Had the Opposition put personal rancour and political needs aside and worked with Mr. Wickremesinghe once he became the president, a better 22 Amendment and other reforms could have been possible.


BY

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“You are in the end – what you are.” Goethe (Faust)

Twenty two is not perfect. Far from it, perhaps light years far. Yet, in a season of defeats and setbacks, it is a win for Sri Lankan democracy, and for those Sri Lankans who would be free citizens rather than obedient subjects or terrified children waiting for the next saviour.

The passing of the 22 (officially 21) came hard on the heels of another democratic victory. The Supreme Court effectively killed the deadly Rehabilitation Act. If President Wickremesinghe or the Rajapaksas dreamed of using the Act to punish past dissent and discourage future protests, that dream is now dead.

The two wins demonstrate that however flawed or even dysfunctional the Sri Lankan political system might be it’s not broken. It can be built on, improved. The better kind of system change, the sort that harms less, roots deep, lasts long.

By 2014, the Rajapaksas had disembowelled every single democratic institution in the country from the highest court to the lowliest Pradesheeya Sabha. Only periodic elections remained, a heads-we-win-tails-you-lose game the family believed it had mastered. Wrongly. Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the presidency and democracy made a comeback.

The Sirisena-Wickremesinghe administration removed the executive’s mailed fist from the collective back of the judiciary and paved the way for more institution-building than any previous administration via the 19th Amendment and the Right to Information Act.

Electoral defeat also revealed the ordinary clay in the Rajapaksa makeup, diminishing the shock and awe effect created by the war victory. High King Mahinda and Supreme General Gotabaya were downsized to normal size for a while.

The memory of that reduction had faded by 2018 but not dead. In 2022, as normal life collapsed under the cumulative weight of shortages and queues, that memory would return. Without its liberating effect, the peaceful revolt of the middle class which constituted the first inspiring phase of the Aragalaya couldn’t have happened.

Thus the importance in the death of the 20th and the safe birth of 22nd, especially if system change is a real goal and not just a radical sounding slogan or an excuse to scuttle reforms.

Continue reading ‘Had the Opposition put personal rancour and political needs aside and worked with Mr. Wickremesinghe once he became the president, a better 22 Amendment and other reforms could have been possible.’ »

“Prime Minister Sunak does not mark a change from the Tory policies that have left Britain in such a state. Rather he personifies them. Mr Sunak may be the only available man to fix the govt’s errors. But he also helped make them.”- The Economist

Rishi sunak entered Downing Street clutching an invisible dustpan and broom. “Mistakes were made,” declared the new prime minister on October 25th, all but rolling up his sleeves. “I have been elected as leader of my party…to fix them.”

The Economist

The voice was passive but the identity of the culprit was clear—Liz Truss, Mr Sunak’s hapless predecessor, who managed just 49 days in the job. It is the morning after the night before in the Conservative Party. The grown-ups have returned to find the house has been trashed. Now Mr Sunak must start the clean-up.

There is just one problem with this narrative. Mr Sunak is a cause of the problem as well as the solution. The new prime minister is helping tidy up a mess that he helped create.

When the Conservative Party has erred in recent years, Mr Sunak has nearly always been in favour of the mistake rather than the fix. There were many reasons to support Britain leaving the eu. Mr Sunak, however, picked the worst one: he thought it was a cracking idea. Britain will be “freer, fairer and more prosperous outside,” wrote Mr Sunak in 2016. It was a pragmatic decision, not a romantic one.

The fundamental problem at the heart of his own government will be a policy for which he long campaigned. Likewise, Mr Sunak was comfortable with a “no deal” Brexit so long as Britain actually left the eu. Mr Sunak has pledged a more constructive relationship with the bloc. Better not to have broken it at all.

Continue reading ‘“Prime Minister Sunak does not mark a change from the Tory policies that have left Britain in such a state. Rather he personifies them. Mr Sunak may be the only available man to fix the govt’s errors. But he also helped make them.”- The Economist’ »

Ministers Douglas Devananda and Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to Visit Kurunthoormalai in Mullaitheevu and Vedukkunaari Malai in Vavuniya on Nov 1 to Resolve Temple Related Issues in Decision Taken by Cabinet Sub committee on Reconcilation


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda and Minister of Justice, Prison Affairs, and Constitutional Reforms President’s Counsel (PC) Dr. Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe will visit Kurunthur Malai in Mullaitivu and Vedukkunari Malai in Vavuniya in the North on 1 November to resolve longstanding temple-related issues in the area.

During the initial meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Reconciliation held yesterday (25), it was decided to visit the above locations to identify and resolve the said issues, Devananda said.

Continue reading ‘Ministers Douglas Devananda and Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe to Visit Kurunthoormalai in Mullaitheevu and Vedukkunaari Malai in Vavuniya on Nov 1 to Resolve Temple Related Issues in Decision Taken by Cabinet Sub committee on Reconcilation’ »

Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan Initiates Moves to Set up a Drug Rehabilitation Centre Within Municipal Limits in an Effort to Curb the Rise of Heroin Addiction among Northern Youth


By

Mirudhula Thambiah

In an effort to curb increasing heroin addiction among youth in Jaffna, the city’s Mayor Attorney Visvalingam Manivannan has said he will soon initiate a dialogue with other stakeholders of the city with the goal of establishing a drug rehabilitation centre within municipality limits.

Speaking to The Morning, Manivannan on 23 October said that he hopes to commence talks with the representatives of the Jaffna District Secretariat, the Jaffna Teaching Hospital, the Jaffna Bar Association, the Police, the Department of Education and the Regional Health Directors, in this regard.

Continue reading ‘Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan Initiates Moves to Set up a Drug Rehabilitation Centre Within Municipal Limits in an Effort to Curb the Rise of Heroin Addiction among Northern Youth’ »

EPDP Leader and Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda to raise several Issues Including Establishment of a Ministry of Northern Affairs at the Inaugural Meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Reconciliation chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to be held on October 25th :


BY

Mirudhula Thambiah

The Cabinet Sub-Committee on Reconciliation chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe will hold its first meeting today (25).

Speaking to The Morning, Minister of Fisheries Douglas Devananda said yesterday (24) that at the first meeting, he would mainly discuss land-related issues, the activities of the Department of Archaeology, foreign and natural reserves, the Mahaweli L-Zone, missing persons, detainees, the pardoning of all Tamil political prisoners through a method similar to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of South Africa, the implementation of the 16th Amendment to the Constitution on administrative languages, maintaining the ethnic proportionality in the Security Forces, and forming a ministry for Northern affairs.

“I will propose to release private lands under State control or State ownership. Some of these areas which include lands belonging to the people, temples, schools, and sacred places, should be released,” he added.

Continue reading ‘EPDP Leader and Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda to raise several Issues Including Establishment of a Ministry of Northern Affairs at the Inaugural Meeting of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on Reconciliation chaired by President Ranil Wickremesinghe to be held on October 25th :’ »

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Opposition MP Mano Ganesan will meet Govt representatives this week to discuss the plight of plantation workers and the impact of the current economic crisis on them.

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MP Mano Ganesan will meet Government representatives this week to discuss the plight of plantation workers and the impact of the current economic crisis on them.

Speaking to The Morning, Ganesan said: “During my speech last week in Parliament, I spoke about plantation workers and the impact of the economic crisis on their day-to-day life. This week, I will meet Government representatives to discuss the issue in detail,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Opposition MP Mano Ganesan will meet Govt representatives this week to discuss the plight of plantation workers and the impact of the current economic crisis on them.’ »

That such a clumsily evil document like the Rehabilitation Bill came to the actual Bill stage is a grave question. Is the President, the Prime Minister or the verbose Minister of Justice responsible? If not, who? This question must be answered to prevent a repeat of this fiasco.


By
Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

This ecstatic rolling about in the Diyawanna mud to celebrate the passing of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution defeats logic if not common sense.

No cheers, vigilance needed

Constitutional yo-yo games of the 17th, 18th, 19th, 20th and now 22nd Amendments demonstrate how stupendously unfit the members of Sri Lanka’s Parliament are to hold their seats. Each of these amendments were diametrically opposite to its predecessor in its varying democratic or anti-democratic thrust. Yet they were approved by the same parliamentarians raising their hands in the House, in obedience to passing political winds. This is the pathetic state to which the Constitution, the supreme law of the land, has been reduced.

What is to say that, next year, we will not have a 23rd Amendment that will restore the 20th Amendment’s ferociously anti-democratic status quo?

If at all, this Amendment should have given rise to solemn introspection on our own sins. The bankruptcy of the country and its ranking as a governance ‘basket case’ in South Asia and beyond, are due to monkeying around with the Constitution by greedy, venal and supremely ignorant political leaders.

Business leaders, professionals, academics and civil society’s collusion in ‘yahapalanaya’ or ‘viyath maga’ charades, played their own part.

So, as far as the 22nd Amendment is concerned, there is nothing to be ecstatic about. Sobriety must attend its passing and vigilance must govern the aftermath. The working of the Amendment in practice must be monitored and critiqued. Will a diluted Constitutional Council stand as a safeguard to politicisation of constitutional commissions and important public offices? That is a key test.

Continue reading ‘That such a clumsily evil document like the Rehabilitation Bill came to the actual Bill stage is a grave question. Is the President, the Prime Minister or the verbose Minister of Justice responsible? If not, who? This question must be answered to prevent a repeat of this fiasco.’ »

Gamini Dissanayake’s Name will resonate as long as the great reservoirs of Kotmale, Victoria, Randenigala, Rantambe, Maduru Oya, Ulhitiya, Rathkinda, Lunugamwehera and Samanalawewa remain on this land.


By Karu Jayasuriya

(The 28th death anniversary of Gamini Dissanayake is on @4 October 2022)

The name of Gamini Dissanayake is an indelible mark in Sri Lanka’s politics. This statement was issued to mark the 28TH death anniversary of the late politician who marked a turning point in national politics.

Gamini Dissanayake was born on March 20, 1942 and entered Parliament in 1970. But perhaps, it was never with the intention to die as a man who would continue to live in the hearts and minds of the people.

Although many people born as human beings often become a burden to one’s nation only to pass away quietly, a handful of people fulfill their responsibilities and duties to die as free men and continue to live in the hearts of the people.

Continue reading ‘Gamini Dissanayake’s Name will resonate as long as the great reservoirs of Kotmale, Victoria, Randenigala, Rantambe, Maduru Oya, Ulhitiya, Rathkinda, Lunugamwehera and Samanalawewa remain on this land.’ »

22nd Amendment to the Constitution passed in Parliament with a two thirds majority. The final vote on the bill received 174 votes in favour and none against.As per the 22nd Amendment, dual citizens are disqualified from contesting elections.


By Saman Indrajith

The 22nd Amendment to the Constitution was passed in Parliament yesterday with a two thirds majority. The final vote on the bill received 174 votes in favour and none against.At the second reading stage vote, the Bill received 179 votes in favour and one vote against. Colombo District SLPP MP Rear Admiral (Retd)Sarath Weerasekera was the only MP who voted against the Bill.At the third reading vote MP Weerasekera abstained from voting.

Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa and former Minister Namal Rajapaksa were among those who voted for the Bill.The vote originally scheduled to be taken at 5.30 pm yesterday was postponed until 6.15 pm as the debate dragged on. The Bill was debated on Thursday and Friday and over 50 MPs took part in it.

Continue reading ‘22nd Amendment to the Constitution passed in Parliament with a two thirds majority. The final vote on the bill received 174 votes in favour and none against.As per the 22nd Amendment, dual citizens are disqualified from contesting elections.’ »

“The Supreme Court also has swung like a pendulum. In the 19th amendment bill they permitted various changes and said this doesn’t require a referendum, but now those identical changes, with the very same words, within a few years, the same supreme court says you require a referendum. How can that be? -MA Sumanthiran MP

( Full Text of Speech made in Parliament by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran during the debate on the 22nd Constitutinal Amendment bill on 20th October 2022” )


Thank you,
Honourable Deputy Speaker, for the opportunity to speak on this very important constitutional amendment that has been presented to this house. I say ‘important’ not because there are any important contents in this Bill, but because this Bill is being touted as an important reform to the constitution of this country, while it is not. And it is my intention today to inform the country as to what this amendment actually seeks to do.

There are many members in this House who voted for the 17th amendment to the constitution. The same members voted for the 18th amendment to the constitution Those very members voted for the 19th amendment to the constitution, and they voted for the 20th amendment to the constitution and today they are all ready to vote for the 22nd amendment to the constitution, which will become the 21st amendment. They are like a pendulum they swing from one end to the other. I have my respect for Hon. Sarath Weerasekara seated there: right or wrong he stands at one end. He doesn’t swing like a pendulum.

I say this because when the 17th amendment to the constitution was passed in this house nobody cast a vote against it, only one member of Parliament abstained from voting. When the 19th amendment to the constitution was passed in this house, only one member, Hon Sarath Weerasekara voted against it. Everybody else voted for it. That shows what the 17th amendment and what the 19th amendment sought to do and how even members in the opposition benches were conscious of the expectations in the country and they went along with it, particularly the 19th amendment. When the 19th amendment was presented to this House, I think the government had only 48 members, the opposition had over 150 members. Yet it was passed. That was soon after an election. But those very members out of that 150, I think about 60 odd members, later voted for the 20th amendment, including the Hon Minister of Justice or you did not vote you did not come, or you voted , including the Minister of Justice who presented this Bill and pleaded with the other members to give them an opportunity to correct a wrong that they have committed by passing the 20th amendment.

Continue reading ‘“The Supreme Court also has swung like a pendulum. In the 19th amendment bill they permitted various changes and said this doesn’t require a referendum, but now those identical changes, with the very same words, within a few years, the same supreme court says you require a referendum. How can that be? -MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Supreme Court Determines that the Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill as a whole is inconsistent with Article 112(1)nof the Constitution Announces Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena in Parliament


Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena announced yesterday in Parliament that the Supreme Court of Sri Lanka has determined that the Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill as a whole is inconsistent with Article 112(1)nof the Constitution

He said therefore, the Supreme Court has said the Bill may be enacted only by the special majority required by Article 84 (2) of the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Determines that the Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill as a whole is inconsistent with Article 112(1)nof the Constitution Announces Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardena in Parliament’ »

All Parties,Groups and Individuals in Oppostion sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Pledging to work together and defeat the Government’s alleged attempt to delay local Government Elections further


Parties and organisations representing the country’s Opposition have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to work together against the Government’s alleged attempt to further delay local Government Elections

The recent announcement by President Ranil Wickremesinghe of the need to implement electoral reforms prior to holding polls has been slammed by Opposition parties. They have accused the Government of attempting to put off an election in the guise of implementing reforms in the polling system as it is unable to face an election at this juncture due to high disapproval rates among the public.

The signing of the MoU was held at the Parliament yesterday with the participation of Opposition party leaders and members based on a collective decision taken at an earlier date to oppose any moves to postpone the local Government elections.

Continue reading ‘All Parties,Groups and Individuals in Oppostion sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) Pledging to work together and defeat the Government’s alleged attempt to delay local Government Elections further’ »

Amitabh Bachchan: Evergreen Octogenarian is Hindi Filmdom’s “Shahenshah” (King of Kings)

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Well-known Hindi film actor Amitabh Bachchan celebrated his eightieth birthday on October 11th. The veteran thespian continues to be active , playing a variety of roles in films. As a “rasika” who relishes his performances, it is with great pleasure that I write about him this week. It has been the practice of this column to focus on a film, film personality or film related topic on the first Saturday of each month. Since I was unable to write on the first two Saturdays of this month, I do so now on this third Saturday.

The six-foot three inch tall Amitabh Bachchan with a deep baritone voice is a towering personality in Hindi cinema. He has been walking tall for more than five decades as a lead and supporting actor. He has given voice-overs in some films too. Bachchan has also been a playback singer and film producer.

Amitabh Bachchan dominated Hindi cinema as a superstar from the mid-seventies to the early nineties of the 20th century. So great was his power and influence in those years that the famous French director Francois Truffaut described him once as a “one-man industry”. He is no more a super star playing the lead nowadays. Nevertheless the evergreen actor playing assorted non-hero roles remains perennially popular with a broad fan base.

Continue reading ‘Amitabh Bachchan: Evergreen Octogenarian is Hindi Filmdom’s “Shahenshah” (King of Kings)’ »

The Ranil Wickremesinghe Govt’s “Strategic Plan “for Trincomalee district and Eastern Province is to ‘Sinhalise’ and ‘de-Tamilise’by subtracting the Tamil percentage and proportion of the populace and the land through administrative re-structuring of areas

By

Dr.Dayan Jayatilleka

‘…Unable to summon the full resources of its vaunted intelligence or its political will to meet the formidable challenges issued by an unprecedented crisis, the elite presented other bizarre exhibitions of helplessness, bewilderment and naivete…Various theories were put forward like… “For God’s sake give them Trinco” …’

– The Marooned Elite, Crisis Commentaries: Selected Political Writings of Mervyn de Silva, International Center for Ethnic Studies, Colombo, 2001, pp. 55-67.


Mahinda can’t comeback

Critiquing the policies of the last decade of Chairman Mao Zedong’s life, Fidel Castro once remarked sadly that there are some leaders “who break with their feet, what they built with their hands”. That would be even truer of Robert Mugabe and Alberto Fujimori than Mao. It fits Mahinda Rajapaksa. It wouldn’t fit Gotabaya who simply broke with his feet what generations had built with their hands (i.e., agriculture).

Mahinda and his SLPP cannot come even close to anything remotely like an electoral comeback for six reasons:

1. MR nominated Gotabaya as candidate even though he could have picked Chamal. In mid-2018, I had personally warned him of the dangers of a GR candidacy (which I had supported in 2016-17) and pitched for Chamal or Dinesh in print.

2. MR could have but didn’t challenge Gotabaya when as President the latter centralised all power in his hands through the 20th Amendment, thereby devaluing the PM who happened to be GR’s vastly experienced older sibling.

3 MR could’ve but didn’t pushback publicly against the catastrophic fertiliser policy which has destroyed most of the SLPP’s and the Rajapaksas’ traditional rural peasant support base including in the South.

4. MR turned his back on his own rebellious street-agitator past which should have enabled him to empathise with the Aragalaya youth. Instead, utterly unprovoked he gave a very hardline militarist speech on 11 April 2022, well before ‘MynaGoGama’ or 9 May. His son Namal has eschewed the path of progressive dissent that Chandrika adopted even against her mother Sirimavo and brother Anura, which translated itself later into considerable political capital.

5. MR has abandoned what he symbolised and championed, and installed as President his traditional foe Ranil who still stands for everything in economic policy that Mahinda stood against.

6. The people are suffering as never before in living memory; the Rajapaksas are held responsible, and will remain indelibly associated for decades in the mass mind with this anguish and nepotism, just as Madam Bandaranaike was for 17 years after the material hardships and nepotism of 1970-1977.


Trincomalee three-card trick

The Tamil political leadership has commendably brought to light the attempt of the Sri Lankan regime, operating octopus-like through state authorities, to unilaterally alter the demographic composition, i.e., the population ratios, of the North and East. What they have not done is to grasp the perfidy of the plan in its entirety. They have not connected up the dots.

President Wickremesinghe’s grand (or sordid) design can be glimpsed in his Trincomalee Strategic Development Plan. This Plan must be read together with the demographic changes that are sought to be made through an array of administrative-cartographic operations. Districts, provinces, must not remain static and population ratios should and do change, but that has to be through evolutionary trends, chiefly of economics, not of unilateral, top-down state intervention.

The Wickremesinghe administration is trying to qualitatively add value to Trincomalee while subtracting the Tamil percentage and proportion of the populace and the land by administrative land-swaps. If his ‘strategic plan’ works, Trincomalee will be another Port City, the jewel in the crown not of the place and people as they exist or have historically existed, but of a district and province that are ‘Sinhalised’ and ‘de-Tamilised’ by several strokes of a pencil through maps and of the pen on new administrative regulations—the method greatly favoured by imperialist-colonial powers throughout history (e.g., Sykes-Picot).

The administrative exercises now under way, going by the letter to the President authored by Hon Sampanthan and the speeches by M.A. Sumanthiran and Gajan Ponnambalam, will render the 13th Amendment, the Northern and Eastern Provincial Councils and the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord automatically meaningless because the configuration and composition of those two provinces would have been drastically altered.

This is the method used by Israel’s Netanyahu to render meaningless the two-state solution of the Oslo peace accords.

The Wickremesinghe administration’s plan in effect displaces the Tamil people of the district, province and region since they will find themselves on the other side of district and provincial boundaries, as small minorities in Sinhala majority areas, overnight, while the Sinhalese majority areas will be annexed to the remaining part of the district, creating enclaves that serve as settlements.

Most cynically of all, President Wickremesinghe’s move seeks to tempt and co-opt India, a country with 80 million Tamil people, into partnering the Sri Lankan state and powering the economic success of this project which disempowers the Tamils through downsizing, while enshrining through cartographic chicanery, the hegemony of one community in an area historically inhabited by another and of a multi-communal composition and character.

Ranil Wickremesinghe is probably counting on the trade-off within the trade-off, namely that the installation of Sinhala dominance over Trincomalee will more than neutralise, or at least offset, Sinhala nationalist outrage at handing over Trincomalee to India as he handed over Hambantota to China.

The Trincomalee triple-cross is signalled in these recent remarks of High Commissioner Milinda Moragoda to the Times of India:

“Sri Lanka is in a transition phase and there is a need to renegotiate the social and political compact in the country. Sri Lanka is a complex country with many regions and ethnicities. This issue (13th amendment) also falls under the same category. We have to work out a new compact.”

The imminent/ongoing changes on the ground in the Eastern Province seem to have been ‘renegotiated’ without the Tamil and Muslim parties or the main parliamentary Opposition.

The 13th Amendment issued from the Indo-Sri Lanka Accord, the product of protracted bilateral negotiations, and cannot be ‘renegotiated’ without India.

While the Ranil regime strives to strategically shrink the Tamil geopolitical space on the island, the Tamil political parties and civic organisations have newly expanded space in the public consciousness to avail themselves of in resisting the regime’s political expansionism.

I cannot recall a time when Sinhala racism was as socially and politically marginalised as it is now and sentiments of anti-racism and pluralist democracy as widespread as they are now due to the economic crisis and a new enlightened consciousness among a whole generation. It is the Age of the Aragalaya; our May ’68.

The wording of the UN High Commissioner’s report, the latest UNHRC resolution, the statements of the Indian delegate to the UNHRC and the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee resolution could frame a joint Sinhala-Tamil-Muslim platform against renewed supremacism.

Reading Ranil’s mindse
t

With the sophistication that characterises European political theory as distinct from the Anglo-American, the French introduced the category of ‘history of mentality/mentalities’ (‘histoire des mentalités’) also known as ‘history of attitudes’ into the study of social history and politics. When the history of Sri Lanka’s current crisis is written it would be useful to note the particular attitudes or mentalities that characterised the contemporary political leadership—Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Ranil Wickremesinghe.

President Wickremesinghe’s mentality was very much on display last week, in a number of episodes. He appointed Erich Solheim his advisor on Climate Change. This was the week after Sri Lanka’s Prof. Mohan Munasinghe, 2021 Blue Planet Prize Laureate (known as the Environmental Nobel Prize) and co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace, delivered a keynote speech at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi, Vietnam in the presence of that country’s President. President Wickremesinghe preferred Erich Solheim. The Government swerved from Gotabaya’s Rajapaksa’s disastrous taxation policy to Ranil’s calamitous one last week. GR’s policy was influenced by what George HW Bush referred to as his boss Ronald Reagan’s ‘voodoo economics’ by which he meant the economics of Arthur Laffer, the main policy instrument of which was a massive tax cut. Reagan abandoned it along the way.

For his part, Ranil has just committed one of the biggest possible mistakes in the playbook of politics: imposing a huge tax burden on the middle-classes and small and medium businesses.

He has just ensured that when the Aragalaya comes around again, the middle, upper-middle, professional and middle-bourgeois classes and strata which had peeled-off after Gota left and Ranil came in, will be back again with the struggle, and this time for the long haul, i.e., until an election.

Why Ranil would do this when the obvious place to go from Gotabaya’s savage tax cuts is not savage tax burdens on the middle classes and employment-generating small and medium businesses, but precisely a policy advocated by the US Democrats and European social democrats, of slashing taxes on the middle-classes and shifting to steeply graduated taxes on the ‘super-rich’, combined with heavy corporate taxes.

Ranil has burdened the 99% rather than the 1% which benefited from the GR tax cut and the policies of the years the economy was going downhill and the middle-classes were getting poor, the poor getting poorer.

“No taxation without representation” was a founding slogan of the American Revolution of 1776. The Sri Lankan citizens didn’t elect Ranil Wickremesinghe, therefore he doesn’t represent them—but his administration is imposing taxes on them. The JVP has already signalled that it would support a taxpayers revolt.

President Wickremesinghe would do well to remember that Sri Lanka’s 1848 rebellion led by Puran Appu, which required the British troops on the island to be reinforced from India to quell it, was occasioned by an array of unfair taxes imposed on the people by the British colonial rulers.

Soon, Sri Lankans will feel that their economic agony is attributable (not entirely accurately) to decisions made by outsiders, bureaucrats sitting in Washington DC, together with a national leadership which they didn’t elect, rather than by a leadership democratically chosen by the citizens of this country.

If the Trincomalee area, including its port and oil tank farm is sold or leased to India as Ranil is signalling, instead of adhering to the Indo-Sri Lanka accord and developing the oil-tank farm jointly, the populist backlash that is inevitable in the context of economic contraction and IMF cutbacks, will take a patriotic or nationalist-populist character, not merely a socioeconomic populist form.

President Wickremesinghe said a few days ago that the Trincomalee give-away project should have been implemented in 2003 when he first started on it. The facts are that he was turfed out by President Chandrika because the nationalist backlash became too threatening on the one hand and tempting on the other. Having been fired as PM, when the country went to the polls in 2004 it endorsed his ouster by defeating him. It kept him unelected for almost 15 years since his election in 2001, until it next tried him out in 2015. At the end of that 2015-2019 term, the electorate kicked him and his party right out of Parliament.

President Mahinda Rajapaksa went to the Supreme Court and took back the oil-tanks, and his foe and successor President Sirisena dragged his feet on giving more oil tanks to neighbouring India.

Ranil is trying to override the evidence of the negative electoral verdict on his two stints as an elected PM (2001-2003/4, 2015-2019), when he strove to implement his economic policies with a partial mandate (as PM not President).

If he feels that the people have since learned their lesson and endorses his economics of sell-out, he should hold an election, win it, and return with a mandate to implement the policies which were anathema to the majority of citizens earlier.

Ranil Wickremesinghe transparently intends to do without a mandate, that which he was never given a mandate to do on all the occasions he sought the Presidency, i.e., to lead the country, because the public knew or feared he would sell out the country.

He intends to implement policies that he was twice thrown out by the electorate for trying to implement. Put differently, not only does he not have a mandate for these policies, he has a negative mandate for them—meaning that he is focused on implementing policies that the people have manifestly and repeatedly voted against.

Political sustainability and economic stability

Only a reckless politician would go against the grain—the representative democratic electoral ethos—of Sri Lankan politics and public opinion, and do so at a time of grave crisis in which instability is unaffordable.

International experience shows that economic contraction overturns incumbent administrations. That overturning can either be done the easy, systemic way i.e., elections or the a-systemic/extra-systemic way. Economic contractions coupled with an IMF package increase the probability of convulsions. Those convulsions can either be contained or channelled through elections, so that a government or successive governments with a sufficient measure of popular consent can stabilise the situation e.g., Greece, Lebanon.

The best practices clearly call for timely elections, and most often, the fast-forwarding of elections. Stuck in his 1970s-1980s mindset, Ranil Wickremesinghe and his backers, the Rajapaksa cartel are determined not to hold elections. The UNP chairman Vajira Abeywardena reiterated Ranil’s position that no elections will be held for many months until all the electoral reforms are completed.

The Rajapaksa-run SLPP’s backtrack on the 22nd Amendment proves that the ruling party cannot be the agency of democratising political and governance reforms.

By kicking the electoral can down the road, President Wickremesinghe has done the impossible. He has caused a convergence, in two conclaves, of 16 Opposition political parties, the broadest seen in living memory in Sri Lanka, ranging from the SJB and the SLFP, through the FPC to the FSP.

The first meeting was convened at the Monarch hotel by the Dullas Alahapperuma-G.L. Peiris group (FPC), the second, at the Public Library by the trade unions. The question is not why the FSP was present but why the JVP-JJB was absent. The Opposition conclaves announced 2 November as the kick-off date for their campaign.

Ranil will meet protests with repression. Repression would rapidly re-activate a cycle of revolt and rebellion.

Debt sustainability requires political sustainability. Without electoral legitimacy the Ranil Presidency is politically unsustainable. Ranil is treading water these days. However, that is temporary survival, not structural sustainability. Given his lack of a mandate, his polarising unilateralism and the deepening and widening of the economic pain, Ranil’s presidency is politically unsustainable in the structural and systemic senses.

Without political sustainability, there is no stability, political or economic. Sustainable economic reform must be preceded and made safe, or more simply, feasible, by restructuring the political leadership.

The only way to ensure political sustainability and stability is a steely insistence by the International Financial Institutions, the creditor states and private creditors, as well as EU states deliberating on GSP Plus, that immediate elections at all levels, front-end loaded with the presidential, constitute conditionality for support.

Courtesy:Daily FT

President Ranil Wickremesinghe Justifies Hike in Income Tax as being Necessary to Garner Much Needed Financial Support from International Community and go Forward for the Greater Good of the Country


Amidst growing criticism President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday justified a hike in income tax for both corporate and personal saying it was for the greater good of the country going forward and critical to garner much needed financial support from the international community.

In an address to the nation, the President said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with whom the Government has signed a Staff Level Agreement for a $ 2.9 billion 4 year financial support, advised the need for a surplus in Sri Lanka’s primary budget. “It was agreed to, since the country needs the support of the IMF,” he said.

“It was also decided to increase the country’s income from 8.5% to 14.5% of the GDP. However, it is a difficult task to accomplish immediately, it is envisaged to achieve this by 2026.

• Says country will have to revert to an era of queues if revenue is not raised through direct tax increases
• Admits new tax measures are IMF recommendations, hence critical to secure international support to salvage SL economy
• Insists tax hikes not being taken wilfully but being done reluctantly
• Reveals SL lost Rs. 700 b
• due to wrong economic policies in the past
• Inflation rate increased to 70% since Rs. 2.3 t printed during the past two-and-a-half years
• Suggests tougher times ahead but reassures Govt. ready for prudent economic management following successful debt restructuring
• Says Government ready to discuss concerns further if required

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe Justifies Hike in Income Tax as being Necessary to Garner Much Needed Financial Support from International Community and go Forward for the Greater Good of the Country’ »

TNA Spokesperson Sumanthiran wants International Involvement in Truth Seeking Mechanism but SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem Wants Purely Domestic Mechanism


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Tamil and Muslim political representatives in the Parliamentary Opposition are divided over the nature of the proposed truth-seeking mechanism, specifically on whether it should be solely a domestic mechanism or whether it should have international involvement.

Expressing his party’s stance on the proposed truth-seeking mechanism, Tamil National Alliance Spokesman and Opposition MP M.A. Sumanthiran (PC) said that as long as it is independent and impartial, they would support the ascertainment of the truth, but that it should necessarily have international involvement, as the Government is only one party to the matter, while Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya Opposition MP Rauff Hakeem noted that the mechanism should be domestic, and a restorative justice project as opposed to a retributive one.

Continue reading ‘TNA Spokesperson Sumanthiran wants International Involvement in Truth Seeking Mechanism but SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem Wants Purely Domestic Mechanism’ »

“Now that Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared that the SLPP is capable of winning elections, let the government be urged to hold the local government polls without further delay and prove his claim.”- The Island

(Full Text of Editoria; appearing in “The Island”of 19 October 2022 under the geading “Mahinda’s Labour”)

Most political leaders in this country tend to live in the past. Former President Mahinda Rajapaksa is one of them. He seems to be labouring under the delusion that his theatrics can still yield enough votes for the SLPP to win elections. He has undertaken to revitalise the battered SLPP almost single-handed and enable it to recover lost ground fast. (He has also bragged that he is physically fit enough to run faster than the youth who make ageist remarks about him!) His courage seems to be outrunning his judgment.

What the SLPP’s overdependence on Mahinda signifies is that the ruling party is without any other leader capable of at least making an effort to turn it around. A similar situation arose following the 2015 regime change; Mahinda had to lead the rebel faction of the SLFP, pave the way for the formation of the SLPP and steer the newly-formed party to victory. He was hugely popular at the time despite his defeat and equal to the task he undertook to accomplish. But today the situation has changed. The SLPP has become a metaphor for corruption as well as incompetence; it has bankrupted the country, inflicted untold suffering on the public, and ruined its chances of winning an election in the foreseeable future.

Continue reading ‘“Now that Mahinda Rajapaksa has declared that the SLPP is capable of winning elections, let the government be urged to hold the local government polls without further delay and prove his claim.”- The Island’ »

Shehan Karunatilaka’s Booker Prize Winner “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” is narrated by a dead man: ‘Only the dead could offer plausible explanations of the Sri Lankan tragedy, as the living clearly did not have a clue’ … Shehan Karunatilaka


By’
Justine Jordan

The remarkable thing about this violence-soaked novel narrated by a dead man is how full of life it is. Shehan Karunatilaka’s The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida comes a decade after his rollicking debut Chinaman, which combined the love of cricket with the horror of Sri Lanka’s civil war. Set at the tail end of the 80s, his second novel again plumbs national violence and atrocity, teasing out its roots in colonial history. It’s also an offbeat love story, both romantic and platonic, and a whodunnit written in the urgent, intimate second person.

As the novel opens, Maali Almeida, a charming, dilettantish photographer with a weakness for gambling and beautiful boys, wakes up dead. He finds himself in an afterlife that’s just as threatening and confusing as the living world, a busy and chaotic realm drawing on Sri Lankan myth and folklore as well as Dante’s Inferno.

Continue reading ‘Shehan Karunatilaka’s Booker Prize Winner “The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida” is narrated by a dead man: ‘Only the dead could offer plausible explanations of the Sri Lankan tragedy, as the living clearly did not have a clue’ … Shehan Karunatilaka’ »

Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka wins 2022 Booker Prize for his second novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida about a journalist murdered amid the country’s sectarian strife.


Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka on October 17 won Britain’s Booker Prize for fiction for his work The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, about a journalist murdered amid the country’s sectarian strife.

“My hope for Seven Moons is this… that in the not-so-distant future… that it is read in a Sri Lanka that has understood that these ideas of corruption and race-baiting and cronyism have not worked and will never work,” he said.

“I hope it’s in print in 10 years but if it is, I hope it’s written in (a) Sri Lanka that learns from its stories, and that Seven Moons will be in the fantasy section of the bookshop… next to the dragons, the unicorns (and) will not be mistaken for realism or political satire,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan author Shehan Karunatilaka wins 2022 Booker Prize for his second novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida about a journalist murdered amid the country’s sectarian strife.’ »

UNP General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara Unaware of Telephone Conversation Between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLPP National Organizer Basil Rajapaksa

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Despite reports to the effect that incumbent President and United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe and Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) Founder and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa recently discussed an alliance between the SLPP and the UNP in a forthcoming Parliamentary election, UNP General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara stated that he was unaware of any such discussion between the President and Rajapaksa.

There are reports that Wickremesinghe and Rajapaksa had, via phone call, recently discussed a possible alliance between the SLPP and the UNP in a future Parliamentary election.

Continue reading ‘UNP General Secretary Palitha Range Bandara Unaware of Telephone Conversation Between President Ranil Wickremesinghe and SLPP National Organizer Basil Rajapaksa’ »

Suresh Goonesekere Played an exemplary innings in the Game of Life; it was a privilege to witness his time at life’s crease – a sight to behold!


By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Suresh Goonesekere would have turned 50 today (Oct 17), just over a year after his tragic death left his family and friends bereft of his kindness, generosity, strength of character and permanent grin. Being one of those friends, who knew him from childhood, it is still hard to believe that he is gone. We were more than mere friends. Growing up, we attended Thomas’ College, Mt Lavinia together and our childhood homes were close to each other.

In our adulthood, our lives crossed paths in so many delightfully unpredictable ways, each one leaving me with memories of joy, human kindness and good times. Knowing that we have crossed paths for the last time leaves a void in me that I cannot fathom how to fill. Whatever else may ever have been uncertain in this world, Suresh’s presence, his kindness, his loyalty and his compassion were never in doubt.

Suresh lived most of his adult life in Singapore and in England. Whenever my travels took me to either country, we would meet without fail, almost like a ritual or tradition. So, it was not unusual for him to invite my family over to dinner when we were visiting Singapore a little over two years ago.

It was quite a random invitation, very typical of Suresh. He knew that I was not going through the best of times. I had not told him as much, but he made it his business to know about the wellbeing of everyone close to him.

As it so happened, the day he hosted us also happened to be my birthday, a fact that my wife casually mentioned over dinner. Suresh’s response came instantly. He said, ‘Adey KP, we have to celebrate tonight,’ before proceeding to order a bevvy of whiskey, wine and even more food. In a flash, he transformed a low-key reunion dinner into a massive and humbling celebration.

Continue reading ‘Suresh Goonesekere Played an exemplary innings in the Game of Life; it was a privilege to witness his time at life’s crease – a sight to behold!’ »

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

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(This 75th Birthday Tribue to Vijaya Kumaratunga written in 2020 is being re-posted here without any changes to commemorate the actor-politico’s 77th birth anniversary.)

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

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

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

How C.P. de Silva did not Become Prime Minister Due to “Salagama” Caste Factor.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Prime Minister was the most poweful person in Sri Lanka known earlier as Ceylon during the first three decades of independence from Britain. The post of Prime minister lost its sheen after the Executive presidency was introduced in 1978. Until then the prestigious PM POST was a position much coveted by politicians.. This column wanders down nemory lane this week and narrates the tale of a man who could not become Prime Minister on two occasions– in September 1959 and April 1960 – due to fate’s cruel trickery. The man who was deprived of the Prime minister post twice was none other than C.P.de Silva whose 50th death anniversary falls on October 9th.

Charles .Percuval de Silva was born on April 16, 1912 at Randombe in Balapitiya. His parents were C.R. de Silva, a lawyer and Ms. Adlin de Silva, a co-founder of Musaeus College. CP de Silva or CP as he was generally known entered the Ceylon Civil Service in 1935. . CP resigned from the Civil Service in 1950 while holding the post of Director of Land Development.

Continue reading ‘How C.P. de Silva did not Become Prime Minister Due to “Salagama” Caste Factor.’ »

Sri Lankan Govt Should Withdraw Draft ‘Rehabilitation’ Law that Would Spur Great risk of abuse Abuse by Proposing Detention Without Judicial Review at Military-Run Centers States Human Rights Watch


The Sri Lankan government should withdraw a draft law that would give the authorities broad powers to detain people in military-run “rehabilitation” centers, placing them at great risk of abuse, Human Rights Watch said today. The Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill, submitted to parliament on September 23, 2022, would allow the compulsory detention in centers of “drug dependant persons, ex-combatants, members of violent extremist groups and any other group of persons.”

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill would establish a new administrative structure controlled by the Defense Ministry to operate “rehabilitation” centers staffed by military personnel. The proposed law, which human rights advocates have already challenged in the Supreme Court, does not describe the basis for being sent for “rehabilitation,” but other recent government policies provide vague and arbitrary powers to forcibly “rehabilitate” people who have not been convicted of any crime.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan Govt Should Withdraw Draft ‘Rehabilitation’ Law that Would Spur Great risk of abuse Abuse by Proposing Detention Without Judicial Review at Military-Run Centers States Human Rights Watch’ »

Police Ban SJB led Protest Against “Ekwa Nagitimu” SLPP Rally in Nawalapitiya to Prevent Potential Breach of Peace; Protesters Gather in Town Chanting Slogans Calling Mahinda and Rajapaksas “Hora,Hora”;15 Including SJB Organizer Arrested


By Buddhika Samaraweera

A total of 15 persons were arrested by the Police during a protest held in Nawalapitiya town against the rally organised by the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) under the theme “Let’s Rise Together” (Ekwa Nagitimu), and former Prime Minister and incumbent MP Mahinda Rajapaksa, who arrived to participate in the said rally, which was held yesterday (16).

The second of the SLPP’s “Let’s Rise Together” rally series, which started in Kalutara recently, was held yesterday in Nawalapitiya town. The rally, which started at around 9.30 a.m. and was attended by Rajapaksa and several other SLPP MPs, was organised by former Minister and incumbent MP Mahindananda Aluthgamage.

Among the SLPP MPs who attended the rally were: Aluthgamage, Ministers Keheliya Rambukwella and Dr. Ramesh Pathirana, State Ministers Sanath Nishantha Perera, Siripala Gamlath, Indika Anuruddha, Piyal Nishantha de Silva, and Dilum Amunugama, and MPs Namal Rajapaksa, SLPP General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam, Johnston Fernando, and D. Weerasinghe.

Continue reading ‘Police Ban SJB led Protest Against “Ekwa Nagitimu” SLPP Rally in Nawalapitiya to Prevent Potential Breach of Peace; Protesters Gather in Town Chanting Slogans Calling Mahinda and Rajapaksas “Hora,Hora”;15 Including SJB Organizer Arrested’ »

President Wickremesinghe Expresses Confidence on Successful Restructuring of External debt Following Discussions Between SL delegation led by State Minister of Finance and International Monetary Fund, China, India and Japan


President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday expressed confidence on successful restructuring of external debt following talks with Chinese Finance Minister.

The President said that the delegation headed by the State Minister of Finance, who is currently in Washington, held initial discussions on Saturday with the International Monetary Fund and the three main countries, China, India and Japan that have given loans to the country. He said that the Government is giving priority to immediately solve the problem of the country’s bankruptcy and to ensure food security.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe made these remarks following an observation tour of the cultivated lands in Rathumada-Weerakandawala area in Siambalanduwa Divisional Secretariat yesterday morning (16).
The President also discussed the progress of the implementation of the food security program in Monaragala district with Government officials.

He said that there is no problem with having debates and also recalled the statements made by some people that they would come forward and shed blood and said that one should live before shedding blood.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Expresses Confidence on Successful Restructuring of External debt Following Discussions Between SL delegation led by State Minister of Finance and International Monetary Fund, China, India and Japan’ »

5.7 million Sri Lankans require urgent humanitarian assistance States latest Economic Survey Report released by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross Societies; “The numbers are very likely to multiply” says report


By Darshana Abayasingha

The economic crisis has impacted 96% of households with food, health costs and livelihoods at the top of listed concerns, reveals the latest Economic Survey Report released last week by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society (SLRCS) and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

The psychological wellbeing and education of children was also listed as a major priority of concern.

It found that 5.7 million – 26% of the population – require urgent humanitarian assistance and ‘upstream’ interventions. The numbers are very likely to multiply and consequences will depend, the report adds.

The survey conducted by the agencies engaged 2,871 respondents across 11 districts and studied insights on impacts of the current crisis on food security, livelihoods, health and protection.

Continue reading ‘5.7 million Sri Lankans require urgent humanitarian assistance States latest Economic Survey Report released by the Sri Lanka Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross Societies; “The numbers are very likely to multiply” says report’ »

We cannot invoke only the LTTE’s atrocities against children while overlooking the State’s raining down of shells on bunkers where (Tamil) children sheltered. Majority or minority alike, the Sri Lankan State’s list of grievous sins against its own children are many.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

When President Ranil Wickremesinghe uses gut wrenching imagery to equate Sinhalese mothers and fathers taking their children to protest sites with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) using Tamil children as human shields against state forces, it is deliberate and premeditated.

Two unsettling sides of the same coin

The President’s well aimed play is on the familiar theme of ‘protestors as fascists,’ used to excellent effect to frame his Office around twin motifs of stability and security. Well meaning responses by Sri Lankans have since hailed this Presidential response as worthy of praise.

But there is a deeper context to this issue that must be critically looked at. If the President shows such heartwarming concern for Sri Lanka’s children, why did he not address the question of excessive police brutality practiced against them in the first instance?

That police response was against this week’s peaceful commemoration of those who had died during recent protests, at the Galle Face Green. Two small children were roughly manhandled, leading to one child being admitted to hospital. They were literally torn away from the arms of their parents. Is this action by the police to be condoned? Could not different tactics have been used by the police, where was the evidence of ‘minimum force’ that is parroted?

Equally to the point, do protestors not have the right to commemorate the dead, similarly to Northern mothers being stopped from mourning the deaths of their children during the Vanni’s war?

In fact, the commonalities with which the State uses its tools to crush dissent are striking. There is nothing very new here. We have heard all this before, the rhetoric of the Northern terrorists/Southern insurrectionists and the besieged State. That dynamic was invoked in exactly that same way by the President.

Continue reading ‘We cannot invoke only the LTTE’s atrocities against children while overlooking the State’s raining down of shells on bunkers where (Tamil) children sheltered. Majority or minority alike, the Sri Lankan State’s list of grievous sins against its own children are many.’ »

“Ranil Wickremesinghe is our President but he will have to bear the shame of defeat if he does not accept our proposals and rushes the 22nd amendment through with Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.” Threatens SLPP Gen Secy Sagara Kariyawasam


By Damith Wickramasekara

The fate of the Constitution’s 22nd Amendment (22A) hangs in the balance with the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) laying down two “mandatory” conditions to ensure its passage—including a clause to make members of independent Commissions accountable for their actions.

The SLPP also wants the clause prohibiting dual citizens from holding membership in Parliament removed, General Secretary Sagara Kariyawasam told the Sunday Times.

A party delegation will meet President Ranil Wickremesinghe next week to convey its demands “for the final time”. The 22A is unlikely to be passed without SLPP support.

Continue reading ‘“Ranil Wickremesinghe is our President but he will have to bear the shame of defeat if he does not accept our proposals and rushes the 22nd amendment through with Justice Minister Wijeyadasa Rajapakshe.” Threatens SLPP Gen Secy Sagara Kariyawasam’ »

India’s stand during voting at the UN is nuanced to serve its national interest while maintaining its focus on core issues. In other words, it is an expression of realpolitik.


By Col R Hariharan

India’s abstention from voting on a draft resolution at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to debate on the human rights situation in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region (XUAR) on October 6, has surprised many at home and abroad. The draft resolution, moved by a core group of eight nations—Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the UK and the US—could find support from only 17 members in the 47-strong Council. Nineteen others, led by China and most of the Islamic countries, including Pakistan, voted against it, confirming our neighbour’s clout in the UN body.

Since 2017, international civil society organisations and media have been highlighting China’s increasing rights violations to systematically brainwash and subjugate the Uygur people. Former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet had recently submitted a scathing report on China’s coercive conduct against Uygur in XUAR. Had the resolution been voted, China would have been hauled up for the first time in the history of UNHRC to account for its terrible human rights record in XUAR.

It was reasonable to expect that India would vote for the draft resolution, particularly as China’s conduct at the UN had been hurting its interests on several issues relating to Pakistan’s support to jihadi terrorist operations. This has been going on for quite some time to suit China’s emerging strategic interests in the Af-Pak region.

Two years ago on January 20, at the behest of Pakistan, China tried to revive the Kashmir issue for “closed-door consultation” under “AOB” (Any Other Business) at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). Its attempt miserably failed after all the other 14 members of this Council rejected it. That is a small consolation for India as China has also been repeatedly blocking the UN listing of jihadi terrorists based in Pakistan as global terrorists under the UNSC 1267 Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee. China had been placing them on “technical hold” without giving specific reasons for its action.

Continue reading ‘India’s stand during voting at the UN is nuanced to serve its national interest while maintaining its focus on core issues. In other words, it is an expression of realpolitik.’ »

Ponniyin Selvan: I (PS-1) could have helped in removing the “anti-Chola perception prevalent among sections of Sinhalese” states Sri Lankan Writer Ayathurai Santhan “The Pandyas and the Sinhalese were traditionally close allies” he says


By T. Ramakrishnan

Ponniyin Selvan: I (PS-1) the star-studded Tamil feature film based on the novel of Tamil writer of yesteryear Kalki, could have helped in removing the “anti-Chola perception prevalent among sections of Sinhalese”, according to Ayathurai Santhan, a Jaffna-based veteran bilingual Sri Lankan Tamil writer.

Pointing out that the Pandyas and the Sinhalese were traditional and close allies, Mr. Santhan said the latter sided with the former during wars between the Pandyas and the Cholas. It was for the reason of removing the support the Sinhalese had extended to the Pandya’s that the Cholas invaded Sri Lanka, he said.

Continue reading ‘Ponniyin Selvan: I (PS-1) could have helped in removing the “anti-Chola perception prevalent among sections of Sinhalese” states Sri Lankan Writer Ayathurai Santhan “The Pandyas and the Sinhalese were traditionally close allies” he says’ »

The Tamil language flourished under the Cholas but not all Chola subjects were Tamils in an ethnic or racial sense. Did the Cholas or their subjects retain any notion of a unified Tamil ethnicity or race?

By
Elijah Hoole

Mani Ratnam’s Ponniyin Selvan-1, or PS-1, is billed as a pan-India movie. The story, based on Kalki Krishnamurthy’s historical fiction by the same name, unfolds in the early years of the Chola dynasty of 10th century CE. Speaking at a promotional event in Mumbai, Vikram, a lead actor in the film, told an engaged audience, “Think about our culture, how advanced we were. We need to be proud of this. This has nothing to do with North India, South India, East India, West India. We are Indians. We need to feel proud about that.” ‘Pan-India’, thus, denotes much more than the release of the film in five languages.

Poonguzhali

Regardless of how we view our past, we must acknowledge that a lot has changed in the thousand years between us and the Cholas of PS-1.

Think of Poonguzhali, the pretty and powerful fisherwoman who transports key figures in the story across the Palk Strait, between Chozha Nadu and Eelam. While the character is fictional, her character-defining act is not.

Continue reading ‘The Tamil language flourished under the Cholas but not all Chola subjects were Tamils in an ethnic or racial sense. Did the Cholas or their subjects retain any notion of a unified Tamil ethnicity or race?’ »

Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa denies accusations that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) led by him and other parties in the Opposition are blocking the adoption of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution

Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa denied accusations that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) led by him and other parties in the Opposition are blocking the adoption of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.

Premadasa said the Opposition would have had a favourable response regarding the 22A prepared had the Prime Minister provided satisfactory answers to several concerns raised by them during a meeting held on Wednesday.

The parliamentary debate on the 22A which was scheduled for 6-7 October was postponed to next week when the Parliament convened yesterday in agreement with all party leaders. Speaker Mahinda Yapa Abeywardene was forced to call for the party leaders’ meeting after both the ruling and Opposition party members blamed each other for blocking it.

Continue reading ‘Leader of the Opposition Sajith Premadasa denies accusations that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) led by him and other parties in the Opposition are blocking the adoption of the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution’ »

“Taking children to protest demonstrations should be stopped. They are taking children to protests, not because they cannot be left alone at home, but to be used as a human shield, similarly to what Prabhakaran did.”- President Ranil Wickremesinghe


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

While equating those who take their children to protest demonstrations as being akin to slain Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) Leader Velupillai Prabhakaran’s use of children as human shields, President Ranil Wickremesinghe stated that all measures will be taken in consultation with Attorney General (AG) Sanjay Rajaratnam (PC) to prevent young children from being brought to protests.

Speaking during a discussion at the Presidential Secretariat on the protection of children’s rights, he said: “Taking children to protest demonstrations should be stopped. They are taking children to protests, not because they cannot be left alone at home, but to be used as a human shield, similarly to what Prabhakaran did. The Police should be instructed to prevent such incidents from happening. If this is to continue, everyone will bring their children [to protests]; even the university students will bring children.”

Continue reading ‘“Taking children to protest demonstrations should be stopped. They are taking children to protests, not because they cannot be left alone at home, but to be used as a human shield, similarly to what Prabhakaran did.”- President Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Hindi Film SuperstarAmitabh Bachchan Celebrates 80th Birth Anniversary:: How “Brand Bachchan” has stood the test of time in the Advertising World


By

Krishna Gopalan

Be it films, advertising, public messaging, Amitabh Bachchan remains a credible voice and much sought after; it is a case of getting better with age

Vivek Sharma, Founder, Altivyst Advisors and former CMO Pidilite & Philips, thinks one of the biggest strengths of Bachchan is his credibility with all sections of people.

The audience mouthing their hero’s dialogue or dancing to a famous song of his in a movie theatre is a tradition inextricably linked to Bollywood. But hold on for a minute. We are talking of films released in the 1970s playing to a full house today in cities such as Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Ahmedabad, Prayagraj, Kolhapur, Kanpur. Something is not quite adding up.

Welcome to the world of Amitabh Bachchan. As the star turns 80, a rerun of his films, that were an integral part of his heady superstardom days, is currently on. Social media, is quite literally, going nuts, with footage of people clapping, whistling, dancing and just being themselves. Thanks to an initiative taken by PVR, 11 iconic films of Bachchan are being played at their multiplexes across 17 centres.

Continue reading ‘Hindi Film SuperstarAmitabh Bachchan Celebrates 80th Birth Anniversary:: How “Brand Bachchan” has stood the test of time in the Advertising World’ »

Arjuna Mahendran, Arjun Aloysius and Eight Others accused in the first Bond Scam case of 2015 released from the charges filed under the Public Property Act, by the Colombo Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar in a 2/3 Majority Verdict

Central Bank former Governor Arjuna Mahendran, and nine other individuals who were accused in the first Bond Scam case of 2015 were released from the charges filed under the Public Property Act, by the Colombo Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar yesterday.

The court ruled that it cannot proceed with the charges filed under the Public Property Act by the Attorney General against the 10 people accused of committing the Bond Scam of 2015. The verdict was delivered by a 2/3 majority in the Court. The case was called up in the presence of Justices Chamath Morias, Damith Thotawatte and Namal Balalle.

Continue reading ‘Arjuna Mahendran, Arjun Aloysius and Eight Others accused in the first Bond Scam case of 2015 released from the charges filed under the Public Property Act, by the Colombo Permanent High Court Trial-at-Bar in a 2/3 Majority Verdict’ »

Urban Poverty Triples in Sri Lanka with the On-going Economic Crisis Creating More “Newly Poor Families”: World Bank Urges Govt to Devise a Social Protection Strategy and Increase Financing for Social Assistance

By
Meera Srinivasan

As Sri Lankans continue braving their worst economic crisis since Independence, urban poverty on the island has tripled in the last year, from 5% to 15 %, according to a recent World Bank report.

Sri Lanka is experiencing “its highest poverty rate since 2009 [when the civil war ended], and an erosion of the steady gains in welfare made between 2006 and 2019,” the Bank noted in its recent Sri Lanka Development Update titled ‘Protecting the poor and vulnerable in a time of crisis’, released earlier this month.

While 80% of Sri Lanka’s poor still live in rural areas, the poverty rate in urban areas has tripled since 2021, and half the population in estate areas is currently living below the poverty line, it said, referring to Sri Lanka’s hill country that is home to the island’s historically-neglected Malaiyaha Tamils. About 1.5 lakh people, mostly women, from the million-strong community work in the tea estates, bringing in crucial foreign exchange to the country. They live in dire conditions, in colonial era line rooms, and labour hard to be paid their hard-won LKR 1000 daily wage (roughly ₹ 225).

Continue reading ‘Urban Poverty Triples in Sri Lanka with the On-going Economic Crisis Creating More “Newly Poor Families”: World Bank Urges Govt to Devise a Social Protection Strategy and Increase Financing for Social Assistance’ »

Sirimavo Bandaranaike: The Grand Old Lady of Sri Lankan Politics

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

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

by

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

October 10th 2022 is the 22nd death anniversary of the world’s first woman prime minister Mrs.Sirima Bandaranaike.

I am therefore reproducing on my blog an article written about her by me 22 years years ago. It was published in the Indian news-magazine “Frontline” of Aug 19th – Sep 01st 2000 (Vol 17-Issue 17) under the heading “Exit of an Elder Stateswoman”.

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

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

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

We need a Govt that the people trust, one that enjoys their confidence and one that will speak with them in terms of why we have to make the sacrifices and bear the burden necessary to get us out of the horrendous mess we have allowed ourselves to get into.


By

Dr.Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu

Yet another resolution on Sri Lanka has passed in the UN Human Rights Council, 20 member states voting for it, seven against and 20 abstaining. This resolution will facilitate the continuation of the Accountability Project to collect and preserve evidence in respect of the allegations of war crimes and crimes against humanity and includes economic crimes.

Interestingly, the Supreme Court has given leave to proceed in the case citing a host of high level officials including former presidents, finance ministers, governors of the Central Bank and members of the Monetary Board for accountability for the current economic crisis. The final comprehensive report on the resolution is due in 2025 with reporting in the intervening years.

The resolution contains strong language and reference to more recent developments. Based on the report of the High Commissioner to the Council, it highlights the centrality of impunity as the cancer on the enjoyment and protection of human rights and governance in Sri Lanka.

The Government of Sri Lanka has rejected the resolution on the grounds that the inclusion of economic crimes exceeds the mandate of the council and reference to universal jurisdiction for accountability and indeed the Accountability Project violates the constitution of Sri Lanka.

These are fallacious arguments; there is no explicit stipulation of such a nature in the constitution and were intended to muddy the waters on the grounds of the current situation in Sri Lanka – you do not kick a country when it is down – and the usual argument about the threats to national sovereignty in the Global South from the Global North.

Continue reading ‘We need a Govt that the people trust, one that enjoys their confidence and one that will speak with them in terms of why we have to make the sacrifices and bear the burden necessary to get us out of the horrendous mess we have allowed ourselves to get into.’ »

“I intend to reduce before the next election , the number of council members for local Governing bodies such as Pradeshiya Sabhas, Municipal Councils, and Urban Councils from the current 8,000 to 4,000,” States President Ranil Wickremesinghe


President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday announced a raft of amendments to the electoral system, noting that the existing political system was a major cause for the current economic crisis.

“A referendum will be called to decide on the parliamentary electoral system if the Select Committee which is proposed to be established fails to decide on the matter by July next year,” he said during a meeting with professionals held at the President’s Office yesterday.

President Wickremesinghe said plans are also underway to slash the number of local Government councillors by 50% before the next election.

“Before the next election, I intend to reduce the number of council members for local Governing bodies such as Pradeshiya Sabhas, Municipal Councils, and Urban Councils from the current 8,000 to 4,000,” he added.

President Wickremesinghe also said ‘Jana Sabha’ will be introduced to streamline the local government councils.

Continue reading ‘“I intend to reduce before the next election , the number of council members for local Governing bodies such as Pradeshiya Sabhas, Municipal Councils, and Urban Councils from the current 8,000 to 4,000,” States President Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

TNA Leader and Trincomalee MP Sampantha writes to President Wickremesinghe Regarding Issues Concerning the Thirukkoneshwaram Temple and Attempts to Interdict the Territorial Contiguity of the Predominantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces


(Full Text of Letter Dated 14 September 2022 sent by Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Leader and Trincomalee district MP Rajavarothayam Sampanthan to President Ranil Wickremesinghe Regarding Issues relating to the Thirukkoneshwaram Temple)

THIRUKONESHWARAM – “DAKSHANA KAILASH” RENOWNED HIND U TEMPLE IN TRINCOMALEE AND TRINCOMALEE HARBOUR

I am informed that in recent times certain meetings have been held in Trincomalee wherein activities relating to the above two institutions Thirukoneshwaram – Dakshana Kailash and Trincomalee Harbour have been discussed and certain decisions are to be taken.

May I first deal with

1. Thirukoneshwaram – Dakshana Kailash the ancient temple was destroyed in 1623 by the Portuguese Viceroy Constantain Desa. The temple is said to have had 1000 pillars, 3 Rajagopurams, two abutting the sea on either side and one in the center.

Portuguese historians at the time of Rev Queroz stated that most of the Hindus in the world including those in India venerated this temple more than any other temple. This temple was regarded by them as the ‘Rome of the East”.

2. Sir Paul Peris the eminent Sri Lankan has in his historical works has stated that long before the arrival of Vijaya in Ceylon, there existed in Ceylon five Eashwarms of Lord Siva – Naguleshwaram and Thirukethesewaram in the North, Thirukoneshwaram in the East, Muneshwaram in the West and Thondeshwaram in the South. This temple is said to be on the decline while the other four temples are flourishing. These five Siva temples are said to have been constructed all around Ceylon in the North, East, West and South to protect the country. Vijaya was the precursor of the Sinhala Race.

3. Indian Prime Minister Charan Singh who went to Thirukoneshwaram to worship as he alighted from the Vehicle uttered the following words ‘I have come to Dakshana Kailash’. The antiquity and Sanctity of this temple needs to be preserved.

In recent days there have been some proposals which I wish to bring to your notice. Thirukoneshwaram is situated inside the Fort Fredric. One enters the area from the main gate on the front of the fort. Some decades ago some Army personnel occupying part of the Fort Fredric constructed a statue of Lord Buddha on the part of the land occupied by them. People who wished to worship at Thirukoneshwaram and Lord Buddha entered the fort through the main gate and worshipped. There was no other route to enter the fort and worship Lord Buddha and Thirukoneshwaram.

Continue reading ‘TNA Leader and Trincomalee MP Sampantha writes to President Wickremesinghe Regarding Issues Concerning the Thirukkoneshwaram Temple and Attempts to Interdict the Territorial Contiguity of the Predominantly Tamil Speaking Northern and Eastern Provinces’ »

“We can engage in our daily debates, but we need to make one national policy. If we continue with that national policy, we will never fail. We made the mistake of changing policies with every change of Government,” states President Ranil Wickremesinghe

President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday reiterated the need for a stable national policy to rebuild Sri Lanka, insisting on the importance of an export-oriented economy.

“A strong economic policy and political stabilisation are essential to improve Sri Lanka’s economy and place it in the international sphere,” he said, opening Sri Lanka’s first life-saving pharmaceutical manufacturing plant established by Yaden Laboratories in Katunayake yesterday.

The President further pointed out the need to work under a common national policy irrespective of party differences to rebuild the country.

“We should all follow one national policy. We can engage in our daily debates, but we need to make one national policy. If we continue with that national policy, we will never fail. We made the mistake of changing policies with every change of Government,” he added.

He also said discussions on a strong national policy can take place using the National Council as the platform.

Continue reading ‘“We can engage in our daily debates, but we need to make one national policy. If we continue with that national policy, we will never fail. We made the mistake of changing policies with every change of Government,” states President Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

Geopolitics and National Interests Determined the Ayes,Nays and Abstentions during the Vote on the Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva

By P.K.Balachandran

Looking at the voting on the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution on Sri Lanka on October 6, it appears that the decisions taken by the 47 members were determined by their respective positions in geopolitics and their national interest.

The 20 members who voted for the resolution castigating Sri Lanka for alleged human rights violations, were Western nations and their political allies. Japan, which is a firm ally of the West, however, struck a different path. It abstained perhaps due to its national interest vis-à-vis Sri Lanka. Those who voted against the resolution had been at odds with the West geopolitically. And those who abstained either had mixed feelings about the West’s agendas or had other more important national interests at stake.

Among those who said “aye” were hardcore Western nations, such as the US, UK, France, Germany and the Netherlands. These were also votaries of the Western concept of human rights. Among others countries that said “aye” were those feeling threatened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and had been flocking to the West and NATO. Many of these are new States that had emerged from the former Soviet Union but are now harboring fears of Russian expansionism. Ukraine, which voted for the resolution, is being aided by the West to fight Russia.

Continue reading ‘Geopolitics and National Interests Determined the Ayes,Nays and Abstentions during the Vote on the Resolution on Sri Lanka at the UN Human Rights Council Session in Geneva’ »

No Elections Until Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) Formulates new System of Voting by July 2023 ; If PSC does not Deliver by July a Country wide Referendum will be held to Decide on Electoral system says President Wickremesinghe

According to a press release issued by the Presidential Media Division (PMD) yesterday (9), President Ranil Wickremesinghe is to appoint a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) to decide on the Parliamentary voting system by July next year, with the next General Election to be held under the new system.

This virtually rules out the possibility of Parliament being dissolved, or an election being held, in the first half of 2023, despite the President being vested with the powers to dissolve Parliament by February next year under the 20th Amendment to the Constitution .

President Wickremesinghe yesterday (9) said that a referendum will be called to decide on the Parliamentary electoral system if the PSC that is proposed to be established fails to reach a decision on the matter by July next year.

Continue reading ‘No Elections Until Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) Formulates new System of Voting by July 2023 ; If PSC does not Deliver by July a Country wide Referendum will be held to Decide on Electoral system says President Wickremesinghe’ »

Colombo District MP Mano Ganesan Requests President Wickremesinghe to Direct IGP to Discontinue the Gathering of Personal Details from Residents in Colombo by the Police

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Samagi Jana Balawegaya Opposition MP and Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan yesterday (9) said that he brought to President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s attention that the collection of personal residential details carried out by the Police in the city of Colombo had caused disturbance among residents, and noted that he believes that President would take immediate action.

Ganesan told The Morning that President Wickremesinghe agreed to remedy the issue.

“President Wickremesinghe accepted that it is not right, and therefore, he said he would immediately inform the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and other officials to remedy this issue. Since the President himself is the head of the armed forces, I believe that he will solve this issue,” he added.

Continue reading ‘Colombo District MP Mano Ganesan Requests President Wickremesinghe to Direct IGP to Discontinue the Gathering of Personal Details from Residents in Colombo by the Police’ »

Police Disperse Event at Galle Face Green to Commemorate Persons Involved in the “Aragalaya” who lost their Lives due to Various Reasons, Police Personnel Deployed in Large numbers Remove Men,Women and Children Forcibly


By Buddhika Samaraweera

The Police yesterday (9) obstructed a peaceful protest to commemorate those who lost their lives during the “aragalaya” (people’s struggle), which began by demanding the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the Galle Face Green in Colombo in April, and arrested several persons who attended the said protest.

The Police had proceeded to remove those including civil society activists who had gathered at the Galle Face Green at around 5.45 p.m. to commemorate those that had lost their lives due to various reasons while being involved in the “aragalaya”.

It was observed that a large group of police officers, including senior officers of the Colombo Fort Police Station, arrived at the scene and informed the participating activists, including Ceylon Teachers’ Union General Secretary Joseph Stalin and former Presidential candidate Dr. Ajantha Perera, to leave the place. The police officials mentioned that since the Galle Face Green area was under Government ownership, the people would not be allowed to hold protests there.

Continue reading ‘Police Disperse Event at Galle Face Green to Commemorate Persons Involved in the “Aragalaya” who lost their Lives due to Various Reasons, Police Personnel Deployed in Large numbers Remove Men,Women and Children Forcibly’ »

Can Southern communities reduced to scraping for daily existence due to reckless decisions taken by corrupt ‘kings’ on whom they lavished unstinted adoration, ‘eat’ the political propaganda of the ‘magnificent Sinhala majority,’ which they and their unfortunate children have been nourished on, for most of their lives?

By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

There is a deep tragedy at the heart of Sri Lanka’s constitutional, financial and legal paralysis that we must understand.

‘Eating’ political propaganda

Some years ago, infuriated supporters of a drug baron turned vassal of the Rajapaksas lashed out at a courageous forest officer who protested against the destruction of the environment by politicians, asking ‘are we to eat oxygen’? Now, Southern communities reduced to scraping for daily existence due to reckless decisions taken by corrupt ‘kings’ on whom they lavished unstinted adoration, may perhaps ask themselves another question.

Can they ‘eat’ the political propaganda of the ‘magnificent Sinhala majority,’ which they and their unfortunate children have been nourished on, for most of their lives? In a special report last month following a crop and food security assessment mission to the country, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) along with the World Food Programme (WFP) warned about ‘acute food insecurity’ in Sri Lanka. The report cautions that, ‘nearly 30 percent of the population are experiencing acute food insecurity and (that the situation) will likely deteriorate further unless urgent assistance is provided.’

This is cause and effect in the most classic of consequential processes, the direct result of allowing a coterie of foolish and ignorant men to take the most fatal of decisions affecting the lives of millions. Even so, the question is not about their foolishness or their ignorance (evidenced from beginning to end, as it were) but rather, about how an entire population of (not entirely foolish) men and women allowed this to happen? Ergo, the decades-long crippling of the democratic nation-state and the monstrous growth of a xenophobically communalistic political behemoth lodged in the innards of the State which refuses to die.

Continue reading ‘Can Southern communities reduced to scraping for daily existence due to reckless decisions taken by corrupt ‘kings’ on whom they lavished unstinted adoration, ‘eat’ the political propaganda of the ‘magnificent Sinhala majority,’ which they and their unfortunate children have been nourished on, for most of their lives?’ »

Wimal Weerawansa claims the debate on 22 A is being held up due to the opposition of 10-15 government MPs whose strings were being pulled by “Mola Hathano” (The one with seven brains), a term he frequently uses to refer to Basil Rajapaksa.


By Sandun Jayawardana

The passage of the 22nd Amendment (22A) to the Constitution, widely considered as a key component in the political reform process, was delayed in Parliament this week amid sharp divisions between the government and opposition over the draft amendment.

Differences of opinion regarding the content of the draft amendment were far more apparent within the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), despite the rather clumsy attempt by government leaders to hide it and pin the blame for the delay on the opposition.

A two-day debate on the second reading on 22A had earlier been scheduled for Thursday (6) and Friday (7). On Thursday morning however, President Ranil Wickremesinghe took to the floor to make a special statement regarding the current economic situation where he briefed MPs regarding measures taken by the government to take the country out of the crisis.

At the conclusion of the President’s speech, Leader of the House Susil Premajayantha announced that the government was prepared to grant a debate on President Wickremesinghe’s speech with the agreement of the House. The announcement prompted Chief Opposition Whip Lakshman Kiriella to query whether Mr Premajayantha was asking to hold the debate on that day itself. “We are ready, but does that mean the 22nd Amendment will not be moved today?” he queried.

It then became apparent that the government was not ready to proceed with the debate on 22A, with Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena blaming the opposition for blocking the passage of 22A. He claimed that the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) led by Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa and several other opposition parties had indicated to him the previous evening of their inability to support the draft amendment. “We deeply regret this,” said the PM.

Continue reading ‘Wimal Weerawansa claims the debate on 22 A is being held up due to the opposition of 10-15 government MPs whose strings were being pulled by “Mola Hathano” (The one with seven brains), a term he frequently uses to refer to Basil Rajapaksa.’ »

“You all hold different political views. But you can achieve your political goals only if the country recovers from this economic crisis.At a time when no other political party or leader of the opposition would accept this risk, I accepted the risk for the country and embarked on a dangerous journey. We have progressed gradually, but steadily. We know that the majority of people in our country support this journey”. – President Ranil Wickremesinghe


(Full text of President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Special statement in Parliament on October 6, 2022)

I got the opportunity to exchange views with the state leaders during the visits to the United Kingdom and Japan recently. I also got the opportunity to meet the Finance Ministers of the countries where the Asian Development Bank operates during my visit to the Philippines. These meetings and exchange of views are of pivotal importance to overcome the economic crisis we are currently facing.

Today, the country’s economy and financial condition are not at sound levels. But some political parties and groups are still working under the assumption that the country is in a sound state. They make their comments, criticisms as well as make their proposals under the same assumption. We can’t assume that the economy has come back to normal just because the fuel queues are over.
We are facing the most serious economic crisis our country has ever faced in recent history. I explained the strategy to get out of this crisis on many occasions.

• Reaching a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund
• Reaching a common agreement on debt restructuring with countries like Japan, India and China and private creditors who have given us loans

• Thereafter stabilizing the economy by obtaining loan assistance from the IMF and other countries after certification from the International Monetary Fund.

• Working to raise the country’s economy to a developed level through a general plan after stabilizing the economy.

I pointed out at the initiation that we should strive to fulfill these four factors. It is because depending on the success of the first step, the second step could be made successful and only once the second step is made successful the third could be made successful and so on.

I pointed out those facts even before I assumed duties in the office of Prime Minister.

Continue reading ‘“You all hold different political views. But you can achieve your political goals only if the country recovers from this economic crisis.At a time when no other political party or leader of the opposition would accept this risk, I accepted the risk for the country and embarked on a dangerous journey. We have progressed gradually, but steadily. We know that the majority of people in our country support this journey”. – President Ranil Wickremesinghe’ »

TNA Jaffna MP Sumanthiran Tables in Parliament the Confidential Document signed by Irrigation Minister Roshan Ranasinghe Outlining Plans to Bi-furcate the Tamil Linguistic Contiguity of the Northern and Eastern Provinces by Altering the Ethnic Composition of Mullaitheevu South and Trincomalee North


(Text of Speech made by Tamil National Alliance Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran during the adjournment debate in Parliament. on 06.10.2022)

Thank you for the time that’s given to speak on this adjournment debate today. However, as I begin to speak I must note, that this is an anti–climax. The country has been waiting for serious constitutional amendment.

There was a country-wide cry to change the system and part of that was to do away with the executive presidency. And then we were told that: yes, we will abolish executive presidency, but first we will do away with the 20th amendment. There was also a call to remove 20th amendment to the constitution, and so from about the month of April the country has been waiting. And then, with a lot of fanfare the government said, “we have introduced the 22nd amendment to the constitution.” This is the promise we gave the people: with this we will substantially reduce the executive powers of the President and make the country more democratic.

And today, the whole country waited with bated breath for this wonderful piece of legislation that you had promised the country to be brought to Parliament and debated and passed. The government again has gone on reverse gear. Gear reverse is now the catch phrase “GR”! We had a GR earlier who also did this. And then the new President when he declared High Security Zone, under the Official Secrets Act, and it was pointed out it was ultra vires; that there was no power to declare High Security Zones under officials secrets act, he reversed.

And he has earned for himself the name GR- gear reverse. And we saw that again today. You step forward, say that you are delivering on your promise and then you turn your back. That’s the performance of this government.

Continue reading ‘TNA Jaffna MP Sumanthiran Tables in Parliament the Confidential Document signed by Irrigation Minister Roshan Ranasinghe Outlining Plans to Bi-furcate the Tamil Linguistic Contiguity of the Northern and Eastern Provinces by Altering the Ethnic Composition of Mullaitheevu South and Trincomalee North’ »

Sri Lankan actor Shyam Fernando Plays the Role of King Mahinda V in the Blockbuster Tamil Movie “Ponniyin Selvan” (Son of the Ponni River)

Sri Lankan film actor Shyam Fernando has made his debut in Indian Tamil cinema by enacting the role of a Sinhala King in the much awaited Tamil mega movie “Ponniyin Selvan” -1. The film directed by legendary film director Maniratnam hit the screens on September 30th 2022. The film is produced by Allirajah Subashkaran who is a British citizen of Sri Lankan Tamil origin.

Ponniyin Selvan has a stellar ensemble cast fincluding Vikram, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Jayam Ravi, Karthi, Prabhu, R Sarathkumar, and Sri Lanka’s Shyam Fernando

Shyam Fernandi plays King Mihindu V or Mahinda the fifth who ruled in Anuradhapura from 982 onwards. In 993 Mahinda V was defeated in battle by the Chozha prince Arunmozhivarman who later reigned as rhe Chozha emperor Rajarajan. The film “Ponniyin Selvan” is mainly about Prince Arunmozhivarman who is also known as Ponniyin Selvan meaning son of Ponni (River)which is the ancient name of the river Cauvery. The Chozha kingdom comprised areas of what is known today as the Cauvery delta.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan actor Shyam Fernando Plays the Role of King Mahinda V in the Blockbuster Tamil Movie “Ponniyin Selvan” (Son of the Ponni River)’ »

The Army Thought Prabhakaran had Died when “Col” Shankar was Killed

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The book launch of “Rana Bimaka Panhinda” (Notes from the battlefield) written by Former “Lankadeepa” journalist Ratnapala Gamage took place at the J.R.Jayewardene centre in Colombo on September 13th.The Lankadeepa’s ex- defence correspondent now domiciled in Switzerland has in the book recounted many of his experiences while reporting on the long war between the Sri Lankan armed forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil l Eelam(LTTE).

Among the many anecdotes related by Gamage is one that occurred 21 years ago on September 26th 2001. According to Gamage, he was interviewing the then chief of defence staff(CDS) Gen Rohan Daluwatte at his office in Colombo when the ex-army commander got an important telephone call. After the call, the CDS cut short the interview and rushed off to a top level defence sector meeting chaired by then president Chandrika Kumaratunga.

Continue reading ‘The Army Thought Prabhakaran had Died when “Col” Shankar was Killed’ »

Sivaji Ganesan Made Many Tamils Appreciate Their Vibrant Language More

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(The Doyen of Tamil Film Actors “Nadigar Thilagham” Sivaji Ganesan was born on 1 October 1928. This article was written last year to commemorate Sivaji’s 20th death anniversary.It is being reposted without any changes to denote his 94th Birth Anniversary)

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

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

Sivaji Ganesan, (1 October 1928 – 21 July 2001

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

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

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

“I appealed to critics on Social Media to suggest a better person if there was one who could have been chosento lead the Country and Solve the Economic Crisis instead of Ranil but no one has responded to my request”


By

Victor Ivan

A statement I made on Ranil Wickremesinghe that he was the most suitable person for Sri Lanka to have been chosen from among the current politicians to solve the balance of payments crisis facing the country has caused strong opposition from some critics; and I must say that I was amused by the tone of the vituperative and angry criticisms that some of them have made about it.

Responding to a number of harsh comments posted on social media, I appealed to them to suggest a better person, if there’s any, who could have been chosen instead of Ranil, but no one has responded to my specific request.

The conundrum of Gotabaya and Ranil

Another observation I have brought to the fore in that dialogue was that Gotabaya was a character bloated in exaggeration by the media while that of “Ranil” has been destroyed by the media. About one and a half decade ago, a proprietor of one of the most powerful television channels in Sri Lanka, while having a friendly conversation, stated, “I would like to have a president of my choice elected, and I will do everything possible to achieve that goal.” It also appeared that he was keen in working towards having a group of MPs who were loyal to him in Parliament.

Continue reading ‘“I appealed to critics on Social Media to suggest a better person if there was one who could have been chosento lead the Country and Solve the Economic Crisis instead of Ranil but no one has responded to my request”’ »

Sri Lanka Categorically Rejects UNHRC resolution as being divisive and polarising: . “This resolution is not helpful to Sri Lanka,” Said Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry while addressing the Council

The new resolution on the human rights situation in Sri Lanka, sponsored by the Core Group on Sri Lanka and supported by 30 other countries in total, was taken up for action at the concluding segment of the 51st Regular Session of the UNHRC yesterday where it was adopted by a majority vote.

20 countries voted in favour of the resolution while seven voted against it. 20 countries including Sri Lanka’s closest neighbour and long-time ally India abstained from voting. “In finding a feeling of lasting peace and reconciliation in Sri Lanka, India has always respected the demand for equality for Tamils and Sri Lanka’s territorial integrity,” the Indian ambassador to the UNHRC said as India urged Sri Lanka to recognise legitimate aspirations of the Tamil community.

Only Bolivia, China, Cuba, Eritrea, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Venezuela came through for Sri Lankan and voted against the resolution in support of Sri Lanka. China opposed the resolution assuring its firm support for Sri Lanka’s independence.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Categorically Rejects UNHRC resolution as being divisive and polarising: . “This resolution is not helpful to Sri Lanka,” Said Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Sabry while addressing the Council’ »

President Wickremesinghe unveils a fourfold strategic plan for Sri Lanka to recover from the economic crisis in a Special Statement to Parliament;“It will be possible to make this journey stronger and faster only with the support of all of you” Ranil tells MPs


President Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday, making a special statement in Parliament, reiterated that the Government is ready to overcome the worst economic crisis in history even amidst shocks.

He also invited all parties to join the country’s rebuilding program irrespective of their personal grudges of the past.

During his speech, the President unveiled a fourfold strategic plan to recover from the crisis. He listed them as; a) Reaching a staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund; b) Reaching a common agreement on debt restructuring with countries like Japan, India and China and private creditors who have given us loans; c) Thereafter stabilising the economy by obtaining loan assistance from the IMF and other countries after certification from the IMF; and d) Working to raise the country’s economy to a developed level through a general plan after stabilising the economy.

Noting that the first step has already been successful, the President said: “The foundation is being laid to make the second step a success.”

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe unveils a fourfold strategic plan for Sri Lanka to recover from the economic crisis in a Special Statement to Parliament;“It will be possible to make this journey stronger and faster only with the support of all of you” Ranil tells MPs’ »

Rresolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ Passed by the 47 Member UN Human Rights Council with 20 Countries Voting in favour;7 Including China and Pakistan Vote Against;India and 19 Other Countries Abstain

By

Meera Srinivasan

India on Thursday abstained from voting on a resolution on Sri Lanka at the U.N. Human Rights Council, while observing that Sri Lanka’s progress in implementing commitments on the 13 th Amendment, meaningful devolution, and early provincial elections remains “inadequate”.

“Achieving prosperity for all Sri Lankans and realising the legitimate aspirations of Tamils of Sri Lanka for prosperity, dignity and peace are two sides of the same coin,” India’s Permanent Representative to the U.N. Ambassador Indra Mani Pande said. As an immediate neighbour, India has “substantively contributed” to the relief, rehabilitation, resettlement, and reconstruction process in Sri Lanka after 2009 and more recently provided “unprecedented assistance” to the people of Sri Lanka to face the challenges of the recent economic crisis, he said. India had abstained last year, too.

Further, India has “taken note” of the Sri Lankan government’s commitments on the implementation of commitments “in the spirit of the 13th Constitutional Amendment”, meaningful devolution, and the early conduct of provincial elections, Mr. Pande said, underscoring India’s long-standing concern over power devolution in Sri Lanka, an issue that also found mention in the resolution. “We believe that the progress towards the same remains inadequate. Accordingly, we urge the Government of Sri Lanka to work meaningfully towards early implementation of these commitments,” the Indian diplomat said.

The resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was adopted by the Council after 20 of its 47 members voted in its favour. While 20 countries abstained,

Continue reading ‘Rresolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ Passed by the 47 Member UN Human Rights Council with 20 Countries Voting in favour;7 Including China and Pakistan Vote Against;India and 19 Other Countries Abstain’ »

Is Gotabaya Rajapaksa Planning to Return to Politics? Secret Campaign Launched by Business Tycoon and Media Personailty to Ascertain Whether the Former President Continues to Retain Public Trust


By

JAMILA HUSAIN

Former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who returned back to the country recently after countries failed to give him asylum, has now begun a secret PR campaign to clear his failed image within the masses, to persuade the villages that he was misguided in making crucial decisions by those close to him, the Daily Mirror learns.

Senior sources told Daily Mirror that a team put together by a media personality and business tycoon are now visiting the villages which Rajapaksa had visited under the ‘Gama Samaga Pilisandara’ programme when he was President, and these members were speaking to the people to clear the former president’s image.

Continue reading ‘Is Gotabaya Rajapaksa Planning to Return to Politics? Secret Campaign Launched by Business Tycoon and Media Personailty to Ascertain Whether the Former President Continues to Retain Public Trust’ »

Decreasing Support for Sri Lanka in Combatting Resoltion at the UN Human Rights Council 51st Session in Geneva;“The number of votes will be significantly lesser. We have to be realistic,” Says Foreign Minister Ali Sabry,


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka will get a “significantly lesser” number of favourable votes at the U.N. Human Rights Council, Foreign Minister Ali Sabry on Wednesday said, apparently resigned to reduced international support at the Geneva forum whose 51 st session is underway.

“The number of votes will be significantly lesser. We have to be realistic,” Mr. Sabry, currently in Geneva, told a media conference held virtually. Observing that the voting pattern “ is not a fair reflection” of how all members think about Sri Lanka, he said “heavy lobbying” by powerful countries preceded the vote at the Council, which was “all geopolitics”.

The Minister’s position signalled a shift in Colombo’s tone from a month ago, when Mr. Sabry said Sri Lanka was “not interested in confrontation, we want to work towards consensus with all partners”.

Continue reading ‘Decreasing Support for Sri Lanka in Combatting Resoltion at the UN Human Rights Council 51st Session in Geneva;“The number of votes will be significantly lesser. We have to be realistic,” Says Foreign Minister Ali Sabry,’ »

President Wickremesinghe Asks Prime Minister Gunawardena to inquire from political parties in the Opposition about their formal position on the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.


President Ranil Wickremesinghe has instructed Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena to inquire from political parties in the Opposition regarding their final stance on the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.

The President has asked the PM to seek their opinion and inform him of their decision immediately.

Wickremesinghe has instructed Gunawardena after it was revealed that various groups in the Opposition had expressed contradictory views on the proposed 22A on several occasions.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Asks Prime Minister Gunawardena to inquire from political parties in the Opposition about their formal position on the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution.’ »

“People’s Councils can become a vehicle for mobilizing people around the country, at the national and regional levels, for democratic action.”- Rajani Thiranagama Memorial Committee Jaffna People’s Forum for Peaceful Co-existence


(Text of a declaration unanimously adopted at the Commemoration of Rajani Thiranagama’s 33rd Death Anniversary held in Jaffna on 2 October, 2022.)

Democracy is enshrined in People’s Sovereignty. Democratic governance upholds people’s sovereignty. But the current economic and political crisis has raised questions about the exercise of people’s sovereignty in the representative forms of governance in the country.

People need to claim ownership of their sovereign rights, of a just, equal and democratic life for themselves. The 100 days of Aragalaya-Poraattam has demonstrated the power that people have and need to exercise.

People become a power that acts both as a counter point to the hierarchical nature of governance and at the same time, supplement and deepen the already existing representative forms of governance.

The current government is abusing its powers and shutting down all dialogue. State repression needs to be challenged at this critical moment.

Continue reading ‘“People’s Councils can become a vehicle for mobilizing people around the country, at the national and regional levels, for democratic action.”- Rajani Thiranagama Memorial Committee Jaffna People’s Forum for Peaceful Co-existence’ »

SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa Says he Utilised the Central Cultural Fund to Uplift Buddhism by Constructing Dhamma Schools and Dagobas when he was a cabinet Minister in the UNP Govt; opposition leader lready to go around Country to Refute Allegations of misusing CCF


By Buddhika Samaraweera

Opposition and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Leader Sajith Premadasa said that he will travel around the country to show the public the projects implemented using the Central Cultural Fund, in response to allegations from parties related to the Government who claim that he had misused the money of the said fund.

Speaking to the media in Galle yesterday (2), he said: “The Government and the Rajapaksas (a reference to former presidents Mahinda and Gotabaya Rajapaksa) have now launched a project to sling mud at me, claiming that I have misused the Central Cultural Fund. I would like to ask them to wait a few days to see whether I misused that fund or used it for the development of Buddhism. I will go to every place of worship and show people the development work that has been done there.”

Continue reading ‘SJB Leader Sajith Premadasa Says he Utilised the Central Cultural Fund to Uplift Buddhism by Constructing Dhamma Schools and Dagobas when he was a cabinet Minister in the UNP Govt; opposition leader lready to go around Country to Refute Allegations of misusing CCF’ »

Does a President flippantly sign gazettes, so clearly ultra vires the principal enactment,on matters of high national security in the same manner as hurriedly grabbing a cup of coffee while dashing out of the house for work?


By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

The recent declaration of several High Security Zones in Colombo under Sri Lanka’s virtually obsolete Official Secrets Act has continued to raise feverish speculation in regard to the motivations behind the bizarre Presidential act.

Have we lost our collective legal wit?

Amidst rumours that the contested gazette will be withdrawn, (it still continues), the larger question speaks to a vexed problem with the functioning of the State. This is perhaps even more concerning than the Official Secrets Act being used for a purpose for which it was clearly not intended. Said with force in these column spaces last week, the core point in issue needs to be reiterated for the simple-minded. Put bluntly, the Government cannot declare High Security Zones under Section 2 of the Official Secrets Act as Section 2 does not permit the declaration of such zones.

Section 2 only allows the declaration of ‘prohibited places’ for the limited purpose of safeguarding ‘official secrets.’ The ministerial nitwit who hit upon this bright idea must be knocked smartly over his ears. Has the Department of the Attorney General stopped advising the Government and the Office of the President on matters of this nature?

Or have we all lost our collective legal wit to allow such idiocies to occur in the first instance? Apparently the state law office has been left in the dark as some well strategised media reports mutter.

Continue reading ‘Does a President flippantly sign gazettes, so clearly ultra vires the principal enactment,on matters of high national security in the same manner as hurriedly grabbing a cup of coffee while dashing out of the house for work?’ »

President Wickremesinghe’s resolve to undertake an “unprecedented fiscal effort, as part of the government’s commitment to restore the country’s debt sustainability,” may face severe political, economic and social opposition that make it difficult to implement.


By

Nimal Sanderatne

President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s brilliant address to the Annual Sessions of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Manila on September 29, was a strong commitment to undertake economic reforms and an exhortation to the international community to assist Sri Lanka in her quest for economic recovery.

He also referred succinctly to the global impacts and geo-political factors that have impacted Sri Lanka. It was a well-articulated and impressive speech that may enhance international assistance to Sri Lanka.

Speech

“Sri Lanka will shoulder an unprecedented fiscal effort, as part of the government’s commitment to restore the country’s debt sustainability amidst major economic stress, while hoping creditors and stakeholders will support the efforts,” he said.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe’s resolve to undertake an “unprecedented fiscal effort, as part of the government’s commitment to restore the country’s debt sustainability,” may face severe political, economic and social opposition that make it difficult to implement.’ »

“Democracy Stillborn” – a Book written by Rajan and Kirupaimalar Hoole traces the present plight of Sri Lanka to the battles of the 1920s over the championship of labour by Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam.


“DEMOCRACY STILLBORN””
written by Rajan Hoole and Kirupaimalar Hoole is a recent Perera- Hussein publication. The book focuses on the past,present and future of politics in Ceylon/Sri Lanka from a Labour movement perspective. The backpage of the book summarises the essence of its contents and the point of view articulated by the husband and wife author duo-


“Democracy Stillborn”
traces the present plight of Sri Lanka to the battles of the 1920s over the championship of labour by Ponnambalam Arunachalam.His ouster in 1921 from the Ceylon National Congress, led to the country’s politi This in turn resulted in an anti-labour stance blended with communalism, which received a boost from the total disenfranchisement of plantation labour by 1949 becoming dominated by estate capitalism.”

“The main legal battle around citizenship of plantation labour left the Judiciary deeply compromised. The right of habeas corpus affirmed in the Bracegirdle case of 1937 was attacked by the 1947 Public Security Ordinance permitting ‘murder in good faith.’ With elite Tamil and Muslim complicity, politics which was anti- labour at first, turned to ethno-chauvinism, surrendering the Parliamentary Left to Sinhalese exclusivism by 1964.”
“ Organised labour, weakened by abandoning the Plantation sector, was crushed by the UNP government in the General Strike of 1980. The right of habeas corpus, rendered virtually extinct by the 1979 PTA, made way for the cruel joke of the 2007 ICCPR Act.”

“Observing that the country is tired of revolutions, Democracy Stillborn places its hope in the survival in a mangled form of the Separation of Powers and of new life in a Judiciary with the courage to declare bad laws unconstitutional.”

The book is not available at Amazon or any other postal outlet. Copies could be purchased locally from the publisher Pererahussein or at local bookshops Sarasavi, Barefoot and Vijitha Yapa.

Orders can be placed through the publisher’s website www.pererahussein.com which ships to any location in the world. The website can be used for both foreign and local buyers.

Ameena Hussein
Perera Hussein Publishing House
80A Dharmapala Mawatha,
Colombo 7
Sri Lanka
www.pererahussein.com
www. phbooks.wordpress.com

President Wickremesinghe Orders Withdrawal of Gazette Declaring Certain Areas in Colombo as High Security Zones under the Official Secrets Act

The controversial gazette issued declaring High Security Zones (HSZs) in Colombo under the Official Secrets Act was withdrawn with effect from yesterday (1).

A senior Government minister told The Sunday Morning that the President had directed the Attorney General and relevant officials to make the necessary arrangements to withdraw the gazette notification.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Orders Withdrawal of Gazette Declaring Certain Areas in Colombo as High Security Zones under the Official Secrets Act’ »

How and Why Buddhist Monk Talduwe Somarama Thero Shot and Killed Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandarananaike Sixty-three Years ago

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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

In later years , political assassinations became a regular feature in Sri Lanka.These killings proliferated when the armed secessionist conflict in the North –East and the attempted insurrections in the South were in progress. Among those assassinated have been an executive President, a leader of the opposition as well as a former leader of the opposition, cabinet ministers and ex-cabinet ministers, Parliamentarians and former Parliamentarians, provincial council ministers, ex-heads of district councils and local authority heads. A head of state survived an assassination attempt but lost an eye.

Continue reading ‘How and Why Buddhist Monk Talduwe Somarama Thero Shot and Killed Prime Minister S.W.R.D.Bandarananaike Sixty-three Years ago’ »

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

By D.B.S. Jeyaraj

(This article was first published eight years ago to commemorate the 25th death anniversary of Dr.Rajini.It is re-posted here without any changes to denote her 33rd death anniversary)

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

Dr. Rajini Rajasingham Thiranagama

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

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

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

IMG_8074.PNG

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

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

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

It seems that the political strategy of the leader of the opposition is to politically destroy President Ranil Wickremesinghe, his main political rival by making him a political prisoner dependent on the Pohottuwa party.


By

Victor Ivan

The picture of Sri Lanka is still not clear; it is in a state of chaos. Apparently the most difficult phase of the balance of payments crisis is moving towards a point where it could be resolved for the common good of the country; but the most difficult era of this crisis will not end with that phase. Even if Sri Lanka succeeds in receiving the IMF relief package, the explosive economic and other reforms that the IMF wants introduced to be qualified for that could be implemented effectively only if it succeeds in reaching a general national consensus for it.

However, the severity of the failure and the state of bankruptcy that Sri Lanka has encountered at the moment has not led to create a favourable atmosphere where the overwhelming cupidity of political leaders for power is mitigated and everyone is united to extend their unstinted support towards rescuing Sri Lanka out of the abyss it has fallen into. Under the circumstances, creating unity among political parties to overcome the crisis can be considered as a distant dream that is not easy to achieve.

Greed for power and power struggle

The present crisis led to the ascension of Ranil Wickremesinghe, who had only one seat in Parliament, to the post of Prime Minister and then to the position of President. It can be considered a miracle in the political sense. Yet, he who had been elected president in that way did not have a parliamentary group. Despite the fact that he may have had various limitations, he can be considered as the most qualified person to be chosen from among the current politicians to solve the difficult crisis that Sri Lanka is facing at the moment, which is unique and complex. He is endowed with necessary knowledge, experience, and ability to make decisions and to get international support.

Taking all these aspects and the seriousness of the crisis into account, the Opposition should have followed a policy of supporting the program implemented by the president, at least for a limited period (probably one and a half to two years). Initially, there was a great deal of agreement for that among the members of the party led by the leader of the Opposition.

But, the leader of the Opposition seems to have perceived it as something that would destroy his party along with him. Therefore, he has adopted a policy that prevented the emergence of such an alliance. In the end, to achieve that goal, he joined hands with the Peratugami Party (The Frontline Socialist Party) and launched street agitations and demonstrations thereby making his party an important partner of the program to send Ranil home.

Continue reading ‘It seems that the political strategy of the leader of the opposition is to politically destroy President Ranil Wickremesinghe, his main political rival by making him a political prisoner dependent on the Pohottuwa party.’ »

Police Launch Investigation Into Alleged Role of Politicians in Encouraging Protest Groups to “overthrow the government by forcefully occupying Parliament and preventing a vote to elect a new President following the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in July”.


By

Jamila Husain

The police have launched extensive investigations over the involvement of some politicians who had encouraged some ‘protester’ groups to overthrow the government by forcefully occupying Parliament and preventing a vote to elect a new President following the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in July.

Highly placed sources told Daily Mirror that these politicians had even brokered talks with the parties involved and investigations are being carried out into their actions.

Continue reading ‘Police Launch Investigation Into Alleged Role of Politicians in Encouraging Protest Groups to “overthrow the government by forcefully occupying Parliament and preventing a vote to elect a new President following the resignation of former President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in July”.’ »

The danger of the proposed ‘Bureau of Rehabilitation: Arbitrary detention and torture by another name?


BY Ambika Satkunanathan

Undeterred by the economic crisis, the Government continues its attempts to enact regressive, repressive, and counterproductive laws, the most recent being the Bureau of Rehabilitation Bill.


Lack of legal definitions

Persons to whom the proposed law applies include former combatants, individuals who have “engaged in extreme or destructive acts of sabotage” (“members of violent extremist groups”), persons who have a drug dependency, and “any other group of persons who require treatments and rehabilitation”.

None of the terms used to describe persons to whom this law is applicable are legally defined in Sri Lanka. For instance, which objective criteria will be used to define a person who has “engaged in extreme or destructive acts”? Globally, terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalisation, all terms with no agreed legal definitions, are being conflated and weaponised by countries to justify arbitrary and abusive State action. In Sri Lanka, post-Easter attacks, these terms have entered the lexicon of the security apparatus, thereby enabling the creation of legally undefined and uncodified nebulous offences, which are used to justify arbitrary State action that violates human rights.

Continue reading ‘The danger of the proposed ‘Bureau of Rehabilitation: Arbitrary detention and torture by another name?’ »

If the country needs the help from the diaspora which President Wickremesinghe is trying hard to attract, then he should be given the political strength to challenge the Rajapaksa cabal


By

Neville De Silva

President Wickremesinghe’s first official visit as head of state was on a sad occasion here in the United Kingdom. The country was mourning the death of a much beloved Queen who had been the longest reigning monarch in England and had endeared herself to her subjects so much that many people queued for more than 15 hours in sunshine and rain to pay their final tributes.

The only Sri Lankan leader who drew such large crowds at his death was former Prime Minister Dudley Senanayake. While his body was lying in state at the old parliament building by the sea, which more recently was the scene of the weeks-long “Aragalaya”, the queues of people stretched for several kilometres all the way from parliament along the Galle Face centre road to well past Galle Face Hotel towards Kollupitiya. Those queues of mourners, determined to pay their last respects to a much-respected leader, went on for days while I spent many late nights in the parliament building covering the event.

Continue reading ‘If the country needs the help from the diaspora which President Wickremesinghe is trying hard to attract, then he should be given the political strength to challenge the Rajapaksa cabal’ »

“We will ask the petroleum minister to give an explanation to the country as to why the government imports the Russian oil at a higher price from a third party when there is an opportunity to import at a lower price directly from Russia.” – Eran Wickramaratne MP


While there is so much of poverty in the country, with loss of employment, loss of income malnourishments, children going to schools have been disrupted, certain people continue to steal and rob the country. It was recently exposed about exorbitant prices being paid to import of coal and petroleum into the country said Mr Eran Wickramaratne SJB Parliamentarian addressing a press conference today (28) at the Office of the Leader of Opposition.

Further speaking, the MP expressed his dismay over the Sri Lanka Government, instead of importing petrol directly from Russia based on their internal prices, buying it from Singapore Brent, based on their price by paying an additional premium. One company has been allowed to import petrol from Russia as the prices in Russia has come down due to war. There are lots of unanswered questions as to why the Russian petrol is being actually purchased from Singapore by the government. On the face of it, it appears clearly that there is a corruption in this dealing.

Continue reading ‘“We will ask the petroleum minister to give an explanation to the country as to why the government imports the Russian oil at a higher price from a third party when there is an opportunity to import at a lower price directly from Russia.” – Eran Wickramaratne MP’ »

MHM Ashraff; From Sectarian Muslim Leader to Visionary National Statesman.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

On the fateful morning of 16 September 2000, Mohammed Hussein Muhammad Ashraff(MHM Ashraff) boarded a Sri Lanka Air Force (SLAF) Mi-17 helicopter at the Police grounds in Bambalapitiya. The time was 9.30 am. The legendary leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) was at that time, the Cabinet Minister in charge of Shipping, Ports, Reconstruction and Rehabilitation in the Government of President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga.

Altogether there were fifteen persons including Ashraff aboard the copter. Nine SLMC party officials and three bodyguards had accompanied Ashraff. There were also two crew members from the SLAF. The flight destination was Ampara/Amparai. Forty-five minutes later Air Traffic controllers lost radio contact with the helicopter being flown by squadron leader Shiran Perera.

Continue reading ‘MHM Ashraff; From Sectarian Muslim Leader to Visionary National Statesman.’ »

246 Children Admitted by Parents in Northern Province to Child Care Foster Homes; increase in numbers due to current economic crisis, which has resulted in parents facing financial instability being unable to provide for their children.


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Due to the severity of the economic crisis and the lack of household finances, there has been an increase in the number of children being admitted by their families to children’s homes in the Northern Province.

Statistical data provided by the Child Care and Probation Department of the Northern Province has revealed that as of June 2022, some 246 children have been sent to children’s homes in the Northern Province as a result of the ongoing economic crisis, which has left parents grappling with financial instability, rendering them unable to provide for their children.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (26), Northern Province Commissioner of Child Care and Probation Guruparan Rajendran said that the economic crisis functions as both the direct and indirect factor behind children in the North being sent to children’s homes, since their parents are no longer capable of providing for them.
He also noted that the provincial funds allocated for child care and probation had not been released from the General Treasury due to the financial challenges faced by the Government.

Continue reading ‘246 Children Admitted by Parents in Northern Province to Child Care Foster Homes; increase in numbers due to current economic crisis, which has resulted in parents facing financial instability being unable to provide for their children.’ »

While President Wickremesinghe blunders and the opposition exists in a parallel universe where their electoral victory is written in the stars, the Rajapaksas are back to weaving their web of lies and deception.


By

Tisaranee Gunasekara

“Was there then no essential difference between the ruler and the ruled?” Salman Rushdie (The Enchantress of Florence)>

Sri Lanka, unravelled and unravelling, is mesmerised by a new wonder: the Lotus Tower. When that monumental symbol of Rajapaksa folly was opened to the public last week, people thronged to pay the entrance fee, ride to the top and gaze down. A monk enthused that he felt close to the highest of Buddhist heavens. Women thanked Mahinda Rajapaksa for enabling them to have this wondrous experience.
It was as if economic ruin and social collapse was happening in another country, to another people.

According to a survey conducted by a group of doctors, 80% of children in Sooriyawewa in the Rajapaksa home district of Hambantota are malnourished (unlike the international cricket stadium the Rajapaksas built in that water-starved locality that gets the water the people are denied). That distressing statistic alone suffices to bare the vacuity of the Rajapaksa brand of infrastructure-led development. In a 2007 cable, American ambassador, Robert Blake, wrote, “An empty port, an empty airport, and an empty vast convention centre would not generate the benefits that Hambantota needs…” One percent of the money spent on these vanity projects could have provided the people of Hambantota with every possible creature comfort for generations to come. Hambantota was poor when Mahinda Rajapaksa first became president in 2005 and is still poor 17 years later.

Untouched by Rajapaksa development, yet solidly pro-Rajapaksa at every election.

Infrastructure-led development was a key pillar of Rajapaksa economics. Build airports, ports, stadia, expressways, and prosperity will follow. The strategy enabled corruption on unprecedented scale, satisfied Mahinda Rajapaksa’s colossal vanity and, against all reason, increased the family’s popularity. The projects, productive or not, often not, were tabula rasa on which dreams of national glory and illusions of popular prosperity could be inscribed.

An actor playing the role of historian once created for the Rajapaksas a lineage going back to the Buddha via King Dutugemunu. The massive physical infrastructure projects were depicted as modern variants of the infrastructure projects of ancient kings, a historical continuum, Sandahiru Seya the descendent of Runwanweli Seya and Hambantota Port the descendent of Parakrama Samudraya. People were invited to come and admire a breakwater, a runway and a walking path masquerading as a marina.

In that way, an illusion of ownership was created. People came, they admired and they voted.

Continue reading ‘While President Wickremesinghe blunders and the opposition exists in a parallel universe where their electoral victory is written in the stars, the Rajapaksas are back to weaving their web of lies and deception.’ »

MA Sumanthiran PC Citing Mavai Senathirajah vs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge (SC FR 646/2003) Case says Interim Order Issued by Courts in 2006 Upholds TNA Position Challenging the Legality of Setting up High Security Zones

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Spokesperson MP M.A. Sumanthiran PC yesterday (25) observed on social media that the demarcation of high-security zones (HSZ) two days ago in Colombo was not a new practice, charging that such illegal demarcation has been conducted over many thousands of acres of lands in the North and East since at least 1990.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday, Sumanthiran PC pointed out that though people are agitated about the HSZ declared two days ago in Colombo, there had historically been such zones from 1990 onwards in the North and East, which the TNA had challenged in courts in 2003, with the case still pending.

Continue reading ‘MA Sumanthiran PC Citing Mavai Senathirajah vs. Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunge (SC FR 646/2003) Case says Interim Order Issued by Courts in 2006 Upholds TNA Position Challenging the Legality of Setting up High Security Zones’ »

Senior Health Ministry Allegedly Allocating expensive.acutely scarce pharmaceutical drugs and other medical supplies received as donations from various parties to specific patients with connections to themselves being treated in certain hospitals,


By Buddhika Samaraweera

Certain senior officials of the Ministry of Health are working to allocate expensive and acutely scarce pharmaceutical drugs and other medical supplies received as donations from various parties, due to the prevailing shortage of such, to specific patients with connections to the former who are being treated in certain hospitals, The Morning learnt.

In view of the current shortage of drugs and other medical supplies, a number of local and foreign parties, including businessmen, have come forward to donate the necessary drugs and medical supplies.
To donate, they first contact the Health Ministry or the Director of the specific hospital and obtain the relevant permission. Most such donors then contact a company of their choice and provide them with the list and quantity of the relevant drugs and medical supplies, and make the relevant payments. After that, the donor informs the company to send the drugs and medical supplies to the Medical Supplies Division (MSD) under the Health Ministry, or to the director of the hospital concerned.

Continue reading ‘Senior Health Ministry Allegedly Allocating expensive.acutely scarce pharmaceutical drugs and other medical supplies received as donations from various parties to specific patients with connections to themselves being treated in certain hospitals,’ »

Trade Union Co-ordination Committee (TUCC) and the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) challenge President Ranil Wickremesinghe by Asking him to expand the holding capacity of prisons in the country and stating that they will continue their protest movement on an even larger scale in the coming days,


BY Buwanajee Coralage

The Trade Union Co-ordination Committee (TUCC) and the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) yesterday (25) challenged President Ranil Wickremesinghe to expand the holding capacity of prisons in the country, stating that they will continue their protest movement on an even larger scale over the coming days, and that a substantially larger number of protestors, more than the 84 arrested last Saturday (24), would be arrested.

The day that the whole nation would join the protests is not long away, declared TUCC and Ceylon Teachers’ Service Union General Secretary Mahinda Jayasinghe addressing the media at a media conference organised by the Sri Lanka Trade Union Co-ordination Committee yesterday.

“We, as the trade unions of this country, will not be frightened by imprisonment, and they won’t be able to prevent the people rising against these discriminations, so widen the prisons and the police holding cells. We are ready to fight against this unlawful, undemocratic, crude, and cursed rule in this country,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Trade Union Co-ordination Committee (TUCC) and the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) challenge President Ranil Wickremesinghe by Asking him to expand the holding capacity of prisons in the country and stating that they will continue their protest movement on an even larger scale in the coming days,’ »

Infamous Anti- Islam Monk Gnanasara Thero Participating in Saudi Arabian National day Celebration as Special Guest of Saudi Ambassador is Widely Criticized but Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Remains Unfazed


By Buddhika Samaraweera

Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera said that he would not take any notice of the criticism and sarcasm on social media platforms, particularly on Facebook, regarding his participation in an event to mark the Saudi National Day on Friday (23).

Commenting on the social media posts in question to The Morning, he said: “Anyone can criticise or use sarcasm, but who cares about them? When they think they have had enough, they will stop. People in this country only know to sarcastically criticise, but I do not care.”

Gnanasara Thera, who is known to have ideas that in most cases are not in favour of minorities including Muslims, had participated in an event organised for the Saudi National Day held at a leading hotel in Colombo on Friday (23). It was reported that he had attended the event as a special guest on the invitation of the Saudi ambassador to Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Infamous Anti- Islam Monk Gnanasara Thero Participating in Saudi Arabian National day Celebration as Special Guest of Saudi Ambassador is Widely Criticized but Bodu Bala Sena Gen Secy Remains Unfazed’ »

S.P. Balasubrahmanyam won the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer:Sang over 40,000 songs in 16 languages

By

S. Murali

Sripathi Panditaradhyula Balasubrahmanyam (4 June 1946 – 25 September 2020), also referred to as S. P. Balu or SPB, was an Indian musician, playback singer, music director, actor, dubbing artist and film producer who worked predominantly in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, Hindi and Malayalam.

Affectionately called as ‘Balu’ in his friends’ circle, SPB made his singing debut in 1966 with the Telugu movie Sri Sri Sri Maryada Ramanna, and went on to sing over 40,000 songs in as many as 16 languages including Telugu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, and Hindi.

He also won the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer.

He bagged six National Film Awards for Best Male Playback Singer for his songs in four different languages (Kannada, Telugu, Tamil, and Hindi), as well as 25 Andhra Pradesh state Nandi Awards for his work in Telugu cinema, apart from numerous other state awards from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Continue reading ‘S.P. Balasubrahmanyam won the Guinness World Record for recording the highest number of songs by a singer:Sang over 40,000 songs in 16 languages’ »

Using the Archaic Official Secrets to Demarcate Some Areas as High Security Zones: is there fear that the ‘Aragalaya’ may spirit away ‘secret documents’ from places declared as High Security Zones?

By

Kishali Pinto – Jayawardene

Whatever the motivations for the Ranil Wickremesinghe Presidency to drag the Official Secrets Act (1955) out of cold storage and employ its provisions to declare certain places as ‘High Security Zones,’ that decision is both foolish and counter productive.

Waving of the red flag to an enraged bull

The Wickremesinghe Presidency may, perchance be the first executive Office to use this long discarded law in peacetime Sri Lanka. The message that this conveys is deeply unwise. For the nation’s indefatigable protestors, this is the proverbial waving of the red flag to an enraged bull. During the past several months, Sri Lankans furious with politicians who robbed the public purse, refused to be deterred by Emergency Regulations and the Prevention of Terrorism Act, both familiar weapons in the Government’s arsenal.

If so, it is absurd to think that the much mocked and lampooned Official Secrets Act will fulfil that purpose or deter public unrest. No law, no amount of guns, bristling barricades and armed security forces can stop the infuriated masses. This we saw very well when a President, a Prime Minister and a Cabinet resigned as the back of the Rajapaksa Security State was broken earlier this year. Is it hoped that bringing the Official Secrets Act back from the ‘legal dead’ as it were, will rejuvenate that dream?

This is a law that various Governments had promised to repeal but never quite done so, partly because there was no great public pressure. It had been virtually discarded due to non-use. Its impact is largely on freedom of expression and has been commonly used as such elsewhere, when for example, government servants leaked official secrets to the media. The very term, ‘official secrets’ is a misnomer in a modern information era which this President was instrumental in supporting during better times.

Continue reading ‘Using the Archaic Official Secrets to Demarcate Some Areas as High Security Zones: is there fear that the ‘Aragalaya’ may spirit away ‘secret documents’ from places declared as High Security Zones?’ »

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka says the Official Secrets Act’s Section 2 oes not provide the Minister the authority to designate a sizable portion of the country as a High Security Zone; BASL declares it will carefully review the provisions and take necessary legal measures to protect people’s Fundamental Rights

Any offence committed in the newly declared High Security Zones (HSZ) will enable police to take up the case in the High Courts, a senior official of the Public Security Ministry said.
He said the measure was taken to ensure that administration was continued without interruption.

“All locations declared as HSZs are required to maintain the country’s administration. We cannot afford to witness a disruption of administration as observed earlier this year,” he said.
The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) reacting to the move said that the Official Secrets Act’s Section 2 permits the designation of any building, ship, or aircraft as a forbidden location but does not provide the Minister the authority to designate a sizable portion of the country as a High Security Zone.

Through an Extraordinary Gazette on Friday, President Ranil Wickremesinghe designated a number of locations in Colombo as High Security Zones, including the President’s House, the Presidential Secretariat and the Supreme Court complex.

Continue reading ‘The Bar Association of Sri Lanka says the Official Secrets Act’s Section 2 oes not provide the Minister the authority to designate a sizable portion of the country as a High Security Zone; BASL declares it will carefully review the provisions and take necessary legal measures to protect people’s Fundamental Rights’ »

Police use tear gas and water cannonsto disperse protesters in Maradana; Video on Social media shows Eranga Gunasekara, national organiser of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) and a Buddhist monk being beaten by cops;83 Protesters Arrested,


By Yoshitha Perera

Police have detained 83 demonstrators, including Eranga Gunasekara, national organiser of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU), the youth front of the JVP, during a protest march yesterday.

Members from the National People’s Power (NPP) along with the SYU yesterday staged a protest in front of the Lipton roundabout demanding the release of protesters who have been detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and against suppression. They proceeded to march along Dean’s Road where tear gas was used on them.

Police used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the protesters on Deans Road, Maradana.

Continue reading ‘Police use tear gas and water cannonsto disperse protesters in Maradana; Video on Social media shows Eranga Gunasekara, national organiser of the Socialist Youth Union (SYU) and a Buddhist monk being beaten by cops;83 Protesters Arrested,’ »

Prime Minister’s Motion to set up “National Council” representing all recognised political parties in Parliament passed without a vote but Opposition Parties are Critical of Govt’s move


By Sandun Jayawardana

A “National Council” (NC) with a key responsibility of guiding short, medium, and long-term national policies and representing all recognised political parties in Parliament was passed this week without a vote. Opposition parties though, were critical that the government had diluted the NC and that its original purpose has been lost.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena presented the motion to Parliament on Tuesday, noting that it was being presented after reaching agreement with all political parties represented in Parliament.

Chaired by the Speaker, the Council, not exceeding more than 35 members, will also have the responsibility to agree on short and medium-term common minimum programmes to stabilise the economy; and to arrange special meetings with the Ministers of the Cabinet of Ministers, the National Council, the Chairpersons of the Special Committees and Youth observers of Youth Organisations.
The NC further has powers to request reports from a range of committees, including Sectoral Oversight Committees, the Committee on Public Finance, Committee on Public Accounts (COPA), Committee on Public Enterprises (COPE) and any committee that controls public finances.

Continue reading ‘Prime Minister’s Motion to set up “National Council” representing all recognised political parties in Parliament passed without a vote but Opposition Parties are Critical of Govt’s move’ »

Ukraine President Zelensky’s Announcement about Rescuing 7 Sri Lankans Held as Captives by Invading Russian Forces Shocks Sri Lanka and Entangles Colombo and Moscow in a Potential Diplomatic Wrangle

By

Meera Srinivasan

Last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reportedly said seven Sri Lankans, who were held by the “invading Russian forces since March” in the Kharkiv region of Ukraine, had been rescued from “torture chambers”.

Mr. Zelenskyy drew attention to the “seven citizens of Sri Lanka”, who were “students of Kupiansk Medical College”. “Back in March, they had been captured by Russian soldiers and subsequently kept in a basement.

Only now, after the liberation of the Kharkiv region, were these people rescued. They are being provided with proper medical care,” he was quoted as saying by a Ukrainian media outlet, widely cited by Sri Lankan media.

The development came as a shock to many in Sri Lanka, as there had been no reports of Sri Lankans missing in Ukraine or being held in captive by Russian forces. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Sri Lankan authorities facilitated the return of over 90 Sri Lankans, including 16 students living in Ukraine.

According to official sources in Colombo, Sri Lanka was not aware of seven other Sri Lankans caught or trapped in Ukraine.

Continue reading ‘Ukraine President Zelensky’s Announcement about Rescuing 7 Sri Lankans Held as Captives by Invading Russian Forces Shocks Sri Lanka and Entangles Colombo and Moscow in a Potential Diplomatic Wrangle’ »

First List of MPs Representing Recognized Political Parties in Parliament Nominated to the “National Council” released by Speaker; Second list of nominees to be announced shortly, Number of MPs in Council Restricted to 35 or less


The Speaker of the Sri Lankan parliament on Friday (sep 23) presented the first list of Members of Parliament, who have been nominated to the ‘National Council’, which had been established according to the proposal presented by Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena.

Presenting an amendment, the chief Government Whip said that the ‘National Council’ chaired by the Speaker should consist of not more than 35 MPs representing recognized political parties in parliament. The list includes the Prime Minister, the Leader of the House, the Leader of the Opposition, the Chief Government Whip and the Chief Organizer of the Opposition.

Continue reading ‘First List of MPs Representing Recognized Political Parties in Parliament Nominated to the “National Council” released by Speaker; Second list of nominees to be announced shortly, Number of MPs in Council Restricted to 35 or less’ »

President Ranil Wickremesinghe says Queen Elizabeth II Looked Exhausted After spending half a day with outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Incoming Premier Liz Truss

President Ranil Wickremesinghe says anyone spending half a day with outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and new PM Liz Truss will be exhausted.

He said that the late Queen Elizabeth II looked exhausted after meeting Johnson and Liz Truss two days before she passed away.

Continue reading ‘President Ranil Wickremesinghe says Queen Elizabeth II Looked Exhausted After spending half a day with outgoing UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Incoming Premier Liz Truss’ »

If the Opposition had adopted a policy of supporting Ranil at least on a short-term basis with the view to overcoming the crisis facing the country, it would have been possible undoubtedly, to bring about a positive change in the Country

By

Victor Ivan

“The Aragalaya had a sensitive heart, but it lacked a mature brain and intellectual prowess”

In what sense does the Aragalaya become important to us? What expectations has it generated? Has it been successful in achieving them? It can be considered as the biggest and the most popular uprising that erupted since Sri Lanka had entered the modern era. It was organised in a few days.

The Hartal of 1953 was an aggressive public uprising that took place in one day. It was smaller in size compared to the present Aragalaya. The Aragalaya has recorded the most active and maximum public participation on 9 July when President Gotabaya was compelled to flee the country. The number of people who came to Colombo city on that day to participate in the Aragalaya is said to be several millions, but my opinion is that it could have been between half a million to one million people. Although the struggle was not able to break the authority of the Rajapaksas completely, it was capable of demolishing the public recognition of the authority wielded by the Rajapaksas to a large extent.

Ranil’s advent to power was an incidental outcome of the Aragalaya and not something planned by it deliberately. Ranil’s arrival has not brought any positive change in the ugly look of the Government, but it was able to reverse the disastrous course of the Government which it followed up to then, and direct the country which was moving towards complete devastation to a path conducive to overcoming the crisis the country was facing. If the Opposition had adopted a policy of supporting Ranil at least on a short-term basis with the view to overcoming the crisis facing the country, undoubtedly, it would have been possible to bring about a positive change in the extent to which President Ranil has been compelled to depend on the Pohottuwa Party. However, it appears that the ambition of the official Opposition party has been to trap Ranil in the grip of the Pohottuwa and make him dependent on it.

Continue reading ‘If the Opposition had adopted a policy of supporting Ranil at least on a short-term basis with the view to overcoming the crisis facing the country, it would have been possible undoubtedly, to bring about a positive change in the Country’ »

A 25-point common framework for a re-founding of the center-left.

BY DR. DAYAN JAYATILLEKA

1. The last time the Sri Lankan citizenry suffered materially in a manner remotely similar to the current suffering was in 1970-1977. The leader of the day never led the nation again. It took 17 years and her rebellious daughter, who was not associated with the suffering of the past and who professed drastically different economic policies, to get the party re-elected.

2. Today’s Pohottuwa will never be re-elected while under Rajapaksa dominance and any Rajapaksa will take decades – while the memories of generations fade, together with the narrative–to be elected to the country’s top spot (as in the case of ‘Bongbong’ Marcos).

3. This leaves a simple choice for SLPP members: (a) dump the Rajapaksas and free the SLPP (b) denounce the Rajapaksas and flee the Rajapaksa camp immediately, or (c) go down with the ship at the next election and every election after that for decades.

4. SWRD Bandaranaike and his Silent Revolution of 1956-1959 were dualistic, but was primarily progressive and secondarily reactionary. It was progressive in its social, economic and foreign policy aspects and reactionary in its linguistic aspect. SWRD strove to reverse that reactionary aspect with the Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact but he was blocked from doing so. (Had he been an elected President he could have seen it through).

5. What remains valid in SWRD policies are the progressive aspect of 1956, fused with the B-C Pact of 1957, but with an honest and total rejection of Sinhala Only and the majoritarian, exclusivist or hegemonistic ethno-nationalism that gave rise to it.

Continue reading ‘A 25-point common framework for a re-founding of the center-left.’ »

President Wickremesinghe Designates Several areas Within and around Colombo as High Security Zones by Gazette Proclamation; Public Gatherings and Protest Demonstrations Banned Within HS Zones;Parking Restricted


Several areas in and around Colombo have been declared as High Security Zones by President Ranil Wickremesinghe.

Accordingly, areas around the Parliament Complex, Supreme Court Complex, High Court Complex in Colombo, Magistrate Court Complex in Colombo and Attorney General’s Department, Presidential Secretariat, President’s House, Sri Lanka Navy Headquarters and Police Headquarters have been declared as High Security Zones.

Continue reading ‘President Wickremesinghe Designates Several areas Within and around Colombo as High Security Zones by Gazette Proclamation; Public Gatherings and Protest Demonstrations Banned Within HS Zones;Parking Restricted’ »

Archaeology Dept’s Illegal Attempts to Construct New Structures in Krunthoormalai and Allocate Land in Koneshwaram Temple area to “outsider”traders must be stopped immediately states TNA MP Sumanthiran in Parliament;also requests Palaly Airport taxes to be Waived as in the case of Mattala

(Text of Speech made by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran M.P. in Parliament on 22nd September 2022)

Thank you Hon. Deputy speaker for the opportunity to speak a few words at today’s debate. The Hon. Minister for aviation was here for a moment ago, I want to raise a matter with regard to Palali air Port. That’s an International airport, it was opened, and there were flights from Madras, then due to Covid all flight were suspended.

Now, this has not resumed yet, and even when it resumes the cost of the airfare is prohibitive. The reason for that is that the airport taxes are so high that people will not be able to afford it – the Hon. Minister is now coming into the Chambers.

I have spoken to the Hon. Minister about it, the Mattala airport – airport taxes have been waved and we have been asking that the Palali airport taxes also be waved. Because unlike Mattala, Palali when you resume, will have a steady traffic and that’ll be good for our economy. And therefore I am requesting the minister again to please wave the airport tax for Palali airport and there will be a steady stream of traffic.

So as we deal with the issues today, in the North and the East, there are other issues that people are facing particularly with regard to the Lands.

Continue reading ‘Archaeology Dept’s Illegal Attempts to Construct New Structures in Krunthoormalai and Allocate Land in Koneshwaram Temple area to “outsider”traders must be stopped immediately states TNA MP Sumanthiran in Parliament;also requests Palaly Airport taxes to be Waived as in the case of Mattala’ »

The “Repeal PTA” mobile signature collection campaign Vehicle that began its Journey from Northern Kankesanthurai reaches Galle Face Green; Several Politicians from Different Parties other than the SLPP address Multi-ethnic gathering;Opposition MPs Argue with Police Over Attempts to Obstruct Campaign

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The “Repeal PTA” mobile signature collection campaign reached Colombo’s Galle Face yesterday (22), after travelling across the country from Kankesanthurai, resulting in an argument with the heavy police presence in the area about the purpose and result of the gathering at the iconic venue.

Organised by the youth organisation of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the Galle Face gathering was attended by Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Opposition MP M.A. Sumanthiran PC and ITAK MP Shanakiyan Rasamanickam, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MPs Tissa Attanayake, S.M. Marikkar, Mujibur Rahuman, and Eran Wickramaratne, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) Leader and SJB MP Rauff Hakeem, Frontline Socialist Party (FSP) Education Secretary Pubudu Jayagoda, SJB member and former MP Hirunika Premachandra, Ceylon Teachers’ Union General Secretary Joseph Stalin, and actress Damitha Abeyratne. In addition a number of trade unions (TUs) and civil and political organisations were also in attendance, all of whom demanded that the Government repeal the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act (PTA) and release of all prisoners held arbitrarily.

Continue reading ‘The “Repeal PTA” mobile signature collection campaign Vehicle that began its Journey from Northern Kankesanthurai reaches Galle Face Green; Several Politicians from Different Parties other than the SLPP address Multi-ethnic gathering;Opposition MPs Argue with Police Over Attempts to Obstruct Campaign’ »

How can you withdraw from the UNHRC 30/1 resolution that you yourself co-sponsored and agreed to when you were the Justice Minister and the Incumbent President the Prime Minister in Sep 2015 ? MA Sumanthiran MP asks Justice Minister Dr.Wijedasa Rajapakshe.


(Text of Speech made by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian M.A.Sumanthiran M.P. in Parliament on 22nd September 2022)

The Government is now facing a challenge in the UN Human rights council, Hon. Minister of Justice is here, and that’s good, I want to refer to some matters that concern him as well. In September 2015, the Sri Lankan government co – sponsored a resolution call HRC 30 / 1. Co – sponsoring means you agree, you sign on to that resolution which then means it is your resolution.

Now in that resolution while Hon. Minister of Justice you were the Hon. Minster even then at that time, there was a clause that Sri Lanka agreed, operation paragraph 6 of that resolution, in which it was agreed that Commonwealth and other foreign Judges, defence lawyers authorised prosecutors and investigators will participate in a process. Commonwealth and other foreign Judges, originally that draft you know Hon. Minister, said Foreign Judges. It was at the request of the Sri Lankan government the words “Commonwealth” also was added, Commonwealth and other Foreign Judges.

Continue reading ‘How can you withdraw from the UNHRC 30/1 resolution that you yourself co-sponsored and agreed to when you were the Justice Minister and the Incumbent President the Prime Minister in Sep 2015 ? MA Sumanthiran MP asks Justice Minister Dr.Wijedasa Rajapakshe.’ »

ITAK President “Maavai” Senathirajah Refutes Media Reports of Party Pressure being Exerted on TNA Leader Sampanthan to Resign as Trinco MP; “We have not taken any decision nor do we request our Leader to resign. We cannot remove him either,” says Maavai


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

Denying news reports to the contrary, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Leader Mavai Senathirajah yesterday (21) said that the party has not taken any decision nor requested the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) Leader and Trincomalee District MP R. Sampanthan to resign from his Parliamentary seat.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday, Senathirajah noted that no such request had been made from Sampanthan, nor had such a decision been taken for the latter to resign from his post as an MP.
“We have not taken any decision nor do we request our Leader to resign. We cannot remove him either,” he said.

Continue reading ‘ITAK President “Maavai” Senathirajah Refutes Media Reports of Party Pressure being Exerted on TNA Leader Sampanthan to Resign as Trinco MP; “We have not taken any decision nor do we request our Leader to resign. We cannot remove him either,” says Maavai’ »

Sri Lanka keeps pressing China for a $4 billion loan but talks dragging on for several months appear to have not yielded an agreement. Rather than restructure Sri Lanka’s existing debt, Beijing has indicated it would prefer to instead extend new loans to an already heavily indebted economy.

By

Ananth Krishnan and Meera Srinivasan

China has offered Pakistan’s visiting Army Chief technical help as the country deals with record floods, but did not announce any substantial financial assistance which its “all-weather” ally has been seeking.

Both Pakistan and Sri Lanka, facing financial stress, have been engaged in long-running talks with Beijing for assistance, but with negotiations in both cases having made little headway, both countries have turned to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Their new IMF commitments are now likely to impact their owed payments to China, which has lent the two countries more than $26 billion in the past five years.

Following talks in Xi’an between Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and China’s Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe, the Chinese side expressed willingness to provide technical assistance for flood relief work, Pakistan’s official Inter Services Public Relations said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka keeps pressing China for a $4 billion loan but talks dragging on for several months appear to have not yielded an agreement. Rather than restructure Sri Lanka’s existing debt, Beijing has indicated it would prefer to instead extend new loans to an already heavily indebted economy.’ »

“Beware of officials who mislead the parliament with distorted figures” Eran Wickramaratne tells the President and Govt. “Launch investigation on excise tax leakage during yahapalana regime” suggests SJB MP

SJB, MP Eran Wickramaratne warned the new President and the government not to get caught up in corruption, theft and irregularities and said that if they get caught up in them, the country will never be able to be rebuilt.

Speaking in Parliament today (21) he also emphasized the importance of being careful about officials who presented distorted figures by misleading the parliament responsible for financial responsibilities.

He reminded them that during 2020, the official figure of Budget deficit shown was 9.6 % of GDP. It was shown in a fraudulent manner by shifting Rs 420 billion spent in 2020 to the expenses of year 2019 under the cash basis account system.

Speaking further in Parliament he said that there should be an end to misleading Parliament and thereby the people of this country. The reason for the economic crisis is the mismanagement of governance and the financial policies. In 2019, taxes were reduced, and tax exemptions were given. According to the statistics of the Department of Budget, the revenue in 2021, which was 13.5%. of GDP fell to 8.7%. The number of taxpayers’ files has come down from1,705,000) to five 500,000. The PAYE taxpayers’ number was reduced to mere 32,000 from 1.1 million.

Continue reading ‘“Beware of officials who mislead the parliament with distorted figures” Eran Wickramaratne tells the President and Govt. “Launch investigation on excise tax leakage during yahapalana regime” suggests SJB MP’ »

“A country needs to uphold its culture and religion, but not at the expense of its growth. The so-called preachers of Buddhism are not aware of its philosophy” says Tourism State Minister Diana Gamage


BY Buwanajee Coralage

In Sri Lanka, all fruitful initiatives for national growth have always been blocked by antiquated cultural arguments, claimed State Minister of Tourism Diana Gamage while addressing Parliament yesterday (21).

“A country needs to uphold its culture and religion, but not at the expense of its growth. The so-called preachers of Buddhism are not aware of its philosophy. Trapped within a framework limiting the scope for growth and reasoning such with ethics, but all the while conducting unethical activities behind a veil, this country’s growth has been limited due to this mindset. An attitudinal change within the leaders and the people is directly needed in this country and till this change is made, this country’s growth will be stagnant,” she said.

Continue reading ‘“A country needs to uphold its culture and religion, but not at the expense of its growth. The so-called preachers of Buddhism are not aware of its philosophy” says Tourism State Minister Diana Gamage’ »

Though Mangala has left this earth, his radical centrist ideology still exists in the hearts of the Sri Lankan youth and clear-minded citizens. And if our country is to truly ever thrive again, Mangala’s ideology must be protected, it must blossom, it must become our national ideology.


By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

In many ways, the economic collapse of Sri Lanka became a near certainty in the weeks after Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected President. In hindsight, it is clear to all that his government’s number one priority was consolidating their power and punishing those it saw as their enemies. Its next priority was enriching themselves. To the extent that they had anything resembling a policy focus, every major initiative taken by the Rajapaksas only served to further sabotage and doom our economy.

But there was a darker, even more bitter and consequential turning point in our nation’s story than the election of November 2019. It was the loss our country suffered on 24 August 2021, with the demise of Mangala Samaraweera.

I say this not only because he was one of my closest friends – a man I deeply admired and trusted implicitly. He too had implicit faith in me and never doubted me. Especially during the years in which we both served in the Yahapalanya government, Mangala and I would meet almost daily, whether at our homes or offices. It is safe to say that neither of us ever took a decision of any consequence without consulting the other. Despite the intimacy of our friendship, neither of us blindly agreed with or followed the other.

Continue reading ‘Though Mangala has left this earth, his radical centrist ideology still exists in the hearts of the Sri Lankan youth and clear-minded citizens. And if our country is to truly ever thrive again, Mangala’s ideology must be protected, it must blossom, it must become our national ideology.’ »

The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists at The Hague in Netherlands issues indictment against the Govt of Sri Lanka (GoS over the murder of editor and Attorney-at-Law Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2009.

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists at The Hague, the Netherlands, yesterday (19) issued an indictment against the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL), which it found guilty over the murder of editor and Attorney-at-Law Lasantha Wickrematunge.
Judge Eduardo Bertoni, who is part of the panel of judges of the Tribunal, noted that the indictment was filed on the basis that the prosecutor holds the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka responsible for the grave violation of the international human rights of the slain journalist.

He further stressed that the indictment was filed specifically on the right to life, the right to freedom of expression, and the right to effective remedy.

Continue reading ‘The People’s Tribunal on the Murder of Journalists at The Hague in Netherlands issues indictment against the Govt of Sri Lanka (GoS over the murder of editor and Attorney-at-Law Lasantha Wickrematunge in 2009.’ »

Farewell Queen Elizabeth II: Ceremonial splendour in London gives way to a quiet burial in Windsor as Britain says goodbye to its longest-reigning monarch


By

Caroline Davies

After the majestic funeral pomp and military spectacle, unsurpassed in the nation’s living memory and watched across the world, the final farewell to Queen Elizabeth II would belong only to her family.

Night had fallen as she was laid to rest next to the Duke of Edinburgh in the George VI Memorial Chapel, Windsor, in private and away from cameras.

With only her family present, it was a wholly intimate ceremony, one for a mother, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother who also was a Queen.

The contrast with the earlier grandeur of Britain’s official goodbye, with its pipers, buglers and muffled bells, its kings, queens, prime ministers and presidents in the gothic splendour of Westminster Abbey, could not have been more marked.
Or with the ritual and symbolism, burnished over centuries, of the committal service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Continue reading ‘Farewell Queen Elizabeth II: Ceremonial splendour in London gives way to a quiet burial in Windsor as Britain says goodbye to its longest-reigning monarch’ »

Six Tamil Parties to Submit Joint Letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe about Alleged Attempts by Eastern Province Governor to Engineer Demographic Changes Affecting the Tamil people in Trincomalee District

BY Mirudhula Thambiah

A letter signed by the political parties of the North and the East opposing the demographic changes in the Trincomalee District will be handed over to President Ranil Wickremesinghe upon his arrival from the UK.

Tamil Makkal Thesiya Kuttani (TMTK) Leader and MP C.V. Wigneswaran, Illankai Tamil Arasu Kachchi (ITAK) Leader Mavai Senathirajah, Eelam People’s Revolutionary Liberation Front (EPRLF) Leader Suresh Premachandran, People’s Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE) Leader D. Siddharthan, Tamil Eelam Liberation Organisation (TELO) Leader Selvam Adaikkalanathan, and Tamil National Party Leader N. Srikantha are the signatories.

These parties are of the view that the change in the demography of the district will result in a definite geographical division between the Northern and Eastern Provinces.

Continue reading ‘Six Tamil Parties to Submit Joint Letter to President Ranil Wickremesinghe about Alleged Attempts by Eastern Province Governor to Engineer Demographic Changes Affecting the Tamil people in Trincomalee District’ »

Queen Elizabeth was vested with a sacred duty to hold together a country which, in the ensuing decades, became more diverse, fissiparous, irreverent and distracted than it had ever been before. And so she did!

For the millions who watched on June 2nd 1953—for it was the first time in history that a British coronation had been televised—the most moving part of the ceremony came near the end. It was then that the imperial state crown, encrusted with 2,868 diamonds and weighing more than a kilogram, was placed on the pretty, dark and fragile head of Elizabeth Windsor, proclaiming her, in the eyes of all, Queen Elizabeth II.

For her, though, according to the few people who knew her well, the most charged part of the service had come earlier, in the only part which was not shown. Then, like monarchs before her back to medieval times, she had stripped to a shift behind screens and been anointed with holy oil: a sign that her election came not just from good Hanoverian blood, but from God. It was a reminder that kingship was a holy and permanent duty. And it was a lesson she never forgot.

Tirelessly, the small and somewhat dumpy figure, with a large handbag and a taste for spring-bright coats, travelled the country and overseas. She was the target of much gentle mockery for her social chat (“Have you come far?”), her sempiternal gloves and hats and her high, clipped diction, all from another age. With that ribbing went an instinct to protect her, though it was clear, from the level stare and the flashes of dry wit in her speeches, that this was quite unnecessary, thank you. Outrage swept the British press when heedless foreign leaders touched her, Michelle Obama even stroking her back, but she would calmly ignore it.

As a result of thousands of little human interactions—posies received, tribal dances watched, buildings opened, ships launched, waves bestowed—the institution of the monarchy burrowed deeper into public affection, at home and in the Commonwealth, in a way that was surprising in the 20th century and even more in the 21st.

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Tamil Progressive Alliance Leader Mano Ganesan Notes Appreciatively that upcountry Tamil Sri Lankans are, as a minority ethnic community are being gradually given due recognition by the international community.


BY Mirudhula Thambiah

While appreciating the stance taken by United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery Tomoya Obokata regarding the labour conditions of plantation workers at the ongoing 51st UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session last week, Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) Leader and Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Opposition MP Mano Ganesan noted that upcountry Tamil Sri Lankans are, as a minority ethnic community, gradually being given due recognition by the international community.

Speaking to The Morning yesterday (19), Ganesan said that upcountry Tamils have gradually emerged as an ethnicity that is reaching world communities, more so now than during previous times.
“Now, slowly, the world is beginning to know upcountry Tamils along with the Eelam Tamils,” he added

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Sri Lanka was Utterly Changed by JR Jayewardene in Three Important Spheres.


D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“All changed, changed utterly” is a powerful line from “Easter, 1916”, the famous poem of William Butler Yeats. The poem by W.B .Yeats was about the Irish easter uprising in 1916 , its cruel suppression and how all changed utterly in Ireland.”A terrible beauty is born”says Yeats.

In Sri Lanka “all changed” and “changed utterly” with the ascension of Junius Richard Jayewardene to the premier seat of power in 1977. J.R.Jayewardene known popularly as “JR” ushered in political, economic and electoral changes that utterly changed Sri Lanka. Those of us who are old enough to have experienced this change, are witnesses to the transformation brought about by JR Jayewardene. As to whether this utter change has made Sri Lanka better or worse remains debatable still.
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President Ranil Wickremesinghe and USAID Chief Samantha Power Have One on One Meeting Prior to Official Meeting but US envoy Juiie Chung Exerts Pressure and gets “permission” to sit in one what was Supposedly a one on one Conversation.


(Excerpted from the Political Column spearing in the “Sunday Morning”of September 18th 2022)

USAID Chief Power during her brief visit to Sri Lanka met with President Wickremesinghe, Opposition legislators, farmers, civil and business communities and the PTA was also a focal point in her discussions.

Wickremesinghe and Power had a one-on-one meeting as well. When Power and her delegation arrived at the President’s Office, the President’s staff had requested Power if she was first willing to meet Wickremesinghe for a one-on-one meeting prior to the official meeting. Power had expressed her willingness

. However, US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Julie Chung had not been too pleased and asked if the official meeting was to take place. Upon being informed that the official meeting would be after the meeting between the President and Power, the USAID Chief had met the President.

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President Wickremesinghe Issues Directive to set up an accelerated national multi-sector combined programme to ensure that no citizens should starve due to lack of food and children should not be victims of malnutrition;president’s Office sends out Circular to ministries, provincial council chief secretaries, district and divisional secretaries for Implementation

The President’s Office has directed state institutions to ensure that no citizens should starve due to lack of food and children should not be victims of malnutrition.

A circular has been sent out to ministries, provincial council chief secretaries, district and divisional secretaries to implement a series of decisions and an accelerated national multi-sector combined programme to ensure food security and protect children from malnutrition.

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State agents are acting with impunity against public figures with no fear of popular reprisal. That signifies a change in the methods of the Deep State. Evidently, all pretences have been dropped. What we are up against now is a fully fledged police state and these words are not used lightly either.


By

Kishali Pinto-Jayawardene

Hawks may cry till the cows come home (to horribly malign that popular idiom) but as another ‘Geneva session’ takes place with the customary trumpeting, a few home truths must be recognised, as unpalatable as those may be.

Geneva promises defeated by action at home

Sri Lanka’s Foreign Affairs Minister who also doubled up as the personal lawyer of former President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa not so long ago, has bleated his ‘reassurances’ of preserving democracy before the 31st session of the United Nations Human Rights Council a few days earlier. But he must surely understand how hollow his words sound, even to himself. There is no point in mouthing the promise that, ‘notwithstanding severe constraints and challenges, Sri Lanka remains firmly committed to pursuing tangible progress in the protection of human rights and reconciliation through independent domestic institutions.’

What do those words even mean, pray? Are politicians so immune to common sense if not a basic sense of reality that they fail to comprehend the absurdities of their own lies? This is a rhetorical question, let me be clear. It is very obvious that they are, in fact, so immune. But even as a nod to our own sanity, we must ask the question as to how and in what manner can Sri Lanka promise to secure ‘human rights’ and ’reconciliation’ when the State has directed its formidable guns under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) on citizens exercising the right to peaceful protest in the heart of Colombo?

Continue reading ‘State agents are acting with impunity against public figures with no fear of popular reprisal. That signifies a change in the methods of the Deep State. Evidently, all pretences have been dropped. What we are up against now is a fully fledged police state and these words are not used lightly either.’ »

Sri Lanka having a president of the calibre of Ranil instead of Gotabaya can be considered an accidental outcome of the Aragalaya, which is beneficial for the country

By

Victor Ivan

After Ranil Wickremesinghe became the President, the dominance the Aragalaya had gained over the Government was suppressed by the police and the security forces without causing loss of lives or major injuries to the protestors. If it was not done, the authority of the Government would have collapsed completely, and the country would have plunged into a terrible state of anarchy; and the balance of payments crisis also would have plummeted into an uncontrollable point.

By that time, the official opposition of the country too, had become an active participant of the Aragalaya. So much so, breaking the dominance of the Aragalaya came under strong opposition not only of the protestors themselves, but also of the movement of the official opposition as well. By the time the new president ended the dominance gained by the Aragalaya, the belief of the protestors as well as the official opposition was that by taking the struggle one step further would enable them to topple the Government and capture the ruling power of the country.

Although there is no room for such a change of power within the existing political system, not only the young protesters but also the educated elderly professionals and even the experienced leaders of trade unions who supported the Aragalaya, quite uncritically, were unable to realise the simple fact that under the present constitution of Sri Lanka it would not be possible to change the Government during the period within two elections.

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Inebriated State Minister from Political Family pulls out Personal Pistol and Shoots in air Bringing Part of the Ceiling down Injring one at Party hosted for new State Ministers by President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Brother Channa Wickremesinghe

(Excerpted from the “Ceylon Politics”Column in “Ceylon Today” by Gagani Weerakoon)

Channa Wickremesinghe, younger brother of President Ranil Wickremesinghe, hosted a party for State Ministers who recently assumed duties. A majority of the invitees were in attendance.
As the night grew many State Ministers who attended the wine and dine session appeared overly inebriated. A State Minister who hailed from a political family was quite ‘high’ and was seen being very vocal and animated.

Continue reading ‘Inebriated State Minister from Political Family pulls out Personal Pistol and Shoots in air Bringing Part of the Ceiling down Injring one at Party hosted for new State Ministers by President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s Brother Channa Wickremesinghe’ »

Former Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena named as a suspect by Colombo Magistrate Courts in a case pertaining to the 2019 Easter terror bombings; Mr. Sirisena asked to appear in Colombo court in October


By

Meera Srinivasan

A Sri Lankan court on Friday named former President Maithripala Sirisena a suspect in a case pertaining to the 2019 Easter terror bombings and directed him to appear in court this October.

The Magistrate Court in Colombo’s Fort area gave the orders in response to a private plaint filed by Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando, a member of the National Catholic Committee for Justice to Easter Sunday Attack Victims, local media reported.
For more than three years now, Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church, and families of the victims of the gruesome serial blasts — that killed about 280 people and left hundreds injured — have been demanding justice.

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