasantha Wickrematunge Appointed Director of CID;Slain “Sunday Leader”Editor’s Daughter Ahimsa Asks National Police Commission to Remove A.R. Prasanna J. Alwis and Take Steps to Produce him in Court as Ordered by Acting IGP Before 2019 Presidential Election’ »

Ultimately the outcome Prabhakaran and the LTTE achieved for the Tamils was negative: destruction, and a situation in which the Sri Lankan military completely dominates the North and East and its citizenry.

By

Dr. Dayan Jayatilleka

“Can you gather grapes from thorns or pick figs from thistles?” – Matthew 7:16-20

Tamil politics is devoid of a strategic calculus. While the recent welcome offers to the Prime Minister and the President (in that chronological order) of conditional cooperation by the TNA leader Sampanthan

followed by its rising star Sumanthiran are healthy, positive gestures, the stipulated condition is unwise in the extreme: that of a new Constitution which accommodates Tamil aspirations. That’s been repeatedly tried and has failed. Worse: it’s a Pandora’s Box.

While it cannot be ruled out that the SLPP may be able to secure or come within striking distance of a two-thirds majority, any new Constitution that issues from it cannot but reflect the mandate as well as the larger ethos and the balance of forces, and these factors point to a neoconservative, ultranationalist, hyper-centralist Constitution, the very logic of which is structurally hostile to the principle of the sharing of power i.e. devolution. How can greater devolution get past the Buddhist Advisory Council? The counter-argument would be that the TNA’s support would be withheld unless the new Constitution met its requirements, but that’s riskily polarising.

Continue reading ‘Ultimately the outcome Prabhakaran and the LTTE achieved for the Tamils was negative: destruction, and a situation in which the Sri Lankan military completely dominates the North and East and its citizenry.’ »

TNA Leader R.Sampanthan as a Sri Lankan Tamil and Devout Hindu Writes Lengthy Letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Over Appointment of “Sinhala Buddhist”Task Force To Allegedly Preserve Archaeological Heritage of only The Eastern Province Excluding Other eight Provinces

(Text of a letter sent by TNA leader and former Trincomalee District MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on the Estabishment of a Presidential Task Force for Archeological Heritage Management in the EASTERN PROVINCE)

15th June 2020
R. SAMPANTHAN
LEADER TAMIL NATIONAL ALLIANCE

PRESIDENT GOTABAYA RAJAPAKSA
President Socialist Democratic Republic of Sri Lanka,
Presidential Secretariat,
Colombo 1.

Your Excellency,

Estabishment of a Presidential Task Force for Archeological Heritage Management in the EASTERN PROVINCE, as per proclamation published in Gazette Extraordinary Number 2178/17 of June 02 2020

I write with reference to the above matter.

Initially I wish to make the following observations.

1. Sri Lanka is a multi-ethnic, multi lingual, multi religious, multi-cultural pluralistic society.

2. Sri Lanka comprises of Nine (9) province of which the Eastern Province is one.

3. The Eastern Province has been a multi ethnic province though the majority has always been predominantly Tamil speaking.

4. In its composition the Task Force is Pan Sinhala. The manner of its composition clearly indicates that it is meant to serve the interests of one community – the Sinhalese, and one religion – Buddhism who it must be admitted are the majority in the country.

5. It would be pertinent to raise the question, why other provinces have been left out, why other communities and other religions have been left out.

As a Sri Lankan Tamil and as a devout Hindu, my concerns are aroused, because of the deep roots the Tamil Hindu people have not merely in the Northern and Eastern Provinces, but also in the whole country.

Continue reading ‘TNA Leader R.Sampanthan as a Sri Lankan Tamil and Devout Hindu Writes Lengthy Letter to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Over Appointment of “Sinhala Buddhist”Task Force To Allegedly Preserve Archaeological Heritage of only The Eastern Province Excluding Other eight Provinces’ »

Presidential Task Forces (PTFs) has no provision to bring public officials under the control of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Says Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne.


By Asiri Fernando

The role of the Presidential Task Forces (PTFs) has been misinterpreted by some and there is no provision to bring public officials under the control of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence (MOD), said Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne.

The statement by the Secretary to the MOD comes in the wake of strong concern and criticism expressed by politicians, legal experts and civil society activists that the powers assigned to the PTFs were overreaching and may infringe of the independence of the public service.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Task Forces (PTFs) has no provision to bring public officials under the control of the Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Says Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne.’ »

Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne Directs CID to Obtain a report from the Government Analyst on Whether the laptop belonging to journalist Dharisha Bastians Seized by the CID had been Tampered with Between June 4 to June 10

By

T. Farook Thajudeen and Yoshitha Perera

The Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne today directed the CID to obtain a report from the Government Analyst on the laptop belonging to journalist Dharisha Bastains had been Tampered

The laptop is currently in the custody of the CID in connection with the investigation into the alleged abduction of the Swiss Embassy staffer.

The CID informed Court that the laptop was seized on June 9 based on a search warrant issued by Court and that it was in the possession of Ms. Bastian’s father-in-law, a resident of Polhengoda, Narahenpita.

Continue reading ‘Colombo Chief Magistrate Lanka Jayaratne Directs CID to Obtain a report from the Government Analyst on Whether the laptop belonging to journalist Dharisha Bastians Seized by the CID had been Tampered with Between June 4 to June 10’ »

Following Application Made by Journalist’s Lawyers Colombo Chief Magistrate Orders Govt Analyst to Examine Laptop Computer of “New York Times” Correspondent Dharisha Bastians That was Seized by CID to See Whether Any Alterations Had been made to it

By

Meera Srinivasan

A Sri Lankan journalist attached to the The New York Times has said police recently raided her home and seized her laptop, in connection with the alleged abduction of a Swiss Embassy staffer in Colombo last November.

On Monday, Dharisha Bastians, a correspondent for The New York Times and a former editor of the State-run Sunday Observer, tweeted a statement, saying the CID raided her home on June 9.

“Five CID officials arrived at my residence in Colombo with a warrant to search the house. The officers searched the entire house, including bedrooms, my desk and my workspace… My computer was found, seized and sealed,” she said, adding that earlier, the CID obtained her telephone call records without a court order. “As a journalist, I was horrified at the public exposure of my telephone records, which could seriously endanger and compromise my sources and contacts, then, now and in the future,” she said.

Continue reading ‘Following Application Made by Journalist’s Lawyers Colombo Chief Magistrate Orders Govt Analyst to Examine Laptop Computer of “New York Times” Correspondent Dharisha Bastians That was Seized by CID to See Whether Any Alterations Had been made to it’ »

CID Searches Colombo Residence of Well-known Journalist Dharisha Bastians and Seize Computer used in the Past by her; Former “Sunday Observer” Editor who was Forced to Leave Country After 2019 Regime Change Concerned that “Interested parties” may Compromise the integrity of hardware, software, data and documents of the laptop


CID officers have searched the Colombo residence of career journalist and former Editor of the State-owned Sunday Observer, Dharisha Bastians, and taken away her computer last week.

Bastians, who was forced to leave the country after the change in Government, after her name was dragged into an investigation Involving the alleged abduction of an employee of the Swiss Embassy in Colombo, said that as a journalist, she is horrified at the public exposure of her telephone records, which could seriously endanger and compromise sources and contacts, then, now and in the future.

Continue reading ‘CID Searches Colombo Residence of Well-known Journalist Dharisha Bastians and Seize Computer used in the Past by her; Former “Sunday Observer” Editor who was Forced to Leave Country After 2019 Regime Change Concerned that “Interested parties” may Compromise the integrity of hardware, software, data and documents of the laptop’ »

Reliance on military for civil tasks may be popular at this time But unwise

by Jehan Perera

The signs of elections, and the short term changes that they bring, are upon us today. Posters of candidates are coming up with their party symbols, preference numbers and their vote-catching mottos. Although this is only a caretaker government and hence restricted in its ability to spend state funds and make far reaching structural changes, government ministers are making promises of many things, giving more loans, printing more money and producing more jobs. The economic hardships facing people are very real and acute.

Despite the difficulties that people are undergoing, at the individual level, due to economic hardships that personally affect them, the reality of politics today is that the electorate does not have a viable alternative to the government. The opposition has still to recover from its weak performance during the last year of its governance, in 2019, when it was internally divided between former President Maithripala Sirisena and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. By way of contrast, the present government gives an image of strength and competence that is reassuring to the general population.

In addition, at the macro level, the government has notched up two successes that are being constantly repeated by government members and echoed by the supportive media, and which the opposition cannot easily counter. The first is the fact that the members of the current government were the leaders who successfully ended the three-decade long war, which few thought possible during the time of war. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, as Defense Secretary at that time, is today credited for the war victory.

Continue reading ‘Reliance on military for civil tasks may be popular at this time But unwise’ »

Resisting the militarisation of Sri Lanka with all means at our collective command must be our first priority Ahead of the 2020 Parliament Election.This must be the unifying clarion call from the North to the South.

By
Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

To those who scoffed that the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency would not come in with a sweepingly heavy hand after the first few months of sweetness and charm, this frightening moment of the iron hand in the iron glove that Sri Lanka is experiencing at its onset must surely teach otherwise.

The world vis a vis Sri Lanka

Indeed, there is a frontal irony here. This is the precise point that the very military itself in the United States is decisively stepping back from a threateningly aggrandizing role that President Donald Trump wants to foist on it against American youth protesting racial injustice in the street. In direct contrast, we are embracing militarisation of civilian spaces with little opposition. There are other bitter-sweet ironies here. Speaking at the plenary session of the Law and Society Association (LSA)’s global law conference at Seattle in late May 2015, I had to explain just how important the Rule of Law had become in Sri Lanka’s rejection of a strongman President in 2015.

This was when strongman supremacy was emerging in the United States, with tinman copycats poised to strike elsewhere in the world. In Sri Lanka, I said, voters remained unpersuaded by the rejection of institutional checks and balances and disturbed by a country becoming the fiefdom of a corrupt few. And though it was true that the minority vote was vital in that outcome, Sinhalese votes also shifted in the face of the rude impeachment of a Chief Justice, murders of journalists, ruggerites and dissenters and rampant corruption.

Continue reading ‘Resisting the militarisation of Sri Lanka with all means at our collective command must be our first priority Ahead of the 2020 Parliament Election.This must be the unifying clarion call from the North to the South.’ »

The Fundamental Rights Petitions Relating to The General Elections

By

Nigel Hatch PC

The five Judge Bench of the Supreme Court by its decision on June 2, 2020 speaking through its majority rejected the preliminary objections raised by the Respondents to the maintainability of the several Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions challenging the legality of the presidential proclamation of March 2 dissolving Parliament. A Petition impugning the date of elections fixed by the Elections Commission for June 20 was withdrawn midstream. However the Court unanimously refused the Petitioners leave to proceed with their FR applications.

Thus far no reasons have been given by the Supreme Court for the decision after 10 days of hearing and it appears that none will be proffered. The Constitution provides that an FR application may be proceeded with, only with leave to proceed first granted by Court. Such leave may be granted or refused by Court. The practice of the Supreme Court has been not to proffer reasons when leave is refused.

Whilst the Court deserves overall public acclamation for rejecting the preliminary objections which straddled alleged infractions of time bars, lack of necessary parties and un-reviewability by Court of a presidential decision, nevertheless the refusal of leave to proceed without reasons for such refusal is with due respect to the Court, regrettable having regard to the significant constitutional issues raised.

These unsuccessful FR petitions focused on hitherto un-litigated and significant issues in constitutional law relating to the powers of the President and the Elections Commission as regards fixing a date for parliamentary elections and the administrative task of holding that election. Concomitantly the validity of the presidential proclamation of March 2 as the election could not be held on the due date and the implied resuscitation of the dissolved Parliament were also in contention.

Continue reading ‘The Fundamental Rights Petitions Relating to The General Elections’ »

Political Implications of Elections System Mechanics

by C.A.Chandraprema

The long awaited date of the parliamentary election has been announced and the beleaguered Elections Commission has been able to somewhat vindicate itself. The August 5 date is not too far off nor too close for more accusations to be hurled at the EC. Up to the time of writing, we have not heard anyone complaining about the poll date. That is a victory of sorts for the EC which had been under pressure from both sides of the political divide. The statement made by the Chairman of the Elections Commission Mahinda Deshapriya in making the announcement of the poll date was a resounding indictment of the yahapalana government’s obsession with avoiding elections. Just replaying Deshapriya’s words can serve as a campaign advertisement for the SLPP.

In announcing the date for the parliamentary election, EC Chairman Deshapriya denied any involvement of the Elections Commission in the delay of the local government elections by nearly three years between 2015 and 2018 and he made the quite correct claim that if the Elections Commission had not gone ahead and Gazetted 93 local government institutions for the poll to be held, there would have been no local government election up to now. He said that the EC was not responsible for the complete absence of the provincial councils either and said that all members of Parliament were responsible for that.

Even though he blamed all members of Parliament for the disappearance of the provincial councils, everyone knows that the provincial councils election law was amended in September 2017 by the yahapalana political parties despite stiff resistance from the Joint Opposition. However as the Elections Commission, they cannot call a spade a spade and say that it was the yahapalana government that made the provincial councils disappear, so they lay the blame on all 225 Members of Parliament. But anyone familiar with the sequence of events will know what happened. Be that as it may, now that the election date has been announced, there are certain realities that the parties contesting this election will have to take into account.

Continue reading ‘Political Implications of Elections System Mechanics’ »

When Arumugan Thondaman Clashed With Mahinda Rajapaksa.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC) leader and Cabinet minister of Livestock and Rural Community Development, Savumiamoorthy Arumugan Ramanathan Thondaman died of a cardiac arrest on Tuesday May 26th 2020. The 55 year old political leader known as Arumugan and Thonda would have celebrated his 56th birthday on May 29th but fate decreed otherwise. Arumugan Thondaman was seated on a Sofa and talking to his children inside his house numbered 135 on Kumbukgahawatte Mawatte off Parliament when he called out to his son Jeevan and collapsed. Thondaman was immediately taken to the Thalangama hospital but passed away within a few minutes of arrival. It was found that Thonda had succumbed to a massive heart attack.

@PresRajapaksa

The sudden demise of Arumugan Thondaman came as a huge shock to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa. He immediately rushed to the Thalangama hospital. Thereafter many other political leaders from Govt and opposition ranks also flocked to Thalangama. Mahinda Rajapaksa was visibly upset over Arumugan’s death. The prime minister told the media that minister Thondaman had met him only a few hours earlier.He had spoken about several issues concerning the up country Tamils of recent Indian origin known as “Malaiyahath Thamilar” or Hill Country Tamils. Apparently Arumugan had spent an unusually long time talking about many issues including the 1000 rupee daily wage, housing with Indian aid and problems caused by the COVID -19 pandemic and urged speedy solutions recalled an emotional Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘When Arumugan Thondaman Clashed With Mahinda Rajapaksa.’ »

If the Military Task Force Appointed by the President continues to function Sri Lanka would have established a military regime, within what is expected to be a civilian administration&a parliamentary democracy under a written Constitution – Friday Forum

(Text of Media Release Issued by the “Friday Forum”on June 11th 2020 Under the Heading ” The Rule of Law and Democratic Governance”)

At the Annual National law Conference 2020 organised by the Bar Association of Sri Lanka 2020, President Gotabaya Rajapakse in the course of his address said, “The time has come for all stakeholders including the judiciary, government, legal fraternity, and all other citizens concerned, to work together and make the system of justice people friendly, efficient and effective …. the independence of the judiciary is the corner stone of the rule of law. Without the independence of the judiciary the rule of law will inevitably fail.” (Daily News 17 February 2020).

On 2 June 2020, the very night the Supreme Court gave its order, dismissing all fundamental rights petitions relating to the re-summoning of Parliament and postponement of General Elections, without stating any reasons, the President promulgated an Extraordinary Gazette notification giving a Task Force of serving and military officers a sweeping mandate and powers of governance.
Continue reading ‘If the Military Task Force Appointed by the President continues to function Sri Lanka would have established a military regime, within what is expected to be a civilian administration&a parliamentary democracy under a written Constitution – Friday Forum’ »

Did the police brutality in Colombo against democratic demonstrators show that Sri Lanka is moving towards the democracy of the Retired Uniforms?

By Lucien Rajakarunanayake

How did Sri Lanka get so distant from global realities, so soon?

Why is a protest near an embassy of the United States a matter for such concern for the Police to even obtain a court order against, when the whole democratic world is carrying on such protests?

One may not be a supporter of the Frontline Socialists, who have a largely unsocialist record in their political performance in recent years. But, their decision to protest near the US Embassy, or any other place in the city, against the current US policies especially relating to the Police, brings them into some reality with the current rise in public feelings on police brutality and state manipulation of the police; the call of democracy, spreading from the United States.
Continue reading ‘Did the police brutality in Colombo against democratic demonstrators show that Sri Lanka is moving towards the democracy of the Retired Uniforms?’ »

Sri Lanka today may be high on security with our omnipresent armed forces but it is not a safe place to speak or work for many. There is a difference between security and safety.

By Dr.Radhika Coomaraswamy

In the first few days, as America burned, the world looked on amazed and bewildered, wondering what this would mean for the immediate and long-term future.

As the protests settled down and drew larger crowds with an overwhelming number of young people, one began to think of other movements in Hong Kong, in India, with regard to climate change, the Me Too movement where young people battled police and began to insist on a world based on principles.

There was damage, there was destruction but there was also hope. For a moment then one glimpsed what it would be like in an era beyond the “strongman”.
Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka today may be high on security with our omnipresent armed forces but it is not a safe place to speak or work for many. There is a difference between security and safety.’ »

Why would Sri Lanka, which successfully fought three civil wars using the National Security Council, require a militarised Presidential Task Force to build “a secure country” in peacetime?

by Dayan Jayatilleka

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a Task Force of the heavy mob, which will press its collective knee into the neck of the new, socially legitimate Parliament that will arise thanks to the Supreme Court judgment which cleared the way for the Election Commission to name a date for voting.

Lankans live at the overlap of two hinge-points of contemporary history.

The Lankan hinge is stamped by the two gazettes issued on President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s instructions on the night of 2 June 2020 setting up the Task Forces, the first comprised exclusively of serving or ex-military and Police brass, the second overwhelmingly so.

The global hinge is marked by the uprising within the pandemic: the killing of George Floyd; the multiethnic, multicultural youth rebellion in the USA; President Trump’s militaristic-authoritarianism; the global anti-racist Justice movement manifesting in Canada, Britain, France, Germany, Spain, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, Israel/Palestine, Syria, South Africa, Kenya, Ghana, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan…and Sri Lanka.
Continue reading ‘Why would Sri Lanka, which successfully fought three civil wars using the National Security Council, require a militarised Presidential Task Force to build “a secure country” in peacetime?’ »

“Vote for good people who can truly represent us. At that point, our dirty politics stands a chance of recovering.” -Election Commission Member Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole

Election Commission member Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole said yesterday that sensible people would be satisfied with his explanation as regards his recent interview with Jaffna-based Dan TV. Asked whether he believed the matter was closed now after EC Chairman Mahinda Deshapriya on Monday said that the explanation given by you in respect of the Dan TV interview was acceptable to him, Prof. Hoole has sent us the following response:

“For reasonable people my explanation should settle the matter — that 1) I did not say do not vote for the SLPP but rather that I said to not vote for people who trick and mislead you with untruths, and 2) I did not call the Sinhalese language a garbage language but rather that I said I do not know Sinhalese and therefore cannot read the garbage they write in Sinhalese.

Continue reading ‘“Vote for good people who can truly represent us. At that point, our dirty politics stands a chance of recovering.” -Election Commission Member Prof. Ratnajeevan Hoole’ »

Sri Lankan government responds to rising COVID-19 infections by abandoning expatriate workers

By Saman Gunadasa

This week, the Sri Lankan government stopped planned air flights to bring Sri Lankan migrant workers back home from the Middle East. The decision was made after it was discovered that many were infected with the coronavirus.

On May 26, President Gotabhaya Rajapakse’s media division announced that a “new mechanism is to be formulated to repatriate Sri Lankans.” Information about the “new mechanism” has not yet been released.

On Wednesday, Army Commander Shavendra Silva, head of the National Operation Centre for the Prevention of COVID-19, told the media that 157 coronavirus cases had resulted from workers returning from abroad. “If more Sri Lankans were repatriated from Middle Eastern (ME) countries,” he said, “there’s the possibility of more infected patients.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan government responds to rising COVID-19 infections by abandoning expatriate workers’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa has little time for the niceties and conventions of parliamentary democracy unless of course that too can be sewn up to further buttress his regime


By

Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

The distinguishing feature of Gotabaya Rajapaksa and indeed, at the same time the cause for concern with regard to him, is that he was never elected to any office until he won the presidency. He was a military man first and then the all-powerful bureaucrat as Secretary to the Ministry of Defence – a soldier as opposed to a politician, elected in November 2019 to do a politicians job. What this means is the ability to accommodate, to reach consensus, to compromise when necessary and to unite the diverse groups that make up the country. To be able to design and shape policy, not just implement it, as a politician in a position of authority would expect of a soldier.

Gotabaya Rajapaksa does not really have a solid and undisputed constituency, which he can call entirely his own and rely upon to back him through thick and thin other than his former colleagues and current officers of the tri –forces and perhaps the Police. His Viyath Magaand Eliya in contrast to the Sri Lanka Podujana Party or SLPP of his very politically savvy and matured brothers, is not, -early days of his administration notwithstanding – proving to be that rich resource pool of talent and competence the people who elected Gotabaya to the presidency, expect.

Beyond the obvious fact of his training and the trust he has in the forces, his gut reactionwhen in doubt or without a perceivable option, of giving it to the forces or ex-service personnel to do, has not yielded great results. On the face of it, their management of the Covid 19 pandemic appears to have contained the spread and virulence of the virus to an extent. However, there is more information to be had on this and time yet for the post-mortem on policy.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa has little time for the niceties and conventions of parliamentary democracy unless of course that too can be sewn up to further buttress his regime’ »

There is One Sri Lanka for the Sinhalese with special elevation for Sinhala Buddhists and another for Tamils and Muslims who face far more brutal treatment at the hands of state agents

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As the United States erupts in outrage at the killing of George Floyd, the question posed by multi-racial protestors on the streets is simple. Why are there two Americas, one for the whites who do not fear death, deprivation or insults when stopped by the police and another for ‘communities of colour’ whose lived realities are entirely different?

The beam in our own eyes

That same question is very relevant in the rest of the world. In Australia for example, demonstrators in Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne raise their hands not only against Floyd’s death but also in regard to discrimination directed against aboriginal communities and people of colour.

In France, rampant racism targeted at migrant black communities is the target of Parisian angst even as they protest the ills of the American justice system.

A covid-19 traumatised world has metamorphised into an extraordinarily spectacular global eruption of anger against injustice. There is a connection there which perhaps philosophers or psychologists may point to.

In Sri Lanka however, most have latched on to the ‘trending topic’ of ‘Black Lives Matter’ while cosily ignoring evils at home. Regardless, those waxing eloquent on the fate of the African American are advised to look to the beam in their own eyes, not the mote (if that may be referred to as such) in others. For there are two Sri Lankas, at different overlapping levels. One Sri Lanka is for the Sinhalese with special elevation for Sinhala Buddhists and another for Tamils and Muslims who face far more brutal treatment at the hands of state agents.

Continue reading ‘There is One Sri Lanka for the Sinhalese with special elevation for Sinhala Buddhists and another for Tamils and Muslims who face far more brutal treatment at the hands of state agents’ »

Dispute over polls date and dissolution: Petitions dismissed, Supreme Court restores status-quo-ante

By S. Rubatheesan

After ten days of hearings, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, has dismissed eight Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions that had challenged the validity of the March 2 Presidential proclamation dissolving Parliament and refused the petitioners leave to proceed.

Incidentally, the judgement day, Tuesday, coincided with the end of the three-month period during which a new parliament had to be convened in terms of the March 2 presidential proclamation.

The five-judge Bench, in a majority decision, also overruled all preliminary objections submitted against the petitions.

The Bench comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwanaka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, and Vijith Malalgoda. The hearings were held in the spacious ceremonial court room in keeping with the health guidelines related to the Covid pandemic.

Minutes after Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya dismissed the petitions, the news was welcome by the sound of firecrackers in several towns and in places not far from the court complex.

Continue reading ‘Dispute over polls date and dissolution: Petitions dismissed, Supreme Court restores status-quo-ante’ »

Police Sub-inspector, Sergeant and Constable Interdicted Following Investigation Into Alleged Assault of an Autistic 14 Year Old Boy With Mental Capacity of 6 Year Old Child at Dharga Town

By

Kshama Ranawana

Three police officers connected with the alleged assault of a teenaged autistic boy in Dharga Town have been interdicted, according to a statement from Police Headquarters released at 7.45 p.m on June 5th.

The interdiction follows an investigation into the incident, where dereliction of duties on the part of the three officers has been determined, says the statement.

The three involved in the incident are a Sub Inspector of Police and a Sergeant, both attached to the Police College at Kalutara, who were on secondment to the Aluthgama Police on special official duties and a Constable of the Aluthgama police.

Continue reading ‘Police Sub-inspector, Sergeant and Constable Interdicted Following Investigation Into Alleged Assault of an Autistic 14 Year Old Boy With Mental Capacity of 6 Year Old Child at Dharga Town’ »

“Appointment of the two Presidential task forces demonstrates troubling trends of authoritarian rule and militarisation with serious implications to Constitutional democracy and reconciliation in Sri Lanka”-Centre for Policy Alternatives


The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) in a statement yesterday expressed its deep concern with the appointment of two Presidential Task Forces by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa.

Following is the CPA’s full statement.

These appointments came soon after the Supreme Court refused leave to proceed to all petitioners on the subject of the dissolution of Parliament for more than three months and the holding of free and fair elections.

At present, Parliament has been dissolved for longer than the constitutionally mandated three months.

Thus, there is no legislative oversight over executive action. In such a context, the appointment of the two task forces demonstrates troubling trends of authoritarian rule and militarisation with serious implications to constitutional democracy and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘“Appointment of the two Presidential task forces demonstrates troubling trends of authoritarian rule and militarisation with serious implications to Constitutional democracy and reconciliation in Sri Lanka”-Centre for Policy Alternatives’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Authorises Rs. 1,043 billion for expenditure from the Consolidated Fund from 1 June up to 31 August in terms of provisions of Paragraph (3) of Article 150 of the Constitution.


By Chandani Kirinde

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has authorised Rs. 1,043 billion for expenditure from the Consolidated Fund from 1 June up to 31 August in terms of provisions of Paragraph (3) of Article 150 of the Constitution.

The relevant circular was issued by the Secretary to the Ministry of Finance S. R. Attygalle this week to all secretaries to ministries, chief secretaries of provincial councils, and heads of departments.

Of the authorised amount, Rs. 644.1 billion will be for recurrent expenditure while Rs. 398.8 b will be for capital expenditure.

The money will be utilised for uninterrupted government services, COVID-19 eradication activities and other essential services.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Authorises Rs. 1,043 billion for expenditure from the Consolidated Fund from 1 June up to 31 August in terms of provisions of Paragraph (3) of Article 150 of the Constitution.’ »

Appointment of “Sinhala Buddhist Only”Task Force is to Ignore Present Reality of Tamils and Muslims Comprising 75% of Eastern Province Population and Create an Artificial Sinhala Buddhist Past by Weaponising Archaeology.

by
By P.K.Balachandran

The Presidential Task Force for Archaeological Heritage Management in the Eastern Province, which was gazetted on June 2, has no Tamils or Muslims even though Tamils and Muslims together constitute two-thirds of the population of the province.

Secondly, the Task Force has a number of Sinhala-Buddhist monks but no representative of Hinduism or Islam. Thirdly it has been placed under the Secretary of Defense, who is a retired Major General – Kamal Gunaratne.

Continue reading ‘Appointment of “Sinhala Buddhist Only”Task Force is to Ignore Present Reality of Tamils and Muslims Comprising 75% of Eastern Province Population and Create an Artificial Sinhala Buddhist Past by Weaponising Archaeology.’ »

President Rajapaksa Appoints 11-member Presidential Task Force to conduct a comprehensive survey of archaeological sites in the Eastern Province and recommend measures to preserve them.


By Chandani Kirinde

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a 11-member Presidential Task Force to conduct a comprehensive survey of archaeological sites in the Eastern Province and recommend measures to preserve them.

The Task Force will be chaired by Secretary to the Ministry of Defence Major General (Rtd.) Kamal Gunaratne.

This is one of two Task Forces the President appointed on Tuesday, making a total of six that he has set up since taking office last November.

The members of the Presidential Task Force for Archaeological Heritage Management in the Eastern Province included two members of the Buddhist clergy, namely Ven. Ellawala Medhananda Thera and the Chief Prelate for the Northern and Eastern Provinces, Chief Senanayake of Thamankaduwa Direction, and Chief Incumbent of Arisimalai Aranya Ven. Panamure Thilakawansha Thera.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Appoints 11-member Presidential Task Force to conduct a comprehensive survey of archaeological sites in the Eastern Province and recommend measures to preserve them.’ »

The War That Was Fought and Won Against the LTTE was “MAHINDA’S WAR” Just as World War Two Fought and Won Against the Fascist Axis was Churchill’s,Stalin’s,Roosevelt’s and de Gaulle’s War

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

Watching on TV Prime Minister MR’s empathy at the funeral of Arumugam Thondaman, I remembered the two of us walking back from the funeral of S. Thondaman in 1999, discussing politics (the upcoming Dec ’99 Presidential Election).

It was fitting indeed that the 50th anniversary of the entry to Parliament of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was celebrated so close to the 11th anniversary of Sri Lanka’s victory over separatist terrorism. The latter anniversary marks the indelible historic achievement of Mahinda Rajapaksa, liberating his country as his presidential predecessors from President Jayewardene onwards could not, from the hellfire of terrorism. He won the war, brought peace.

Mahinda’s war

Since the instrumentality that won the war was the same military albeit with a reshuffled command, that had failed to beat the Tigers since it was first sent north in 1979 by President Jayewardene with orders to “eradicate terrorism in all its forms”, the most crucial variable becomes clear to the analyst, namely that of political will. Mahinda Rajapaksa had the confidence that Prabhakaran could be defeated, the political will to see it through to the end, and the determination not to be pressured or fooled as others had been, into stopping half-way.

It was Mahinda’s War, in quite the same sense as the American Civil War of Reunification was Lincoln’s war and the Allied fightback against the fascist Axis was Churchill’s, Stalin’s, Roosevelt’s and de Gaulle’s war. The wickedest thing that can be done to MR is to take that away from him or dilute, deflect and divert that unprecedented historical achievement. That historical revisionism came (in 2012) and still comes from within his camp.

Continue reading ‘The War That Was Fought and Won Against the LTTE was “MAHINDA’S WAR” Just as World War Two Fought and Won Against the Fascist Axis was Churchill’s,Stalin’s,Roosevelt’s and de Gaulle’s War’ »

“So let us recognise the singular danger besetting the nation.The only question is as to how slow or how quick this will be”

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Despite familiar wiles of lawyers sacrificing the national interest in favour of (political) clients in cases currently being heard at the Supreme Court leading to sensational headlines that Sri Lanka’s topmost health officials had waved the green flag for the holding of the country’s 2020 Presidential Elections, the truth was not so simple, it so appears.

Sri Lanka facing multiple dilemmas

As the somewhat pugnacious interview given to state run television last Sunday by the Director General of Health Services Frank Jasinghe disclosed, the nation had to first implement a raft of safety measures, as noted in his response to the Secretary to the President upon a query being made to him.

These measures included implementing regulations under the quaintly colonial Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance (1897) bringing covid-19 control measures within a regulatory framework. As he warned, ‘if these measures are not implemented, then in another three weeks, let alone an election, Sri Lanka will not be able to do anything at all.’

There is something that must be added to this salutary concern. While regulations under this antique Ordinance are crucial as the Director General points out, what is even more urgent is a wholesale revamping of that statute. This is in order to fashion the legislative environment needed to meet the unprecedented threat posed by the global pandemic which has left death and destruction in its wake across the world. But for that, Sri Lanka’s Parliament must sit.

Continue reading ‘“So let us recognise the singular danger besetting the nation.The only question is as to how slow or how quick this will be”’ »

“If there is an award for plain speaking politician President Rajapaksa would win it hands down but it is too early to ask the question how much would it benefit him in Sri Lanka politics?


By

Col R Hariharan

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa completed six months in office on May 18. He came after the Sinhala majority voted him to power after they were disillusioned by the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government’s failure to deliver on their promises. The last straw was the failure of the government in taking decisive action to stop the Easter Sunday massacre by Jihadi terrorists in spite to getting advance notice.

The first-time president, an army veteran, has lived up to his image as guardian of Sinhala Buddhist heritage and champion of the armed forces. He minced no words in his refusal to take action on accountability for alleged war crimes as promised by Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council. He did not bother about the political hierarchy of his own party in making appointments, drawing from a pool of civil service and military talent. In his vocabulary, devolution has become a bad word; Sinhala being majority their writ will prevail he declared. It has left Tamil polity stranded as they are encountering a president, who has said a loud NO to their core interest – devolution. Muslims are equally unhappy as the aftermath of Easter Sunday attack has left them cowering from hostile Sinhala backlash in society. Muslim politicians accustomed to cosy up to the majority party in power are spending time to protect themselves from the long arm of law looking into their wheeling and dealing. Memories of earlier Rajapaksa rule are haunting human rights activists as the victims of enforced disappearances due to the war continue languish.

Continue reading ‘“If there is an award for plain speaking politician President Rajapaksa would win it hands down but it is too early to ask the question how much would it benefit him in Sri Lanka politics?’ »

Supreme Court Unanimously Dismisses all the Fundamental Rights (FR) Petitions Challenging the Gazette issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolving Parliament and the Election Commission setting the date of the General Election Without Giving Any Reasons

By Chandani Kirinde

The Supreme Court yesterday unanimously dismissed all the Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions filed challenging the Gazette issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolving Parliament, as well as that of the Election Commission setting the date of the General Election,

The Court also dismissed all preliminary objections raised during the ten days of hearings.

In the brief statement, Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya PC announced the decision of the five-member bench to the ceremonial courtroom, which had been converted to a makeshift courtroom to facilitate adherence to COVID-19 health regulations such as social distancing, during the hearing of these petitions.

The bench comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, and Vijith Malalgoda. No reasons were given for the Court’s decision, but are likely to be made public in a few days.

Soon after the ruling become public, the sound of crackers were heard from the surrounding areas. Jubilant members of the ruling party who spoke to reporters outside the SC welcomed the decision.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Unanimously Dismisses all the Fundamental Rights (FR) Petitions Challenging the Gazette issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolving Parliament and the Election Commission setting the date of the General Election Without Giving Any Reasons’ »

Five Judge Bench of Supreme Court Dismisses All Eight Fundamenal Rights petitions in limine:”By majority decision, preliminary objections are overruled. By unanimous decision, Leave to Proceed is refused for all applications” Announces Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

The Supreme Court five-judge-bench headed by Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya yesterday unanimously refused to grant Leave to Proceed with eight Fundamental Rights petitions filed challenging the dissolution of Parliament and holding the General Election on June 20, 2020.

Accordingly, the Court decided to dismiss all petitions in limine.

However, Preliminary Objections raised by respondent parties including Attorney General were overruled by majority decision of the five judges.

The Supreme Court Five Judge Bench comprised Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya, Justice Buwaneka Aluwihare, Justice Sisira de Abrew, Justice Priyantha Jayawardena and Justice Vijith Malalgoda.

Continue reading ‘Five Judge Bench of Supreme Court Dismisses All Eight Fundamenal Rights petitions in limine:”By majority decision, preliminary objections are overruled. By unanimous decision, Leave to Proceed is refused for all applications” Announces Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya’ »

UNP Working Committee Suspends Party Membership of 98 Former Ministers and Ex- Provincial Councillors for Decision to Contest Elections From SJB and Calls For Explanation Letters For Not Contesting Under UNP Elephant Symbol

By

Yohan Perera

The United National Party (UNP) working committee today approved the suspension of the party membership of its deputy leader Sajith Premadasa and 98 other former ministers, MPs, provincial councillors and organizers.

Former MP Ruwan Wijewardene told journalists that the membership of 99 UNPers will be suspended pending their explanation letters on their decision to contest from another party.

Among the seniors, who were suspended are: Sujeewa Senasinghe, Ranjan Ramanayake, Lakshman Kiriella, Ajith P Perera, Ranjith Aluvihare, Hirunika Premachnadra, Harsha de Silva, Ranjith Madduma Bandara, Field Marshal Sarath Fonseka, Eran Wickramaratne, Gayantha Karunatilleke, Mangala Samaraweera, Kabir Hashim, Harin Fernando, Talatha Athukorala and Mayantha Dissanayake

“These members have been suspended on the basis that they defied the party’s decision to contest the general election under the elephant symbol,” Mr. Wijewardene said adding that the doors were still open for these members to rejoin the UNP.

“Some former MPs and others who joined the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) are talking to party Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe, myself and to the Assistant Leader Ravi Karunanayake and expressed their willingness to rejoin. They can re-join any time,” Mr. Wijewardene said.

Continue reading ‘UNP Working Committee Suspends Party Membership of 98 Former Ministers and Ex- Provincial Councillors for Decision to Contest Elections From SJB and Calls For Explanation Letters For Not Contesting Under UNP Elephant Symbol’ »

Sri Lanka is facing a huge crisis which may even result in the decline of the entire political system and plunge the country into complete anarchy.

By

Victor Ivan

Sri Lanka is now going through the last stage of the disastrous, multi-phased journey into the rock bottom of a great abyss, which had begun 72 years ago and gradually progressed in several phases. The time cohorts from 1948 to 1956, 1956 to 1978, 1978 to 2009 and 2009 to 2020 can be considered its main phases. In each phase the volume of the crisis remained much greater than it was in the immediately preceding phase and it can be considered a salient feature of this journey.

Another significant highlight of this journey has been that the navigators who steered the craft of Sri Lanka at each stage and the passengers on-board were not aware that it was heading towards a great abyss. In the last Presidential Election, which can be considered the stage at which it had reached the end of the abyss, both the candidates who contested the election and the public who voted for them were not aware that they had reached the penultimate halt before the final destination. They all aspired to go to heaven whereas at the end they had reached hell.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka is facing a huge crisis which may even result in the decline of the entire political system and plunge the country into complete anarchy.’ »

The “Traitorisation” Tragedy Of Tamil Nationalist Politics.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj‘

‘Traitorisation,’ the monster created over the years by Tamil nationalist politics, is running amok again. The current target is former Jaffna District Parliamentarian and Tamil National Alliance (TNA) spokesperson Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran.

A.Amirthalingam, Lakshman Kadirgamar & Alfred Durayappah

The lawyer-politician is being attacked as a ‘Tamil traitor’ for some of the comments he reportedly made in a Sinhala language interview conducted by journalist Chamuditha Samarawickrama for his ‘Truth with Chamuditha’ You Tube channel.

A few of the answers in Sinhala were picked up by a Tamil TV aligned to a pro-Government politician and publicised in Tamil. The TV allegedly mistranslated the words of Sumanthiran into Tamil with a mischievous anti-LTTE twist in a bid to irritate and provoke Tigerish and pro-Tiger elements in the Tamil community. It seems to have worked!

MA Sumanthiran

The past week or more saw Sumanthiran being attacked viciously by many in a heated exhibition of ‘manufactured rage’ over the mainstream Tamil media and social media within and outside Sri Lanka. A number of media statements were issued by Tamil politicians condemning Sumanthiran.

A common factor in most of the rants and raves was the labelling of Sumanthiran as a Tamil traitor. Effigies of Sumanthiran were displayed with a placard around the neck saying “Naan Our Thamizh Thurogi” (I am a Tamil traitor).
Continue reading ‘The “Traitorisation” Tragedy Of Tamil Nationalist Politics.’ »

Tale of a Tiger: Facets of LTTE Supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran’s Life.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) supremo Velupillai Prabhakaran was killed 11 years ago in combat with the armed forces of Sri Lanka on 19 May 2009. The longest war in South Asia came to an end after the military debacle of the LTTE on the shores of Nandikadal Lagoon in the Mullaitivu District of northern Sri Lanka.

Though Prabhakaran is no more, the Sri Lankan Tamil people are yet to recover fully from the ravages of the lengthy war fought by the Tigers. At a time when the Sri Lankan media is being saturated with news about the COVID-19 pandemic and impending constitutional crisis, this article intends focusing on the life and times of the man who determined the politico-military course of the island nation for many years.
Continue reading ‘Tale of a Tiger: Facets of LTTE Supremo Veluppillai Prabhakaran’s Life.’ »

Was The Tamil National Alliance Formed By The “Tigers” In 2001?

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Tamil National Alliance (TNA) is the premier political configuration representing the Sri Lankan Tamils of Northern and Eastern Sri Lanka. The booming question that has been looming large on the Tamil political horizon during the past week or more is whether the TNA was created by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in 2001. This revival of interest in the antecedents of the TNA was sparked off by a You Tube interview of TNA spokesperson and former Jaffna district MP M. A. Sumanthiran by senior journalist Chamuditha Samatawickrama on his “Truth wih Chamuditha” show. The interview has resulted in a lot of critism being levelled against Sumanthiran.Much of the “manufactured rage”targeting Sumanthiran was due to he lawyer -politician re-iterating that he had not been supportive of the LTTE in the past.

One of the interesting aspects thaon hist was highlighted in this anti-Sumanthiran political storm was the origin of the TNA itself. Chamuditha Samarawickrama in his interrogative style harped on the TNA being the creation of the LTTE through a barrage of “hostile” questions. He even charged that LTTE leader Veluppillai Prabhakaran had chaired the inaugural TNA meeting. Sumanthiran denied the charges with unflappable dignity. He emphasized the fact that the TNA was not formed by the LTTE in 2001.
Continue reading ‘Was The Tamil National Alliance Formed By The “Tigers” In 2001?’ »

TNA Spokesperson Sumanthiran In The Eye Of a Political Storm

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Former Jaffna District Parliamentarian and Spokesperson of the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) and Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK), Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran is currently in the eye of a political storm. The you tube interview given by the 56 year old Presidents counsel cum politician to the “Truth With Chamuditha” show conducted by senior journalist Chamuditha Samatawickrama is the reported cause of the controversy.

A few of the questions and answers in Sinhala were picked up by sections of the Tamil media who seem to have deliberately mistranslated the words of Sumanthiran with duplicitous twists and mischievous slants. Many Tamils opposed to Sumanthiran either believed or pretended o believe this and indulged themselves in an orgy of “manufactured rage”. This in turn led to a cacophony of angry voices , over the mainstream Tamil media and social media – within and outside Sri Lanka – berating Sumanthira n for what he had “purportedly”stated. He was – and is being – attacked viciously.
Continue reading ‘TNA Spokesperson Sumanthiran In The Eye Of a Political Storm’ »

In the final analysis, all that stands between the Lankan Tamil community and the end of Tamil political history on the island, is India.

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The political prospects of the Tamil people, or if you prefer, the Tamil ethnonational community or Tamil minority are at the dimmest, lowest and most challenging that I can remember, and my memory goes back to 1972, the hoisting of black flags (occasioning a sensitive Daily News editorial by my father) and the boyhood of Tamil militancy.

The problem the Tamils face today goes beyond the historic folly of Tamil nationalism not settling for a stalemate with structural reform as in Northern Ireland, instead of supporting to the bitter end a war for a separate state which was utterly lost. The problem they face is similar to that which the Palestinians do, in that there is an ultra-hawkish administration which has decidedly turned its back on the earlier consensus on the nature of the problem and the contours of a solution, and is moving swiftly and unilaterally to shape a final geopolitical outcome of a zero-sum character.

The challenge the Tamil community faces today is the drastic discontinuity in Sri Lankan politics and political history: for the first time since Independence, the ultranationalist Sinhala Hard Right is in office and wields State power.

This is the ultimate polarised outcome that Prabhakaran sought and thought he obtained in 2005. He was wrong, and that mistake killed him. His wish has now been realised, but the grimness of the political prospect facing the Tamil community is testimony to his folly.

Continue reading ‘In the final analysis, all that stands between the Lankan Tamil community and the end of Tamil political history on the island, is India.’ »

My Father Mahinda Rajapaksa who Became an MP on May 27th 1970 at the age of 24 , completes his 50th year today of serving the nation, in dedication and true spirit.

By Namal Rajapaksa

50 years ago, on May 27, 1970, the journey of a political legend began. Entering Parliament as the youngest MP to join, Hon. Mahinda Rajapaksa, entered the political sphere back then with only one aim, one vision – to serve the country, to sacrifice himself for his people, and bring the country up to its true potential.

Mahinda Rajapaksa, today, completes his 50th year serving the nation, in dedication and true spirit. While his journey has been an emotional and memorable ride for him and us, as his children, my mother always says, it has all been worth it. To see mother Sri Lanka risen, to see her develop, to see her children strive and to free her from terrorism, are somethings he can now reflect back and be happy with, a feat no other political leader could achieve.

Continue reading ‘My Father Mahinda Rajapaksa who Became an MP on May 27th 1970 at the age of 24 , completes his 50th year today of serving the nation, in dedication and true spirit.’ »

“In any armed conflict, maintaining human rights of an individual is akin to preventing muddy puddles during rain.” – Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s Media Division Responds to News Report in Indian Newspaper “The Hindu”


Responding to the report ‘Sri Lanka will not tolerate targeting of war heroes: Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ published on May 20 in The Hindu, the office of the President of Sri Lanka, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, has said the article did not reflect “the real situation”.

The President’s Media Division, in a written response, pointed to its reference to several Sri Lankan soldiers, especially top officers, being accused of human rights violations during and soon after the war, and said: “In any armed conflict, maintaining human rights of an individual is akin to preventing muddy puddles during rain.” Due to the “volatile” nature of warfare, International Humanitarian Laws are “not a set of clear-cut rules in black and white that one may tick off against.” “Instead, it must take into consideration the principles of distinction and legitimate targeting, military necessity and proportionality to judge a military operation for its action,” the statement said, adding that no official documentation had “proven allegations” of war crimes.

Continue reading ‘“In any armed conflict, maintaining human rights of an individual is akin to preventing muddy puddles during rain.” – Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa’s Media Division Responds to News Report in Indian Newspaper “The Hindu”’ »

Ceylon Workers’ Congress Leader and Sri Lanka Cabinet Minister of Community Empowerment and Estate Infrastructure Development Arumugan Thondaman Passes Away at the Age of 56

By
Meera Srinivasan

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Ceylon Workers’ Congress [CWC] leader and Sri Lanka Cabinet Minister Arumugan Thondaman passed away on Tuesday night, after a sudden illness. He was 55.

Earlier on Tuesday, Minister Thondaman met Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay and held discussions on development partnership in Sri Lanka’s hill country, where Malayaha Tamils, or Tamils of recent Indian origin, reside.

Continue reading ‘Ceylon Workers’ Congress Leader and Sri Lanka Cabinet Minister of Community Empowerment and Estate Infrastructure Development Arumugan Thondaman Passes Away at the Age of 56’ »

President Rajapaksa Brings Six institutions including Api Wenuwen Api Fund, National Police Academy (NPA),Lanka Institute of National Defence Studies, and Department of Multi-Purpose Development Task Force.under the Ministry of Defence.

By Chandani Kirinde

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has brought six institutions including the Api Wenuwen Api Fund and the National Police Academy (NPA) under the Ministry of Defence.

The relevant Gazette notification was issued by the President on Saturday.

The Api Wenuwen Api Fund was set up as a collaboration between the Defence Ministry and the Central Bank to build 50,000 houses for the serving armed forces personnel in 2009 while the NPA used to function under the Police Department.The other institutions brought under the Defence Ministry are the MILODA Institute (Academy of Financial Studies) which is the training arm of the Ministry of Finance, the National Authority for the Implementation of Chemical Weapons Convention which was under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce during the last Government and the Sri Lanka Institute of National Defence Studies, and the Department of Multi-Purpose Development Task Force.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Brings Six institutions including Api Wenuwen Api Fund, National Police Academy (NPA),Lanka Institute of National Defence Studies, and Department of Multi-Purpose Development Task Force.under the Ministry of Defence.’ »

Has President Rajapaksa Appointed Defence Secretary Gen.Kamal Gunaratne as Head of Task Force to Implement “nationalistic” project to establish, through archaeological excavations, that the multi-ethnic Eastern province was once a Sinhala-Buddhist habitat ?

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to entrust the survey and preservation of archaeological sites in the ethnically-mixed Eastern Province to a Presidential Task Force headed by the Defense Secretary, appears to have a political objective.

Ostensibly taken at the instance of the Buddhist Advisory Council (including the Mahanayakes) the decision taken at a meeting on May 22, seems to be aimed at ensuring the hold of the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) on the Sinhala-Buddhist constituency in the Lankan parliamentary elections to be held in a couple of months.

Giving the task to the Defense Secretary, who is a former Major General, conveys the political message that any decisions taken by the Task Force will be enforced in military style. This gives the Sinhala-Buddhist nationalist lobby confidence that the Gotabaya government means business. This lobby believes that a manifest show of toughness is called for because Tamil nationalists (not just the pro-LTTE Eelamists) consider the North and East as their “Traditional Homeland” which had been encroached upon by the Sinhala-Buddhists in the post-independence period through systematic “colonization”.

Tamil militants had fought, albeit unsuccessfully, a 30-year war for a Homeland free of other ethnic groups. The Sinhala-Buddhist majority is apprehensive about a resurgence of the Tamil separatist movement and are anxious to reclaim what they consider to be their historical habitat which, in their view, was taken by force by Tamil speaking invaders from South India.
And it is on the Eastern Province that their eyes are set because it is here that the Sinhala-Buddhists have a foothold, forming as they do, a third of the total population.

Continue reading ‘Has President Rajapaksa Appointed Defence Secretary Gen.Kamal Gunaratne as Head of Task Force to Implement “nationalistic” project to establish, through archaeological excavations, that the multi-ethnic Eastern province was once a Sinhala-Buddhist habitat ?’ »

Government releases new interim trade and customs tax policy framework as part of COVID-19 Economic Revival Plan


By Chandani Kirinde

As part of its efforts to revive the economy and reduce the COVID-19 impact, the Government yesterday eased import restrictions on several product categories linked to exports and production of import substitution goods but retained the ban on vehicles.

The interim trade and custom based tax policy framework, which is part of the COVID-19 Economic Revival Plan of the Government was released yesterday and will see imports of motor vehicles, including motor cars and three wheelers continue to be banned along with imports of ethanol, furniture, and aluminium products among others.

The interim guidelines aimed at revising Sri Lanka’s external trade and customs-based tariff policy was sent to Customs Director General Major Gen. (Retd.) Vijitha Ravipriya by President’s Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera on Thursday.

In the covering letter, Dr. Jayasundera said the guidelines provide a framework based on which the Customs can make decisions while adhering to the policy thrusts and guiding principles prioritised by the Government.

Continue reading ‘Government releases new interim trade and customs tax policy framework as part of COVID-19 Economic Revival Plan’ »

The Founding of “Ravaya” and my Journalistic Struggle To Establish a Visionary, Fearless and Investigative Media Tradition Different from other Newspapers”

By

Victor Ivan

A heaty dialogue appears to have been generated on social media over two letters that I had addressed to the Ravaya staff recently, suggesting to them the desirability of liquidating Ravaya in the present context of the coronavirus pandemic Sri Lanka is facing rather than continuing the publication and avoid disastrous financial consequences that might arise if we were to continue under trying conditions.

Ravaya being a unique experiment made by me in the field of journalism providing a radical platform to discuss controversial and sensational issues, I felt it is appropriate, at this juncture, to publish a brief account of my observations which I had communicated to the Ravaya staff and highlight major experiments I have made with Ravaya over the last 33 years for the benefit of journalists as well as the Ravaya readers.

The State of Sri Lanka and its institutional system and the political system of Sri Lanka and its social system have been the major focus of my interest and investigation for a very long time. One major observation I have made after the internal civil war was over was that the State and the sociopolitical system of Sri Lanka would inevitably suffer a serious decline, plunging the country into anarchy unless immediate measures were taken to introduce structural reforms leading to a formal recreation of the State and the socio-political system. I reached this horrific conclusion taking the following reasons into consideration.

Continue reading ‘The Founding of “Ravaya” and my Journalistic Struggle To Establish a Visionary, Fearless and Investigative Media Tradition Different from other Newspapers”’ »

Communalism rides high by ‘patriots’ parading their stuff while the majority and the minority lay claim to distinctly clashing victimhoods instead of a common loss.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Unsurprisingly but nonetheless worryingly, a seismic shift in positing the military front and centre of Sri Lanka’s governance framework was pronounced in Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s statement this week, issued on the eleventh anniversary of the military defeat of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

Powerful imagery and symbolic thrust

Lost in the general storm of covid-19 updates which still crowds out virtually every other happening, this Prime Ministerial statement, given its powerful imagery and symbolic thrust, must not be lost sight of. And for those seeking illusionary comfort in imaginary divisions among the Rajapaksas, that statement should put such frivolities to rest.

Indeed, the Prime Minister’s statement went so far as to rework the historic five force influence in Sri Lanka into a political narrative of militarisation which has significant impact on the democratic process. It is not so much the words used per se as the justification behind them which has concerning undertones.

Those familiar with Sri Lanka’s history would know that the ‘Pancha Maha Balavegaya,’ namely the ‘Sangha’ (priesthood), ‘Weda’ (medicinal men), ‘Govi’ (farming community) and ‘Kamkaru’ (workers) was the cannily manipulative banner with which the ‘Sinhalisation’ movement of the late Premier SWRD Bandaranaike rode into battle against the scorned colonised Westernized liberal elite of the day, not long after the country attained independence.

It did not take much time before Bandaranaike was assassinated by a fanatical adherent of one (the ‘Sangha’) of those same five groups but thats ancient history to be sure.

Continue reading ‘Communalism rides high by ‘patriots’ parading their stuff while the majority and the minority lay claim to distinctly clashing victimhoods instead of a common loss.’ »

Targeted and tough control measures helped Sri Lanka arrest virus spread and ensure a “low death rate”says Health Services Director-General Dr. Anil Jasinghe

By

Meera Srinivasan

S’
At a time when big and mighty countries struggle to cope with soaring numbers of coronavirus cases and consequent deaths, the official figures from 21-million strong Sri Lanka stand out — 1,070 cases, 660 recoveries and nine deaths as of Saturday evening.

Behind those promising numbers are early thinking and swift action, according to Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Director General of Health Services in Sri Lanka. The senior public health official, helming Sri Lanka’s pandemic response, along with the Army Commander who heads a task force on COVID-19, says it is “targeted and tough” control measures, rather than a generic template “based on literature”, that helped the island nation arrest the pandemic’s spread.

Data published by the World Health Organization shows that Sri Lanka remains among the least affected countries in South Asia, along with Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar that have recorded under 1,000 positive cases so far. “We have managed this because we planned in advance,” Dr. Jasinghe notes, in an interview to The Hindu at the Ministry of Health.

Continue reading ‘Targeted and tough control measures helped Sri Lanka arrest virus spread and ensure a “low death rate”says Health Services Director-General Dr. Anil Jasinghe’ »

Bandula Gunawardena’s Attempt to Hit a “Sixer”With His Homagama Cricket Stadium Project Fails as PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Gets Him Out By Fielding a catch at the Boundary Line.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Minister Bandula Gunawardena is out. He thought it was a sixer he hit, with the ball rising up in the sky and racing to pass the boundary. But it suddenly moved down, and was caught by none other than the Vice Captain – the Prime Minister himself.

Which means the Homagama, Diyagama Test Cricket Field is out, at least now, being suspended. There is always a chance of a rebirth of a Cricket Ground that is named after none other than Mahinda Rajapaksa. But let that take its own time. We now have to cheer the Rajapaksa fielding at the boundary that sent Bandula Gunawardena to the pavilion; to think of another headline hitter that will stand out amidst the Covid scares.

Continue reading ‘Bandula Gunawardena’s Attempt to Hit a “Sixer”With His Homagama Cricket Stadium Project Fails as PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Gets Him Out By Fielding a catch at the Boundary Line.’ »

Sri Lankan Government Understates COVID-19 Figures by Conducting a Small Number of Covid Tests To Claim Virus is “Under Control” and Recklessly Reopen the Economy

By Naveen Dewage

Sri Lankan health authorities announced on Friday that the total number COVID-19 infections had risen to 1,068 but that the official death toll remained at nine.

The government is using these relatively low numbers to claim that the coronavirus is “under control” and that the existing, but limited, national curfews can be lifted.

The low number of infections, however, is because of the small number of COVID-19 tests being conducted—an average of less than 600 per day between February 18 and May 20.

On May 11, President Gotabhaya Rajapakse declared a “reopening of the economy.” About one third of employees from the state-owned and private sector returned to work in Colombo and Gampaha, the country’s main working-class centres.

Since then the government, with corporate media backing, has conducted a “living with corona” or “new normal” campaign, promoting the illusion that the pandemic danger is receding.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Government Understates COVID-19 Figures by Conducting a Small Number of Covid Tests To Claim Virus is “Under Control” and Recklessly Reopen the Economy’ »

While Miltary are Elbowing Public Servants out of Positions of High State Responsibility Sans National Protest the President Commands the Remainder in the Public Service to “Obey or Else”……..

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Existential perils to the democratic, constitutional model on which the Sri Lankan Republic was constructed now quickening apace, does not even have the excitement of novelty to spark the imagination.

Familiar patterns of militaristic governance

There is nothing very special in the creeping militarisation of governance that we are witnessing. From increasing numbers of miltary men who are elbowing public servants out of positions of high state responsibility sans national protest to a President who commands the remainder in the public service to ‘obey or else…’ and a global health pandemic being unquestioningly conflated with fighting an enemy with our brave troops, this is a familiar pattern. So too is the phenomenon of militaristic monks who openly announce that covid-19 has made elections irrelevant and that the country should just be ruled by the President and his men.

Alas, there are no redeeming romantics here, no flourishing figures of mettle roaring against popular historical injustices who may have at least enlivened the singular boredom of this common or garden path transition from a flawed democracy to a militaristic model in all but name. This is the same reasoning on which it seems that a nation has accepted the arrest of an attorney by state agents citing no other reason at the time of arrest, than being ‘directly in touch’ with suspected terrorists, apart from other grounds now being advanced to justify the same.

Continue reading ‘While Miltary are Elbowing Public Servants out of Positions of High State Responsibility Sans National Protest the President Commands the Remainder in the Public Service to “Obey or Else”……..’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Demands Legal Immunity for the Armed Forces Facing War Crime Indictments.

By Pradeep Ramanayake

Addressing a victory celebration on Tuesday, Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse eulogised the military for its part in Colombo’s 30-year communal war and declared that he would continue to oppose all war crime indictments against the armed forces. The event was held at Battaramulla, in the Colombo suburbs, near a memorial to mark the 11th anniversary of the defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

The war ended on May 19, 2009 in a bloody assault that lasted several weeks. The United Nations estimates that about 40,000 Tamil civilians were killed during the final weeks of the conflict. Hundreds of those who surrendered, including LTTE fighters, simply disappeared and some 300,000 civilians were incarcerated in military-controlled camps. About 11,000 young men and women were herded into so-called rehabilitation centres.

Others participating in Tuesday’s event included the president’s brother, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, and the commanders of Sri Lanka’s army, navy and air force. The Rajapakse’s directly oversaw the bloodbath, with Mahinda serving as president and Gotabhaya as his defence secretary. Along with the military leadership, they are implicated in the war crimes committed.

This year’s “celebration” was held amid the deepening COVID-19 crisis and rising class tensions in Sri Lanka and internationally. While Rajapakse has “reopened the economy” and is demanding people return to work, his government and big business backers are nervous about the growing working-class opposition to unsafe working conditions, massive job and wage cuts and attacks on other rights.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Demands Legal Immunity for the Armed Forces Facing War Crime Indictments.’ »

Will Sri Lanka stay and face the attacks in a manner worthy of its war heroes, or flee from International Organizations in the Footsteps of President Trump leaving all flanks exposed?

By Tamara Kunanayakam

Speaking at the National War Heroes Commemoration Ceremony on 19 May 2020, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa declared that he will not hesitate to withdraw Sri Lanka from any international body or organisation that continuously targets the country and war heroes.

The President was probably referring to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Council, given that they are the only international entities that Sri Lanka belongs to, which have systematically targeted the country and its armed forces.

The statement has received wide publicity in the international media and can boomerang back on Sri Lanka at a time it desperately needs international support, precisely to protect its war heroes.

The United Nations is an obstacle to US hegemony, but Sri Lanka cannot survive without it.

The intention of this author is not to echo the detractors of Sri Lanka, whose object it is to undermine the country’s sovereignty. On the contrary, it seeks to highlight the dangers of a policy of withdrawal from an international organisation that, under the existing international order, is the ultimate guarantor of that sovereignty.

Continue reading ‘Will Sri Lanka stay and face the attacks in a manner worthy of its war heroes, or flee from International Organizations in the Footsteps of President Trump leaving all flanks exposed?’ »

What Was The Need for Defence Secretary and the Army and Navy Chiefs With Their Elite Guards in Red Berets and Body-armour To Visit with Full TV Coverage the Muhudu Vihare and Digavapi in Amparai District?

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

The footage on TV news was straight out of my favourite Netflix series. A long convoy of glossy black four-wheel drives coming down a dusty road with a heat haze shimmering in the background. Elite guards in red berets and body-armour, sunshades and carrying Heckler-and-Koch MP6s dismount, escorting the Bosses, also in shades, one in civvies and tie, the others in uniform. Marking it a South Asian rather than Latin American setting is a puff of pink saree in a bustle. Cut to a sitting room in which the heavy-hitters are in conversation with venerable members of the Buddhist clergy.

The Secretary/Defence General Kamal Gunaratne and the Army and Navy Chiefs took time off from spearheading the anti-corona campaign to visit the Muhudu Maha Vihara and Digavapi in the Eastern Province.

LankaCNews headlined the story thus: “On the orders of the President, the Secretary of Defence arrives at Muhudu Maha Vihara with the Tri-Services…erects military encampment to save the heritage.”

A TV station friendly towards the administration gave more detail.

Continue reading ‘What Was The Need for Defence Secretary and the Army and Navy Chiefs With Their Elite Guards in Red Berets and Body-armour To Visit with Full TV Coverage the Muhudu Vihare and Digavapi in Amparai District?’ »

President Rajapaksa’s statement About Sri Lanka Pulling out of any Internaional Organization Targeting War Heroes Unfairly indicates he is either wrongly advised about the UN or plain politics, which could go against Sri Lanka at a time it desperately needs international support precisely to protect its war heroes.

By

Tamara Kunanayakam

Below are my Initial comments on the statement made by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday when addressing the war hero’s ceremony at the war memorial, that he will not hesitate to pull Sri Lanka out of any international organisation that unfairly targets the country’s war heroes.

My Comments

The President is most likely referring here to the UN Human Rights Council and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. The statement indicates he is either wrongly advised about the UN or plain politics, which could go against Sri Lanka at a time it desperately needs international support precisely to protect its war heroes. The statement has been widely picked up by Western media agencies, which have a global influence.

Why is there a problem with the statement?

SL is not a Member of the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) it is only an Observer State, so the question of ‘pulling out’ does not arise. Besides, HRC is an integral part of the United Nations, a subsidiary body of the UN under the General Assembly, which elects HRC members from among UN member States. The only way to completely withdraw from HRC is to leave the United Nations.

As for ‘pulling out’ of OHCRC, the only way to do so would also be by leaving the UN altogether, OHCHR being a body of the United Nations, not a Specialised Agency.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa’s statement About Sri Lanka Pulling out of any Internaional Organization Targeting War Heroes Unfairly indicates he is either wrongly advised about the UN or plain politics, which could go against Sri Lanka at a time it desperately needs international support precisely to protect its war heroes.’ »

Presidents Counsel Saliya Peries Appearing for the Election Commission Tells the Supreme Court That Parliamentary Elections Cannot be Held on June 20th 2020 as Scheduled.

By A.J.A. Abeynayake

The Election Commission (EC) yesterday informed the Supreme Court that the general election could not be held on June 20.

President’s Counsel Saliya Peries, appearing for the EC submitted to the court that as of now it felt that the general election could not be held on June 20.

The submission was made when the fundamental rights petitions challenging the date of the election were taken up by the court.

The five- judge bench consisting of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya and Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, and Vijith Malalgoda continued hearing the relevant petitions for the third consecutive day, yesterday (20).

Continue reading ‘Presidents Counsel Saliya Peries Appearing for the Election Commission Tells the Supreme Court That Parliamentary Elections Cannot be Held on June 20th 2020 as Scheduled.’ »

The military is set to become part of the power base of Sri Lankan politics Under Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


By P.K.Balachandran

After de-colonization, many countries in South and South East Asia have been subjected to military rule. But military rule has been both direct and indirect. The affected countries have also gone through “de-militarization” and “re-militarization” depending upon a variety of domestic and external development impinging on the ruling elites’ notion of “national security.”

The reasons for a country’s military seizing political power or its continuance as a ruler have been diverse. The most common reasons are external and external threats to national security and a manifest failure of civilian regimes to ensure stability, democracy and functional efficiency in governance. The development of a vested interest in having a hand on the levers of power is another important reason.

Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia and the Philippines have seen military governments; attempted military coups; and the military’s playing a role in civilian politics by supporting or denying support to political groups.

In Pakistan and Bangladesh the failure of early civilian governments to provide stability, democracy and economic growth brought the military to the political sphere. Though the Pakistani military is back in the barracks for sometime now, it does exercise control over civilian governments. It has also developed a vested interest in political power having to safeguard it economic interest as a major corporate investor.

Continue reading ‘The military is set to become part of the power base of Sri Lankan politics Under Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Ex-Defence Attache Priyanka Fernando Who Enacted a Throat-slitting Gesture to Tamil Demonstrators Outside Sri Lankan High Commission in London is Promoted From Brigadier to Major -General by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


Brigadier Priyanka Fernando was Promoted to the rank of Major General of Sri Lanka Army on the 11 th Anniversary of liberation of Sri Lanka from the LTTE.

The President promoted over a 14000 officers in the military to mark the 11th anniversary of the national war heroes day.

Continue reading ‘Ex-Defence Attache Priyanka Fernando Who Enacted a Throat-slitting Gesture to Tamil Demonstrators Outside Sri Lankan High Commission in London is Promoted From Brigadier to Major -General by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

“If any international body or organization continuously targets our country and our war heroes, using baseless allegations, I will also not hesitate to withdraw Sri Lanka from such bodies or organizations.” Declares President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday declared that he wouldn’t hesitate to withdraw from the international bodies relentlessly attacking Sri Lanka over unsubstantiated war crimes allegations.

He said so at the 11th annual commemoration of the defeat of the LTTE. The ceremony was held at War Heroes’ memorial in Battaramulla.

The President said: “Even leaders of powerful countries have emphatically stated that they would not allow any action against their war heroes. As such, in a small country like ours where our war heroes have sacrificed so much, I will not allow anyone, or organization, to exert undue pressure on them and harass them.

“If any international body or organization continuously targets our country and our war heroes, using baseless allegations, I will also not hesitate to withdraw Sri Lanka from such bodies or organizations.”

The President didn’t name any organisation.

Continue reading ‘“If any international body or organization continuously targets our country and our war heroes, using baseless allegations, I will also not hesitate to withdraw Sri Lanka from such bodies or organizations.” Declares President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

People’s Alliance for Right to Land (PARL)deeply disturbed by military intervention in civilian land administration in the Pottuvil Muhudu Maha Viharaya area and attempt to acquire lands as an archaeological site without adhering to transparent procedures and consulting with affected communities.

(20th May, 2020 Statement Issued by the Peoples Alliance for Right to Land (PARL) on recent developments in Pottuvil Muhudu Maha Viharaya inclusive of Misuse of land acquisition laws and the military)

The People’s Alliance for Right to Land (PARL) is deeply disturbed by the military intervention in civilian land administration in the Pottuvil Muhudu Maha Viharaya area in Ampara, and the reported moves to attempt legal acquisition of these lands as an archaeological site without adhering to transparent procedures, providing scientific justification of archaeological claims, and consulting with affected communities.

Any developments must also take account of the fact that land issues in this area have a complex history, and its people have long standing grievances that require sensitive and meaningful solutions.

Continue reading ‘People’s Alliance for Right to Land (PARL)deeply disturbed by military intervention in civilian land administration in the Pottuvil Muhudu Maha Viharaya area and attempt to acquire lands as an archaeological site without adhering to transparent procedures and consulting with affected communities.’ »

Counsels Suren Fernando, Ikram Mohammed and Viran Corea Appearing for Five Fundamental Righs Petitioners make submissions Before Supreme Court arguing President’s Gazette dissolving P’ment is no longer valid on Second Day of Hearings: AG and Counsel for President’s Sec. to raise preliminary objections on Third Day

The second day of hearing of Fundamental Rights (FR) petitions that have been filed challenging the Gazette issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolving Parliament as well as the Gazette issued by the Election Commission that has set 20 June as the date for the General Election were taken up before a five-member Bench of the Supreme Court yesterday.

The Bench comprises Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya as well as Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, and Vijith Malalgoda.

Counsel for five of the Petitioners made submissions yesterday arguing that the Gazette notification issued by the President dissolving Parliament is no longer valid as the Constitution stipulates the new Parliament must meet within three months of such a dissolution.

Continue reading ‘Counsels Suren Fernando, Ikram Mohammed and Viran Corea Appearing for Five Fundamental Righs Petitioners make submissions Before Supreme Court arguing President’s Gazette dissolving P’ment is no longer valid on Second Day of Hearings: AG and Counsel for President’s Sec. to raise preliminary objections on Third Day’ »

A functioning Parliament was essential in a democracy and during a time of crisis it was even more important and must be strengthened” Says Sumanthiran PC in Submissions Before Five Judge Bench of Supreme Court Hearing Fundamental Rights Petitions

By Chandani Kirinde

The Supreme Court yesterday began hearings into several Fundamental Rights petitions that have been filed challenging the Gazette issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa dissolving Parliament as well as the Gazette issued by the Election Commission that set 20 June as the date for the poll.

The case is being heard before a five-member Bench consisting of Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya as well as Justices Buwaneka Aluvihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena, and Vijith Malalgoda.

Continue reading ‘A functioning Parliament was essential in a democracy and during a time of crisis it was even more important and must be strengthened” Says Sumanthiran PC in Submissions Before Five Judge Bench of Supreme Court Hearing Fundamental Rights Petitions’ »

“Whenever we happen to be in power, there will always be former members of the armed forces and police holding various positions in the Government” Declares Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa


Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday issuing a statement to mark the 11th year anniversary to commemorate the victory against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) reiterated it was not a war against the Tamil people, but against an organisation designated by the FBI as the deadliest terrorists in the world.

Following is the full statement issued by the Prime Minister:

“On 19 May we mark the 11th anniversary of the victory against the LTTE. That was not a war against the Tamil people but against an organisation designated by the FBI as the deadliest terrorists in the world. Due to the defeat of the LTTE, Tamil people are now free to live as they wish. Tamil children are no longer forcibly recruited by the LTTE. Tamil politicians no longer live in fear of LTTE assassins. Furthermore, due to the absence of the LTTE, elections can be held in the Northern and Eastern Provinces and that has safeguarded the sovereign rights of the people of those provinces.

Continue reading ‘“Whenever we happen to be in power, there will always be former members of the armed forces and police holding various positions in the Government” Declares Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’ »

Five-judge Supreme Court Bench Headed By Chief Justice Will Examine on May 18 and 19 Six Fundamental Rights Petitions Challenging the Holding of Parliamentary General Elections on June 20 and the President’s Refusal to Reconvene the Recently Dissolved Parliament.

By

Arjuna Ranawana

A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court, will tomorrow, May 18, examine at least six Fundamental Rights petitions challenging the holding of the Parliamentary General Elections on June 20 and the President’s refusal to reconvene the recently dissolved Parliament.

At these hearings, the Court will decide whether they are to accept the petitions and grant “leave to proceed” with the cases.

Some of the petitions are seeking the reconvening of the recently dissolved Eighth Parliament as a solution for a looming Constitutional Crisis and an invalidation of the date of the election now fixed for June 20.

Monday and Tuesday have been set aside for the hearings.

Chief Justice Jayantha Jayasuriya has appointed Supreme Court Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Sisira de Abrew, Priyantha Jayawardena and Vijith K Malalgoda to the bench that will decide whether leave to proceed will be granted. Chief Justice Jayasuriya will preside.

The CJ may appoint a full seven-judge bench for the hearings, if leave to proceed is granted.

Continue reading ‘Five-judge Supreme Court Bench Headed By Chief Justice Will Examine on May 18 and 19 Six Fundamental Rights Petitions Challenging the Holding of Parliamentary General Elections on June 20 and the President’s Refusal to Reconvene the Recently Dissolved Parliament.’ »

TNA Scores Politically By Responding To PM Mahinda’s Invitation Positively

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

When Seven major opposition parties made an offer of responsible cooperation in return for restoration of Parliament to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa they were rudely rebuffed. When his brother Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa invited all former MP’s of the dissolved Parliament for a political conference, he was rebuffed (but not rudely) by all opposition parties. All parties except one. Of the seven opposition parties who jointly made the responsible cooperation offer, only the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) accepted the premier’s invitation albeit with reservations. By responding positively to PM Mahinda Rajapaksa’s invitation positively, the TNA seems to have scored politically.

What had happened earlier was that in a related development several of Sri Lanka’s opposition parties came together for a common purpose in the national interest. Seven political parties, namely, the United National Party (UNP), Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), Tamil National Alliance (TNA), Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC), All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) issued a ten – point joint statement on April 27 pledging ‘Responsible cooperation’ to the President and Government if Parliament is restored in the best interests of the country and all her people.
Continue reading ‘TNA Scores Politically By Responding To PM Mahinda’s Invitation Positively’ »