Sivaji Ganesan Made Many Tamils Appreciate Their Vibrant Language More

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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.

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“No Govt Permission to Import Chemical Fertilizer for Local Agriculture”: Decision Taken By President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Use Only Organic Fertilier for Local Agriculture Remains and Will Not Be Changed in the Future says President’s Media Centre Statement.


The President’s Office yesterday insisted that there was no U-turn in the Government’s policy on promoting organic fertiliser and that the latest gazette only aims to facilitate the importation of “specialised fertilisers”.

“The Government has not granted permission to import chemical fertilisers for local agricultural purposes, neither has it made any changes to the decision taken by the President to use only organic fertilisers for local agriculture. And there will be no changes to this decision in the future either,” a statement from the President’s Media Centre said.

The statement added that Cabinet had granted approval to the proposal made by the Minister of Agriculture on 31 May, to import plant nutrients – which included natural chelated minerals and micro matter. While these natural chelated minerals and micro matter were already being imported under the HS Code, it was prohibited by the gazette notification No. 2226/48. Therefore, in order to grant Cabinet approval to the aforesaid Cabinet paper submitted by the Minister of Agriculture, the gazette notification No. 2226/48 was amended.

Continue reading ‘“No Govt Permission to Import Chemical Fertilizer for Local Agriculture”: Decision Taken By President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Use Only Organic Fertilier for Local Agriculture Remains and Will Not Be Changed in the Future says President’s Media Centre Statement.’ »

If the Kotelawala Defence University Bill is Passed ,future members of civilian bureaucracy would be trained to honour and obey Rajapaksa orders as if they are divine truths; It will be ‘Yes, Sir, No, Sir, Three bags full, Sir.”

By Tisaranee Gunasekara


“If mankind commits suicide, it will be because people will obey…the archaic passions of fear, hate, and greed…”
– Erich Fromm (On Disobedience: Why Freedom Means Saying “No” to Power)

Sri Lanka is in transition into becoming the Pearl of the Silk Route politically. But America still haunts the imitation dreams of her rulers.

President Gotabaya’s latest toy is a press briefing room that seems to be a replica of the one in the White House. But Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s press room will be American in form only; in content, it will be pure Chinese. The media would not be permitted to contradict spokespersons and argue with presidents as they do in the James Brady Press Briefing Room. Instead their role would be to accept official truths uncritically and amplify them to reach every corner of society. A fitting symbol of the country the Rajapaksas are trying to create – familial autocracy in a democratic shell.

The Kotelawala Defence University Bill is a key component of this project of transforming Sri Lanka into a suitable politico-psychological space for Rajapaksa rule.

According to the Bill, the Kotelawala Defence University will have the power “to establish campuses, colleges, faculties, departments, centres, academic institutions, and other such specialised institutes, schools, and divisions as maybe required by the university”. This would create a parallel system of education and higher education in accordance with Rajapaksa needs and interests.

The KDU’s Board of Governors will be appointed by the Defence Minister, and according to the Rajapaksa game plan, that post will always be held by the family. This is militarisation of education, but militarisation led and controlled by the Family and aimed at promoting the familial agenda of dynastic power for the next half century. The KDU bill seeks to make good the promise the royal astrologer made to President Mahinda in 2009, a Rajapaksa era lasting for 50 years.

Continue reading ‘If the Kotelawala Defence University Bill is Passed ,future members of civilian bureaucracy would be trained to honour and obey Rajapaksa orders as if they are divine truths; It will be ‘Yes, Sir, No, Sir, Three bags full, Sir.”’ »

Sri Lanka is heading for its worst health disaster in the coming weeks due to risk of the Delta variant spreading beyond control; leading medical experts say hospitals across the Western Province re full with 2/3rd of the patients being oxygen-dependent.

By

Jamila Husain

Sri Lanka is heading for its worst medical tsunami in the coming weeks as there is a risk that the Delta variant is spreading beyond control, leading medical experts told Daily Mirror yesterday.

Senior physicians at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic said that hospitals across the Western Province were filled to its brim and more than 2/3rd of the patients presently were oxygen-dependent.

At the Colombo General Hospital alone, all medical wards had been taken to treat COVID-19 patients and till last morning alone, there were 610 COVID positive patients at the National Hospital.

Initially per ward was equipped with four oxygen-equipped beds, which was later tripled to 12 beds per ward. However, with the influx of patients in recent weeks, these beds are also falling short.

“We are struggling to give these patients oxygen not because we lack oxygen, but because we did not expect this much of patients. We were ready with oxygen beds, but this is beyond imagination,” a doctor said.

“I foresee in near future we will have more patients who need oxygen and we will not be able to provide them with oxygen,” the doctor added.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka is heading for its worst health disaster in the coming weeks due to risk of the Delta variant spreading beyond control; leading medical experts say hospitals across the Western Province re full with 2/3rd of the patients being oxygen-dependent.’ »

Harsha De Silva MP Calls Govt Reversal of Fertilizer Ban a Farce Saying “they have removed chemical and mineral fertiliser from the banned list and included them in the licensed list. So we are going back to what it originally was.”

By Aazam Ameen

The gazette published on 06 May which detailed the ban of imports of chemical fertiliser was fundamentally flawed, The Morning learnt.

Speaking exclusively to The Morning on the matter, Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Dr. Harsha De Silva explained that the gazette contained a mistake where both chemical fertliser and mineral fertiliser were categorised into the same HS code and banned.
“They wanted to bring in nitrogen and other supplements to complement the use of organic fertiliser, but how were they planning on doing so when they had banned both through this gazette notification as they were categorised under the same HS code?” the MP questioned.

Further, De Silva explained that this was never a law to begin with.

Continue reading ‘Harsha De Silva MP Calls Govt Reversal of Fertilizer Ban a Farce Saying “they have removed chemical and mineral fertiliser from the banned list and included them in the licensed list. So we are going back to what it originally was.”’ »

Finance Ministry through gazette notification 2238/45 of 31 July 2021 relaxes regulations on the import of chelated (a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions) minerals and micronutrients for the purpose of producing fertiliser.

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Finance Ministry, through the gazette notification number 2238/45 of 31 July 2021, has relaxed regulations on the import of chelated (a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions) minerals and micronutrients for the purpose of producing fertiliser.

Accordingly, nitrogen (N) fertiliser, phosphate (PO₄³⁻) fertiliser, potassium (K) fertiliser, fertilisers containing such minerals and chemical fertilisers containing a combination of fertilising elements, that were previously banned from import, have been brought under the import control licence (ICL) by the aforesaid gazette notification.

The Imports and Exports Control Department Controller General (CG), T.V.D. Damayanthi S. Karunarathne, in a letter dated 2 August 2021, has informed the Customs Director General and the chief executive officers (CEOs) of all commercial banks of the said decision. In the letter, Karunarathne has pointed out that the commercial banks should not proceed with any payments in respect of these items without a valid ICL from 31 July 2021. It is also stated in the letter that the Customs should not release the stocks of these items without a valid ICL from 31 July.

Continue reading ‘Finance Ministry through gazette notification 2238/45 of 31 July 2021 relaxes regulations on the import of chelated (a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions) minerals and micronutrients for the purpose of producing fertiliser.’ »

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Removes Ban on Import of Chemical and Mineral Fertilizer; bn relaxaion likely to be a temporary measure to help ffeced Farmers During Maha Paddy Cultivation Season

New Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa has lifted the ban imposed on chemical fertilisers import.

The relaxation has been published via Gazette No. 2238/45 of 31 July. The move is following recommendations of the Agriculture Department and the Fertiliser Secretariat and will be a big boon for farmers during the upcoming Maha paddy cultivation season, officials said.

Items that could be imported include nitrogenous, phosphatic, potassic mineral or chemical fertilisers, mineral or chemical fertilisers containing two or three of the fertilising elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilisers; as well as goods of this chapter (HS Heading 31.05) in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight not exceeding 10 kg.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Removes Ban on Import of Chemical and Mineral Fertilizer; bn relaxaion likely to be a temporary measure to help ffeced Farmers During Maha Paddy Cultivation Season’ »

Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Sends Letter of Demand for Rs 2 Billion to Nissanka Senadhipathy Following Administrative Appeals Tribunal Ruling that the Avant Garde Chairman had “Doctored” the Telephone Conversation Tape on the Basis of Which the Former Solicitor -General ws Interdicted

By Ranjith Padmasiri

The tape recording of a telephone conversation between former Solicitor General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe and Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadipathi which resulted in the interdiction of the senior state prosecutor had been edited and doctored, an Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has established.

Ms. Wickramasinghe was interdicted and sent on compulsory leave by the Public Service Commission (PSC) following the alleged conversation being uploaded on Youtube and broadcast over sections of the media in September, 2019.

The tribunal has directed the PSC to revoke its order and to allow Ms. Wickramasinghe to resume duties in the post of Solicitor General with immediate effect. However, Ms. Wickramasinghe was due to retire last Friday (July 30) on reaching her retirement age.
Three experts reports including a report from the Moratuwa University confirmed that the alleged recording had been substantially edited, doctored and fundamentally distorted.
Meanwhile, Assistant Government Analyst W.G.D.L. Gunathilaka told an inquiry into the allegations against Ms. Wickramasinghe that the impugned tape recording had been subjected to editing at 10 places.

The AAT ruling has noted that Mr Senadipathi himself had admitted in a statement during the preliminary investigation that the purported tape recording had been subjected to editing by him. Though he had given an undertaking to produce an unedited tape, he had failed to do so.

Continue reading ‘Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Sends Letter of Demand for Rs 2 Billion to Nissanka Senadhipathy Following Administrative Appeals Tribunal Ruling that the Avant Garde Chairman had “Doctored” the Telephone Conversation Tape on the Basis of Which the Former Solicitor -General ws Interdicted’ »

JR Jayewardene, the Kanatte Mass Funeral and the July 1983 Anti-Tamil Pogrom

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

July 24th 1983 was the day on which a destructive spree of anti-Tamil violence commenced in Jaffna in the early hours of the morning and began spreading to Colombo in the later hours of the evening on the same day. It continued to other parts of the Island in the following days. The 38th anniversary of those dark days – etched in history as “Black July” revives bad memories among most Tamils who lived in Sri Lanka during July 1983.

JR Jayewardene , the Kanatte Mass Funeral and the July 1983 Anti-Tamil Pogrom – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The week long spree of anti-Tamil violence saw over 4,000 Tamils and some Muslims – mistaken for Tamils – being killed. Thousands were injured. Some of the injured were killed in hospitals. There were close upon 300,000 displaced persons as a result. Around 130,000 of these were housed in makeshift refugee camps. More than 2,500 business enterprises ranging from factories to petty boutiques were damaged or destroyed. The number of houses and dwellings and vehicles damaged or destroyed has not been correctly estimated yet.

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Neelan Tiruchelvam the Foremost Intellectual of Contemporary Tamil Politics

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Dr.Neelan Tiruchelvam was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of tamil eelam(LTTE)22 years ago on July 29th 1999. This article was originally written to commemorate the 70th birth anniversary of Dr. Tiruchelvam on January 31st 2014. It is being re-posted here without any changes to denote Neelan’s 22nd death anniversary)

Neelan Tiruchelvam (January 31, 1944 – July 29, 1999) – Portrait held during a Memorial Lecture in his honour - pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Neelan Tiruchelvam (January 31, 1944 – July 29, 1999) – Portrait held during a Memorial Lecture in his honour – pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

January 31st is the birthday of eminent Constitution lawyer, academic and politician Dr.Neelakandan Tiruchelvam. Neelan as he was popularly known would have completed the biblical life span of three score years and ten had he been among the living today. Born on January 31st 1944,Neelan Tiruchelvam, was brutally assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)on July 29th 1999.He was 55 at the time of his death.

I had a close personal relationship with Neelan. He was my friend, philosopher and guide. He was greatly instrumental in moulding my career. He was in a sense my political mentor. It was as a journalist on the Tamil daily “Virakesari” that I first began interacting with Neelan Tiruchelvam. My relationship with him grew over the years as I moved into English journalism via ‘‘The Island ‘’and ‘‘The Hindu ‘’.

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Amendments to Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure Act (1979) and Convention against Torture (CAT) Act (1994) are an insult to the victims bloodied and battered by torture at the hands of law enforcement agents.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Amendments certified on the 15th of July 2021 to Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure Act (1979) and to the Convention against Torture (CAT) Act (1994) are, to put it baldly, an insult to the hundreds if not thousands of victims bloodied and battered by torture at the hands of law enforcement agents.

Core changes in the CCP Act and CAT Act

These amendments could not be reflected upon at the time that they were brought by the Government before the House in these column spaces due to other pressing matters of public concern at the time. The core change brought about by the amendments is that firstly, magistrates are enjoined to Magistrate to visit police stations to ensure that suspects in custody are ‘protected’ as provided for in terms of the CAT Act. In so doing, the magistrate is called upon to personally see the suspect, check the suspect’s well being and conditions of detention as well as record his or her observations and any complaints lodged by the suspect.

If there is any suspicion of torture, the magistrate ‘may’ (note, the statutory language is not mandatory) require that the suspect be produced before a judicial medical officer (JMO) or a government medical officer with a report to be submitted thereafter to the magistrate. If it is found that torture has been committed, the magistrate may issue ‘appropriate order’ including directions to provide necessary medical treatment and to change the place of custody if that is so required.

Moreover, the Inspector General of Police ‘shall’ (here, the language is mandatory) be directed to commence an investigation into the alleged torture in order to enable the Attorney-General to institute criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrator/s. Where the amendment to the CAT Act is concerned, this provides for an increased fine, from ten thousand as the minimum with fifty thousand as the maximum to fifty thousand as the minimum and two hundred thousand as the maximum.

Continue reading ‘Amendments to Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure Act (1979) and Convention against Torture (CAT) Act (1994) are an insult to the victims bloodied and battered by torture at the hands of law enforcement agents.’ »

Is Gotabaya Raajapaksa aiming at creating a hybrid structure of administration — part military and part civilian — like an electric-fossil fuel powered automobile?


By Gamini Weerakoon

A raging debate on ‘militarisation of academia’ has been sweeping through the ‘Paradise Island’ for weeks. Paradoxically, indications of ‘militarisation’ of government for over a year and half, since former Lt. Col. Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Retd.) was elected the president, appear not to have been taken as seriously as the move — as alleged — that may militarise universities.

We have lost count of the number of highly decorated retired military officials taking the seats once occupied by powerful civilians in government service since Gotabaya Rajapaksa took over as the president. It is a move unprecedented in the country’s 73-year post-Independence history.

But not even a whimper of protest has been heard from the associations of administrative services officers or even the usually garrulous clerical services unions and those of lower ranks. More so the general public that has been so vociferous in the criticism of this Rajapaksa government on other issues developed a chronic ‘locked Jaw’ on this issue of militarisation of the public service.

Continue reading ‘Is Gotabaya Raajapaksa aiming at creating a hybrid structure of administration — part military and part civilian — like an electric-fossil fuel powered automobile?’ »

UN Human Rights Council Ready to Crack Down on Sri Lanka at the September Session in Geneva with the UN Human Rights Commissioners Office Getting $ 2.8 Million to Set Up 13 Member Special Secretariat to Monitor Human Rights Abuses in the Island and Collect Evidence to Facilitate Accountability Mechanisms

(Excerpts from the “Sunday Times”Political Column of August 1st 2021)

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is set to crack the whip on Sri Lanka at its 48th sessions just six weeks ahead.

It is not only on issues arising from the March sessions of the damning Resolution on Sri Lanka caused by dismal diplomatic failures and a confrontational posture, particularly with western nations. Added to it is a part of the Resolution which empowered the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to “consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence.” This is for “future accountability processes for gross violations of human rights or serious violations of international humanitarian law, to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant judicial proceedings in Member States with competent jurisdiction.”

Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Council Ready to Crack Down on Sri Lanka at the September Session in Geneva with the UN Human Rights Commissioners Office Getting $ 2.8 Million to Set Up 13 Member Special Secretariat to Monitor Human Rights Abuses in the Island and Collect Evidence to Facilitate Accountability Mechanisms’ »

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Designate to India,Milinda Moragoda,to Assume Stint in New Delhi After One Year Delay With “Integrated Country Strategy” Blueprint to Establish Better Relations Between Both Counries by Building Bridges of Connectivity on Multiple Fronts

By

Suhasini Haidar and Meera Srinivasan

After months of strain over a number of issues including the cancelled port project in Colombo , Sri Lanka is preparing to send its High Commissioner designate to Delhi, along with a ‘roadmap’ to restore ties that includes resolving fishermen’s issues, building connectivity, trade and investment, as well as promoting religious links, Buddhist exchanges and handing over a sacred “Sita temple stone” from Sri Lanka for the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya.

According to a formal proposal presented to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which The Hindu has seen, the roadmap will help bridge the “growing trust deficit”.

In February, the Modi government expressed its unhappiness over Sri Lanka’s decision to scrap the East Container Terminal project signed in 2019, amidst other signs that China was gaining the upper hand in infrastructure deals in the country. The Rajapaksa government has been disappointed over the lack of movement on requests it made for India for assistance including a debt repayment waiver for three years and a separate currency swap for $1 billion, to help with economic crisis, which were made by President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Mr. Modi.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Designate to India,Milinda Moragoda,to Assume Stint in New Delhi After One Year Delay With “Integrated Country Strategy” Blueprint to Establish Better Relations Between Both Counries by Building Bridges of Connectivity on Multiple Fronts’ »

“The Tragedy is that it is Becoming Harder in 1983 for Sinhala Christians to Acknowledge that what was done is a Moral Crime than in 1958.:- Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe

(Text of the final Pastoral letter written by the Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala , Rt. Rev. L Wickremasinghe, in September 1983 after the July 1983 Violence.Bishop Lakshmn passed away some weeks after this on October 23rd 1983.)

Dear Church Members and Citizens assembled in Council

We are in the midst of our worst national crisis since the regaining of our independence. Attitudes have hardened among the Tamils and the Sinhalese. There is still an uneasy calm. We do not know what will be the consequences of this escalating violence, bitterness and fear.

Various persons and organisations have been engaged in protecting victims, providing relief and supporting rehabilitation. It is a matter of deep gratitude and pride that a number of Sinhalese and others have engaged in humane action at much risk to themselves, in the midst of inhuman brutality and destruction. I quote some words from the Sansoni Commission about such people who so acted in 1977:

“These splendid persons proved that courage and charity can survive – when most needed. There is no law which compels a person to defy a howling mob, or to hide a neighbour or even an unknown man fleeing like some poor animal from a crowd bent on killing him. Yet, they understood and practiced the duty of the unenforceable, which is the test of civilization in any country.”
We must acknowledge whatever is good at this time both for its own sake and to overcome our sense of despair. But such action is not enough. To courage and compassion we must add insight. We need a further kind of action based on a deeper awareness of what has happened. In the words of Thomas Merton: “Contemplation is the spring, action is the stream.”

Reflections On Our Present Situation- Personal Comments

I was not present in the island when the violence erupted at the end of July 1983. But I have been present and witnessed similar violence in 1958 and 1977. I also experienced the other period of violence in April 1971 when there was an armed insurrection by Sinhala youth. But during July 1983 and afterwards I was able to follow closely the events that took place from abroad. A friend had collected all the news and comments in the English press from July to August, and gave the documents for me to read. Since I returned a local friend gave me a similar file of documents from the Sri Lankan press from early July till the end of August. I was able to visit the damaged areas, talk with various people and also meet people in the Jaffna peninsula. Our own Tamil church-members within this diocese had their stories to tell. In short, the comments I will make on the situation we face are based on much reflection. They also express twenty five years of experience in seeking to find a solution to our ethnic conflict. I am among those who have tried hard and failed. But I know and trust in God, who is ever creative in bringing good out of evil.

Continue reading ‘“The Tragedy is that it is Becoming Harder in 1983 for Sinhala Christians to Acknowledge that what was done is a Moral Crime than in 1958.:- Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe’ »

Rajendran Rajamahendran, Rabindranath Tagore and Robert Frost

By K.Thirukumaran

Rajendran Rajamahendran passed away in Colombo, Sri Lanka on July 25. He was born on May 19, 1943.

Who is he? Some outside of Sri Lanka may ponder, especially in all the outpouring tributes he comes across as a remarkable icon, perhaps as a global one for that matter of these times.

Why?
Continue reading ‘Rajendran Rajamahendran, Rabindranath Tagore and Robert Frost’ »

Unabashedly Unbowed and Unfailingly Unafraid, “Killi”Rajamahendran was a “Maharaja” from head to toe in the truest sense of the word


By
Krishantha Prasad Cooray

It was early 2005, a few months after I had been made the CEO of Rivira Media Corporation. I had been warned that the media industry was a cutthroat one, and to expect little help for a fledgling newspaper like Rivira. Still I decided to reach out to the heads of some electronic media organisations to see if we could work together.

Amongst those I emailed was the Chairman of MTN Networks, Raj Rajamahendran, better known as Killi Maharaja. I introduced myself and the newspaper and asked if I could meet him at his convenience.

“Killi” Rajamahendran (19 May, 1943-25 July, 2021)

Having sent the email, I took a moment to scoff at my own hubris. Mr. Rajamahendran, was not just the head of the country’s largest private broadcasting empire. He also chaired dozens of companies in areas as diverse as manufacturing and infrastructure development. There was no chance he would have time to spare for a young upstart trying to start a newspaper.

I soon discovered how wrong I was. He was exactly that kind of man.

Within hours, Mr. Rajamahendran had personally replied to my email. He congratulated me on starting the newspaper and gave me an appointment to meet him the very next day. I was stunned, honoured and extremely impressed.

When I went to his office on Dawson Street the next day, he met me on time, greeted me warmly and extended his full support.

Continue reading ‘Unabashedly Unbowed and Unfailingly Unafraid, “Killi”Rajamahendran was a “Maharaja” from head to toe in the truest sense of the word’ »

The ghastly tale of the killing of Tamil prisoners at Welikada in 1983;Witnesses told the Commission that soldiers were heard shouting ‘Jayawewa’ when news broke of the killings of the Tamil prisoners


By Chandani Kirinde

All stories have their heroes and villains. During the Welikada Prison massacre of July 1983 in which 53 Tamil prisoners lost their lives, there were few prison officials who put their lives on the line to protect the Tamil inmates while there were the others, who by their complicity, encouraged the attackers and failed in their duties by not taking timely measures to protect them.

The killings inside the prison took place on two days with 35 inmates killed on 25 July and 18 others on 27 July. That week, 38 years ago, mayhem was unfolding outside the prison walls too with senseless killings, looting and arson attacks taking place against Tamils, in a month that has since come to be known as ‘Black July.’

The Presidential Truth Commission on Ethnic Violence (1981-1984) appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 2001 said the murder of the Tamil prisoners within the well-secured precincts of the Welikada Prison and the traumatic experience of those who escaped death would ‘constitute the most agonising moments of challenge to the collective conscience of our Nation.’ In this case, like with many similar extra judicial killings that have taken place in the country since, no one was held accountable, none prosecuted, and the case closed with the State settling the civil lawsuits filed by relatives of some of the victims by paying compensation without admitting liability.

The Commission recorded evidence from survivors of the massacre, prison officials, human rights and civil rights activists and other witnesses to piece together the terrifying atmosphere within the prison during the dark days in July 1983 and how apathy by the Government and some prison officials led to the massacres which would have been averted had they acted on time.

Continue reading ‘The ghastly tale of the killing of Tamil prisoners at Welikada in 1983;Witnesses told the Commission that soldiers were heard shouting ‘Jayawewa’ when news broke of the killings of the Tamil prisoners’ »

Mangala Samaraweera spearheads launch of an apolitical movement called ‘Radical Centre’ by a group of multifaceted multi-ethnic youth based on the principles of democracy, freedom, equality and justice as the four pillared-foundation for a just, caring and prosperous society.

Former Minister and Parliamentarian Mangala Samara-weera yesterday spearheaded the launch of an apolitical movement called ‘Radical Centre’ by a group of multifaceted multi-ethnic youth calling themselves as true patriots.

The middle path or ‘Radical Centre’ is based on the principles of democracy, freedom, equality and justice as the four pillared-foundation for a just, caring and prosperous society. It draws inspiration from liberal democratic principles.

Radical Centre is a platform of moderation providing the silent majority to oppose and fight authoritarianism, racism and all other forms of extremism actively and vigorously.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera spearheads launch of an apolitical movement called ‘Radical Centre’ by a group of multifaceted multi-ethnic youth based on the principles of democracy, freedom, equality and justice as the four pillared-foundation for a just, caring and prosperous society.’ »

Sri Lanka yesterday completed the groundwork towards the settlement of $ 1 billion worth of International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) maturing today states Nivard Cabral; State Minister for Money, Capital Market and Public Enterprises Reform Says SRi Lanka “has proved all the doomsayers and sceptics both globally and locally wrong”

By Nisthar Cassim

Against widespread fears and claims of default sans multilateral donor help, Sri Lanka yesterday completed the groundwork towards the settlement of $ 1 billion worth of International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) maturing today.

The move, according to Money, Capital Market and Public Enterprises Reform State Minister Nivard Cabraal, has proved all the doomsayers and sceptics, both globally and locally, wrong.

“Right along we have been consistently saying Sri Lanka will pay despite some reckless rating agencies and analysts regularly being sceptical and unreasonably irrational. The settlement also cements the fact Sri Lanka continues its unblemished reputation of honouring its debt,” Cabraal said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka yesterday completed the groundwork towards the settlement of $ 1 billion worth of International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) maturing today states Nivard Cabral; State Minister for Money, Capital Market and Public Enterprises Reform Says SRi Lanka “has proved all the doomsayers and sceptics both globally and locally wrong”’ »

Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu files Petition in Supreme Court (SC SD 28/2021) challenging the proposed Finance Bill Providing amnesty from tax, penalty or interest, or from any investigation or prosecution for ” Special foreign currency deposits”

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu yesterday filed a Petition in the Supreme Court (SC SD 28/2021) challenging the proposed Finance Bill, which was placed on the order paper of Parliament on 20 July.

The bill seeks to provide an amnesty from tax, penalty or interest, or from any investigation or prosecution, to anyone who has not disclosed any taxable supply, income or asset which was required to be disclosed by law, provided that they invest an equivalent amount in the manner specified in the Bill.

CPA’s action follows main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne and JVP former parliamentarian Sunil Hadunneththi filing separate petitions in the Supreme Court against the Finance Bill.

CPA said its position is that several clauses in the bill are inconsistent with the Constitution, including several entrench provisions, and thus cannot be passed into law except if approved by the people at a referendum in addition to a two-thirds vote of the whole number of the Members of Parliament in favour as required by Article 83 (a) of the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu files Petition in Supreme Court (SC SD 28/2021) challenging the proposed Finance Bill Providing amnesty from tax, penalty or interest, or from any investigation or prosecution for ” Special foreign currency deposits”’ »

“Medamulana Rajapaksa Dynasty”: Four Sons and Three Grandsons of Don Alvin Rajapaksa

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Basil Rohana Rajapaksa was sworn in as Finance minister in the Government of Sri Lanka by his brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on July 8th 2021. The appointment was hailed by Basil’s supporers who project the new Finance minister as the “saviour” who would liberate Sri Lanka from the economic morass into which the country is sinking. It is being said that the less dogmatic, more pragmatic Basil with the reputation of being “the man who gets things done” is the right choice to helm financial affairs at this point of time.The anti- Rajapaksa camp “Pooh-poohs” this claim saying Basil is only a visible symptom of the prevailing crisis and not the solution. They also point out that Sri Lanka is fast becoming a “failed state” and that Basil’s appointment as a remedy to the malady, demonstrates the failure of his brother the President to deliver.

“Medamulana Dynasty”: Four Sons and Three Grandsons of Don Alvin Rajapaksa 🌷by D.B,S. Jeyaraj

If these were the two broad contrasting positions on the appointment of the new Finance minister in politically polarized Sri Lanka , Basil’s elevation evoked a somewhat amusing global response in sections of the world’s influential media. It was seen as an illustrative example of a single family enjoying a monopoly of political power in a democratic country. “In Sri Lanka, the Government Looks Increasingly Like a Family Firm” was the heading of the article in the prestigious “New York Times”. by its South Asia Correspondent Mushib Mashal An article in the much-respected “The Hindu” by its Colombo Correspondent Meera Srinivsan had the heading “The Rajapaksas | Four brothers in one government”.

Continue reading ‘“Medamulana Rajapaksa Dynasty”: Four Sons and Three Grandsons of Don Alvin Rajapaksa’ »

Memories of Leonine Tamil Leader Murugesu Sivasithamaparam

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Very little is known or remembered by the younger generation of Sri Lankans about the nature of the non – violent Tamil political struggle for equal rights that preceded the violent armed struggle. Indeed for many the history of Tamil political resistance to what was perceived as majoritarian hegemony commences only from “Black July” 1983. To many youths on either side of the ethnic divide , Veluppillai Prabhakaran personifies the beginning, middle and end of the Tamil struggle. The course and content of Tamil politics prior to the advent of the birth and growth of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is conveniently forgotten or not taken into account at all. Yet the fact remains that the Tamil quest to achieve equality in the Island was basically non – violent prior to 1983.

Murugesu Sivasithamparam (20 July 1923 – 5 June 2002)

A prominent Tamil political leader of this period of non-violent politics was Murugesu Sivasithamparam whose 98th birth anniversary fell on 20 July. He is the focus of this column this week. I have written about M. Sivasithamparam in the past. This article however will be a modified version based on some of those writings, with pride of place being given to personal recollections.

Continue reading ‘Memories of Leonine Tamil Leader Murugesu Sivasithamaparam’ »

“For how long should citizens of this country pay for the grievous sins of their political rulers?And when will we ever learn from our tortuous history?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

To a protesting (Sinhalese) Stalin, (or for that matter, a Marx or Lenin), who is released along with comrades following public outrage and street anger after unjustifiable detention by the police using Sri Lanka’s covid-19 health protocols, there are a hundred others who languish in squalid detention under the country’s savagely inhumane anti-terrorism laws.

Health protocols used to deprive rights

We know of two cases perhaps, one a lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah and the other, Ahnaf Jazeem a poet, both of Muslim ethnicity, both accused of hate speech and put behind bars without proper charges for unconscionable lengths of time. But let me repeat, there are many more in similar if not worse plights who are forgotten in the public eye, some dying without charges being filed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA, 1979). Why is public conscience so insensibly moved in the first instance but not in the other?

For the danger in both in this covid afflicted state is equally acute, let us be clear. More and more, health protocols are being used to deprive citizens of due process rights, oftentimes worse than during even the most intensified period of active conflict in Sri Lanka. Detainees are not brought before judges and not allowed to present allegations of torture and illtreatment. The principle of open hearings, where the public and the media are allowed to document and witness injustice, sometimes to the extent of preventing deaths in custody, is being departed from on the basis of covid rules.

Continue reading ‘“For how long should citizens of this country pay for the grievous sins of their political rulers?And when will we ever learn from our tortuous history?’ »

Sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka this week may be an “early signal” of what to expect from other parts of the country.

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

A sharp rise has been seen in the number of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) this week and many warned that it may be an “early signal” of what to expect from other parts of the country.

This week, the NHSL saw more than 200 COVID-19 patients seeking treatment daily, said an NHSL source, pointing out that it may be an indication of a spike in illness in the Colombo district as well as the Western Province.
Analysing the numbers over the past few months, the source said that in late May and early June when the country was in the grip of the third wave due to Alpha (the United Kingdom variant), the numbers rose to about 180 per day.

Continue reading ‘Sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka this week may be an “early signal” of what to expect from other parts of the country.’ »

Sri Lanka has no immediate plan to seek financing from the International Monetary Fund says Presidential Secretary P.B. Jayasundera; “The IMF coming won’t bring tourism here. The IMF coming won’t bring exports back.”


By Namini Wijedasa

Sri Lanka has no immediate plan to seek financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Presidential Secretary P.B. Jayasundera has said.

“Right now, it is not a question of whether we want the IMF or not,” the former Finance Ministry Secretary explained in an interview.

“The IMF coming won’t bring tourism here. The IMF coming won’t bring exports back.”

Any borrowing, including an IMF programme, was “good if you have prospects to improve quickly and if you have hope that, in the next six months, tourism will bring US$ 2bn and domestic activity or something else will happen”.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has no immediate plan to seek financing from the International Monetary Fund says Presidential Secretary P.B. Jayasundera; “The IMF coming won’t bring tourism here. The IMF coming won’t bring exports back.”’ »

President Premadasa Backed Off From Taking on the IPKF When Its Chief Gen.Kalkat Indicated That The Indian Army Would Retaliate by Seizing Anuradhapura in Phase One and Possibly Move to Colombo in Phase Two

By
Lt Gen A.S. Kalkat (Retd)

I was on a sabbatical in London, United Kingdom for a fellowship with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) when I received a message from Brigadier (now Lt Gen) Satish Nambiar, the Military Attaché in London to call the Army Headquarters. I did so from his office and was informed by the Military Secretary that the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Gen K. Sundarji wanted to speak to me. I was put through to the COAS who asked as to how much longer my fellowship was, as he needed me. When I asked as to when he needed me, typically he responded, “like yesterday”. I told him that I would terminate my fellowship with immediate effect and return, which I did. That was the beginning of my odyssey with the IPKF and Sri Lanka.

At the time, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka was staffed by some of India’s “best and the brightest”. The High Commissioner, M.N. Dixit was to become the NSA later, Political Consular Head Hardip Singh Puri is now a Union Minister, and the First Secretary, Dr. S. Jaishankar is now the Foreign Minister.

INDO-SRI LANKA ACCORD 1987

With a 74 percent Sinhalese population, Sri Lanka had by the mid-1980s effectively become a Sinhala Buddhist state. The 18 percent Tamil minority, which was the dominant community in the Northern and Eastern provinces were getting politically marginalised and suppressed. The Government of India, then headed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was facing political pressure to intervene.

India coerced the Government of Sri Lanka headed by President Junius Richard Jayewardene into signing the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord literally at gunpoint. The Air Force’s “Op Poomalai” of dropping humanitarian aid over Jaffna was an effective power projection.

Continue reading ‘President Premadasa Backed Off From Taking on the IPKF When Its Chief Gen.Kalkat Indicated That The Indian Army Would Retaliate by Seizing Anuradhapura in Phase One and Possibly Move to Colombo in Phase Two’ »

Rishad Bathiudeen’s Wife and Father in Law Detained by Police for Further Investigations Regarding Death of 16 Year Old Girl from Dyagama Working as Domestic Aide; Rishad’s brother in law also arrested in separate incident for allegedly raping a former domestic aide now aged 22.

dbsjeyaraj.com

Sivaji Ganesan Made Many Tamils Appreciate Their Vibrant Language More

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

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’ »

“No Govt Permission to Import Chemical Fertilizer for Local Agriculture”: Decision Taken By President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Use Only Organic Fertilier for Local Agriculture Remains and Will Not Be Changed in the Future says President’s Media Centre Statement.


The President’s Office yesterday insisted that there was no U-turn in the Government’s policy on promoting organic fertiliser and that the latest gazette only aims to facilitate the importation of “specialised fertilisers”.

“The Government has not granted permission to import chemical fertilisers for local agricultural purposes, neither has it made any changes to the decision taken by the President to use only organic fertilisers for local agriculture. And there will be no changes to this decision in the future either,” a statement from the President’s Media Centre said.

The statement added that Cabinet had granted approval to the proposal made by the Minister of Agriculture on 31 May, to import plant nutrients – which included natural chelated minerals and micro matter. While these natural chelated minerals and micro matter were already being imported under the HS Code, it was prohibited by the gazette notification No. 2226/48. Therefore, in order to grant Cabinet approval to the aforesaid Cabinet paper submitted by the Minister of Agriculture, the gazette notification No. 2226/48 was amended.

Continue reading ‘“No Govt Permission to Import Chemical Fertilizer for Local Agriculture”: Decision Taken By President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Use Only Organic Fertilier for Local Agriculture Remains and Will Not Be Changed in the Future says President’s Media Centre Statement.’ »

If the Kotelawala Defence University Bill is Passed ,future members of civilian bureaucracy would be trained to honour and obey Rajapaksa orders as if they are divine truths; It will be ‘Yes, Sir, No, Sir, Three bags full, Sir.”

By Tisaranee Gunasekara


“If mankind commits suicide, it will be because people will obey…the archaic passions of fear, hate, and greed…”
– Erich Fromm (On Disobedience: Why Freedom Means Saying “No” to Power)

Sri Lanka is in transition into becoming the Pearl of the Silk Route politically. But America still haunts the imitation dreams of her rulers.

President Gotabaya’s latest toy is a press briefing room that seems to be a replica of the one in the White House. But Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s press room will be American in form only; in content, it will be pure Chinese. The media would not be permitted to contradict spokespersons and argue with presidents as they do in the James Brady Press Briefing Room. Instead their role would be to accept official truths uncritically and amplify them to reach every corner of society. A fitting symbol of the country the Rajapaksas are trying to create – familial autocracy in a democratic shell.

The Kotelawala Defence University Bill is a key component of this project of transforming Sri Lanka into a suitable politico-psychological space for Rajapaksa rule.

According to the Bill, the Kotelawala Defence University will have the power “to establish campuses, colleges, faculties, departments, centres, academic institutions, and other such specialised institutes, schools, and divisions as maybe required by the university”. This would create a parallel system of education and higher education in accordance with Rajapaksa needs and interests.

The KDU’s Board of Governors will be appointed by the Defence Minister, and according to the Rajapaksa game plan, that post will always be held by the family. This is militarisation of education, but militarisation led and controlled by the Family and aimed at promoting the familial agenda of dynastic power for the next half century. The KDU bill seeks to make good the promise the royal astrologer made to President Mahinda in 2009, a Rajapaksa era lasting for 50 years.

Continue reading ‘If the Kotelawala Defence University Bill is Passed ,future members of civilian bureaucracy would be trained to honour and obey Rajapaksa orders as if they are divine truths; It will be ‘Yes, Sir, No, Sir, Three bags full, Sir.”’ »

Sri Lanka is heading for its worst health disaster in the coming weeks due to risk of the Delta variant spreading beyond control; leading medical experts say hospitals across the Western Province re full with 2/3rd of the patients being oxygen-dependent.

By

Jamila Husain

Sri Lanka is heading for its worst medical tsunami in the coming weeks as there is a risk that the Delta variant is spreading beyond control, leading medical experts told Daily Mirror yesterday.

Senior physicians at the forefront of the COVID-19 pandemic said that hospitals across the Western Province were filled to its brim and more than 2/3rd of the patients presently were oxygen-dependent.

At the Colombo General Hospital alone, all medical wards had been taken to treat COVID-19 patients and till last morning alone, there were 610 COVID positive patients at the National Hospital.

Initially per ward was equipped with four oxygen-equipped beds, which was later tripled to 12 beds per ward. However, with the influx of patients in recent weeks, these beds are also falling short.

“We are struggling to give these patients oxygen not because we lack oxygen, but because we did not expect this much of patients. We were ready with oxygen beds, but this is beyond imagination,” a doctor said.

“I foresee in near future we will have more patients who need oxygen and we will not be able to provide them with oxygen,” the doctor added.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka is heading for its worst health disaster in the coming weeks due to risk of the Delta variant spreading beyond control; leading medical experts say hospitals across the Western Province re full with 2/3rd of the patients being oxygen-dependent.’ »

Harsha De Silva MP Calls Govt Reversal of Fertilizer Ban a Farce Saying “they have removed chemical and mineral fertiliser from the banned list and included them in the licensed list. So we are going back to what it originally was.”

By Aazam Ameen

The gazette published on 06 May which detailed the ban of imports of chemical fertiliser was fundamentally flawed, The Morning learnt.

Speaking exclusively to The Morning on the matter, Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP Dr. Harsha De Silva explained that the gazette contained a mistake where both chemical fertliser and mineral fertiliser were categorised into the same HS code and banned.
“They wanted to bring in nitrogen and other supplements to complement the use of organic fertiliser, but how were they planning on doing so when they had banned both through this gazette notification as they were categorised under the same HS code?” the MP questioned.

Further, De Silva explained that this was never a law to begin with.

Continue reading ‘Harsha De Silva MP Calls Govt Reversal of Fertilizer Ban a Farce Saying “they have removed chemical and mineral fertiliser from the banned list and included them in the licensed list. So we are going back to what it originally was.”’ »

Finance Ministry through gazette notification 2238/45 of 31 July 2021 relaxes regulations on the import of chelated (a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions) minerals and micronutrients for the purpose of producing fertiliser.

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Finance Ministry, through the gazette notification number 2238/45 of 31 July 2021, has relaxed regulations on the import of chelated (a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions) minerals and micronutrients for the purpose of producing fertiliser.

Accordingly, nitrogen (N) fertiliser, phosphate (PO₄³⁻) fertiliser, potassium (K) fertiliser, fertilisers containing such minerals and chemical fertilisers containing a combination of fertilising elements, that were previously banned from import, have been brought under the import control licence (ICL) by the aforesaid gazette notification.

The Imports and Exports Control Department Controller General (CG), T.V.D. Damayanthi S. Karunarathne, in a letter dated 2 August 2021, has informed the Customs Director General and the chief executive officers (CEOs) of all commercial banks of the said decision. In the letter, Karunarathne has pointed out that the commercial banks should not proceed with any payments in respect of these items without a valid ICL from 31 July 2021. It is also stated in the letter that the Customs should not release the stocks of these items without a valid ICL from 31 July.

Continue reading ‘Finance Ministry through gazette notification 2238/45 of 31 July 2021 relaxes regulations on the import of chelated (a type of bonding of ions and molecules to metal ions) minerals and micronutrients for the purpose of producing fertiliser.’ »

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Removes Ban on Import of Chemical and Mineral Fertilizer; bn relaxaion likely to be a temporary measure to help ffeced Farmers During Maha Paddy Cultivation Season

New Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa has lifted the ban imposed on chemical fertilisers import.

The relaxation has been published via Gazette No. 2238/45 of 31 July. The move is following recommendations of the Agriculture Department and the Fertiliser Secretariat and will be a big boon for farmers during the upcoming Maha paddy cultivation season, officials said.

Items that could be imported include nitrogenous, phosphatic, potassic mineral or chemical fertilisers, mineral or chemical fertilisers containing two or three of the fertilising elements nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium; other fertilisers; as well as goods of this chapter (HS Heading 31.05) in tablets or similar forms or in packages of a gross weight not exceeding 10 kg.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Removes Ban on Import of Chemical and Mineral Fertilizer; bn relaxaion likely to be a temporary measure to help ffeced Farmers During Maha Paddy Cultivation Season’ »

Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Sends Letter of Demand for Rs 2 Billion to Nissanka Senadhipathy Following Administrative Appeals Tribunal Ruling that the Avant Garde Chairman had “Doctored” the Telephone Conversation Tape on the Basis of Which the Former Solicitor -General ws Interdicted

By Ranjith Padmasiri

The tape recording of a telephone conversation between former Solicitor General Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe and Avant Garde Chairman Nissanka Senadipathi which resulted in the interdiction of the senior state prosecutor had been edited and doctored, an Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) has established.

Ms. Wickramasinghe was interdicted and sent on compulsory leave by the Public Service Commission (PSC) following the alleged conversation being uploaded on Youtube and broadcast over sections of the media in September, 2019.

The tribunal has directed the PSC to revoke its order and to allow Ms. Wickramasinghe to resume duties in the post of Solicitor General with immediate effect. However, Ms. Wickramasinghe was due to retire last Friday (July 30) on reaching her retirement age.
Three experts reports including a report from the Moratuwa University confirmed that the alleged recording had been substantially edited, doctored and fundamentally distorted.
Meanwhile, Assistant Government Analyst W.G.D.L. Gunathilaka told an inquiry into the allegations against Ms. Wickramasinghe that the impugned tape recording had been subjected to editing at 10 places.

The AAT ruling has noted that Mr Senadipathi himself had admitted in a statement during the preliminary investigation that the purported tape recording had been subjected to editing by him. Though he had given an undertaking to produce an unedited tape, he had failed to do so.

Continue reading ‘Dilrukshi Dias Wickramasinghe Sends Letter of Demand for Rs 2 Billion to Nissanka Senadhipathy Following Administrative Appeals Tribunal Ruling that the Avant Garde Chairman had “Doctored” the Telephone Conversation Tape on the Basis of Which the Former Solicitor -General ws Interdicted’ »

JR Jayewardene, the Kanatte Mass Funeral and the July 1983 Anti-Tamil Pogrom

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

July 24th 1983 was the day on which a destructive spree of anti-Tamil violence commenced in Jaffna in the early hours of the morning and began spreading to Colombo in the later hours of the evening on the same day. It continued to other parts of the Island in the following days. The 38th anniversary of those dark days – etched in history as “Black July” revives bad memories among most Tamils who lived in Sri Lanka during July 1983.

JR Jayewardene , the Kanatte Mass Funeral and the July 1983 Anti-Tamil Pogrom – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The week long spree of anti-Tamil violence saw over 4,000 Tamils and some Muslims – mistaken for Tamils – being killed. Thousands were injured. Some of the injured were killed in hospitals. There were close upon 300,000 displaced persons as a result. Around 130,000 of these were housed in makeshift refugee camps. More than 2,500 business enterprises ranging from factories to petty boutiques were damaged or destroyed. The number of houses and dwellings and vehicles damaged or destroyed has not been correctly estimated yet.

Continue reading ‘JR Jayewardene, the Kanatte Mass Funeral and the July 1983 Anti-Tamil Pogrom’ »

Neelan Tiruchelvam the Foremost Intellectual of Contemporary Tamil Politics

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(Dr.Neelan Tiruchelvam was assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of tamil eelam(LTTE)22 years ago on July 29th 1999. This article was originally written to commemorate the 70th birth anniversary of Dr. Tiruchelvam on January 31st 2014. It is being re-posted here without any changes to denote Neelan’s 22nd death anniversary)

Neelan Tiruchelvam (January 31, 1944 – July 29, 1999) – Portrait held during a Memorial Lecture in his honour - pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Neelan Tiruchelvam (January 31, 1944 – July 29, 1999) – Portrait held during a Memorial Lecture in his honour – pic by: Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

January 31st is the birthday of eminent Constitution lawyer, academic and politician Dr.Neelakandan Tiruchelvam. Neelan as he was popularly known would have completed the biblical life span of three score years and ten had he been among the living today. Born on January 31st 1944,Neelan Tiruchelvam, was brutally assassinated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)on July 29th 1999.He was 55 at the time of his death.

I had a close personal relationship with Neelan. He was my friend, philosopher and guide. He was greatly instrumental in moulding my career. He was in a sense my political mentor. It was as a journalist on the Tamil daily “Virakesari” that I first began interacting with Neelan Tiruchelvam. My relationship with him grew over the years as I moved into English journalism via ‘‘The Island ‘’and ‘‘The Hindu ‘’.

Continue reading ‘Neelan Tiruchelvam the Foremost Intellectual of Contemporary Tamil Politics’ »

Amendments to Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure Act (1979) and Convention against Torture (CAT) Act (1994) are an insult to the victims bloodied and battered by torture at the hands of law enforcement agents.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Amendments certified on the 15th of July 2021 to Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure Act (1979) and to the Convention against Torture (CAT) Act (1994) are, to put it baldly, an insult to the hundreds if not thousands of victims bloodied and battered by torture at the hands of law enforcement agents.

Core changes in the CCP Act and CAT Act

These amendments could not be reflected upon at the time that they were brought by the Government before the House in these column spaces due to other pressing matters of public concern at the time. The core change brought about by the amendments is that firstly, magistrates are enjoined to Magistrate to visit police stations to ensure that suspects in custody are ‘protected’ as provided for in terms of the CAT Act. In so doing, the magistrate is called upon to personally see the suspect, check the suspect’s well being and conditions of detention as well as record his or her observations and any complaints lodged by the suspect.

If there is any suspicion of torture, the magistrate ‘may’ (note, the statutory language is not mandatory) require that the suspect be produced before a judicial medical officer (JMO) or a government medical officer with a report to be submitted thereafter to the magistrate. If it is found that torture has been committed, the magistrate may issue ‘appropriate order’ including directions to provide necessary medical treatment and to change the place of custody if that is so required.

Moreover, the Inspector General of Police ‘shall’ (here, the language is mandatory) be directed to commence an investigation into the alleged torture in order to enable the Attorney-General to institute criminal proceedings against the alleged perpetrator/s. Where the amendment to the CAT Act is concerned, this provides for an increased fine, from ten thousand as the minimum with fifty thousand as the maximum to fifty thousand as the minimum and two hundred thousand as the maximum.

Continue reading ‘Amendments to Sri Lanka’s Code of Criminal Procedure Act (1979) and Convention against Torture (CAT) Act (1994) are an insult to the victims bloodied and battered by torture at the hands of law enforcement agents.’ »

Is Gotabaya Raajapaksa aiming at creating a hybrid structure of administration — part military and part civilian — like an electric-fossil fuel powered automobile?


By Gamini Weerakoon

A raging debate on ‘militarisation of academia’ has been sweeping through the ‘Paradise Island’ for weeks. Paradoxically, indications of ‘militarisation’ of government for over a year and half, since former Lt. Col. Gotabaya Rajapaksa (Retd.) was elected the president, appear not to have been taken as seriously as the move — as alleged — that may militarise universities.

We have lost count of the number of highly decorated retired military officials taking the seats once occupied by powerful civilians in government service since Gotabaya Rajapaksa took over as the president. It is a move unprecedented in the country’s 73-year post-Independence history.

But not even a whimper of protest has been heard from the associations of administrative services officers or even the usually garrulous clerical services unions and those of lower ranks. More so the general public that has been so vociferous in the criticism of this Rajapaksa government on other issues developed a chronic ‘locked Jaw’ on this issue of militarisation of the public service.

Continue reading ‘Is Gotabaya Raajapaksa aiming at creating a hybrid structure of administration — part military and part civilian — like an electric-fossil fuel powered automobile?’ »

UN Human Rights Council Ready to Crack Down on Sri Lanka at the September Session in Geneva with the UN Human Rights Commissioners Office Getting $ 2.8 Million to Set Up 13 Member Special Secretariat to Monitor Human Rights Abuses in the Island and Collect Evidence to Facilitate Accountability Mechanisms

(Excerpts from the “Sunday Times”Political Column of August 1st 2021)

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is set to crack the whip on Sri Lanka at its 48th sessions just six weeks ahead.

It is not only on issues arising from the March sessions of the damning Resolution on Sri Lanka caused by dismal diplomatic failures and a confrontational posture, particularly with western nations. Added to it is a part of the Resolution which empowered the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to “consolidate, analyse and preserve information and evidence.” This is for “future accountability processes for gross violations of human rights or serious violations of international humanitarian law, to advocate for victims and survivors, and to support relevant judicial proceedings in Member States with competent jurisdiction.”

Continue reading ‘UN Human Rights Council Ready to Crack Down on Sri Lanka at the September Session in Geneva with the UN Human Rights Commissioners Office Getting $ 2.8 Million to Set Up 13 Member Special Secretariat to Monitor Human Rights Abuses in the Island and Collect Evidence to Facilitate Accountability Mechanisms’ »

Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Designate to India,Milinda Moragoda,to Assume Stint in New Delhi After One Year Delay With “Integrated Country Strategy” Blueprint to Establish Better Relations Between Both Counries by Building Bridges of Connectivity on Multiple Fronts

By

Suhasini Haidar and Meera Srinivasan

After months of strain over a number of issues including the cancelled port project in Colombo , Sri Lanka is preparing to send its High Commissioner designate to Delhi, along with a ‘roadmap’ to restore ties that includes resolving fishermen’s issues, building connectivity, trade and investment, as well as promoting religious links, Buddhist exchanges and handing over a sacred “Sita temple stone” from Sri Lanka for the proposed Ram temple in Ayodhya.

According to a formal proposal presented to Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, which The Hindu has seen, the roadmap will help bridge the “growing trust deficit”.

In February, the Modi government expressed its unhappiness over Sri Lanka’s decision to scrap the East Container Terminal project signed in 2019, amidst other signs that China was gaining the upper hand in infrastructure deals in the country. The Rajapaksa government has been disappointed over the lack of movement on requests it made for India for assistance including a debt repayment waiver for three years and a separate currency swap for $1 billion, to help with economic crisis, which were made by President Gotabaya and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa to Mr. Modi.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner Designate to India,Milinda Moragoda,to Assume Stint in New Delhi After One Year Delay With “Integrated Country Strategy” Blueprint to Establish Better Relations Between Both Counries by Building Bridges of Connectivity on Multiple Fronts’ »

“The Tragedy is that it is Becoming Harder in 1983 for Sinhala Christians to Acknowledge that what was done is a Moral Crime than in 1958.:- Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe

(Text of the final Pastoral letter written by the Anglican Bishop of Kurunegala , Rt. Rev. L Wickremasinghe, in September 1983 after the July 1983 Violence.Bishop Lakshmn passed away some weeks after this on October 23rd 1983.)

Dear Church Members and Citizens assembled in Council

We are in the midst of our worst national crisis since the regaining of our independence. Attitudes have hardened among the Tamils and the Sinhalese. There is still an uneasy calm. We do not know what will be the consequences of this escalating violence, bitterness and fear.

Various persons and organisations have been engaged in protecting victims, providing relief and supporting rehabilitation. It is a matter of deep gratitude and pride that a number of Sinhalese and others have engaged in humane action at much risk to themselves, in the midst of inhuman brutality and destruction. I quote some words from the Sansoni Commission about such people who so acted in 1977:

“These splendid persons proved that courage and charity can survive – when most needed. There is no law which compels a person to defy a howling mob, or to hide a neighbour or even an unknown man fleeing like some poor animal from a crowd bent on killing him. Yet, they understood and practiced the duty of the unenforceable, which is the test of civilization in any country.”
We must acknowledge whatever is good at this time both for its own sake and to overcome our sense of despair. But such action is not enough. To courage and compassion we must add insight. We need a further kind of action based on a deeper awareness of what has happened. In the words of Thomas Merton: “Contemplation is the spring, action is the stream.”

Reflections On Our Present Situation- Personal Comments

I was not present in the island when the violence erupted at the end of July 1983. But I have been present and witnessed similar violence in 1958 and 1977. I also experienced the other period of violence in April 1971 when there was an armed insurrection by Sinhala youth. But during July 1983 and afterwards I was able to follow closely the events that took place from abroad. A friend had collected all the news and comments in the English press from July to August, and gave the documents for me to read. Since I returned a local friend gave me a similar file of documents from the Sri Lankan press from early July till the end of August. I was able to visit the damaged areas, talk with various people and also meet people in the Jaffna peninsula. Our own Tamil church-members within this diocese had their stories to tell. In short, the comments I will make on the situation we face are based on much reflection. They also express twenty five years of experience in seeking to find a solution to our ethnic conflict. I am among those who have tried hard and failed. But I know and trust in God, who is ever creative in bringing good out of evil.

Continue reading ‘“The Tragedy is that it is Becoming Harder in 1983 for Sinhala Christians to Acknowledge that what was done is a Moral Crime than in 1958.:- Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe’ »

Rajendran Rajamahendran, Rabindranath Tagore and Robert Frost

By K.Thirukumaran

Rajendran Rajamahendran passed away in Colombo, Sri Lanka on July 25. He was born on May 19, 1943.

Who is he? Some outside of Sri Lanka may ponder, especially in all the outpouring tributes he comes across as a remarkable icon, perhaps as a global one for that matter of these times.

Why?
Continue reading ‘Rajendran Rajamahendran, Rabindranath Tagore and Robert Frost’ »

Unabashedly Unbowed and Unfailingly Unafraid, “Killi”Rajamahendran was a “Maharaja” from head to toe in the truest sense of the word


By
Krishantha Prasad Cooray

It was early 2005, a few months after I had been made the CEO of Rivira Media Corporation. I had been warned that the media industry was a cutthroat one, and to expect little help for a fledgling newspaper like Rivira. Still I decided to reach out to the heads of some electronic media organisations to see if we could work together.

Amongst those I emailed was the Chairman of MTN Networks, Raj Rajamahendran, better known as Killi Maharaja. I introduced myself and the newspaper and asked if I could meet him at his convenience.

“Killi” Rajamahendran (19 May, 1943-25 July, 2021)

Having sent the email, I took a moment to scoff at my own hubris. Mr. Rajamahendran, was not just the head of the country’s largest private broadcasting empire. He also chaired dozens of companies in areas as diverse as manufacturing and infrastructure development. There was no chance he would have time to spare for a young upstart trying to start a newspaper.

I soon discovered how wrong I was. He was exactly that kind of man.

Within hours, Mr. Rajamahendran had personally replied to my email. He congratulated me on starting the newspaper and gave me an appointment to meet him the very next day. I was stunned, honoured and extremely impressed.

When I went to his office on Dawson Street the next day, he met me on time, greeted me warmly and extended his full support.

Continue reading ‘Unabashedly Unbowed and Unfailingly Unafraid, “Killi”Rajamahendran was a “Maharaja” from head to toe in the truest sense of the word’ »

The ghastly tale of the killing of Tamil prisoners at Welikada in 1983;Witnesses told the Commission that soldiers were heard shouting ‘Jayawewa’ when news broke of the killings of the Tamil prisoners


By Chandani Kirinde

All stories have their heroes and villains. During the Welikada Prison massacre of July 1983 in which 53 Tamil prisoners lost their lives, there were few prison officials who put their lives on the line to protect the Tamil inmates while there were the others, who by their complicity, encouraged the attackers and failed in their duties by not taking timely measures to protect them.

The killings inside the prison took place on two days with 35 inmates killed on 25 July and 18 others on 27 July. That week, 38 years ago, mayhem was unfolding outside the prison walls too with senseless killings, looting and arson attacks taking place against Tamils, in a month that has since come to be known as ‘Black July.’

The Presidential Truth Commission on Ethnic Violence (1981-1984) appointed by President Chandrika Kumaratunga in 2001 said the murder of the Tamil prisoners within the well-secured precincts of the Welikada Prison and the traumatic experience of those who escaped death would ‘constitute the most agonising moments of challenge to the collective conscience of our Nation.’ In this case, like with many similar extra judicial killings that have taken place in the country since, no one was held accountable, none prosecuted, and the case closed with the State settling the civil lawsuits filed by relatives of some of the victims by paying compensation without admitting liability.

The Commission recorded evidence from survivors of the massacre, prison officials, human rights and civil rights activists and other witnesses to piece together the terrifying atmosphere within the prison during the dark days in July 1983 and how apathy by the Government and some prison officials led to the massacres which would have been averted had they acted on time.

Continue reading ‘The ghastly tale of the killing of Tamil prisoners at Welikada in 1983;Witnesses told the Commission that soldiers were heard shouting ‘Jayawewa’ when news broke of the killings of the Tamil prisoners’ »

Mangala Samaraweera spearheads launch of an apolitical movement called ‘Radical Centre’ by a group of multifaceted multi-ethnic youth based on the principles of democracy, freedom, equality and justice as the four pillared-foundation for a just, caring and prosperous society.

Former Minister and Parliamentarian Mangala Samara-weera yesterday spearheaded the launch of an apolitical movement called ‘Radical Centre’ by a group of multifaceted multi-ethnic youth calling themselves as true patriots.

The middle path or ‘Radical Centre’ is based on the principles of democracy, freedom, equality and justice as the four pillared-foundation for a just, caring and prosperous society. It draws inspiration from liberal democratic principles.

Radical Centre is a platform of moderation providing the silent majority to oppose and fight authoritarianism, racism and all other forms of extremism actively and vigorously.

Continue reading ‘Mangala Samaraweera spearheads launch of an apolitical movement called ‘Radical Centre’ by a group of multifaceted multi-ethnic youth based on the principles of democracy, freedom, equality and justice as the four pillared-foundation for a just, caring and prosperous society.’ »

Sri Lanka yesterday completed the groundwork towards the settlement of $ 1 billion worth of International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) maturing today states Nivard Cabral; State Minister for Money, Capital Market and Public Enterprises Reform Says SRi Lanka “has proved all the doomsayers and sceptics both globally and locally wrong”

By Nisthar Cassim

Against widespread fears and claims of default sans multilateral donor help, Sri Lanka yesterday completed the groundwork towards the settlement of $ 1 billion worth of International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) maturing today.

The move, according to Money, Capital Market and Public Enterprises Reform State Minister Nivard Cabraal, has proved all the doomsayers and sceptics, both globally and locally, wrong.

“Right along we have been consistently saying Sri Lanka will pay despite some reckless rating agencies and analysts regularly being sceptical and unreasonably irrational. The settlement also cements the fact Sri Lanka continues its unblemished reputation of honouring its debt,” Cabraal said.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka yesterday completed the groundwork towards the settlement of $ 1 billion worth of International Sovereign Bonds (ISBs) maturing today states Nivard Cabral; State Minister for Money, Capital Market and Public Enterprises Reform Says SRi Lanka “has proved all the doomsayers and sceptics both globally and locally wrong”’ »

Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu files Petition in Supreme Court (SC SD 28/2021) challenging the proposed Finance Bill Providing amnesty from tax, penalty or interest, or from any investigation or prosecution for ” Special foreign currency deposits”

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) and its Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu yesterday filed a Petition in the Supreme Court (SC SD 28/2021) challenging the proposed Finance Bill, which was placed on the order paper of Parliament on 20 July.

The bill seeks to provide an amnesty from tax, penalty or interest, or from any investigation or prosecution, to anyone who has not disclosed any taxable supply, income or asset which was required to be disclosed by law, provided that they invest an equivalent amount in the manner specified in the Bill.

CPA’s action follows main Opposition Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) Parliamentarian Eran Wickramaratne and JVP former parliamentarian Sunil Hadunneththi filing separate petitions in the Supreme Court against the Finance Bill.

CPA said its position is that several clauses in the bill are inconsistent with the Constitution, including several entrench provisions, and thus cannot be passed into law except if approved by the people at a referendum in addition to a two-thirds vote of the whole number of the Members of Parliament in favour as required by Article 83 (a) of the Constitution.

Continue reading ‘Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) Executive Director Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu files Petition in Supreme Court (SC SD 28/2021) challenging the proposed Finance Bill Providing amnesty from tax, penalty or interest, or from any investigation or prosecution for ” Special foreign currency deposits”’ »

“Medamulana Rajapaksa Dynasty”: Four Sons and Three Grandsons of Don Alvin Rajapaksa

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Basil Rohana Rajapaksa was sworn in as Finance minister in the Government of Sri Lanka by his brother President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on July 8th 2021. The appointment was hailed by Basil’s supporers who project the new Finance minister as the “saviour” who would liberate Sri Lanka from the economic morass into which the country is sinking. It is being said that the less dogmatic, more pragmatic Basil with the reputation of being “the man who gets things done” is the right choice to helm financial affairs at this point of time.The anti- Rajapaksa camp “Pooh-poohs” this claim saying Basil is only a visible symptom of the prevailing crisis and not the solution. They also point out that Sri Lanka is fast becoming a “failed state” and that Basil’s appointment as a remedy to the malady, demonstrates the failure of his brother the President to deliver.

“Medamulana Dynasty”: Four Sons and Three Grandsons of Don Alvin Rajapaksa 🌷by D.B,S. Jeyaraj

If these were the two broad contrasting positions on the appointment of the new Finance minister in politically polarized Sri Lanka , Basil’s elevation evoked a somewhat amusing global response in sections of the world’s influential media. It was seen as an illustrative example of a single family enjoying a monopoly of political power in a democratic country. “In Sri Lanka, the Government Looks Increasingly Like a Family Firm” was the heading of the article in the prestigious “New York Times”. by its South Asia Correspondent Mushib Mashal An article in the much-respected “The Hindu” by its Colombo Correspondent Meera Srinivsan had the heading “The Rajapaksas | Four brothers in one government”.

Continue reading ‘“Medamulana Rajapaksa Dynasty”: Four Sons and Three Grandsons of Don Alvin Rajapaksa’ »

Memories of Leonine Tamil Leader Murugesu Sivasithamaparam

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Very little is known or remembered by the younger generation of Sri Lankans about the nature of the non – violent Tamil political struggle for equal rights that preceded the violent armed struggle. Indeed for many the history of Tamil political resistance to what was perceived as majoritarian hegemony commences only from “Black July” 1983. To many youths on either side of the ethnic divide , Veluppillai Prabhakaran personifies the beginning, middle and end of the Tamil struggle. The course and content of Tamil politics prior to the advent of the birth and growth of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) is conveniently forgotten or not taken into account at all. Yet the fact remains that the Tamil quest to achieve equality in the Island was basically non – violent prior to 1983.

Murugesu Sivasithamparam (20 July 1923 – 5 June 2002)

A prominent Tamil political leader of this period of non-violent politics was Murugesu Sivasithamparam whose 98th birth anniversary fell on 20 July. He is the focus of this column this week. I have written about M. Sivasithamparam in the past. This article however will be a modified version based on some of those writings, with pride of place being given to personal recollections.

Continue reading ‘Memories of Leonine Tamil Leader Murugesu Sivasithamaparam’ »

“For how long should citizens of this country pay for the grievous sins of their political rulers?And when will we ever learn from our tortuous history?

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

To a protesting (Sinhalese) Stalin, (or for that matter, a Marx or Lenin), who is released along with comrades following public outrage and street anger after unjustifiable detention by the police using Sri Lanka’s covid-19 health protocols, there are a hundred others who languish in squalid detention under the country’s savagely inhumane anti-terrorism laws.

Health protocols used to deprive rights

We know of two cases perhaps, one a lawyer, Hejaaz Hizbullah and the other, Ahnaf Jazeem a poet, both of Muslim ethnicity, both accused of hate speech and put behind bars without proper charges for unconscionable lengths of time. But let me repeat, there are many more in similar if not worse plights who are forgotten in the public eye, some dying without charges being filed under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA, 1979). Why is public conscience so insensibly moved in the first instance but not in the other?

For the danger in both in this covid afflicted state is equally acute, let us be clear. More and more, health protocols are being used to deprive citizens of due process rights, oftentimes worse than during even the most intensified period of active conflict in Sri Lanka. Detainees are not brought before judges and not allowed to present allegations of torture and illtreatment. The principle of open hearings, where the public and the media are allowed to document and witness injustice, sometimes to the extent of preventing deaths in custody, is being departed from on the basis of covid rules.

Continue reading ‘“For how long should citizens of this country pay for the grievous sins of their political rulers?And when will we ever learn from our tortuous history?’ »

Sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka this week may be an “early signal” of what to expect from other parts of the country.

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

A sharp rise has been seen in the number of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka (NHSL) this week and many warned that it may be an “early signal” of what to expect from other parts of the country.

This week, the NHSL saw more than 200 COVID-19 patients seeking treatment daily, said an NHSL source, pointing out that it may be an indication of a spike in illness in the Colombo district as well as the Western Province.
Analysing the numbers over the past few months, the source said that in late May and early June when the country was in the grip of the third wave due to Alpha (the United Kingdom variant), the numbers rose to about 180 per day.

Continue reading ‘Sharp rise in the number of COVID-19 patients seeking treatment at the National Hospital of Sri Lanka this week may be an “early signal” of what to expect from other parts of the country.’ »

Sri Lanka has no immediate plan to seek financing from the International Monetary Fund says Presidential Secretary P.B. Jayasundera; “The IMF coming won’t bring tourism here. The IMF coming won’t bring exports back.”


By Namini Wijedasa

Sri Lanka has no immediate plan to seek financing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Presidential Secretary P.B. Jayasundera has said.

“Right now, it is not a question of whether we want the IMF or not,” the former Finance Ministry Secretary explained in an interview.

“The IMF coming won’t bring tourism here. The IMF coming won’t bring exports back.”

Any borrowing, including an IMF programme, was “good if you have prospects to improve quickly and if you have hope that, in the next six months, tourism will bring US$ 2bn and domestic activity or something else will happen”.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has no immediate plan to seek financing from the International Monetary Fund says Presidential Secretary P.B. Jayasundera; “The IMF coming won’t bring tourism here. The IMF coming won’t bring exports back.”’ »

President Premadasa Backed Off From Taking on the IPKF When Its Chief Gen.Kalkat Indicated That The Indian Army Would Retaliate by Seizing Anuradhapura in Phase One and Possibly Move to Colombo in Phase Two

By
Lt Gen A.S. Kalkat (Retd)

I was on a sabbatical in London, United Kingdom for a fellowship with the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) when I received a message from Brigadier (now Lt Gen) Satish Nambiar, the Military Attaché in London to call the Army Headquarters. I did so from his office and was informed by the Military Secretary that the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), Gen K. Sundarji wanted to speak to me. I was put through to the COAS who asked as to how much longer my fellowship was, as he needed me. When I asked as to when he needed me, typically he responded, “like yesterday”. I told him that I would terminate my fellowship with immediate effect and return, which I did. That was the beginning of my odyssey with the IPKF and Sri Lanka.

At the time, the Indian High Commission in Sri Lanka was staffed by some of India’s “best and the brightest”. The High Commissioner, M.N. Dixit was to become the NSA later, Political Consular Head Hardip Singh Puri is now a Union Minister, and the First Secretary, Dr. S. Jaishankar is now the Foreign Minister.

INDO-SRI LANKA ACCORD 1987

With a 74 percent Sinhalese population, Sri Lanka had by the mid-1980s effectively become a Sinhala Buddhist state. The 18 percent Tamil minority, which was the dominant community in the Northern and Eastern provinces were getting politically marginalised and suppressed. The Government of India, then headed by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was facing political pressure to intervene.

India coerced the Government of Sri Lanka headed by President Junius Richard Jayewardene into signing the Indo-Sri Lanka Peace Accord literally at gunpoint. The Air Force’s “Op Poomalai” of dropping humanitarian aid over Jaffna was an effective power projection.

Continue reading ‘President Premadasa Backed Off From Taking on the IPKF When Its Chief Gen.Kalkat Indicated That The Indian Army Would Retaliate by Seizing Anuradhapura in Phase One and Possibly Move to Colombo in Phase Two’ »

Rishad Bathiudeen’s Wife and Father in Law Detained by Police for Further Investigations Regarding Death of 16 Year Old Girl from Dyagama Working as Domestic Aide; Rishad’s brother in law also arrested in separate incident for allegedly raping a former domestic aide now aged 22.

By

Darshana Sanjeewa Balasuriya

Three persons including the wife and father-in-law of former Minister Rishad Bathiudeen have been arrested in connection with the death of a 16-year old domestic aide at the former minister’s house, police said.

Police Spokesman SDIG Ajith Rohana said that 46-year old Sheyabdeen Ayesha, her father 70-year-old Mohammed Sheyabdeen and the broker who brought the girl to Bathiudeen’s house were arrested accordingly.

He said the Borella Police, the Divisioanal Children and Women’s Bureau and Colombo South Divisional Crimes Detective Bureau are conducting investigations into the death of the girl.

Continue reading ‘Rishad Bathiudeen’s Wife and Father in Law Detained by Police for Further Investigations Regarding Death of 16 Year Old Girl from Dyagama Working as Domestic Aide; Rishad’s brother in law also arrested in separate incident for allegedly raping a former domestic aide now aged 22.’ »

Senior Lawyer and well-known crusader for human rights and justice Manouri Muttetuwegama (85) passes away in Colombo;her husband was Communist Party Leader Sarath Muteuwegama while Father was Trotskyite Leader Dr.Colvin R de Silva


The death occurred yesterday of senior Attorney-at-Law and Human Rights activist Manouri Muttetuwegama (85), wife of the late MP and Attorney-at-Law Sarath Muttetuwegama.

A former Commissioner of the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka,she was also the Chairperson of the All Island Commission on Disappearances and Chairperson of the Consultation Taskforce on Reconciliation Mechanisms.She was the Director Legal of Lake House for a brief period in 1997-1998 and also held the position of Editorial Consultant at Lake House in 2000-2001.

Continue reading ‘Senior Lawyer and well-known crusader for human rights and justice Manouri Muttetuwegama (85) passes away in Colombo;her husband was Communist Party Leader Sarath Muteuwegama while Father was Trotskyite Leader Dr.Colvin R de Silva’ »

Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa dynasty is not as secure as it appears Because the family that runs everything is running out of cash – The Economist


(This article appeared in the Asia section of “The Economist “ under the headline “Rajapaksa Raj”)

Since winning the presidency in a landslide nearly two years ago, Gotabaya Rajapaksa has worried not that he has too many relatives in government, but that he has too few. One of the 72-year-old’s elder brothers, Mahinda, himself president for ten years until a surprise election defeat in 2015, is prime minister. Another, Chamal, is minister for irrigation. Chamal’s son, Shasheendra, is minister of state for “paddy and grains, organic food, vegetables, fruits, chillies, onions and potatoes, seed production and high-tech agriculture”. Mahinda’s son, Namal, is minister for youth and sports. And state minister for digital technology and enterprise development. And everything else, to judge by his hyperactive Twitter feed.
.
But there is always room for one more Rajapaksa, 69-year-old Basil above all. “Gota” and Mahinda acknowledge him as the brains and organiser-in-chief of the family. He devised the electoral strategy behind its return to power, founding a new party, the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (slpp), which used digital wizardry to rally chauvinists from the ethnic majority, the Sinhalese—all while in prison on a corruption charge stemming from his time as economy minister (his detractors called him “Mr 10%”). On July 8th he was back in the cabinet.

Basil’s return to government required both a constitutional amendment to allow dual nationals to hold senior government positions (he has an American passport) and the resignation of a docile member of Parliament to free a seat for him. He faces a budget and current-account mess caused by poor policy under Gota and Mahinda, from whom he inherits the finance portfolio, and exacerbated by the pandemic.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa dynasty is not as secure as it appears Because the family that runs everything is running out of cash – The Economist’ »

Opportunities for investments from India in the Eastern Province as well a Potential joint efforts for economic development of the region Discussed at Meeting Between Acting Indian Envoy Vinod Jacob and Batticaloa MP and State Minister S.Viyalendran


(Text of Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo on July 21st 2021)

Acting High Commissioner of India, Mr. Vinod K Jacob had a productive meeting with Hon’ble S. Viyalanderan, State Minister of Backward Rural Areas Development and Promotion of Domestic Animal Husbandry & Minor Economic Crop Cultivation and Batticaloa District MP in Colombo on 21 July 2021. Others present during the hour-long meeting were Dr. Amal Harsha de Silva, State Secretary, Hon. Senthil Thondaman, Coordinating Secretary to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Mr. Eldos Mathew Punnoose, Head of Development Cooperation Wing, High Commission of India.

Continue reading ‘Opportunities for investments from India in the Eastern Province as well a Potential joint efforts for economic development of the region Discussed at Meeting Between Acting Indian Envoy Vinod Jacob and Batticaloa MP and State Minister S.Viyalendran’ »

No-confidence motion Presented by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila is defeated in Parliament by a Majority of 91 Votes with 152 Voting against and 61 Voting in favour of the NCM


The no-confidence motion against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila was defeated by a majority of 91 votes, with 152 voting against the motion and 61 in favour.

The Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB), which moved the motion, along with other Opposition party members, including UNP MP Ranil Wickremesinghe, voted in favour of the motion.

All SLPP MPs, including those who were publicly critical of Gammanpila over the recent fuel hike, voted against the motion.

Continue reading ‘No-confidence motion Presented by the Samagi Jana Balawegaya against Energy Minister Udaya Gammanpila is defeated in Parliament by a Majority of 91 Votes with 152 Voting against and 61 Voting in favour of the NCM’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Speaks Out in Parliament on Behalf of SJB MP’s Harin Fernando and Rishad Bathiudeen;says arrest/interrogation of MPs without informing Speaker breach of their parliamentary privileges and that Police Should keep House informed in such cases

There are no plans to arrest SJB MP Harin Fernando, but he is duty bound to provide information he has regarding the Easter Sunday attacks to the CID, Minister of Public Security Sarath Weerasekera said yesterday.

Responding to a privilege issue raised in the House by UNP MP Ranil Wickremasinghe, the Minister said Fernando had claimed that he was aware of the mastermind behind the attacks.

“If he has such information, he should divulge it to the CID for the sake of the national security. If he is not willing to do so, we have no issue,” he said.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Speaks Out in Parliament on Behalf of SJB MP’s Harin Fernando and Rishad Bathiudeen;says arrest/interrogation of MPs without informing Speaker breach of their parliamentary privileges and that Police Should keep House informed in such cases’ »

“Let us Unite with Patience and Perseverance for Peace and Justice “-SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem

(Eid- ul-Alha Message from Rauff Hakeem Leader, Sri Lanka Muslim Congress)

On this holy day of Eid-ul-Alha, let us celebrate with patience and perseverance for peace and justice to prevail for all in Sri Lanka. We join the Muslims all over the world marking this year’s festival under challenging circumstances and trying conditions in their respective settings.

Amidst the various impediments and adversity that our community is facing today, owing to the pandemic, we remain grateful to the Almighty for enabling us to welcome yet another holy Eid-ul-Alha, for prayers and reflections and
deepening of our faith and spirituality.

Continue reading ‘“Let us Unite with Patience and Perseverance for Peace and Justice “-SLMC Leader Rauff Hakeem’ »

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa states he would seek a second term in office thereby shifting from his earlier position to serve only one Term;”President wanted to tell the people of the country and party workers who is really in charge,” says a senior govt official

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka’s President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Monday said he would seek a second term in office, shifting from his earlier position to serve only one term.

Mr. Gotabaya, in a meeting with owners of local media institutions, spoke of having not just three years of his remaining term, but an additional five years, implying a second term, to fulfil his pledges, according to a tweet from the President’s spokesman Kingsly Rathnayaka.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa states he would seek a second term in office thereby shifting from his earlier position to serve only one Term;”President wanted to tell the people of the country and party workers who is really in charge,” says a senior govt official’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells Media Instiution Owners That He Will be Contesting Presidential Elections Again to Seek a Second Term of Office.

By

Azzam Ameen

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has today (19) declared that he would contest for a second term in office.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells Media Instiution Owners That He Will be Contesting Presidential Elections Again to Seek a Second Term of Office.’ »

Tony Ranasinghe: Sinhala Cinema’s Most Romantic Lover 💕

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

In keeping with the practice of devoting at least one article each month to a cinema related topic, this column focuses on the popular Sinhala film actor Tony Ranasinghe this week. As an ardent aficionado of Sinhala films I have seen and savoured many of the dashing and debonair Tony Ranasinghe’s films with delight. My all-time favourite Sinhala film hero was and forever will be Gamini Fonseka . However, this fondness for Fonseka has not prevented me from enjoying performances by others such as D.R. Nanayakkara, Joe, Tony, Wickrama, Vijaya, Ravindra, Sanath, Dharmasiri and Kamal.

Tony Ranasinghe (31 July 1937 – 16 June 2015)

Sinhala cinema began moving away from Indian “masala” influence and started coming into its own in the sixties and seventies of the last century. Four great male actors made their mark in that golden phase of Sinhala moviedom. They were, in alphabetical order – Joe Abeywickrama, Gamini Fonseka, Vijaya Kumaratunga and Tony Ranasinghe. Alas! All four famous thespians are no more now.

The first to depart was the youngest of them all, Vijaya Kumaratunga, who was born in 1945. His life was brutally snatched away in 1988. Vijaya who had begun engaging effectively in politics was assassinated. Gamini Fonseka, born in 1936, passed away in his sleep in 2004. Veteran Joe Abeywickrama, who was born in 1927, died ten years ago in 2011.

Continue reading ‘Tony Ranasinghe: Sinhala Cinema’s Most Romantic Lover 💕’ »

How The LTTE Assassinated Senior Tamil Leader Amirthalingam In Colombo Thirty Years Ago….

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

( On July 13th 1989 The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam assassinated Mr. Appapillai Amirthalingam the former Opposition Leader and Secretary -General of the Tamil United Liberation Front in Colombo. This article written in July 2019 is re-posted without any changes to commemorate the 32nd death anniversary)

The cruelly tragic killing of five Tamil Students by suspected members of the Security forces thirteen years ago in Trincomalee town was re-visited in these columns last week. This week’s column seeks to revive memories about a murder most foul perpetrated by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE) in Colombo city exactly thirty years ago. It was on the fateful day of July 13th 1989 that foremost Sri Lankan Tamil political leader and former Leader of the opposition Appapillai Amirthalingam along with Ex-Jaffna MP Vettivelu Yogeswaran was gunned down by the LTTE. Ex- Nallur MP Murugesu Sivasithamparam was shot and wounded in the same incident. All three tiger assassins involved were shot dead by Police officers in the ensuing gun battle. I have written extensively about the assassination of Appapillai Amirthalingam on earlier occasions. However I intend re- relating some of the details concerning these killings on the 30th anniversary of the murders relying to a great extent upon my earlier writings.

Appapillai Amirthalingam
(26 August 1927 – 13 July 1989)

Appapillai Amirthalingam hailing from Pannaaham in Jaffna was born on August 26, 1927. He was a charismatic and dynamic politician who served for many years as the chief lieutenant of the respected Tamil leader SJV Chelvanayagam known as the Gandhi of Eelam. Amirthalingam was a lawyer by profession and had been the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi(ITAK)MP for Vaddukkoddai from 1956 to 1970 and the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) MP for Kankesanthurai from 1977 to 1983. He held office as Leader of the opposition from 1977 to 1983. In 1989 he was appointed MP on the TULF National list.

Continue reading ‘How The LTTE Assassinated Senior Tamil Leader Amirthalingam In Colombo Thirty Years Ago….’ »

Can the Newly Changed “Pillows” of Basil and Shasheendra Rajapaksas Cure all the Political, Economic and Health Sector “Headaches” Plaguing Sri Lanka?

By Gamini Weerakoon

Sri Lankan rulers think that they have found a permanent cure for headaches, having rejected the ancient wisdom: You can’t cure headaches by changing pillows.

Paradise Island is not only beset with the global pandemic crisis that all countries are attempting to ward off but has many more crises — a billion-dollar debt crisis, an accusation of violation of human rights by the UNHRC, the cost-of-living issue, the fertiliser crisis and demonstrators on the streets every day bellowing many grievances.

The solution forwarded to all these problems seems to be two pillows — Basil Rajapaksa and Shasheendra Rajapaksa.

The choice of two Rajapaksas should not come as a surprise, because the solution of the Rajapaksa administrations to big governance problems has been another Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘Can the Newly Changed “Pillows” of Basil and Shasheendra Rajapaksas Cure all the Political, Economic and Health Sector “Headaches” Plaguing Sri Lanka?’ »

Will the appointment of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa as Finance Minister bring about a radical change in policies that could save the country from the several economic crises facing the country?

By

Nimal Sanderatne

The country is in a multiplicity of inter-related and intertwined crises and widespread social upheavals. Apart from solutions to the specific grievances, drastic changes in economic policies are required to ensure financial and economic stability.

Social unrest

Protests and social upheavals due to severe economic difficulties, unavailability of fertiliser, protests against the charging of fees at the Sir John Kotelawala Defence University and arrests of protestors confront the Government.

Political crises

In addition, a political crisis has been brewing within the ruling coalition and within and among the opposition. These have been amply covered by the media for several weeks. The course that these political developments will take is at present as clear as mud. Whatever direction the political developments take, they will have to be drastic, pragmatic and effective. Otherwise, the country would face an economic catastrophe.

Economic crises

The economic crises facing the country are multi-dimensional. The country is heading towards a severe crisis in external finances. External reserves are perilously low and foreign debt repayments and import requirements are eroding them further.

Farmer incomes are dwindling and consumer prices are rising. Poverty, unemployment and hunger are increasing and weak public finances are limiting the capacity of the Government to even implement its policies to alleviate the escalating poverty by providing income support.

Continue reading ‘Will the appointment of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa as Finance Minister bring about a radical change in policies that could save the country from the several economic crises facing the country?’ »

ACMC Leader and Wanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen Being Held in CID Custody Under the PTA Suffers Suspected Heart Attack and is Warded at Colombo National Hospital Cardiology Unit Under Police Guard

By Chris Kamalendran

All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader Rishad Bathiudeen, who is in Criminal Investigation Department (CID) custody, was admitted to the National Hospital in Colombo yesterday due to a suspected heart attack.

Mr Bathiudeen had complained to CID officers last morning that he was feeling ill. They had, thereafter, taken him to the Outpatient Department (OPD) of the National Hospital. After being checked by the doctors, Mr Bathiudeen was admitted to the hospital’s Emergency Treatment Unit (ETU), Police Spokesman Senior Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said.

Continue reading ‘ACMC Leader and Wanni District MP Rishad Bathiudeen Being Held in CID Custody Under the PTA Suffers Suspected Heart Attack and is Warded at Colombo National Hospital Cardiology Unit Under Police Guard’ »

Death Row Murder Convict Duminda Silva Who was Given “Poson Poya Pardon” by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Appointed as Chairman of the National Housing Development Authority With Presidential Endorsement

Former MP Duminda Silva, who was serving a death sentence over the killing of Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra but was released from jail on a special presidential pardon last month has been appointed as the Chairman of the National Housing Development Authority.

Continue reading ‘Death Row Murder Convict Duminda Silva Who was Given “Poson Poya Pardon” by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Appointed as Chairman of the National Housing Development Authority With Presidential Endorsement’ »

The Kotelawala Defence University Bill directly violates the principles of critical thought in higher education that, despite manifest travails, our Universities have protected for decades.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Friday (July 16th) was an eventful day for Sri Lanka. Just as President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was holding forth to obediently head-nodding members of the Maha Sangha comprising the Government’s Buddhist Advisory Council gathered at the Presidential Secretariat, on his firm intent to proceed with enactment of the Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) Bill before Parliament, students of the Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka intensified their protests against the KDU Bill.

A Bill militarising higher education

The students joined the growing numbers of demonstrators against the Bill, following the recent unwise police detention of prominent trade unionists under cover of covid-19 quarantine regulations, who were released also on Friday, hence this day being eventful in more ways than one. Their grievance was common. At a time when the education of the country’s university and school students had been brutally crippled due to the covid pandemic and the inability of the Government to propose effective solutions, why was a Bill blatantly militarising higher education being pushed through, they asked?

Probably they may have been unaware that, in the rarified spaces of the Presidential Secretariat several kilometres away from student protests, the President was, in fact, using the example of the Pali University in favour of his argument. His contention was that the Universities Act (1978) establishing the University Grants Commission (UGC) itself must be amended to ‘do away’ with ‘obstacles’ and bring higher educational institutions such as the Pali University and KDU within the remit of the UGC. That, he said, would be the solution, the Advisory Council was told.

This is an artful rendering of the problem no doubt. But it is not the solution, contrary to what the President appears to believe. UGC control is not a magic wand that will cure all the ills of the KDU Bill which has united a wide range of dissenters including members of the Government Medical Officers Association (GMOA) generally slavishly in support of the ruling regime. Indeed, the very grouping of the Pali University and the KDU in one breath is manifestly absurd. The issue regarding the KDU Bill, which seeks to replace the generally innocuous Sir John Kotelawala Defence University Act, No 58 of 1981, is in the very structure and form of the ‘University’ that it proposes to establish.

Continue reading ‘The Kotelawala Defence University Bill directly violates the principles of critical thought in higher education that, despite manifest travails, our Universities have protected for decades.’ »

22 Trade Unionists and Political Activists Including Joseph Stalin and Duminda Nagamuwa Woho Were Forcibly” Quarantined” by Police for Protesting Against KDU bill released after 9 days of “Quarantine” on July 16

By

Imesh Ranasinghe

Just over a week after they were sent to quarantine camps under legally questionable circumstances, 22 trade union members in Sri Lanka including Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU) general secretary Joseph Stalin were released Friday (16) afternoon.

The union members had been arrested for engaged in protests that police said were in violation of a ban imposed on protests and public meetings owing to Sri Lanka’s COVID-19 situation.

The protestors were granted bail but were subsequently packed off in buses to government-run quarantine camps, without being subject to standard PCR tests or with the consultation of local public health inspectors (PHIs).

Continue reading ‘22 Trade Unionists and Political Activists Including Joseph Stalin and Duminda Nagamuwa Woho Were Forcibly” Quarantined” by Police for Protesting Against KDU bill released after 9 days of “Quarantine” on July 16’ »

The prestige of the Gotabaya Government that walks the walk, as well as it talks the talk, on military-related matters is at stake on the Kotelawala Defence University Bill issue

By Rajpal Abeynayake

The forced quarantining of those protesting the contemplated passage of the Kotelawala Defence University (KDU) Bill was rather dramatic, and has created a ruckus about the propriety or otherwise of disallowing dissent on the basis of health considerations.

As interesting as this debate may seem, it’s a temporary problem. The protestors may be hauled away and taken to their isolation locations, and there would be pictures that any photo editor would die for. There will be a lot of kicking and screaming.

That issue would, however, be just one facet of the problem. An important facet no doubt. It would define the power dynamic that determines the stature and sustainability of this Government. Is this a quasi-military administration, as the detractors have been saying, that’s willing to crush dissent in the short term as well as the long?

The quasi-military characterisation of the Government is very much flawed. This is a civilian administration and it’s difficult for the Government’s opponents to say it’s top heavy with Rajapaksas and claim it’s a military regime at the same time. But the question is whether this dispensation is strong – so strong and single-minded about its policy decisions – and would follow through with them no matter what, with a little help from the military?

It’s a real litmus test for the Government on that score – this issue of the KDU Bill. The protests are in essence about the issue of privatisation of higher education. The KDU Bill will give the administration of the KDU the autonomy to levy fees and decide on the fee structure for courses that are offered. This would mean that for the first time, there would be a fee-levying, degree-granting institution in the country in the field of medicine, for instance.

Continue reading ‘The prestige of the Gotabaya Government that walks the walk, as well as it talks the talk, on military-related matters is at stake on the Kotelawala Defence University Bill issue’ »

“Continuous delay in investigations into the Easter Sunday terror attacks could create some suspicion among the public that the present Government may also have had some involvement in the bombings.”-Rev. Cyril Gamini Fernando


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

While claiming that the current Government is continuously delaying the investigations into the Easter Sunday terror attacks on 21 April 2019, the Catholic Church alleged that this continuous delay would create some suspicion among the public that the incumbent Government may also have had some involvement in the said bombings.

The National Catholic Centre for Social Communications Director and the Parish Priest of the St. Anne’s Church, Kurana, Negombo Rev. Cyril Gamini Fernando alleged to The Morning that this continuous delay would create some suspicion among the public that the present Government may also have had some involvement in the bombings.

Speaking to The Morning, Fernando noted that it is a serious question as to why the Government is not taking steps to expedite the investigations into the Easter Sunday bombings and reveal the suspects to the public.

Continue reading ‘“Continuous delay in investigations into the Easter Sunday terror attacks could create some suspicion among the public that the present Government may also have had some involvement in the bombings.”-Rev. Cyril Gamini Fernando’ »

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa orders an investigation of allegations that some members of state intelligence agencies knew and met with people who carried out Easter Sunday bombings in 2019

By Krishan Francis/The Associated Press

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has ordered an investigation of allegations that some members of state intelligence agencies knew and met with people who carried out Easter Sunday bombings in 2019 that killed more than 260 people, a government official said.

The Catholic Church in Sri Lanka wrote to the president on Tuesday raising concerns about the government’s handling of the suicide bombings and asking it to investigate alleged links between intelligence personnel and the group that carried out the attacks.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa orders an investigation of allegations that some members of state intelligence agencies knew and met with people who carried out Easter Sunday bombings in 2019’ »

Why do I still call myself a Catholic given the Catholic Church’s official face, generally dispiriting history and the inevitability of more and worse revelations to come?


By
William J Grimm

(William Grimm is a missioner and priest in Tokyo and is the publisher of the Union of Catholic Asian News).

One of the fastest-growing religious affiliations, or more accurately disaffiliations, is the large number of people who declare themselves to be former Catholics.

Departures from the Church are especially pronounced among the young, but are not limited to them. In places like Australia, France, Germany and increasingly in the United States, which for many years differed from other places, the Catholic Church is hemorrhaging members.

There are many reasons people disavow Catholicism. From what I’ve seen, those reasons are not often linked to a crisis of belief in God, at least not at first. The crisis is Church-centric, but may eventually lead to a crisis of faith in God as proclaimed by the Church.

Certainly a big factor has been the exposure of the sexual abuse of children by clergy and, even more, its aftershocks. The strongest aftershock is the growing realization of how much the Church’s bishops and other managers covered up, enabled, perpetuated and even perpetrated abuse not only of children but of other vulnerable people and women.

Now we see reports of a Vatican cardinal indicted for financial corruption involving €350 million (about US$416 million) given by Catholics throughout the world toward the Peter’s Pence collection. This may mark the beginning of exposures that will touch every department in the Catholic Church’s “head office” where spectacular corruption has been “business as usual” for centuries.

Continue reading ‘Why do I still call myself a Catholic given the Catholic Church’s official face, generally dispiriting history and the inevitability of more and worse revelations to come?’ »

UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Wants Govt to discuss with the International Monetary Fund and find the money needed to sustain the country’s economy;” Once we get the IMF certificate, we will be able to get money from countries like India, China and Japan” says EX-Prime Minister

By

Asiri Fernando

Former Prime Minister and United National Party (UNP) Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday called for a parliamentary debate on the financial crisis the country is facing, urging the Government to seek IMF assistance to better navigate the difficult times ahead.

MP Wickremesinghe stated that Sri Lanka is facing a major foreign exchange crisis, pointing out that due to the shortage of dollars local banks were under pressure.

“I look forward to hearing a debate in Parliament on the current financial crisis over this serious issue. Because the financial affairs of the country are controlled by Parliament. The Central Bank and the Treasury operate under Parliament and not above it. Therefore, I request that under the privileges of Parliament a debate be held in regards to this matter,” MP Wickremesinghe said, issuing a video statement.

Continue reading ‘UNP Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Wants Govt to discuss with the International Monetary Fund and find the money needed to sustain the country’s economy;” Once we get the IMF certificate, we will be able to get money from countries like India, China and Japan” says EX-Prime Minister’ »

Courtesy Calls Paid on New Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa by the Ambassadors of the USA,European Union, Germany, Russia and China and the High Commissioners of India and the UK

Ambassadors of the US, Germany, China, Russia, the European Union and the High Commissioners of the UK and India called on Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa at the Ministry yesterday (July 14).

This was the first time the foreign envoys had met Rajapaksa since taking office as the Minister of Finance.

US Ambassador Alaina Teplitz, German Ambassador Holger Lothar Seubert, Russian Ambassador Yuri B. Materiy, Chinese Ambassador Qi Zhenhong, EU Ambassador Denis Chaibi, Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay and British High Commissioner Sarah Hulton paid a courtesy call on the new Finance Minister.

Continue reading ‘Courtesy Calls Paid on New Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa by the Ambassadors of the USA,European Union, Germany, Russia and China and the High Commissioners of India and the UK’ »

Widespread condemnation in Sri Lanka of govt’s brazen, unconscionable and partisan use of the pandemic containment regulations to quell public display of dissent

By P.K.Balachandran

There is widespread condemnation in Sri Lanka of the government’s brazen, unconscionable and partisan use of the pandemic containment regulations to quell public display of dissent.

The immediate issue is the forced 14-day quarantining of a small group of demonstrators after they were bailed out by a court. The Minister of Public Security Rear Adm. (Rtd) Sarath Weerasekara claimed that it was done not by the police on their own accord, but on the advice of the Director General of Health Services Dr.Asela Gunwardena and a request from the Public Health Inspectors (PHI). However, the head of the PHI Union, Upul Rohana, denied that the PHIs had anything to do with the decision.

The Inter-University Students’ Federation (IUSF) and several civil society organizations staged a protest at the Town Hall against the arrest and forced quarantining. Nineteen school teacher unions refused to conduct online lessons indefinitely as a protest. They are demanding the release of the Secretary-General of the Ceylon Teachers’ Union (CTU), Joseph Stalin, and 15 others. The teachers’ unions were also agitating against salary anomalies and problems in online teaching. Director of Catholic Schools, Fr Gamunu Dias, said that Catholic schools would abstain from teaching online classes as did the Eastern Province Tamil Teachers’ Union.

Continue reading ‘Widespread condemnation in Sri Lanka of govt’s brazen, unconscionable and partisan use of the pandemic containment regulations to quell public display of dissent’ »

Over 90 academics affiliated to the State university system Issue Joint Statement Raising concerns regarding the arrest and continued detention of Lawyer Hejaz Hizbullah and Poet Ahnaf Jazeem and calling for the Immediate Release of Both.


A press conference organised by a group of university academics yesterday called for the release of Hejaaz Hizbullah and Ahnaf Jazeem. At the press conference a statement signed by over 90 academics affiliated to the State university system was released. The statement highlights a number of concerns we have with regard to the arrest and continued detention of Hizbullah and Jazeem and the anti-democratic actions that are taking place in general in the country.

Here is the full statement:

Decades of majoritarian politics, and the more recent descent towards authoritarianism and militarisation, have eroded the foundations of our democracy. They have numbed us to the violence in our daily lives and desensitised us to how sections of our citizenry are targeted. Over a year has passed since Hejaaz Hizbullah and Ahnaf Jazeem were arrested, and they remain imprisoned to date.

On April 14, 2020, human rights and constitutional lawyer Hizbullah was arrested by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and detained under Section 9 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) for over 10 months. At the time of arrest, his alleged crimes were “aiding and abetting” one of the Easter Sunday bombers. It later transpired that he represented the family in two land cases. He is now being charged with speech related offences under Section 2(1)(h) of the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) and Section 3(1) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act. These are based on statements made by minors to the CID, which the children maintain they were coerced and threatened to make.

On May 16, 2020, the Police Counter Terrorism Investigation Division (CTID) arrested Jazeem, a poet and teacher from Mannar, on allegations that his book Navarasam contained “extremist ideas” and that he taught “extremism” to students. A review of the poems by an “expert panel” of psychiatrists, some with university affiliations, makes vague claims about the potential of the book to incite violence, hatred, and suicidal thoughts. Their report fails to provide the basis or justification for these judgments and even says that there were two discrepant sets of translations (Sinhala and English from the original Tamil) at their disposal, which fact should have called the entire operation into question. Contrary to the allegations of the CTID, recent translations reveal that the poems were deeply critical of violence.

Continue reading ‘Over 90 academics affiliated to the State university system Issue Joint Statement Raising concerns regarding the arrest and continued detention of Lawyer Hejaz Hizbullah and Poet Ahnaf Jazeem and calling for the Immediate Release of Both.’ »

Basil Rajapaksa Refutes Social Media Reports that he would Allow Import of Chemical Fertilizer again: :this is an attempt to derail the government’s organic fertiliser campaign,” Alleges the Finance Minister

By Shyam Nuawan Ganewatte

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa yesterday said that there were false reports circulating in social media that he would allow chemical fertiliser imports in an attempt to scuttle the government’s organic fertilizer campaign.

Minister Rajapaksa said that there was no truth in the claims being made on social media that the government was ready to import chemical fertilisers.

“This campaign is an attempt to derail the government’s organic fertiliser campaign,” the Minister said.

Continue reading ‘Basil Rajapaksa Refutes Social Media Reports that he would Allow Import of Chemical Fertilizer again: :this is an attempt to derail the government’s organic fertiliser campaign,” Alleges the Finance Minister’ »

With the Appointment of Basil Rajapaksa as Finance Minister In Sri Lanka the Government Looks Increasingly Like a Family Firm


By Mujib Mashal

The first attempt by a Rajapaksa to return to power in Sri Lanka was brief.

In 2018, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as prime minister, even though the man he was supposedly replacing said he still held the job. Mr. Rajapaksa eventually backed down, though not before chairs were smashed and chili powder and fists were thrown in Parliament.

But a year later, his brother Gotabaya was elected president. Since then, the Rajapaksas have stamped their name so thoroughly on Sri Lanka’s government that it feels like a family enterprise — albeit a struggling one, with the economy in tatters and discontent rising.

On Thursday, another brother, Basil, was sworn in as finance minister, a move that one analyst, Bhavani Fonseka, said “consolidated the Rajapaksa family rule.”

“We now have four brothers and several other members of the family holding key positions in government,” said Ms. Fonseka, a senior researcher with the Center for Policy Alternatives, a research institute based in Colombo, the capital. “In the face of a weak opposition and no real checks and balances on the executive, prospects for Sri Lanka’s constitutional democracy are deeply troubling.”

Continue reading ‘With the Appointment of Basil Rajapaksa as Finance Minister In Sri Lanka the Government Looks Increasingly Like a Family Firm’ »

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella seeks legal advice pertaining to what he calls the conduct of Sirasa TV:“I consulted our lawyers regarding a section of the media brazenly abusing their privileged status,” says Media Minister

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella says he has recently sought legal advice pertaining to what he calls the conduct of Sirasa TV.

Denying Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa’s accusations that the government was conspiring to suppress Sirasa, Rambukwella, who is also the co-cabinet spokesperson, told The Island, the Samagi Jana Balavegaya couldn’t challenge his right to take action according to the law.

Responding to another query, Minister Rambukwella emphasised that he didn’t do anything clandestine. “I consulted our lawyers regarding a section of the media brazenly abusing their privileged status,” the Media Minister said, urging the media not to propagate lies.

Minister Ranbukwella alleged that some interested parties had reacted as if he had called in underworld elements to discuss the issue.

Continue reading ‘Media Minister Keheliya Rambukwella seeks legal advice pertaining to what he calls the conduct of Sirasa TV:“I consulted our lawyers regarding a section of the media brazenly abusing their privileged status,” says Media Minister’ »

Basil is Trapped in a Catch -22 Situation Between a crumbling economic system and the dogmatic rule of his siblings: , his ‘seven brains’ might be of little use when his hands are tied!


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Sri Lankan politics has been a good deal of family business. It was not even the Sri Lanka Freedom Party, the progenitor of the SLPP that started it; D.S. Senanayake, the first prime minister flouted an implicit understanding of the succession and undercut two party seniors, S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and Sir John Kotelawala to pass the mantle to his son Dudley.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s ascension to power with the only conceivable qualification being the widow of the dead prime minister opened up a new phase of dynastic politics, but it was not just she who did it. The UNP fielded the widow of Gamini Dissanayake, Srima, but lost the election to another dynastic offspring, Chandrika Kumaratunga. Ranil Wickremesinghe, nephew of J. R. Jayawardene is also not the first one to destroy the party to keep the leadership within the family environs.

Sirimavo Bandaranaike refused to cave in after the ignominious defeat in 1977 and having lost her civic status, and as a result ineligible to contest, she led a campaign of sabotage to defeat the SLFP candidate for the presidential election of 1982, Hector Kobbekaduwa.

The Rajapaksas, of course, took the familial tradition of Sri Lankan politics to a new high. Rajapaksa brothers returned home from their residency in the United States to take up key government positions, and with a presidency for life almost within grasp after the 18th Amendment, the first family controlled half of the budget allocations during the second half of Mahinda Rajapaksa presidency.

Continue reading ‘Basil is Trapped in a Catch -22 Situation Between a crumbling economic system and the dogmatic rule of his siblings: , his ‘seven brains’ might be of little use when his hands are tied!’ »

With Basil joining the govt. as Finance Minister, the Sri Lankan Cabinet has five Rajapaksas, four brothers and one from the next generation.

by
Meera Srinivasan

To track the Rajapaksa family tree is to track the most important positions in the Sri Lankan government. With the recent appointment of Basil Rajapaksa, the youngest of the Rajapaksa brothers, as the country’s new Minister of Finance, Sri Lanka’s first family has further fastened its clasp on power.

The Cabinet has five Rajapaksas — President Gotabaya Rajapaksa (who is also Defence Minister), Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa, Basil Rajapaksa, and PM’s son and Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa. The government has a few more, holding junior ministerial posts and key positions in state-run institutions. They remind sceptics of “family bandyism”, a term commonly used in Sri Lanka in the past, to refer to the Bandaranaike ruling clan.

Together, the Rajapaksas in government control a substantial chunk of the budget and policy. For the near 22-million people of the country, this means being steered by one powerful family. One that derives political legitimacy from its core support base of Sinhala-Buddhist nationalists, with a known suspicion of Tamil and Muslim minorities and an unmistakable aversion to their rights.

Continue reading ‘With Basil joining the govt. as Finance Minister, the Sri Lankan Cabinet has five Rajapaksas, four brothers and one from the next generation.’ »

The “Basilaagamanaya” or the New Rise of Basil Politics has Established a Monarchial system of “Familarchy” by which the family is totally dominant in the government, economic management and social organisation of the country.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The Basilaagamanaya or the New Rise of Basil Politics is having its immediate impact on the Rajapaksa Power Display.

Here is a clear warning to protest politics. Covid-19 is the new tool of Rajapaksa Power, with quarantine being the system of dominance. Leading trade unionists and student protesters are the showpieces of the new Basil Power in Sri Lankan politics.

Those who protested against the crisis facing paddy production, and against the Bill for new military dominance in the Kotelawala Defence University, are the symbols of the new Covid-19 power dominance of the Raja Vasala. Putting protesters into quarantine camps, and taking them there with the most foul and repulsive behaviour of the Police, is the new showpiece of Rajapaksa Power.

Continue reading ‘The “Basilaagamanaya” or the New Rise of Basil Politics has Established a Monarchial system of “Familarchy” by which the family is totally dominant in the government, economic management and social organisation of the country.’ »

Sri Lanka will apply to obtain up to USD 800 million worth of reserves from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) facility during August-September.

By Damith Wickramasekara

Sri Lanka will apply to obtain up to USD 800 million worth of reserves from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) facility during August-September.

A senior Treasury official said that under the current allocation, Sri Lanka should obtain reserves amounting to about USD 800 million. The SDR is an international reserve asset created by the IMF in 1969 to supplement its member countries’ official reserves. The value of the SDR is based on a basket of five currencies — the US dollar, the euro, the Chinese renminbi, the Japanese yen, and the British sterling pound.

The SDR is deposited with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka’s (CBSL) reserve to stabilize the country’s foreign reserves over the next few months, a senior CBSL official said. After Sri Lanka obtains the SDR, it sells the dollars to countries that purchases dollars, usually the US dollars.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka will apply to obtain up to USD 800 million worth of reserves from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) under the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) facility during August-September.’ »

Waves of brutal police violence directed towards trade union leaders, students, fishermen and farmers was a Chilling Message Sent to Dissenters by the Rjapaksa Regime


By
Kishali Pinto Jayawaardene

Waves of brutal police violence directed towards trade union leaders, students, fishermen and farmers in Sri Lanka this week underscored a deadly purpose on the part of the State. It was no accident that the clothes of female protestors were torn, that the media was shoved while covering these ugly scenes and even white haired peaceful demonstrators were roughly lifted and shoved into police vehicles.

A chilling message sent to dissenters

On the contrary, the precise intent of the (Rajapaksa) Deep State now firmly in the seat of the ruling establishment was to send a chilling message. ‘This is how you would be treated’ is the unmistakable signal to dissenters. Not only was force far beyond a reasonable extent used but also the police summarily sent those arrested off to remote quarantine centres after they were granted bail. This was absent in any assessment by public health personnel. There was not even a semblance of adherence to applicable legal norms. What the police and ‘public security’ handlers mocked were the courts, the judges and Sri Lanka’s legal system.

Thus, Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekera’s claim that any blame regarding the arrests of protesters should be laid at the door of the Director General of Health Services (DGHS) who had ‘prohibited’ public gatherings and not the police, is highly contemptible. This is tantamount to using a global pandemic to intimidate the citizenry. In fact, this claim is not traceable to any source except a passing casual reference to a ‘letter’ by the DGHS in a release issued by the police Media Division. Is this now the way that the law is being enforced, through police media releases?

Reference to any ‘ban’ is conspicuously lacking in any of the covid prevention guidelines issued by the DGHS. Meanwhile Regulations gazetted under Sections 2 and 3 of the Quarantine and Prevention of Diseases Ordinance on October 15th 2020 only state that face masks must be worn at all times in ‘public places’ and a distance of one meter must be maintained. In fact, one must ask with reason if the DGHS is deaf, dumb and blind to the numerous violations of this directive by politicians when they hold their numerous events, jostling one another, be it at religious events or swearing in of Ministers?

Continue reading ‘Waves of brutal police violence directed towards trade union leaders, students, fishermen and farmers was a Chilling Message Sent to Dissenters by the Rjapaksa Regime’ »

Police Widely Condemned for Brutal Suppression of Democratic Protest in Bataramulla While the Army Earns Praise on the same day Through Effiicient Vaccination of People

By

Susitha Fernando

On July 8 (Thursday) we saw diametrically opposite results because the security forces are apparently being used for the government’s objectives. In a number of security forces camps around the country vaccination programmes were conducted with the participation of security personnel. With the true to life security forces discipline we saw how well organised the inoculation programmes were. On television we saw an aerial video footages taken from drone cameras, probably provided by the Army Media unit, how systematically physical distancing was maintained at those centres.

It was heartening to see how the vaccines were given even keeping elderly religious dignitaries in their vehicles and also security forces medical corps going to queues where there were feeble elders. Hats off to the Sri Lanka security forces! All in all it definitely created a positive vibrant among the people; even by those who oppose the much criticised ‘militarisation’ of the country. After all, most of those young members of the security forces are sons and daughters of parents living in rural remote areas of Sri Lanka. The troops came forward to protect the country and its people.

Unfortunately on the same day, at Battaramulla junction, we saw a diametrically opposite show by the Police where law enforcement officers violently suppressed protests initiated by teachers and university students. They were not directly protesting against the government’s political conduct, but to protect the rights of all for equal opportunities in education and demanding that the Kotelawela Defence University Bill be scrapped. The students alleged that the Bill was the first step towards the privatisation of education.

Continue reading ‘Police Widely Condemned for Brutal Suppression of Democratic Protest in Bataramulla While the Army Earns Praise on the same day Through Effiicient Vaccination of People’ »

“At times we will have to take certain unpopular decisions, just like how a father would for the betterment of his children and family. Therefore, I urge you all to support our efforts in these trying times,” -New Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Appeals to the People.


Amidst internal and external challenges, seasoned political campaigner and results-oriented Basil Rajapaksa yesterday assumed the key portfolio of Finance Minister, promising to deliver economic growth and prosperity to people.

After much speculation and reservations among some, the all-important Ministry of Finance was handed over to Basil by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, a subject most of the time held by the head of the Government or Parliament except during the Yahapalanaya regime.

However, the much-discussed subject of Economic Development wasn’t added though Basil handled it exceptionally well previously. Instead, the President felt it right to create a new ministry called the Ministry of Economic Policies and Planning, the mantle of which was given to Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘“At times we will have to take certain unpopular decisions, just like how a father would for the betterment of his children and family. Therefore, I urge you all to support our efforts in these trying times,” -New Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Appeals to the People.’ »

“ There are numerous issues with regard to the Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA). Hon. Minister I can tell you very responsibly, you can’t amend the PTA, you have to repeal the PTA.- MA Sumanthiran MP

(Text of Speech made by TNA Jaffna District MP Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran in Parliament on the 06th of July 2021 on amendments made to the Convention Against Torture Act)

Thank you Hon. Deputy chairman of committees for the opportunity to speak a few words at the very important debate when the Hon. Minister of Justice has presented to the House amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure Act, and to the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Act, and certain Orders for approval.

I must thank the Hon Minister for remaining in the House after presenting these Bills and listening to the various comments that are being made on this matter. The matters that have been placed before the House are very, very important and serious in nature.

What we see in the amending Act, in both the amending Bills, we welcome, because it seeks to make it obligatory on magistrates to visit Police stations and if I heard the Hon. Minister right, not just the Police stations but also other detention centers and examine and see whether the detainees are properly treated, particularly with the view to ensuring that there is no torture or other cruel inhuman or degrading treatment meted out to them. So, on paper its a good move. But one wonders why this window-dressing is being made now?

If any of us who are aware of the actual situation with regard to torture in this country, would wonder why this amendment is being placed today?

So much for shouting from the rooftops that we are protecting our sovereignty, we are not bowing down to international pressure and all of that, but all of these façades are being built and I don’t know who you are trying to fool.

The Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Act was passed in 1994 and we have various researches that have been made with regard to the efficacy of this Act. 26 years of this Act has seen just 9 convictions, 6 of which are under appeal.

Continue reading ‘“ There are numerous issues with regard to the Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA). Hon. Minister I can tell you very responsibly, you can’t amend the PTA, you have to repeal the PTA.- MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

“Current economic, public health and governance crisis is so profound that it is beyond the capacity of a skillful Political and Economic deal maker like Basil Rajapaksa”


By

Meera Srinivasan

Basil Rajapaksa, brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, was on Thursday sworn in as Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance, becoming the fourth Rajapaksa brother and fifth member of the first family to enter the Cabinet.

The eldest of the brothers, Chamal Rajapaksa, is a Cabinet Minister, as is Namal Rajapaksa, son of PM Mahinda Rajapaksa. Mr. Chamal Rajapaksa’s son Shasheendra Rajapaksa is a non-cabinet minister.

Mr. Basil Rajapaksa’s appointment, enabled by the resignation of a government MP and Sri Lanka’s national list system – through which political parties get extra seats to Parliament based on their vote share – comes at a crucial time for the Rajapaksa administration that is facing an unprecedented economic challenge, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic. His entry was also made possible by the government removing a constitutional provision barring dual citizens — Mr. Basil Rajapaksa is also an American citizen — from entering Parliament.

Continue reading ‘“Current economic, public health and governance crisis is so profound that it is beyond the capacity of a skillful Political and Economic deal maker like Basil Rajapaksa”’ »

Appointment of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa as Nationl List MP undermines the sovereignty of the people and violates the Constitution of Sri Lanka – Centre for Policy Alternaatives

(Text of Centre for Policy lternaatives Statement on Constitutionality of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna National List Appointment , 7th July 2021).

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) is concerned by several media reports that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has appointed Mr. Basil Rajapaksa to fill the National List seat which fell vacant by the resignation of Mr. Jayantha Ketagoda.

CPA notes that Mr. Basil Rajapaksa’s name was not included in the list of persons qualified to be elected as Members of Parliament, in terms of Article 99A of the Constitution (the “National List”) or any of the district lists submitted by the SLPP for the Parliamentary Election held in August 2020.

Mr. Basil Rajapaksa’s appointment, is especially egregious because at the time of the last Parliamentary election, Mr. Basil Rajapaksa was disqualified from being elected as a Member of Parliament by virtue of his dual citizenship (Mr. Basil Rajapaksa is a citizen of the United States of America and also of Sri Lanka). As such the appointment of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa to fill this vacancy undermines the sovereignty of the people and violates the Constitution of Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Appointment of Mr. Basil Rajapaksa as Nationl List MP undermines the sovereignty of the people and violates the Constitution of Sri Lanka – Centre for Policy Alternaatives’ »

Can Basil Rajapaksa put a temporary stop to the puerile words and deeds of the regime’s more doltish actors and buy the dynastic project much-needed breathing space?


By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“It is like a tricycle. Mahinda Rajapaksa is the front wheel, and Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Basil Rajapaksa are like rear wheels. If only one of the wheels is missing the tricycle will not run. That is the reality”

– Namal Rajapaksa (Newswire – 5 July 2021) –

Basil Rajapaksa, the economic superman, is here, to heal, to make whole
The mystical seven. Thebes had seven gates, ancient Egypt seven heavenly cows, Snow White seven dwarves. The tailor sewed himself a sash claiming, Seven with one blow. They were flies but who’d know that?

Now this magical, mythical seven has a new entrant. Basil Rajapaksa, we are informed, assured, reassured, has seven brains. This we know from an impeccable authority, an SLPP parliamentarian.

#Me Best, might be President Gotabaya’s mantra. But the emperor’s state is too stark to be ignored. A new saviour is needed to befuddle the disenchanted voters and to hearten the despairing votaries. Since the mindset is feudal and the project is dynastic, the saviour must be a Rajapaksa. Namal is too young for the mantle. In any case, primogeniture is an occidental concept. In the orient, brother succeeding brother was normal.

So, Basil Rajapaksa, the economic superman, is here, to heal, to make whole. True, the regime was always a trident. Basil Rajapaksa was the third prong when the tax base was denuded, interests slashed with a machete, and money printing turned into a children’s game. But facts are dispensable. The past is a work-in-progress, ever remade to suit present needs. Basil Rajapaksa is infallible now, just as his older brothers were then.

What is surprising is not Basil Rajapaksa’s advent, but the timing of it. Why is Saviour Season 3 unfolding while Saviour Season 2 is still in its first half?

Continue reading ‘Can Basil Rajapaksa put a temporary stop to the puerile words and deeds of the regime’s more doltish actors and buy the dynastic project much-needed breathing space?’ »

Newly Sworn in Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa Becomes the fourth Rajapaksa Siblin and fifth member of the family to enter the Cabinet: Ex-Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Given Newly Creted Ministry of Economic Policies and Planning.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Basil Rajapaksa, brother of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, was on Thursday sworn in as Sri Lanka’s Minister of Finance, becoming the fourth Rajapaksa brother and fifth member of the first family to enter the Cabinet.

Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa’s son Namal Rajapaksa is also a Cabinet Minister.

His appointment, enabled by the resignation of a government MP and Sri Lanka’s nationalist list system – through which political parties get extra seats to Parliament based on their vote share – comes at a crucial time for the Rajapaksa administration that is facing an unprecedented economic crisis, compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic.

His entry was also made possible by the government removing a constitutional provision barring dual citizens —Mr. Basil Rajapaksa is also an American citizen — from entering Parliament.

Continue reading ‘Newly Sworn in Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa Becomes the fourth Rajapaksa Siblin and fifth member of the family to enter the Cabinet: Ex-Finance Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa Given Newly Creted Ministry of Economic Policies and Planning.’ »

Justice Ministry Proposal to Amend the Convention Against Torture Act is Intended as a “Window Dressing” For the Benefit of the European Union States TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran PC

By Aazam Ameen

Responding to the amendments proposed to the Convention Against Torture And Other Cruel, Inhuman Or Degrading Treatment Or Punishment Act and the Code of Criminal procedure act by Minister of Justice Ali Sabry in Parliament today (06), MP M. A. Sumanthiran of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) stated that while on paper such moves are welcome, he expressed that the Convention Against Torture Act has been a dismal failure.

The proposed amendments to the same seeks to make it obligatory for magistrates to visit police stations and other detention centres and examine whether the detainees are properly treated, particularly with a view to ensure that there is no torture or other cruel inhumane treatment.

“When was the last time a magistrate performed such visits, I’m asking the Minister of Justice. How are you going to enforce this? How will you enforce a magistrate to visit police stations and other detention centers, when there is no mechanism to do that? Even if you have a mechanism to enforce it, if magistrates are not conscientious enough to do what the law requires them to do, can you force them to do so?” he asked the Minister of Justice.

Referring to these amendments as “window dressing” Sumanthiran alleged that such moves are mere facades to fool people.

Continue reading ‘Justice Ministry Proposal to Amend the Convention Against Torture Act is Intended as a “Window Dressing” For the Benefit of the European Union States TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran PC’ »

SLPP National List MP Jayantha Ketagoda Resigns Seat for Basil Rajapaksa to be Nominated in his Place as MP: SLPP Gen -Secy Sagara Kariyawasam Tells Media that Basil Would be Sworn in as MP on July 8th and be assigned Cabinet Ministerial Responsibilities in Finance and Economic Development

By
Sandasen Marasinghe and Amali Mallawarachchi

The Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna has nominated Economic Revival and Poverty Alleviation Presidential Task Force Head and former Minister Basil Rajapaksa to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of MP Jayantha Ketagoda, the National Election Commission (NEC) said.

He said the relevant Gazette would be sent for publication today after a meeting of the NEC.

Continue reading ‘SLPP National List MP Jayantha Ketagoda Resigns Seat for Basil Rajapaksa to be Nominated in his Place as MP: SLPP Gen -Secy Sagara Kariyawasam Tells Media that Basil Would be Sworn in as MP on July 8th and be assigned Cabinet Ministerial Responsibilities in Finance and Economic Development’ »

Indian Envoy Gopal Baglay reiterates India’s support for devolution in Sri Lanka on the basis of full implementation of the 13A and early conduct of Provincial Council elections at meeting with Tamil Progressive Alliance elegation led by Mano Ganesan MP

(Text of a Press Release Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo)

A five member Tamil Progressive Alliance (TPA) delegation led by Hon. Mano Ganeshan Member of Parliament called on the High Commissioner H.E. Mr. Gopal Baglay today (6 July 2021) at India House. T

PA Members of Parliament Hon. Radha Krishnan, Hon. Udhaya Kumar, Hon. Velu Kumar along with TPA General Secretary Chandra Schaffer were present during the meeting. High Commissioner was assisted by Deputy High Commissioner, Mr. Vinod K Jacob and Political Counsellor, Mrs Banu Prakash.

Continue reading ‘Indian Envoy Gopal Baglay reiterates India’s support for devolution in Sri Lanka on the basis of full implementation of the 13A and early conduct of Provincial Council elections at meeting with Tamil Progressive Alliance elegation led by Mano Ganesan MP’ »

The Legal Prosecution, Judicial Conviction and Presidential “Absolution” of Duminda Silva.

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Arumadura Lawrence Romelo Duminda Silva known as Duminda Silva was the fortunate recipient of a munificent Presidential pardon on Poson Poya day. The convict on death row was released as a result of the Poson Poya pardon.

The Legal Prosecution, Judicial Conviction and Presidential “Absolution” of Duminda Silva – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

Duminda Silva, a former Parliamentarian and ex-Provincial Councillor, was involved in a shooting incident in October 2011 during Local Authority Elections, where former MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra and three of his bodyguards were killed. The High Court of Sri Lanka convicted Duminda Silva and four of his associates for murder and imposed the death sentence on them in September 2016. Subsequently the sentence was appealed but a five-Judge bench of the Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction of Silva in October 2018. Despite the High Court conviction of 2016 being upheld by the Supreme Court in 2018, Duminda Silva was a free man in 2021 on Poson Poya.

Continue reading ‘The Legal Prosecution, Judicial Conviction and Presidential “Absolution” of Duminda Silva.’ »

Chinese Gui Lan (Pvt) Ltd, registered as a private limited liability company Takes Over Acres of Sea Lands in the North for sea cucumber hatchery and sea cucumber nursery in Ariyalai and Poonagary Without a permit from the National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka (NAQDA).

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By S. Rubatheesan

Northern fishing communities are up in arms against a Chinese joint venture company because it has taken over acres of sea-land to harvest sea cucumber, severely limiting the space for local fishermen to engage in the same business.

As part of an extension to its sea cucumber hatchery, the Chinese joint venture has set up a baby sea cucumber nursery in Kowtharimunai, a northern coastal village in the Pooneryn Divisional Secretariat

Pasaiyoor Fishermen Federation Chief P. Mathan told the Sunday Times that the new nursery would pose a livelihood threat to local businesses which ran their sea cucumber farms with limited facilities and capital.

“Compared to the Chinese joint venture, our investments are nothing. The company uses sophisticated nets and methods while we struggle to stay afloat in the business,” Mr Mathan said, pointing out that the company was set up largely to supply baby sea cucumbers to local farms.

Continue reading ‘Chinese Gui Lan (Pvt) Ltd, registered as a private limited liability company Takes Over Acres of Sea Lands in the North for sea cucumber hatchery and sea cucumber nursery in Ariyalai and Poonagary Without a permit from the National Aquaculture Development Authority of Sri Lanka (NAQDA).’ »

Basil is Entering Parliament “with the knowledge and consent of the Prime Minister and myself. Whatever some may say, the Rajapaksa brothers take decisions together and work together.” Says President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


By

Gajaba

During a meeting with some of his close associates this week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa claimed there was an organised attempt via social media and some mainstream media organisations to foster a view that there was a split within the ranks of the Rajapaksa family.

The main thrust of this operation was being conducted through social media, the President said. “They are saying that the PM and I both oppose Basil entering Parliament. They are trying to spread this story to gain political advantage for the Opposition. The people of this country know the truth. They know that whatever some may say, the Rajapaksa brothers take decisions together and work together.”

Continue reading ‘Basil is Entering Parliament “with the knowledge and consent of the Prime Minister and myself. Whatever some may say, the Rajapaksa brothers take decisions together and work together.” Says President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

57 schools and seven universities in Sri Lanka offering Chinese language courses;”Interest among students and the general public in Sri Lanka towards learning the Chinese language has grown over the past few years saays China’s Envoy Qi Zhenhong


Interest among students and the general public in Sri Lanka towards learning the Chinese language has grown over the past few years, China’s Ambassador Qi Zhenhong says.

There are now 57 schools and seven universities in Sri Lanka offering Chinese language courses, Zhenhong said on Friday as he addressed the awards ceremony of the Sri Lankan preliminary contest of the 20th “Chinese Bridge” Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign University Students. The 2021 edition of the competition was held online this year.

Continue reading ‘57 schools and seven universities in Sri Lanka offering Chinese language courses;”Interest among students and the general public in Sri Lanka towards learning the Chinese language has grown over the past few years saays China’s Envoy Qi Zhenhong’ »

The seething fury of Sri Lanka’s farmers is genuine. It transcends party divisions and party loyalties. What drives that movement is the hunger of their families and the despair of agricultural communities left adrift by a disastrously mismanaged policy decision by this Govt

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As the seething fury of Sri Lanka’s farmers spills over onto village roads and sets the country ablaze with war cries of ‘give us fertilizer to farm our crops, our paddy lands and our vegetable fields,’ the best role that an utterly inept and incompetent Opposition can play is to refrain from polluting this anger by putting their grinning faces in front of that mass outpouring.

Were the covid-19 ravages not enough?

Continue reading ‘The seething fury of Sri Lanka’s farmers is genuine. It transcends party divisions and party loyalties. What drives that movement is the hunger of their families and the despair of agricultural communities left adrift by a disastrously mismanaged policy decision by this Govt’ »

33 Govt Backbench MP’s Meet at Matale MP Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon’s Residence and Resolve to Extend Collective Invitation Requesting Basil Rajapaksa to Enter Parliament as National List MP

By

Gajaba

Government backbenchers, meanwhile, are intensifying their efforts to ensure that the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) architect, Basil Rajapaksa, enters Parliament. Spearheading the campaign are mainly first-time MPs. They met last Sunday evening at MP Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon’s residence at Anderson Road in Dehiwala for what was termed as a decisive discussion on the matter.

When a group of these MPs had met the previous day to draw up plans for the meeting, some had pushed for the meeting to be held at the SLPP head office while others wanted it to be held at the residence of one of their own. It was then that Mr Tennakoon had offered his residence for the meeting.

Continue reading ‘33 Govt Backbench MP’s Meet at Matale MP Pramitha Bandara Tennakoon’s Residence and Resolve to Extend Collective Invitation Requesting Basil Rajapaksa to Enter Parliament as National List MP’ »

Sri Lankan author Kanya D’Almeida is the Overall Winner of 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for ‘I Cleaned The – “; Kanya is the first Sri Lankan to win the overall prize and the second to win for the Asia region.


Thirty-four-year-old Kanya D’Almeida has been announced as the overall winner of the world’s most global literature prize.

The Commonwealth Foundation announced D’Almeida’s win in an online award ceremony which featured readings from Zambianauthor Mubanga Kalimamukwento, Sri Lankan actress Ranmali Mirchandani, British actress Lyndsey Marshal, Jamaican author Kei Miller and Australian actress Francesca Savige.

Kanya D’Almeida

D’Almeida, from Colombo, Sri Lanka, was named the winner by British-Jamaican actress Dona Croll who presented the online ceremony. D’Almeida is the first Sri Lankan to win the overall prize and the second to win for the Asia region.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lankan author Kanya D’Almeida is the Overall Winner of 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for ‘I Cleaned The – “; Kanya is the first Sri Lankan to win the overall prize and the second to win for the Asia region.’ »

Speaking at Tiananmen Square on July 1st, the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party China’s leader Xi Jinping pledges that any foreigner who tried to bully China would “dash their heads against a Great Wall of steel, forged from the flesh and blood of over 1.4 bn Chinese people”.


For all who believe that people are endowed with inalienable rights including life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that just governments derive their powers from the consent of the governed, it was alarming to hear the loud applause and cheers that greeted Xi Jinping on July 1st, the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party.

Speaking at Tiananmen Square, China’s leader had just pledged that any foreigner who tried to bully China would “dash their heads against a Great Wall of steel, forged from the flesh and blood of over 1.4bn Chinese people”.

The party crushes individual liberties with despotic ruthlessness. Yet its leaders are sure that they govern with the consent of the vast majority. As a result they claim to enjoy as much legitimacy as any democracy.

It would be dangerous complacency to dismiss the cheering in the square as an empty show. True, the crowd was hand-picked and bused in hours ahead of Mr Xi’s arrival. Almost all details of the event were kept secret beforehand.

But as often with Chinese officials’ paranoia, it was probably unnecessary. Without prompting, lots of ordinary people express sincere admiration for Mr Xi and would cheer him in person if given the chance.

Continue reading ‘Speaking at Tiananmen Square on July 1st, the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party China’s leader Xi Jinping pledges that any foreigner who tried to bully China would “dash their heads against a Great Wall of steel, forged from the flesh and blood of over 1.4 bn Chinese people”.’ »

The Colombo Port City Act could well end up being a modern-day Trojan horse or a Nanjing Treaty for Sri Lankans in the years ahead.


By

Mangala Samaraweera

“Reflect continually on the fact that all things as happen now, also happened before, and on the fact that they will happen again. The whole dramas and the comparable scenes… from history of the past… All these were similar only the actors were different”

– Marcus Aurelius

The Sunday Times of 27 June says that the Central Bank of Sri Lanka has taken the unprecedented step of issuing a commemorative coin for the centenary of the Communist Party of China. This news followed ‘hot’ on the heels of the Colombo Port City bill which the Government tried to rush through Parliament until the Supreme Court shot down a few of the clauses which could have violated our sovereignty and posed a serious threat to our country’s independence in the years to come.

Adding to the paranoia of many Sri Lankans was the shocking exposé by ‘Sirasa,’ one of the leading broadcasters in Sri Lanka and perhaps the only truly independent TV station in this country today ( I too have been at the receiving end of its criticisms during the various periods I served as a Cabinet Minister, during the last three decades) where we saw Chinese personnel in Chinese military uniform dredging a historic lake in the deep south (where youth unemployment is at its highest) under the patronage of a senior Cabinet Minister of the ruling family.

These are a few examples which makes one wonder whether the principle of “extraterritoriality” being applied liberally in our statecraft today is seen as the continuation of diplomatic relations with a friendly country or as a major infringement of Sri Lankan sovereignty. Will the historians of the future call this point in time as the beginning of Sri Lanka’s century of humiliation?

Dynastic China and Western powers

China is one of world’s greatest and most ancient countries; more a civilisation than a country! The “Celestial dynasties” which ruled for millennia sincerely believed that they were the heavenly representatives sent to rule a vast kingdom – Honguo/the middle kingdom, refined and civilised in a world of barbarians. The Emperor was perceived as mankind’s supreme sovereign, often referred to as the “Emperor of humanity” and his diplomats were called “Heavenly Envoys from the Celestial Court”.

As Honguo was considered the centre of the universe, all interactions with the ‘barbarians’ of the outside world were controlled and limited; learning/translating the languages of the barbarians were banned without special permission, entering and traveling within the kingdom was also not allowed and only the Port of Guangzhou (Canton) was open to foreigners to conduct their trade. Even the envoy from the Queen-Empress Victoria had to hang around the port for weeks until it was decided to grant an audience with the Emperor in Beijing on the basis that the English diplomat will ‘kowtow’(to prostrate oneself and to touch the ground with ones forehead thrice) before the Emperor when received in the Royal court.

With the advent of high imperialism in the 17th century, Western powers tried repeatedly to penetrate this vast kingdom for trade/commercial purposes but China remained one of the few Asian countries which could not be colonised by the British to become a part of the Empire where the ‘sun never sets’.

Continue reading ‘The Colombo Port City Act could well end up being a modern-day Trojan horse or a Nanjing Treaty for Sri Lankans in the years ahead.’ »

British Conservative Party Human Rights Commission’s report on the human rights situation in China titled “The Darkness Deepens. The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2016-2020” discusses evidence of serious human rights abusesin China

By
Dr. Ewelina U. Ochab

“Let China Sleep, for when she wakes, she will shake the world” so states a quote often attributed to Napoleon Bonaparte. Whether or not these words were spoken by Napoleon Bonaparte, in recent years, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has created a very concerning reality to this statement.

In recent years, report after report has shed light on the dire treatment of ethno-religious minority groups in China. Especially the Uyghur Muslims who have endured mass incarceration in so-called reeducation camps, indoctrination, physical and sexual abuse, modern day slavery, forced sterilization, forced abortions, and much more.

Continue reading ‘British Conservative Party Human Rights Commission’s report on the human rights situation in China titled “The Darkness Deepens. The Crackdown on Human Rights in China 2016-2020” discusses evidence of serious human rights abusesin China’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Talks With the Tamil National Alliance and Release of Tamil Political Prisoners.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

There was considerable political excitement some days ago when a meeting was scheduled between President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Tamil National Alliance(TNA). This was to be the first formal discussion between the President and the TNA after Gota was sworn in as President 19 months ago. This aroused great expectations.The meeting however was called off suddenly. It was said that a new date for the meeting would be announced soon. The reasons for the postponement was not known. This in turn led to much speculation among political observers. This column therefore intends to focus on the postponed meeting and its aftermath this week.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and the Tamil Naional Alliance-by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

When the campaign to launch Gotabaya Rajapaksa as a candidate for the 2019 Presidential elections commenced there were two grey areas of doubt. The first was whether he could renounce his US citizenship and lose his dual citizenship status to be eligible to contest polls. The second was whether he could garner adequate support from the Tamil and Muslim voters to ensure his victory. Although the majority of voters in Sri Lanka are Sinhala(75%), the minority community votes (25%) could influence the result in a tight race. Even as Gotabaya expedited the process of relinquishing his US citizenship on the one hand, the prospective presidential candidate also began examining avenues of obtaining electoral support from Tamils and Muslims on the other.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Talks With the Tamil National Alliance and Release of Tamil Political Prisoners.’ »

Sri Lanka Eagerly Awaits a $1 billion currency swap from India to meet its debt repayment obligations this year and tide over the current economic crisis

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka is “banking on” a $1 billion currency swap from India to meet its debt repayment obligations this year and tide over the current economic crisis, a senior official of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said.

The island nation has already serviced part of its debt this year, and is preparing to repay the remaining more than $3 billion over the next six months, officials said. With an international sovereign bond maturing soon, a $1 billion repayment is due in July.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Eagerly Awaits a $1 billion currency swap from India to meet its debt repayment obligations this year and tide over the current economic crisis’ »

General Cyril Ranatunga : A Soldier For All Seasons


By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Wilfred Owen, among English poets in the early part of the 20th Century, wrote about war’s futility. More importantly he had in his sights the point of view of the soldier — it is theirs not to reason why but merely to do and die. The declaration of war is the business of politicians. Soldiers have to fight. They die. Futile or otherwise, those who ‘die like cattle’ as Owen described it in ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth,’ are not accorded ‘passing bells’ apart from ‘the monstrous anger of the guns,’ and ‘only the stuttering rifles’ rapid rattle,’ [which] ‘patter out their hasty orisons.’

The higher ranked officers, especially the generals and of course the commanders, are remembered, even more so if they delivered or have been instrumental in delivering ‘victory,’ as are the political leaders associated with such happy moments. The soldier is forgotten. Forgotten also are the officers, generals and commanders included, who came before. Never mind that they led soldiers or fought under less auspicious circumstances than final victory. Their triumphs are always eclipsed by the victorious conclusion for the winning side. They may not have had the required complement of human resources. They may not have had the hardware. Sophisticated intelligence they may have lacked. They may not have had the benefit of many other important factors like political will or public support. They are remembered mostly by family and friends, just like the nondescript soldier who remains nameless even when lionised by poets like Owen.

I remember General Cyril Ranatunga. His military record is easily obtained with a simple online search. His career, the various designations and honours conferred on him, are all there. The details of engagement as a soldier and officer of course are missing for such things are the meat of biographies, not sketches on the Internet.

Continue reading ‘General Cyril Ranatunga : A Soldier For All Seasons’ »

Living in Crowded Line Rooms Make Plantation Sector Families Highly Vulnerable to Spread of Corona Pandemic

By

Jeeva Sathasivam

This is the time of Corona. The virus that hit the world in 2019 is still shaking the entire planet. Although it was expected that the impact of the virus would gradually subside after one year, it did not occur. The impact of the virus in the early days is now greatly feared by people who did not care much about its severity at the initial stage.

In Sri Lanka

In early March 2020, when the virus started to spread in Sri Lanka, a loose curfew was imposed island wide for over three months. Thus, a large number of infections were not identified. Further, the death toll was not that high. The total death toll from the first wave was a mere 11 people. The second wave, which began in October 2020, was also somewhat subdued in Sri Lanka.

Although the early part of 2021 was not so severe, the number of infected people crossed one hundred thousand in the period after the New Year. Meanwhile, the death toll also has surpassed one thousand. The number of deaths has increased by an average of 30 per day, and the number of infected people has crossed about 2,500 a day. During the first wave an island wide curfew clamped down. This time the country is being shut down under the pretext of travel restrictions.

Continue reading ‘Living in Crowded Line Rooms Make Plantation Sector Families Highly Vulnerable to Spread of Corona Pandemic’ »

Dredging of Tissawewa With Heavy Machinery and Removal of Sand and Clay for Profit by Chinese Company Halted Due to Protests by Enviromentalists and Archaeologists; Chinese Joint Venture Project Introduced by Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa Being Criticised Widely

By Ifham Nizam

Environmentalists yesterday welcomed Archaeology Director General Senior Professor Anura Manatunga’s intervention to halt the removal of soil and mud from the Tissawewa at Tissamaharama, by a Chinese company

Social Scientist and environmentalist Dr Ravindra Kariyawasam told The Island that be it an American or Chinese company, they were here for a reason and they were least concerned about local ecosystems or archaeological sites.

Dr. Kariyawsam, who is also the Convener of the Centre of Environment and Nature Studies, stressed that Sri Lanka’s tank system was internationally known.

“The Chinese don’t know about our eco systems. Otherwise, they would not have built the Port City here. Tissawewa is about 1,000 years old has a unique eco system, which will be destroyed by haphazard dredging.

Continue reading ‘Dredging of Tissawewa With Heavy Machinery and Removal of Sand and Clay for Profit by Chinese Company Halted Due to Protests by Enviromentalists and Archaeologists; Chinese Joint Venture Project Introduced by Irrigation Minister Chamal Rajapaksa Being Criticised Widely’ »

“Keselwatte Kolla” Ranasinghe Premadasa’s Remarkable Political Rise.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Today (23 June) is the 97th birth anniversary of former Sri Lankan Prime Minister and President Ranasinghe Premadasa. He served as Prime Minister from 1978 to 1988 and as President from 1989 to 1993. Premadasa was assassinated by a Tiger suicide bomber on 1 May 1993.

Pics via: FB/SajithPremadasa

The political ascendancy of Ranasinghe Premadasa in Sri Lanka through the United National Party (UNP) was indeed a commendable feat. For a person of subaltern status in class and caste terms to rise to the pinnacle of power in a party like the UNP amounts to a political fairy tale. This column focuses on Ranasinghe Premadasa’s remarkable political rise to power this week.

Continue reading ‘“Keselwatte Kolla” Ranasinghe Premadasa’s Remarkable Political Rise.’ »

The Political Advent of “Thamby” Arumugan Thondaman.

By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

Life and Times of Dynamic “Thamby” Arumugan Thondaman – 1

“Thamby”in Tamil means younger brother. It is also used widely as a pet name for male kids in many Tamil households.In many instances the pet name Thamby remains in use even after the children mature into adults. In recent times there have been four “Thambys” in Sri Lanka who have been prominent in political and public life. Two of them are no more among the living.

The four Thamby’s according to their ages are Veluppillai Prabhakaran – Ex – supremo of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE), Dr. Paikiasothy Saravanamuttu – Executive Director of the Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA), Arumugan Thondaman- Former Ceylon Workers Congress (CWC)leader, Cabinet Minister and MP and Gajendrakumar Gangaser Ponnambalam – Tamil National Peoples Front (TNPF)chief and Jaffna Dstrict MP.

Arumugan and Rajalakshmi Thondaman with daughters Kothai Nachiar, Vijayalakshmi and son Jeevan

Of these four, the Thamby on whom this column focuses this week is Arumugan Thondaman. I can recall my first converstion with him via telephone over twenty years ago. When I addressed him as “Mr. Thondaman” he simply said “Thambynnae Sollunga” (just say Thamby).

Continue reading ‘The Political Advent of “Thamby” Arumugan Thondaman.’ »

Last of the TULF Leaders Anandasangaree’s Courageous Historic Role in Defying the LTTE

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) formed on 14 May 1976 contested the 21 July 1977 Parliamentary Elections adopting a secessionist platform. The TULF demanded a separate state for the Sri Lankan Tamils named Tamil Eelam comprising the Northern and Eastern Provinces of the island.

The TULF contesting under the sun symbol sought a mandate for Tamil Eelam at the 1977 Parliamentary poll that was conducted on an electorate basis under the first past the post winner system. The election to the double-member constituency of Pottuvil was not held at the July polls due to a candidate’s death. The postponed Pottuvil poll was held some weeks later.

Veerasingham Anandasangaree

The TULF scored a resounding victory in the Tamil-dominated Northern Province by winning all 14 electorates in the north. In the Tamil majority Eastern Province, the TULF won in four out of the five constituencies where a Tamil MP could be elected. The TULF lost in Kalkudah where the United National Party (UNP) candidate K.W. Devanayayagam won. All the TULF Muslim candidates contesting Kalmunai, Sammanthurai, Mutur and in Puttalam were defeated.

Continue reading ‘Last of the TULF Leaders Anandasangaree’s Courageous Historic Role in Defying the LTTE’ »

The Chinese Communist Party Celebrating it’s Centenary on July 1st has been able to maintain its grip on power for 72 Years Due to ruthlessness, ideological agility and mot letting China become a straightforward kleptocracy -The Economist

On july 1st China’s Communist Party will celebrate its 100th birthday. It has always called itself “great, glorious and correct”. And as it starts its second century, the party has good cause to brag. Not only has it survived far longer than its many critics predicted; it also appears to be on the up. When the Soviet Union imploded in 1991, many pundits thought that the other great communist power would be next. To see how wrong they were, consider that President Joe Biden, at a summit on June 13th, felt the need to declare not only that America was at odds with China, but also that much of the world doubted “whether or not democracies can compete”.

One party has ruled China for 72 years, without a mandate from voters. That is not a world record. Lenin and his dismal heirs held power in Moscow for slightly longer, as has the Workers’ Party in North Korea. But no other dictatorship has been able to transform itself from a famine-racked disaster, as China was under Mao Zedong, into the world’s second-largest economy, whose cutting-edge technology and infrastructure put America’s creaking roads and railways to shame. China’s Communists are the world’s most successful authoritarians.

Continue reading ‘The Chinese Communist Party Celebrating it’s Centenary on July 1st has been able to maintain its grip on power for 72 Years Due to ruthlessness, ideological agility and mot letting China become a straightforward kleptocracy -The Economist’ »

Lanka to issue Coin to Mark the Centenary of the Chinese Communist Party:For the First Time in Sri Lankan History the Central Bank Will Issue a Special Commemorative Coin to Honour a Foreign Political Party


In an unprecedented move, Sri Lanka will be issuing a special coin to commemorate a foreign political party, the Communist Party of China (CPC), in view of its centenary celebrations.

A senior Central Bank (CB) official confirmed the decision but did not give details.

The Central Bank’s practice of issuing commemorative coins to mark significant milestones of diplomatic relations with foreign countries, has been extended, for the first time, to a foreign political party, the Sunday Times learns.

Continue reading ‘Lanka to issue Coin to Mark the Centenary of the Chinese Communist Party:For the First Time in Sri Lankan History the Central Bank Will Issue a Special Commemorative Coin to Honour a Foreign Political Party’ »

The Chinese manufacturer of Sinovac vaccines which Sri Lankan plans to procure in the millions, has placed a condition that if the price of the jab is disclosed or even spoken about in public, the deal is off and there could be legal trouble.

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

The Chinese manufacturer of Sinovac vaccines, which Sri Lankan plans to procure in the millions, has placed a condition on its purchase contract: if the price of the jab is disclosed or even spoken about in public, the deal is off and there could be legal trouble.

“They [Sinovac Lifesciences Co. Ltd.] have said that if the price in the agreement is disclosed to the public or spoken about in public it will be subjected for termination of the agreement or they will take legal action against us,” V. Nadarajah, Chairman of Kelun Lifesciences (Pvt) Ltd, the local company that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chinese firm, writes in a June 13 letter to Prof Channa Jayasumana, Sri Lanka’s State Minister of Pharmaceutical Production.

Mr Nadrajah says this was because “…we are getting a very competitive price for Sri Lanka”. The official name of the vaccine is CoronaVac but it is commonly called the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine. Sinovac Lifesciences is the Beijing-based unit of Sinovac Biomed that developed the jab.

Continue reading ‘The Chinese manufacturer of Sinovac vaccines which Sri Lankan plans to procure in the millions, has placed a condition that if the price of the jab is disclosed or even spoken about in public, the deal is off and there could be legal trouble.’ »

Frightening disconnect between perception and reality that emerged from President Rajapaksa’s Address to the Nation

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardena

Stirring scenes of Sri Lanka’s ancient grandeur in the backdrop of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s speech to a nation in tumult this Friday does not minimise the frightening disconnect between perception and reality that emerged from what the President thought it fit to speak (or rather, fulminated) about.


Limits of presidential powers

This must surely concern all Sri Lankans, even those who voted with eyes criminally wide open to bestow a two-thirds majority on this Presidency and Government in 2019 and 2020. For one must concede, it takes special panache to announce, as the President did, that the Government has ‘successfully contained the underworld’ and that ‘the drug menace has been largely brought under control’ on the very day after he pardons a notorious druglord who was convicted of murder ‘in broad daylight’ by Sri Lanka’s apex court.

As irrepressible satirists depicted the Supreme Court in flames with a blindfolded Lady Justice atop shouting ‘help’ and a President wielding a sword decapitating the scales of justice, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka called for clarification on whether legally mandated procedures had been followed in the conferring of this pardon.

Continue reading ‘Frightening disconnect between perception and reality that emerged from President Rajapaksa’s Address to the Nation’ »

The Shocking Pardon of Duminda Silva on Poya Day Shows that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa gives far greater weight to his personal “IOU’s” than what he owes the country.

by Rajan Philips

June 24 was Poson Poya Day. The Daily Mirror and the Daily News editorially reminded Sri Lankans of the significance of Poson, the most important Buddhist festival after Vesak. It was on this day, 2300 years ago, King Devanampiya Tissa encountered Emperor Asoka’s son Arahat Mahinda in the jungles of Mihintale. Their encounter led to Sri Lanka’s first formal religious conversion led by the King himself and ministered by the missionary prince from India.

The Daily Mirror editorial called on its readers “to contemplate on the teachings of the Buddha,” as Sri Lankans struggle through all the horrors of 2021, and tried to end on a calypso note that Sri Lankans today should do their part so that future generations can proudly sing (with Harry Belafonte) – “Oh, island in the sun; Willed to us by our fathers’ hands; All our days we will sing in praise; Of your forests, waters and your shining sand.” The Daily News was more solemn, drawing attention to the symbiosis between Buddhist ethos and the protection of the environment, and calling on Sri Lankans to not only protect their much blessed island but also save the accursed planet.

Continue reading ‘The Shocking Pardon of Duminda Silva on Poya Day Shows that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa gives far greater weight to his personal “IOU’s” than what he owes the country.’ »

From the “Mahindagamanaya” to this Island on THAT Poson Poya to the “Dumindagamanaya” in Sri Lanka on THIS Poson Poya

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

The questions posed by Arahat Mahinda to King Devanampiyatissa on the historic Poson Poya day, in the 3rd Century BC, keeps ringing in the minds of our people to this day. The questions about a mango tree and the kinsmen of the king were to gauge the king’s intelligence and capacity to understand, which he clearly showed, and we saw Buddhism brought to this island.

Although the questions did not relate to justice, the teachings of Buddhism, and the traditions of teaching, learning and living in this country in keeping with Buddhism, saw a great honour and respect for justice. We have always valued Adhikaranaya, Yukthiya and Sadaaranaya in the social system of this country.

The principles of justice that have prevailed in our society through so many centuries, despite so many threats to the values of justice, accepted the need for proper judgment, and punishment for those who violate the law. Arahat Mahinda did not ask King Devanampiyatissa about the standards and values of justice. He was told not to kill the deer that was being hunted. Justice and kindness, compassion for other animals, were all part of the teachings of Buddhism that became the foundation of Sri Lankan society.

Continue reading ‘From the “Mahindagamanaya” to this Island on THAT Poson Poya to the “Dumindagamanaya” in Sri Lanka on THIS Poson Poya’ »

Full Text of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Televised Address to the Nation Delivered on June 25th 2021


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (25) said that he wouldn’t change his policies and strategies to please those trying to depict his government as a failure. He assured the people he would fulfill his promises and ensure a better future for all Sri Lankans.

The President emphasised that the ban on the importation of chemical fertiliser, imposed after a careful study, wouldn’t be lifted under any circumstances.

In a televised address to the nation last night, the President acknowledged the challenges experienced, against the backdrop of the rampaging Covid-19 epidemic and financial crisis that prompted his administration to ban, what he called, non-essential imports.

During the course of his over an hour-long speech, President Rajapaksa said the country had to pay loan installments amounting to USD 4 bn a year.

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

Continue reading ‘Full Text of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s Televised Address to the Nation Delivered on June 25th 2021’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Widely criticised for pardoning former MP Duminda Silva who was Convicted of Murder for the Slaying of politician Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in October 2011.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday came under a volley of criticism for pardoning convict and former MP Duminda Silva, a move which dwarfed the positive and country’s international profile-boosting development of the release of 16 former LTTE cadres jailed for years without trials.

Strong rejection of the Presidential pardon on Silva was across the board, ranging from Opposition politicians, legal professionals, diplomats, investors and the public.

Silva was among the 93 prison inmates who were blessed with Presidential pardon to coincide with Poson Poya, the most venerated day among Buddhists.

Additionally, there were 16 LTTE cadres jailed for years without trials and 77 others imprisoned for minor offenses.

In prison on death sentence since September 2016, Silva was convicted by a High Court at Bar for unlawful assembly and murder of politician Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in October 2011.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is Widely criticised for pardoning former MP Duminda Silva who was Convicted of Murder for the Slaying of politician Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra in October 2011.’ »

“Some people angry with the Govt for not fulfilling their personal demands are now criticising the Govt as a failutre in order to discredit it. I will no change my policies to please a fe” States President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his 70 minute address to the Nation.


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday reassured the nation to deliver socio-economic prosperity without fail despite unprecedented challenges, including the pandemic.

In his address to the nation of one hour and 10 minutes, he laboriously listed multiple challenges faced since assuming office, as well as success achieved amidst the pandemic, and a host of measures in motion and planned to overcome challenges and usher prosperity.

During his speech, the President also strongly rebutted the now famous phrase ‘Sir failed’ promoted by the Opposition and critics.

Continue reading ‘“Some people angry with the Govt for not fulfilling their personal demands are now criticising the Govt as a failutre in order to discredit it. I will no change my policies to please a fe” States President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in his 70 minute address to the Nation.’ »

” Were report of the trial Judges, the opinion of the Attorney General and the recommendation of the Hon. Minister of Justice Obtained in Terms of the Constitution Before Murder Convict Duminda Silva was Given a Presidential Pardon?- Bar Council of Sri Lanka asks President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has requested President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to make the public aware whether the due procedure was followed when granting pardon to Duminda Silva.

The BASL said in a statement that although article 34(1) of the Constitution allows the President to grant such a pardon, either free or subject to lawful considerations, the proviso to Article 34 (1) requires the President to call for a report from the Judge who tried the case where the offender has been condemned to death, such report is required to be forwarded to the Attorney General for advice and the proviso also requires the Attorney General’s opinion to be referred to the Minister of Justice who too is required to submit a recommendation to the President.

Continue reading ‘” Were report of the trial Judges, the opinion of the Attorney General and the recommendation of the Hon. Minister of Justice Obtained in Terms of the Constitution Before Murder Convict Duminda Silva was Given a Presidential Pardon?- Bar Council of Sri Lanka asks President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

“The killer has been set free. The sun will not shine on a country that does not respect justice.” Says Slain Ex-MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s Widow Sumana After Dumind Silva’s Release

By

JAMILA HUSAIN

Widow of former parliamentarian Bharatha Premchandra today vented her anger on social media after the release of Duminda Silva who received a presidential pardon.

Sumana Premachandra stronngly condemned the government’s decision to release Silva who was convicted in 2016 over the murder of Bharatha Premachandra and sentenced to life in prison.

She said, “The killer has been set free. The sun will not shine on a country that does not respect justice.”

Continue reading ‘“The killer has been set free. The sun will not shine on a country that does not respect justice.” Says Slain Ex-MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra’s Widow Sumana After Dumind Silva’s Release’ »

94 Persons Including 16 Tamil Political Prisoners and Dumida Silva an ex-MP Convicted of Murdering Another Ex-MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra Released on Poson Poya Following Pardon Issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

By

Meera Srinivasan

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Thursday pardoned 94 persons, including 16 ‘political prisoners’ and one prominent murder convict on death row, on the occasion of the ‘Poson Poya [full moon]’ day that bears religious significance, marking the arrival of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.

While Tamil parties and human rights defenders welcomed the release of the suspects arrested under the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), government critics and lawyers slammed the release of former MP Duminda Silva, who was sentenced to death in 2016 for murdering a political rival.

Continue reading ‘94 Persons Including 16 Tamil Political Prisoners and Dumida Silva an ex-MP Convicted of Murdering Another Ex-MP Bharatha Lakshman Premachandra Released on Poson Poya Following Pardon Issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

The Current Govt which promised to renew English teaching and English medium education has shelved plans. Once again, the anti-English education lobby has won the battle.


By Dr.Tara de Mel

Discussions on English medium education have surfaced, once again. Every few years, or if ever a government decides on touching this topic, rumblings begin on the merits or demerits of such an initiative.

It’s perhaps pertinent to trace events from recent history.

Rewind to the Education Reforms of 1998

The emphasis placed on improving English education was unambiguous and remained consistent.

In primary school the thrust was on Activity Based Oral English (ABOE) coupled with Conversational English. In the secondary school, it was to teach selected subjects in English whilst emphasising Conversational and General English in the Advanced Level.

In addition, there was the option to have English medium classes which allowed Sinhala, Tamil and Muslim students to learn in one class from young days, allowing greater integration between communities. A parallel initiative with the same aim was to initiate special Amity Schools for students of all three communities.

Continue reading ‘The Current Govt which promised to renew English teaching and English medium education has shelved plans. Once again, the anti-English education lobby has won the battle.’ »

The UNHRC Core Group for Sri Lanka echoing sentiments articulated by UNHRC Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet expresses concern over the lack of progress on human rights and further developments causing concern.

The UNHRC Core Group for Sri Lanka yesterday expressed concern and regret over the lack of progress on human rights, with a number of further concerning developments.

Delivering the statement on behalf of Canada, Germany, North Macedonia, Malawi, Montenegro and the UK, the Core Group on Sri Lanka referred to the UN Human Rights Council resolution 46/1 which called upon the Sri Lankan Government to address the harmful legacies of war and to protect human rights, including for those from religious minorities.

“We regret the lack of progress on these issues, with a number of further concerning developments,” the statement said. It said the Sri Lankan Government had attempted to dismiss a number of emblematic cases and had initiated criminal proceedings against individuals pursuing some of these cases. “This counters the Council’s call for prompt, thorough and impartial investigations. We call for former CID Director Shani Abeysekara safety to be ensured,” it said.

Continue reading ‘The UNHRC Core Group for Sri Lanka echoing sentiments articulated by UNHRC Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet expresses concern over the lack of progress on human rights and further developments causing concern.’ »

Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe returns to Sri Lanka Parliament as National List MP and Slams Rajapaksa government’s economic policy and ‘militarisation

By

Meera Srinivasan

Former Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Wickremesinghe on Wednesday returned to Parliament, ten months after his United National Party (UNP) suffered its biggest electoral defeat in history.

In the first intervention by his party in the current legislature, Mr. Wickremesinghe slammed the Rajapaksa government on its economic policy that, he said, lacked a plan amid a crisis, and growing militarisation of civil services.

Though the UNP did not get elected in a single constituency in the country in the August 2020 general elections, it could nominate one of its members to the 225-member House based on Sri Lanka’s ‘nationalist list’ system, where in a party can secure a seat depending on its share of the cumulative votes polled.

Continue reading ‘Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe returns to Sri Lanka Parliament as National List MP and Slams Rajapaksa government’s economic policy and ‘militarisation’ »

17 Ex-LTTE Members Imprisoned for Many Years to be Released Following Presidential Pardon Issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Poson Poya Says Prisons Minister Lohan Ratwate

By W.K. Prasad Manju

The sentences of 216 prisoners, who have been sentenced to death for more than 20 years, will be commuted to life imprisonment, on the instructions of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, State Minister of Prisons Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte told Ceylon Today.

Continue reading ‘17 Ex-LTTE Members Imprisoned for Many Years to be Released Following Presidential Pardon Issued by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for Poson Poya Says Prisons Minister Lohan Ratwate’ »

The furore about Ranil Wickremesinghe’s re-entry to Parliament speaks volumes about the man’s reputation among friends and foe alike, to shape political events.

( Text of Editorial Appearing in the “Daily Financial Times” of June 22nd 2021 under the heading “Ranil’s Return”)

The United National Party (UNP) decision to nominate its Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe to the party’s sole parliamentary seat, one secured through the National List, has ruffled many political feathers.

The furore about Wickremesinghe’s re-entry to Parliament, where he has held a seat since 1977, speaks volumes about the man’s reputation among friends and foe alike, to shape political events.

The former Prime Minister has been written off many times during his long career in politics. Each time, he has clawed himself back to relevance. No other UNP Leader has faced such an intense backlash within his party, and still managed to hold the reins of power for over a quarter century. Some call his political survival skills remarkable. Others accuse him of clinging to power at all costs.

Be that as it may, Ranil Wickremesinghe returns to Parliament at a moment when Sri Lanka is fathoms deep in crisis. Now more than ever, the seasoned politician has a duty to make a positive and constructive impact on democratic discourse in the national legislature.

Continue reading ‘The furore about Ranil Wickremesinghe’s re-entry to Parliament speaks volumes about the man’s reputation among friends and foe alike, to shape political events.’ »

Pushing Farmers From Poverty Fringes Into Abject Poverty through the Dimwitted Presidential Directive Banning Chemical Fertilzer is a crime worse than white vans.

By

Ranga Jayasuriya

Farmers across this paradise isle are raging against a man-made disaster courtesy of a presidential directive. Holding placards in their starving paddy lands and hollowed out cash crops, they protest against a crippling shortage of fertilizer, the reason for that being a dimwitted presidential order to ban chemical fertilizer. Worst still, the ban was announced out of the blue, taking them by surprise in the height of the corona virus pandemic. Tea smallholders lament their harvest had plummeted to one third – from 900 kg per acre to 300 kg. Subsistent farmers point to emaciated pumpkin.

Their grievances fill the prime time news of television stations, even some, which are staunchly pro-government. They are not just sound bites, nor are personal tragedies. They are the tip of an iceberg of a major national calamity that would come to full force in a couple of months when the country faces a full-blown man-made food crisis for the first time in its history and an unprecedented rise in poverty in farming communities.

Continue reading ‘Pushing Farmers From Poverty Fringes Into Abject Poverty through the Dimwitted Presidential Directive Banning Chemical Fertilzer is a crime worse than white vans.’ »

Army Commences Probe Into Incident where Soldiers Assaulted and Publicly Humiliated Muslim Civilians For Reportedly Violating COVID Lockdown Rules in the Eastern Province Town of Eravur.

By

Meera Srinivasan

A widely-shared image on social media, showing a row of men kneeling in front of soldiers for reportedly violating Sri Lanka’s current lockdown, has prompted the Army to probe the incident.

Issuing a media statement on Sunday, the Army said “it immediately removed” the personnel from their duties, “after an alleged improper conduct of a few army personnel” in Eravur, a Muslim-majority town in the eastern Batticaloa district. Initial investigation has begun, the army said, pledging “strictest action”.

Continue reading ‘Army Commences Probe Into Incident where Soldiers Assaulted and Publicly Humiliated Muslim Civilians For Reportedly Violating COVID Lockdown Rules in the Eastern Province Town of Eravur.’ »

Epidemiology Unit Disregarding Recommendation to Vaccinate Persons Over 60 Years Against COVID Caused Hundreds of Avoidable Deaths Charge Reputed Medical Specialists in Letter to Health Ministry

By Kumudini Hettiarachchi

The COVID-19 vaccination programme has come under fire from senior medical specialists who are part of the independent expert panel of the National Medicines Regulatory Authority (NMRA), calling for an immediate probe on major flaws that could have prevented deaths.

The eight professionals are – Dr. Ananda Wijewickrama (physician), Prof. Neelika Malavige (immunologist), Dr. Rajiva de Silva (immunologist), Dr. Kanthi Nanayakkara (virologist), Prof. Channa Ranasinghe (respiratory physician), Prof. A. Pathmeswaran (community medicine physician), Dr. LakKumar Fernando (paediatrician) and Dr. Hasitha Tissera (epidemiologist). Some are also members of the National Advisory Committee on Communicable Diseases (NACCD) as well as the NMRA board.

In a letter to the Health Ministry Secretary sent on Friday, a copy of which the Sunday Times has seen, they said that during the past six months they had provided expert advice to the NMRA after carefully reviewing and evaluating scientific evidence on vaccines, while closely studying on-going vaccination programmes against COVID-19, both in Sri Lanka and overseas.

Continue reading ‘Epidemiology Unit Disregarding Recommendation to Vaccinate Persons Over 60 Years Against COVID Caused Hundreds of Avoidable Deaths Charge Reputed Medical Specialists in Letter to Health Ministry’ »

European Parliament resolution on the situation in Sri Lanka Urges using the GSP+ as a leverage to push for advancement on Sri Lanka’s human rights obligations and assess whether there is sufficient reason to initiate a procedure for the temporary withdrawal of Sri Lanka’s GSP+ status

Text of European Parliament resolution of 10 June 2021 on the situation in Sri Lanka, in particular the arrests under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (2021/2748(RSP))


The European Parliament,

– having regard to its previous resolutions on Sri Lanka,

– having regard to the report of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights of 9 February 2021 entitled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’,

– having regard to the UN Human Rights Council resolution of 23 March 2021 entitled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’,

– having regard to Regulations No. 01 of 2021 published on 12 March 2021 under Sri Lanka’s Prevention of Terrorism Act,

– having regard to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism of 14 December 2018 entitled ‘Visit to Sri Lanka’,

– having regard to the statement by Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, of 24 February 2021 on Sri Lanka,

– having regard to the final report of January 2020 of the European Union Election Observation Mission to the Sri Lanka Presidential Election of 16 November 2019,

Continue reading ‘European Parliament resolution on the situation in Sri Lanka Urges using the GSP+ as a leverage to push for advancement on Sri Lanka’s human rights obligations and assess whether there is sufficient reason to initiate a procedure for the temporary withdrawal of Sri Lanka’s GSP+ status’ »

Election Commission gazettes the name of United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the party’s sole National List Member of Parliament


The Election Commission has gazetted the name of United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the party’s one and only National List Member of Parliament.

The extraordinary gazette notification was published today (June 18) by the Chairman of the Election Commission Nimal G. Punchihewa and the members of the election body, S.B. Divaratne, M.M. Mohamed, K.P.P. Pathirana and Jeevan Thiagarajah.

Continue reading ‘Election Commission gazettes the name of United National Party (UNP) leader Ranil Wickremesinghe as the party’s sole National List Member of Parliament’ »

Ranil Echoes Rajapaksas in Praising Chinese Communist Party:”Countries like ours have many lessons to learn from the leadership given to China by the Chinese Communist Party”Says UNP Leader

Leader of the United National Party and former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe says countries like Sri Lanka have much to learn from how China has progressed under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

“We should appreciate the leadership given to China by the Chinese Communist Party. Because it is very important for our countries. Countries like ours have many lessons to learn from this. Under the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, China has become the most powerful country in the world economy today,” he said.

Mr. Wickremesinghe made these remarks while addressing at the convention to mark the 100th Anniversary of the Communist Party of China, organized by the Embassy of China in Sri Lanka and the Communist Party of Sri Lanka on June 15.

Continue reading ‘Ranil Echoes Rajapaksas in Praising Chinese Communist Party:”Countries like ours have many lessons to learn from the leadership given to China by the Chinese Communist Party”Says UNP Leader’ »