“Thalapathy” (Commander) M. K. Stalin Takes Over in Tamil Nadu as DMK Chief Minister

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

“Stalin Thaan Varraaru, Namakku Vidivu Tharraaru”(Stalin is only coming and will give us a Dawn) was the key slogan around which the Indian political party” Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam”(DMK) conducted its election campaign for the Tamil Nadu State Assembly polls held this year. The message conveyed by the slogan was that the DMK led by its leader MK Stalin was definitely winning the elections and that Stalin as chief minister would usher in a new Dawn for all. The first part of the slogan has been proven right. With the DMK winning the recently concluded Tamil Nadu state assembly elections, Stalin has certainly arrived. Now the 72 million population of Tamil Nadu state waits for the new Chief Minister Stalin to usher in a new dawn and make the second part of the campaign slogan come true.

Polls were held under the first past the post winner system to 234 Constituencies of the state legislature in Tamil Nadu on April 6th 2021. One more MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) would be nominated to represent the Anglo-Indian community. The results were declared on May 3rd.

Continue reading ‘“Thalapathy” (Commander) M. K. Stalin Takes Over in Tamil Nadu as DMK Chief Minister’ »

Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) condemns killing of two suspects ‘Uru Juwa’ and ‘Kosgoda Tharaka’in police custody on two consecutive days:”These deaths have all the hallmarks of extra-judicial killings” Notes BASL

The Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) today condemned the recent killing of two suspects in police custody, namely Melon Mabula alias ‘Uru Juwa’ and Tharaka Perera Wijesekera alias ‘Kosgoda Tharaka’ which has occurred on two consecutive days.

In a statement, the BASL said the State and the Police should have a duty to ensure the safety and security of persons in their custody, irrespective of the character of such persons and the seriousness of the nature of the allegations against such person.

The full statement is as follows,

Continue reading ‘Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) condemns killing of two suspects ‘Uru Juwa’ and ‘Kosgoda Tharaka’in police custody on two consecutive days:”These deaths have all the hallmarks of extra-judicial killings” Notes BASL’ »

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake dismisses the SJB’s call for an all party conference to discuss possible solutions to the prevailing pandemic situation as a Political Comedy

By Saman Indrajith

JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake yesterday dismissed the SJB’s call for an all party conference to discuss possible solutions to the prevailing pandemic situation.

Responding to media queries on his party’s position with regard to the proposal of setting up of an APRC, during a press conference held at the party headquarters in Pelawatte on Tuesday, Dissanayake said that all-party representative committee (APRC) meetings were mere political comedies.

Continue reading ‘JVP Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayake dismisses the SJB’s call for an all party conference to discuss possible solutions to the prevailing pandemic situation as a Political Comedy’ »

Sri Lanka’s Kanya D’Almeida is Asia Winner of 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize with her story titled -‘I Cleaned The—’‘dirty work,’ which talks of “domestic labour, but also love among the rambutan and clove trees of Sri Lanka”

The Commonwealth Foundation on Wednesday announced the regional winners of the world’s most global literary prize, with Sri Lankan author Kanya D’Almeida winning the 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize (Asia) for her story, ‘I Cleaned The—’

The 35-year-old author from Sri Lanka fought off competition from a strong field of shortlisted entrants including Indian authors Aravind Jayan, Riddhi Dastidar, Ling Low from Malaysia and Nur Khan from Pakistan to become the Asia winner. She will go through to the final round of judging and the overall winner will be announced on 30 June.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Kanya D’Almeida is Asia Winner of 2021 Commonwealth Short Story Prize with her story titled -‘I Cleaned The—’‘dirty work,’ which talks of “domestic labour, but also love among the rambutan and clove trees of Sri Lanka”’ »

Sri Lanka Seeks immediate intervention of the Canadian government to stop Royal Assent by Lt. Governor of Ontario to the Private Member Bill 104 on ‘Tamil Genocide Education Week’ Passed by the Ontario Legislative Assembly on 06 May 2021

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday (10) conveyed Sri Lanka’s deep concern over the adoption of Private Member Bill 104 on ‘Tamil Genocide Education Week’ by the Ontario Legislative Assembly on 06 May 2021 to Canadian High Commissioner David McKinnon.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Seeks immediate intervention of the Canadian government to stop Royal Assent by Lt. Governor of Ontario to the Private Member Bill 104 on ‘Tamil Genocide Education Week’ Passed by the Ontario Legislative Assembly on 06 May 2021’ »

Sri Lanka Signs $ 500 million loan agreement with the EXIM Bank of South Korea to finance development projects at Low Interest Rates of 0.15-0.20% Repayable in 40 Years With Grace Period of 10 Years


Sri Lanka has entered into a $ 500 million loan agreement with the EXIM Bank of Korea to finance development projects, the Finance Ministry said in a statement yesterday.

In order to further strengthen the economic cooperation between the two countries, the Government of the Republic of Korea has agreed to provide concessional loans from the Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) of the Export Import Bank of Korea (KEximbank).

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Signs $ 500 million loan agreement with the EXIM Bank of South Korea to finance development projects at Low Interest Rates of 0.15-0.20% Repayable in 40 Years With Grace Period of 10 Years’ »

Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Implores President and Cabinet to Take Full Control pf The Situation to Stop Worsening Spread of COVID and Save Lives; Points out that Committees(And Task Forces) Appointed to Check Pandemic Have Failed


Former Prime Minister and Leader of the United National Party Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday, making a special statement on the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country, urged the President and the Cabinet of ministers to take control of the worsening situation in the country.

Pointing out that the committees appointed to control the pandemic have failed, the former Premier called on the President and the Cabinet to take full powers to protect the people from this pandemic.

Following is the statement made by the UNP leader:

Continue reading ‘Former Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe Implores President and Cabinet to Take Full Control pf The Situation to Stop Worsening Spread of COVID and Save Lives; Points out that Committees(And Task Forces) Appointed to Check Pandemic Have Failed’ »

Lester James Peries the Emancipator of Sinhala Cinema

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Renowned Sri Lankan Film Maker Lester James Peries passed away three years ago at the age of 99. Among the many who paid homage to the Maestro at that time was Asoka Handagama who is one of the two brightest directorial stars in the Sinhala film firmament of today.(the other is Prasanaa Vithanage). Asoka used a reference by Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky to highlight an interesting comparison between Gogol and Peries.

Asoka Handagama was quoted then in a news story on Lester James Peries in “The Hindu” written by its Colombo correspondent Meera Srinivasan: “They say that Dostoevsky once said ‘we all come out of Gogol’s Overcoat’. The same way, we all came out of Peiris’s ‘Rekava,’” Handagama told The Hindu.

Lester James Peries (5 April 1919 – 29 April 2018)

The impact and influence of Nikolai Gogol on the “golden age” generation of Russian writers was immense and that is what Dostoevsky’s oft-quoted remark meant. Likewise well-known director Asoka Handagama’s allusion was to emphasise the sea change brought about in Sinhala cinema by the advent of Lester James Peries and the influence of the pioneering director on future Sri Lankan filmmakers.

Continue reading ‘Lester James Peries the Emancipator of Sinhala Cinema’ »

Arbitrary Arrest and Prolonged Detention of Teacher-Poet Ahnaf Jazeem and Lawyer Hejaz Hizbullah Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act Strengthens the Case for Repealing Draconian Law Modelled on South Africa’s Apartheid Legislation

By

Meera Srinivasan

Daily-wage agricultural labourer Abdul Ghafoor Muhammadhu Jazeem, in Sri Lanka’s northern Mannar district, had one life goal. To ensure his children have a good education. Despite toiling for years to realise the dream, he could not be more dejected today.

On May 16, 2020, the police arrested his eldest son, Ahnaf Jazeem, a 26-year-old teacher and Tamil poet, based on allegations that his poetry collection, promoting “religious extremism”, was circulated among his students in Puttalam in the North Western Province, where he was employed.

Mr. Ahnaf Jazeem was arrested under the controversial Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) — that rights groups deem draconian and want replaced — and has been in custody for a year now. His case, like that of prominent Muslim lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah — also in detention for a year — has brought to focus growing fears over minority rights in Sri Lanka, and old concerns about the 40-year-old anti-terrorism law.

Continue reading ‘Arbitrary Arrest and Prolonged Detention of Teacher-Poet Ahnaf Jazeem and Lawyer Hejaz Hizbullah Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act Strengthens the Case for Repealing Draconian Law Modelled on South Africa’s Apartheid Legislation’ »

New Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin Begins Implementation of Election Promises by Ordering Grant of Rs 4000 to Each Family, Free Bus Travel in Cities to Working Women and Girls Pursuing Higher Studies, Lowering of Milk Price and Extension of Chief Ministers Health Insurance Scheme for COVID Patients

Soon after being sworn-in, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin, on Friday, signed five files to implement major promises made in the DMK Assembly election manifesto, including offering ₹4,000 as COVID-19 relief to family cardholders, free travel in city buses (ordinary) for women and reducing the retail price of Aavin milk by ₹3 per litre from May 16.

An official release said, Mr. Stalin, who reached his office in the Secretariat at Fort St George, ordered the implementation of financial assistance of ₹4,000 to each of the 2.07 crore rice ration card holders across the State, in view of the hardships they face due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Continue reading ‘New Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin Begins Implementation of Election Promises by Ordering Grant of Rs 4000 to Each Family, Free Bus Travel in Cities to Working Women and Girls Pursuing Higher Studies, Lowering of Milk Price and Extension of Chief Ministers Health Insurance Scheme for COVID Patients’ »

Names of Ministers in New Tamil Nadu DMK Cabinet and Their Portfolios.

DMK president M K Stalin was sworn in as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister on Friday, along with 34 ministers in his cabinet. Stalin will hold key portfolios of Police and Home, among others.

The list promises to be a balanced cabinet featuring both the youth and the experienced. Many former ministers have been inducted into the cabinet with some of them being given different portfolios this time around.
Former Chennai Mayor Ma Subramanian will be the Minister for Medical and Family Welfare while Palanivel Thiagarajan (PTR) will be the Minister for Finance.

Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi, one of the youngest MLAs, will be the Minister for School Education. The cabinet will also have two women members — Geetha Jeevan and N Kayalvizhi Selvaraj — who have been appointed as ministers for Social Welfare and Women Empowerment and Adi Dravidar Welfare, respectively.

Interestingly, Stalin’s son Udhayanidhi does not figure in the list.
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin’s Cabinet Ministers:

1. M K Stalin – Chief Minister; Public, General Administration, Indian Administrative Service, Indian Police Service, Other All India Service, District Revenue Officers, Police, Home, Special Initiatives, Special Programme Implementation, Welfare of Differently-abled persons.

2. Duraimurugan – Minister for Water Resources – Irrigation Projects including small Irrigation, Legislative Assembly, Governor and Ministry, Elections and Passports, Minerals and Mines.


3. K N Nehru
– Minister for Municipal Administration – Municipal Administration, Urban and Water Supply.

Continue reading ‘Names of Ministers in New Tamil Nadu DMK Cabinet and Their Portfolios.’ »

New 34 Member Tamil Nadu cabinet has a unique combination of a Stalin, a Gandhi and also a Nehru


DMK president MK Stalin took oath as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu along with 33 other Cabinet ministers. Interestingly, the Tamil Nadu cabinet now has a unique combination of a Stalin, a Gandhi and a Nehru.

MK Stalin, who was named after late Soviet Union leader Joseph Stalin, was sworn in as the chief minister of Tamil Nadu on Friday after the DMK-led alliance won 159 seats, trumping the long AIADMK rule.

Tiruchirappalli-based DMK strongman and former minister, KN Nehru took oath as the Minister for Municipal Administration, a department that was earlier handled by Stalin in the previous DMK government.

Continue reading ‘New 34 Member Tamil Nadu cabinet has a unique combination of a Stalin, a Gandhi and also a Nehru’ »

68 Year old DMK President Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin Sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu by State Governor Banwarilal Purohit in a Simple Ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Guindy


Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin, the DMK president who led his party to a huge victory in the Assembly polls was sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu on Friday. Governor Banwarilal Purohit administered the oath of office and secrecy to the 68-year old Stalin, for whom this would be the first stint as CM, in a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhavan here.

A total of 33 ministers were also sworn in following Stalin, of whom 15 are first-time ministers. All the 34, including Stalin took the oath as per their conscience and in Tamil, in sync with the decades old tradition of the DMK.Earlier, Stalin, clad in a white shirt and dhoti introduced his Cabinet to Purohit.

Continue reading ‘68 Year old DMK President Muthuvel Karunanidhi Stalin Sworn in as Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu by State Governor Banwarilal Purohit in a Simple Ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Guindy’ »

Jaffna MP Sumanthiran Criticises Sarath Weerasekara’s Move to Prevent MP’s Detained Under PTA From Attending Parliament and Warns that MP’s could be taken into custody under the PTA and investigations carried out for three months which will automatically cancel their seat in Parliament

By
Camelia Nathaniel and Amali Mallawaarachchi

Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara yesterday (05) requested the Speaker not to allow MP Rishad Bathiudeen, who is detained under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to attend Parliament until the investigations relating to his arrest are completed.

Weerasekara stated that any MP who would be detained under the PTA should not be allowed to attend Parliament until the relevant investigations are over.

Continue reading ‘Jaffna MP Sumanthiran Criticises Sarath Weerasekara’s Move to Prevent MP’s Detained Under PTA From Attending Parliament and Warns that MP’s could be taken into custody under the PTA and investigations carried out for three months which will automatically cancel their seat in Parliament’ »

Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Asela Gunawardena’s Directive to Isolate Piliyandala Due to COVID Spread is Flouted by Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge who uses his “Power” to Remove Piliyandala from the to be Isolated Areas List.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Asela Gunawardena, who is the state authority for the national campaign against the rampaging Covid-19 pandemic, has acknowledged that his directive that Piliyandala police area be isolated on May Day was overridden.

Appearing on Hiru TV ‘Salakuna’ programme on Monday (3) night, Dr. Gunawardena admitted that the very basis of the mechanism in place to isolate areas threatened by the Covid-19 epidemic had been violated.

Dr. Gunawardena said so in response to ‘Salakuna’ anchor Chamuditha Samarawickrema repeatedly pressing the DGHS over the removal of the isolation directive issued effective at 6 am on May Day following Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge’s intervention. Samarawickrema sought an explanation as regards the removal of the directive at 5 pm and the subsequent isolation of five Grama Niladhari areas in the Piliyandala police area.

Continue reading ‘Director General of Health Services (DGHS) Asela Gunawardena’s Directive to Isolate Piliyandala Due to COVID Spread is Flouted by Transport Minister Gamini Lokuge who uses his “Power” to Remove Piliyandala from the to be Isolated Areas List.’ »

Attorney-General Dappula de Livera Tells CID There is no Legal Impediment for PTA Detained MP Rishd Bathiudeen to Attend Parliament but Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara Tells Speaker not to Allow any one Detained Under PTA to Enter Parliament Until Investigations are Over.

By Asiri Fernando

Parliamentarian Rishad Bathiudeen’s absence in Parliament yesterday sparked heated debate in the House, with Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Rtd) Sarath Weerasekara requesting that the Speaker not allow his presence, which was subsequently met with heated arguments from the Opposition.

Public Security Minister Weerasekera asked the Speaker not to allow anyone being held under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) to enter Parliament until relevant investigations had been concluded.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-General Dappula de Livera Tells CID There is no Legal Impediment for PTA Detained MP Rishd Bathiudeen to Attend Parliament but Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara Tells Speaker not to Allow any one Detained Under PTA to Enter Parliament Until Investigations are Over.’ »

The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Condemns Sri Lankan legislation creating “reintegration centers” Saying it will permit arbitrary detention of Muslims who will be subject to human rights violations without any legal oversight.


The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation has condemned Sri Lankan legislation that allows for the creation of “reintegration centers” as part of a campaign against violent extremist religious ideology.

The commission said that the legislation will permit arbitrary detention of Muslims who will be subject to human rights violations without any legal oversight.

It also said that a newly imposed ban on the wearing of the burqa, under the pretext of counterterrorism measures, “squarely violates minorities’ rights to freedom of religion guaranteed in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.”

Continue reading ‘The Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Condemns Sri Lankan legislation creating “reintegration centers” Saying it will permit arbitrary detention of Muslims who will be subject to human rights violations without any legal oversight.’ »

“China today spends more on internal security than on national or external defense. . Since 2012, under Xi Jinping, CCP’s command and control have been tightened with a drastic recentralization”

By P.K.Balachandran

“India and Asian geopolitics: The past, present” by Shivshankar Menon (Brookings Institution Press, Washington DC, 2021) may, at first glance, appear to be primarily on India. But it is about Asia as a whole, its past, present and future in the context of global developments. China’s growth, problems and prospects in a changing world figure prominently in it.

Menon, who was India’s Foreign Secretary and National Security Advisor, and envoy in China and Sri Lanka, says that one of the main reasons for the emergence of China as a power was the withdrawal from Asia of an increasingly inward looking United States, and the weakening of Russia’s hold on its former possessions in Central Asia and Eastern Europe. China started filling the vacuum through its infrastructure projects under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) from 2013 onwards.

China’s new outlook was stated by President Xi Jinping at the 19th Party Congress in October 2017: “Currently, conditions, both domestic and abroad, are undergoing complicated changes. Our country is in an important period of strategic opportunity in its development. The outlook is extremely bright; the challenges are also extremely grim,” Xi said. China has “become a great power in the world” and that it was time China took the center stage in the world and made a greater contribution to humankind.

Continue reading ‘“China today spends more on internal security than on national or external defense. . Since 2012, under Xi Jinping, CCP’s command and control have been tightened with a drastic recentralization”’ »

Sri Lanka’s Face Covering Ban for Muslim Women is a Discriminatory Measure Targeting a Marginalized Population says Human Rights Watch

By Meenakshi Ganguly

Muslims in Sri Lanka already faced a growing list of discriminatory government policies before the cabinet approved plans on April 27 to ban women’s face coverings. If approved by parliament, the measure will outlaw garments worn by some Muslim women such as the niqab or burqa, increasing their social marginalization.

After a similar ban was temporarily imposed following the Easter Sunday bombings in 2019, the Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka documented numerous cases of Muslim women, including those legally wearing a hijab – a head covering that does not cover the face – being abused in public and denied access to public buildings such as schools, hospitals, and universities.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Face Covering Ban for Muslim Women is a Discriminatory Measure Targeting a Marginalized Population says Human Rights Watch’ »

Former Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s Spouse Ayesha Rishad Writes to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Over the Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of her Husband and his Brother Riyaj Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act

(Former Caabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s Spouse Ayesha Rishad Writes to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Over the Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of her Husband and his Brother Riyaj Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The Full text of the letter is Posted Below)


Ayesha Rishad,
Spouse of Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen M.P,
No. 410/16, Bauddhaloka Mawatha,
Colombo – 07
03rd of May, 2021

H.E, Gotabaya Rajapaksa
President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka
Presidential Secretariat
Colombo

Your Excellency,


Arbitrary Arrest of My Husband Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen M.P

I am forwarding this appeal to your Excellency on account of the grave agony and intense drama that had been caused to me and my children by reason of the unlawful and unjustified arrest of my husband Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen M.P.

On 24th of April 2021 that is during the Holy month of Ramadan, at around 3.00 a.m, the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) suddenly descended on our house and arrested my husband. At that time no reason for arrest was furnished. On inquiries, we have since become aware that it is alleged that my husband had been privy to telephone calls between the then Additional Secretary (Industrial Development) Mr. Balasubramaniyam of the Ministry, then headed by my husband as the Minister of Industry and Commerce and also in respect of calls said to have been made by Inshaf Ahamed to Mr. Balasubramaniyam.

I wish to bring to Your Excellency’s attention the contents of the Gazette bearing No. 33/24 of 27th of April, 1979 in terms of which the power to issue licenses for the export of scrap metal was vested in the Secretary to the Ministry. This power has been delegated by the Secretary to the Additional Secretary.

A meeting had been held at the Presidential Secretariat on the 27th of March 2019, which had been attended by the Secretary to the Ministry Mr. Ranjith Asoka, Additional Secretary Mr. Balasubramaniyam, and several Exporters. My husband had no information of the meeting and as such he was not present. It had apparently been decided at the meeting to permit the issue of licenses to export scrap metal and as submitted above, the power to grant such licenses was vested exclusively with the Secretary to the Ministry.

Continue reading ‘Former Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen’s Spouse Ayesha Rishad Writes to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Over the Arbitrary Arrest and Detention of her Husband and his Brother Riyaj Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act’ »

Formalising of QUAD Grouping Comprising US,India,Japan and Australia In Indo-Pacific Seems to Have Triggered China into Action in South Asia.

By

Col.R.Hariharan

The recently held Quad summit, which transformed an informal frame work of the US, India, Japan and Australia, into a formal grouping with a broad range of objectives in the Indo-Pacific seems to have triggered China into action in South Asia.

China’s State Councillor and defence minister Gen Wei Fenghe made a two-day visit to Colombo after making a fleeting visit to Dhaka on May 27.

The Chinese defence minister called upon President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and discussed ways to further cement bilateral ties, including defence cooperation and post pandemic economic recovery. The Chinese minister’s high-level delegation included Deputy Chief of Staff of Joint Staff Department under China’s Central Military Commission Lt General Shao Yuanming and Major General Ci Guowei. This would indicate Indian Ocean strategic security issues, in the wake of the Quad summit, could be one of the topics of discussion.

Continue reading ‘Formalising of QUAD Grouping Comprising US,India,Japan and Australia In Indo-Pacific Seems to Have Triggered China into Action in South Asia.’ »

Attorney-General Dappula de Livera Indicts Former Defence Secy Hemasiri Fernando and EX-IGP Pujith Jayasundara at the Colombo High Court on 800 Charges Over Easter Sunday Attacks;Will ace Separate Trials at Bar for Murder and Attempted Murder Says State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne

By A.J.A. Abeynayake

Attorney General Dappula de Livera yesterday indicted, in the Colombo High Court, former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and former Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara on 800 charges over the Easter Sunday terror attacks.

The AG’s Coordinating Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne said the charges had been filed in respect of those killed and injured in the 2019 Easter Sunday attacks.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-General Dappula de Livera Indicts Former Defence Secy Hemasiri Fernando and EX-IGP Pujith Jayasundara at the Colombo High Court on 800 Charges Over Easter Sunday Attacks;Will ace Separate Trials at Bar for Murder and Attempted Murder Says State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne’ »

DMK Led Alliance in Sweeping Victory with 159 Seats out of 234 in Tamil Nadu State Assembly Elections While AIADML led Alliance gets 75; DMK Ally Congress Gets 18;AIADMK Ally BJP get 04, Parties Led by Actor Kamal Hasan and Director Seeman Fail to get a Single Seat.

By

S.Kumaresan

It was a well-fought battle, defying predictions of a “clean sweep,” springing quite a few surprises in the process.

Out of power for a decade, the DMK finally managed to dethrone its Dravidian rival by a comfortable margin.

MK Stalin, who has been waiting in the sidelines for the last several years, is all set to be sworn-in as the eighth Chief Minister of the State.

At 68, he would be the oldest first-time CM of Tamil Nadu. This is the first time in 25 years that the DMK has secured a majority on its own.

Continue reading ‘DMK Led Alliance in Sweeping Victory with 159 Seats out of 234 in Tamil Nadu State Assembly Elections While AIADML led Alliance gets 75; DMK Ally Congress Gets 18;AIADMK Ally BJP get 04, Parties Led by Actor Kamal Hasan and Director Seeman Fail to get a Single Seat.’ »

D.M.K. Leader MK Stalin to be Sworn in as Chief Minister on May 7th as the Dravidian Party Gets Set to Form a Govt In Tamil Nadu After 10 Years: Who Will Be the Key Member in Stalin’s Cabinet?


By

Priyanka Thirumurthy

The DMK is set to form government in Tamil Nadu after a decade and party chief MK Stalin will be sworn in as Chief MInister on May 7. The DMK’s general secretary Durai Murugan has called for a meeting of elected MLAs on May 4 but this is a mere formality where Stalin will be elected as the legislature party leader.

But the bigger question on everybody’s minds is who will be appointed to key positions in Stalin’s cabinet. Sources in the DMK say that Duraimurugan who won with a slim margin in Katpadi will be the first to choose a portfolio as he is second in command to Stalin.

“He is expected to take either the Public works department or the Finance department,” says a source in the party. Meanwhile PTR Thiyagarajan who retained the Madurai Central with over a margin of 33,000 votes is likely to get the Finance portfolio or Industry if Duraimurugan chooses the former.

Continue reading ‘D.M.K. Leader MK Stalin to be Sworn in as Chief Minister on May 7th as the Dravidian Party Gets Set to Form a Govt In Tamil Nadu After 10 Years: Who Will Be the Key Member in Stalin’s Cabinet?’ »

Cardinal’s Candid Comments and and the Bathiudeen Brothers Brouhaha

By D.B.S.JEYARAJ

All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) leader and ex-Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen is a prominent Sri Lankan politician who is very often in the news for the wrong reasons. The 48-year-old Bathiudeen hailing from Dharapuram in the Mannar District is an engineer by profession. Known widely as Rishad, he was first elected to Parliament from the Northern Wanni electoral district in December 2001. He has been consistently elected as Wanni MP since then in 2004, 2010 ,2015 and 2020. Rishad has also served continuously from January 2007 to November 2019 as Cabinet Minister in the governments of Mahinda Rajapaksa and Maithripala Sirisena.Currently his party the ACMC has 4 MP’s and 169 Local Authority Members.

Rishad Bathiudeen was arrested by the Police at 3 am on Saturday April 24th 2021. Prior to Rishad Bathiudeen’s arrest at his residence on Bullers Road(Bauddhaloka Mawatte) in Colombo 7, his brother Riyaj Bathiudeen was arrested at his house in Colombo 6 by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of the Police.Shortly before his arrest, the ex-cabinet minister tweeted “ The CID has been standing outside my house in Baudhaloka Mawatha since 1.30 am today attempting to arrest me without a charge. They have already arrested my brother. I have been in Parliament, and have cooperated with all lawful authorities until now. This is unjust.”
Continue reading ‘Cardinal’s Candid Comments and and the Bathiudeen Brothers Brouhaha’ »

Parakramabahu the Sixth was nominated as King of Kotte by Chinese Emperor Yongle and effectively installed on the Throne by Chinese Naval Commander Zheng He After Defeating Vira Alakeshvara Militarily and Taking him Prisoner

by Sasanka Perera
South Asian University

I have a clear recollection of one of my teachers in the Advanced Level Sinhala class narrating the story of how a Sri Lankan ruler was kidnapped by a Chinese naval commander in the Kotte period. It was not part of the subject matter of his class. But as a well-read man he knew the story and wanted to make a point about power and political interference. I cannot now remember what the exact context was.

Over time, I also forgot who the Chinese belligerent was but always remember the local kidnap victim as Alakeshvara. In the annals of Sinhala heroism, Alakeshvara or Vira Alakeshvara comes up as an able military leader who is credited for establishing the fortifications of Kotte, which later became the main kingdom of Lanka and for bringing invading soldiers from the kingdom of Jaffna under control.

He later captured power in Kotte and became the king and ruled for 12 years. But Alakeshvara’s plight at the hands of the Chinese is not part of this heroic discourse. ‘National defeats’ are hardly a part of public national memory anywhere in the world and not simply in Lanka. Moments of ‘shame’ are often forgotten or consciously erased in preference to what can be more easily and happily celebrated.

As such, there is a deafening silence on the Chinese belligerence in the 15th century even though there are adequate references to the incident from records of the time as well as from the work of latter-day scholars such as Edward Dreyer, Louise Levathes, Senarath Paranavitana and others. All these sources collectively offer a reasonable sense of what happened not only in Lanka, but the overall contexts and politics of Chinese naval expansion in the 15th century.

It seems to me an understanding of this past is quite important to the present as well, given the way in which this ancient incident is embroiled in diplomatic, military and commercial interests.

Continue reading ‘Parakramabahu the Sixth was nominated as King of Kotte by Chinese Emperor Yongle and effectively installed on the Throne by Chinese Naval Commander Zheng He After Defeating Vira Alakeshvara Militarily and Taking him Prisoner’ »

Opposition MP Harin Fernando Wont be Arrested over his statement in Parliament that he was aware of the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks Says Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara

by Norman Palihawadana

There’s no move to arrest opposition MP, Harin Fernando over his statement in Parliament that he was aware of the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks, Public Security Minister, Sarath Weerasekara said.

Continue reading ‘Opposition MP Harin Fernando Wont be Arrested over his statement in Parliament that he was aware of the mastermind behind the Easter Sunday terror attacks Says Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara’ »

TNA Jaffna MP Sumanthiran Escapes Unhurt after his Vehicle Meets with Hydroplaning Accident on he Colombo -Katunayake Expressway at 3.45 am

Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Jaffna District Parlimentarian MA Sumanthiran escaped unhurt when the vehicle in which he was travelling in met with a hydroplaning accident at 3.45 am on the Colombo – Katunayake Expressway on April 30.

The vehicle had gone out of control after skidding on the wet surface of the highway. It had spun s thrice before crashing against the safety barrier protective railings along the road..

Although the vehicle as well as the safety railings were extensively damage, Sumanthi along with his driver and Police security officer were not injured.

Continue reading ‘TNA Jaffna MP Sumanthiran Escapes Unhurt after his Vehicle Meets with Hydroplaning Accident on he Colombo -Katunayake Expressway at 3.45 am’ »

Is Naufer “Moulavi” the Mastermind Behind the Easter Sunday Bombings?

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Today, 21 April, is the second anniversary of the Easter Sunday bombings which rocked and shocked Sri Lanka and the world at large two years ago.

His Eminence paying respect to those who died in the Easter Sunday tragic bomb blast 2019 – pic via St Anthony’s Shrine

2nd Year memorial service – Zion Church, Batticaloa

On the morning of that fateful Easter Sunday, suicide bombers targeted three plush hotels and three churches in Colombo, Negombo and Batticaloa; 269 were killed and over 500 injured in the well- coordinated near simultaneous attacks by a group allegedly subscribing to Islamic Jihadist ideology.

Continue reading ‘Is Naufer “Moulavi” the Mastermind Behind the Easter Sunday Bombings?’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells Chinse Defence Minister Wei Fenghe tht Sri Lanka Firmly Supports China’s Positions on Issues Concerning Its Core Interests Reports Chinese State Media


By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka has prioritised developing relations with China and “firmly supports” China’s positions on issues concerning its core interests, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa told Chinese State Councilor and Minister of National Defence Wei Fenghe, according to Chinese state media.

The Sri Lankan President said his country “has been pursuing an independent foreign policy and will never bend to pressure from major powers outside the region as well as never forge an alliance with any country,” Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka and China vowed to enhance pragmatic cooperation in all sectors, “including the military”. While specifics of the enhanced military ties are yet to emerge, Senior Sri Lankan Defence officials and the visiting Chinese delegation signed a ‘Military Assistance Protocol’, Sri Lanka’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement issued after the top Chinese official’s departure Thursday morning.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Tells Chinse Defence Minister Wei Fenghe tht Sri Lanka Firmly Supports China’s Positions on Issues Concerning Its Core Interests Reports Chinese State Media’ »

China and Sri Lanka sign ‘Military Assistance Protocol.’in Colombo. Visiting Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe says “We are looking forward to working together with Sri Lanka to enhance practical cooperation and to promote bilateral relations to a greater extent.”

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Defence Secretary retired General Kamal Gunaratne has greatly appreciated the stand taken by China on behalf of Sri Lanka at the recently concluded 46th sessions of the Geneva-based United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), during talks with the high powered Chinese delegation led by State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe.

The delegations led by Minister Fenghe and Defence Secretary Gunaratne met at the Shangri-La Hotel, Wednesday (28). Minister Fenghe is the highest foreign dignitary to visit the hotel overlooking the mega China investment Colombo Port City since it was attacked by two suicide bombers on April 21, two years ago.

UN Security Council member China on behalf of Sri Lanka called for a vote on controversial draft resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka,’ after the UK led Core Group targeting Sri Lanka insisted on a punitive text and the setting up of a new inquiry at a cost of USD 2.8 mn. The UNHRC adopted the latest resolution on March 23 with 22 countries voting for, 11 including China against and 14 abstaining.

Continue reading ‘China and Sri Lanka sign ‘Military Assistance Protocol.’in Colombo. Visiting Chinese Defence Minister Gen. Wei Fenghe says “We are looking forward to working together with Sri Lanka to enhance practical cooperation and to promote bilateral relations to a greater extent.”’ »

CHINA ENTERS INDIA EXITS; China Participates in South Asian Foreign Ministers Video Conference ON COVID Along With Sri Lanka,Pakistan,Nepal, Bangla Desh and Afghanistan While India and Allies Bhutan and Maldives are Conspicuous by their Absence


By P.K.Balachandran

A video conference of the Foreign Ministers of South Asian countries and China on the containment of the raging COVID-19 pandemic in the region was held on Tuesday. However, India and its allies, Bhutan and the Maldives, were conspicuously absent, perhaps due to the participation of China. New Delhi envisages no role for China in South Asia.

Those who participated in the conference were the State Councilor Wang Yi (China), Dinesh Gunawardena (Si Lanka), Mirwais Nab (Afghanistan), A.K Abdul Memon (Bangladesh), Pradeep Kumar Gyawali (Nepal) and Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi (Pakistan).

Apparently, the regional and global health emergency has not mitigated pre-existing conflicts and politico-strategic line-up in the strife-torn South Asian region.

A press release from the Sri Lankan Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that the discussions focused on consolidating COVID-19 response cooperation and promoting post-pandemic economic recovery as well as poverty alleviation amidst the recent spike in COVID-19 infections.

Continue reading ‘CHINA ENTERS INDIA EXITS; China Participates in South Asian Foreign Ministers Video Conference ON COVID Along With Sri Lanka,Pakistan,Nepal, Bangla Desh and Afghanistan While India and Allies Bhutan and Maldives are Conspicuous by their Absence’ »

Police CID Obtain 90 Day Detention Order Under 9(1) of Prevention of Terrorism Act to Further Interrogate Rishad and Riyaj Bathiudeen After Arresting and Detaining Both for 72 Hours Under 6(1) of PTA For Allegedly Aiding and Abetting the Easter Sunday Suicide Bombers

By

Mihi Perera

The Criminal Investigation Department (CID) has been granted permission to detain and interrogate MP Rishad Bathiudeen and his brother Riyaj Bathiudeen for 90 days with regard to the Easter Sunday terror attacks, says Police Spokesperson DIG Ajith Rohana.

The Bathiudeen brothers were arrested on Saturday (April 24) for allegedly aiding and abetting the suicide bombers who perpetrated the deadly terror attacks on April 21, 2019.

Continue reading ‘Police CID Obtain 90 Day Detention Order Under 9(1) of Prevention of Terrorism Act to Further Interrogate Rishad and Riyaj Bathiudeen After Arresting and Detaining Both for 72 Hours Under 6(1) of PTA For Allegedly Aiding and Abetting the Easter Sunday Suicide Bombers’ »

Indictment Filed at Puttalam High Court by Attorney-General Against Eight Persons Including Two Deceased For Allegedly Collecting and Manufacturing Explosives in Wannaathivillu: Chief Justice Requested to Appoint A Trial -at -bar;Among The accused are Naufer Maulavi, Zahran Hashim and Mohammed Hasthun.

By
Dilshan Tharaka

Attorney General Dappula de Livera filed indictments against eight persons including deceased Zahran Hashim and Mohammed Husthun who carried out the suicide bombs at the Colombo Shangri-La hotel and Katuwapitiya St. Sebastian’s Church, in the Puttalam High Court for collection of explosives and maintaining an explosive manufacturing base in Wannathivullu area in 2019.

Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne said that the Attorney General has also requested the Chief Justice to appoint a Trial-at-Bar to try the case.

Continue reading ‘Indictment Filed at Puttalam High Court by Attorney-General Against Eight Persons Including Two Deceased For Allegedly Collecting and Manufacturing Explosives in Wannaathivillu: Chief Justice Requested to Appoint A Trial -at -bar;Among The accused are Naufer Maulavi, Zahran Hashim and Mohammed Hasthun.’ »

Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe’s Visit to Sri Lanka is significant as it indicates Sino-Lankan relations may go beyond economic engagement to acquiring a military dimension.


By P. K. Balachandran

The visit of the Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe to Sri Lanka which begins on Tuesday (27) is significant as it indicates Sino-Lankan relations may go beyond economic engagement to acquiring a military dimension.

A local Sunday paper reported that Wei’s visit will result in China giving Sri Lanka equipment to modernize the army, navy and air force and enhancing the training component. Though independent confirmation of this has not been possible, what is clear is that China is looking beyond infrastructure development projects in Sri Lanka. It views the island nation as a strategic asset in the military sense also.

China has been a supplier of military hardware to Sri Lanka during the long drawn out war against Tamil separatists when other countries refused to supply arms on humanitarian grounds or because they were partial to the Tamil movement. China did not have any such considerations. After the war ended in 2009, training of Sri Lankan troops and the supply of new hardware continued, albeit on a limited scale. The focus then shifted to infrastructure development in a significant manner with China building highways, a container terminal, a whole new port and a new airport with amazing speed.

Earlier in April, Sri Lanka inked an agreement with the State-run China Development Bank for a loan of US$ 500 million. A month or so earlier it signed a currency swap deal worth US$ 1.5 billion with China to ensure fiscal stability in the face of the unceasing pandemic. “The US$ 500 million loan was a part of the US$ 1 billion loan (signed before), out of which US$ 500 million was released last year,” the Sri Lankan embassy in China explained. A Sunday paper added that another US$ 700 is being sought.

Continue reading ‘Chinese Defence Minister Wei Fenghe’s Visit to Sri Lanka is significant as it indicates Sino-Lankan relations may go beyond economic engagement to acquiring a military dimension.’ »

The Government will continue to misuse the police and the legal system to hunt its critics. If Harin Fernando’s turn doesn’t come tomorrow, it will come someday.

By

Krishantha Prasad Cooray

When SJB MP Harin Fernando stood up in Parliament, donned a black shawl and made his explosive speech about the Easter Sunday attack, his audience would have reacted along partisan lines. But on one point, his supporters and detractors would have been in agreement. As they listened to him, they would have thought, that chap is definitely going to be arrested any day now.

In Sri Lanka today, whether or not you will be arrested or prosecuted is not a function of whether you have committed a crime, but whether or not you have spoken or acted in a manner offensive to the government.

If you are loyal to the regime, you enjoy virtual impunity to commit a crime of your choosing. But if you cross this government, it is only a matter of time before you find yourself in jail or facing trial.

A fierce fighter with an acute political compass, it was Fernando who debuted and popularised the phrase “Sir Fail”. For his trouble, he was warned that if he did not back down, he would be treated like Prabhakaran.

Today Harin Fernando is being hounded for his explosive revelations about the Easter Sunday attacks. Violating sacred parliamentary privileges, the Government is said to have plans to arrest him under the same Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) that was enacted to destroy Prabhakaran. When it comes to treating Fernando like Prabhakaran, that seems to be the only promise being kept.

Since the majority of the mainstream media are slavishly loyal to the Government, censoring or twisting any news that casts the Government in a poor light, many Sri Lankans are unaware of the degree to which the Police and the justice system are being used as instruments of revenge by the Government.

Continue reading ‘The Government will continue to misuse the police and the legal system to hunt its critics. If Harin Fernando’s turn doesn’t come tomorrow, it will come someday.’ »

Govt Removed STF Security For Sumanthiran Despite Intensified Life Threats Faced by TNA Jaffna MP

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

On April 12th, two days before the advent of the “Pilava” April New Year , Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala released 11 suspects who had been in custody for two years since early 2019. These included well-known underworld figure Sanjeewa Samararatne alias Ganemulla Sanjeewa a.k.a. Malingamuwe Sanjeewa and ten others who were in custody for allegedly plotting to assassinate Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Jaffna District Parliamentarian Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran and several other charges Alongside the plot to assassinate M. A. Sumanthiran MP, investigators had been probing related threads including digging up claymore mines and T- 56 assault rifles supposedly buried in the North by the LTTE, smuggling the same to Colombo and suburbs and trading with underworld figures.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala released the 11 suspects due to Police Officers investigating the case declaring to court that the Attorney General had said there was insufficient evidence to proceed further against 11 of the 15 suspects in custody. The AG Dappula de Livera had advised the Police that there was not enough evidence to prosecute this group of 11. The Attorney-General had also advised Police to make preparations for prosecuting the remaining four suspects in the near future.

Continue reading ‘Govt Removed STF Security For Sumanthiran Despite Intensified Life Threats Faced by TNA Jaffna MP’ »

Easter Sunday Commission headed by an Honourable Judge of the present Supreme Court found no evidence of Rishad Bathiudeen or Reyaj Bathiudeen aiding or abetting the suicide bombers in the 21/4 attacks!

( Text of Media statement issued by Attorney at Law Rushdhie Habeeb on behalf of Hon Rishard Bathiudeen MP and Riyaj Bathiudeen)

We have been instructed by the members of the family of Hon. Rishad Bathiudeen MP and his brother Reyaj Bathiudeen and the All Ceylon Makkal Congress to issue this statement to the media conveying their shock and surprise on the sudden and unannounced arrests by officers of the CID, pass midnight on Saturday 24th April 2021 from their homes.

We have noted the statement released to the media by the police spokesman alleging that the two of them were arrested for aiding and abetting Easter Sunday bomb attackers.

At the outset we have been asked to appeal to the members, well- wishers and the island-wide voters of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC), a registered political party with four elected Members of Parliament and 169 members of local authorities, to stay calm and continue the fasting in this holy month of Ramazan.

Continue reading ‘Easter Sunday Commission headed by an Honourable Judge of the present Supreme Court found no evidence of Rishad Bathiudeen or Reyaj Bathiudeen aiding or abetting the suicide bombers in the 21/4 attacks!’ »

ACMC Leader and Former Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen MP arrested by CID at his Col 7 Residence on April 24 at 3 am;Younger Brother Riyaj Bathiudeen also arrested by Police at his Col 6 Residence.Both Detained Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA)

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Former Cabinet minister and Wanni district MP Rishad Bathiudeen was arrested by the Police at 3 am on Saturday April 24th 2021. The leader of the All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) that has four MP’s in the current Parliament from the Wanni, Puttalam, Anuradhapura and Amparai districts was arrested in his Bullers Rd (Bauddhaloka Mawatte) residence.

Shortly before his arrest, the ex-cabinet minister tweeted “ The CID has been standing outside my house in Baudhaloka Mawatha since 1.30 am today attempting to arrest me without a charge. They have already arrested my brother. I have been in Parliament, and have cooperated with all lawful authorities until now. This is unjust.”

Continue reading ‘ACMC Leader and Former Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen MP arrested by CID at his Col 7 Residence on April 24 at 3 am;Younger Brother Riyaj Bathiudeen also arrested by Police at his Col 6 Residence.Both Detained Under the Prevention of Terrorism Act(PTA)’ »

Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song

By

D.B.S. Jeyaraj

( Versatile South Indian Playback singer S.Janaki Celebrates her 83rd Birth Anniversary on April 23rd. This article written 5 Years ago is re-posted here without changes to commemorate the popular artiste on this joyful day)

Sishtla Sreeramamurthy Janaki popularly known as S. Janaki celebrates her 80th birthday on April 23rd 2018. The well known Indian singer of film songs who is praised as the “nightingale of the South” was born on April 23rd 1938 during the British colonial period at Pallapatla in Repalle. The Repalle town is located in the Guntur district of present day Aandhra Pradesh state.

KSSJ042314

Janaki hails from a Telugu Brahmin family. Her father Sishtla Sreeramamurthy was a teacher and native physician. In a splendid career spanning over fifty years Janaki has sung over 20,000 songs for films made in 16 different languages.

The Languages are Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malyalam, Tulu, Konkani, Baduga, Hindi, Bengali, Oriya, Sanskrit, Urdu, English, Japanese, German and Sinhala.
Continue reading ‘Southern Nightingale S. Janaki and the Story of Her Popular ♫Singaara Velanae Deva♫ Song’ »

The Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimization Besides exceeding its mandate has gone against the judiciary of this country, rule of law and has sought to make a mockery of the system of justice in this country States MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament.

(Text of Speech made in Parliament on 22 April 2021.= by TNA Jaffna District Parliamentarian MA Sumanthiran on the Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimization.)

Thank you, deputy chairman of committees for the opportunity to speak on this adjournment debate on the report that has been presented by the Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimization.

Right at the outset, I must say, that when appointing members to committees such as this, customarily, the President of the Republic says, I am reading from the gazette notification by which these three commissioners were appointed (dated 09th January 2020): “Now therefore I, Gotabaya Rajapaksa,Rpresident of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka reposing great trust and confidence in your prudence, ability and fidelity do in pursuance of the provisions of section 2 of Commissions of Inquiry Act by these presence appoint you” and so on … that he has confidence in their “prudence, ability and fidelity” and when you look at the names of the three persons so appointed you wonder why he chose those persons.


A disgraced member of the Judiciary, who was interdicted for misconduct; sent on compulsory transfer… I don’t want to say anything more than what is in the public realm about whom books have been written and published, the famous book “Unfinished struggle” by Victor Ivan, four editions have come out also, for almost one and a half decades those books have been in circulation. Without anybody being able to refute the facts in that book, say much about the Chairman of this Commission. I don’t usually say anything about anyone who’s not able to reply, but these are maters in the public realm.

Continue reading ‘The Commission of Inquiry into Political Victimization Besides exceeding its mandate has gone against the judiciary of this country, rule of law and has sought to make a mockery of the system of justice in this country States MA Sumanthiran MP in Parliament.’ »

“We will continue our struggle until a comprehensive investigation is conducted and those responsible are brought to book. Afterwards we will discuss the need to pardon those who attacked these innocent people” States Cardinal Malcolm Rnjith

By

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

(Nine suicide bombers affiliated to local Islamist extremist group National Thowheed Jamath targeted three Christian churches and three luxury hotels in Sri Lanka on April 21, 2019, killing 269 people and injuring more than 500.

On the second anniversary of the Easter attacks, Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, archbishop of Colombo, gave the following speech at a remembrance ceremony at St. Anthony’s Shrine, Kochchikade:)

April 21, 2019, will enter history as a day that cannot be forgotten. We stress the need not to put under the earth the whole effort to discover who and what were behind these attacks.

We are surprised that even after two years answers to the questions of who, why and what lay behind these attacks have not been found by the relevant authorities.

We have to stress that what is happening at the moment, which is an uncaring attitude where all the factors are not properly investigated or coordinated in an organized pattern from day to day according to each day’s fortunes, is not going to satisfy our questions.

Very often we see that there are political reasons behind some of the investigations stalling.

Continue reading ‘“We will continue our struggle until a comprehensive investigation is conducted and those responsible are brought to book. Afterwards we will discuss the need to pardon those who attacked these innocent people” States Cardinal Malcolm Rnjith’ »

Chinese Embassy in Colombo’s Invitation to Members of Sri Lankan Parliament for a “Study Tour” Of Colombo Port City Instead of the Urban Development Authority Sparks Controversy

Questions were raised in Sri Lanka’s parliament how China’s embassy invited them to a ‘study tour’ of Colombo Port City where a bill to set up a regulatory commission for the reclaimed area is currently challenged at the Supreme Court.

Opposition legislator Harshana Rajakaruna, dressed in black to mark Islamist suicide attacks on Easter Sunday April 21 in 2019 read out a text message from the parliament saying that a visit to Colombo Port City on the invitation of the Chinese embassy in Colombo had been postponed.

“Why is the Chinese embassy directing this study visit?” he questioned. “In the last administration when a tour was arranged, the Urban Development Authority did it.

Continue reading ‘Chinese Embassy in Colombo’s Invitation to Members of Sri Lankan Parliament for a “Study Tour” Of Colombo Port City Instead of the Urban Development Authority Sparks Controversy’ »

The people expect the SJB, as their main opposition party, to take a stance on the issues most critical to the fabric of our democracy like corruption, nepotism and the independence of the judiciary and public service.

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

Bhagya Abeyratne, a young woman from Godakawela, became a household name overnight when she spoke with passion and sincere devastation about the destruction of the Sinharaja rainforest that she saw with her own eyes. In a matter of minutes, she accomplished something the entire opposition has failed to do for months. She connected with the common citizen, and made people open their eyes and think about the tragedies going on around them. That is traditionally the role of the opposition, but today, in the absence of a strong opposition with a clear vision or message, it is a role being performed by people like young Bhagya.

The government responded to the patriotism of this public-spirited young woman by deploying the police like stormtroopers to raid her house, grill her family and neighbours and attack her in the media. Yet she stood tall, unbowed and unafraid. Her bravery and plight were ignored entirely by virtually all the mainstream media barring Sirasa TV, but her resolve resonated with ordinary people, making her a symbol of resistance against the pillaging of Sri Lanka’s national heritage by a government that swore to defend the country. One thing is clear from the lightning-like solidarity that Sri Lankans showed Bhagya. Our people are fed up and thirsty for a strong resistance movement, for an opposition.

Yes, the government has failed, visibly, and comprehensively, barely a year after coming to power. But the question is – what is the opposition doing about it? Yes, the government is sinking the ship of state. But the SJB, which is supposed to be piloting the rescue boat, is asleep at the wheel. What has the main opposition done other than gloat and wait in the wings? What solutions do they offer to the problems that face us today?

Continue reading ‘The people expect the SJB, as their main opposition party, to take a stance on the issues most critical to the fabric of our democracy like corruption, nepotism and the independence of the judiciary and public service.’ »

Attorney-General Files Indictments in Kegalle High Court Comprising 21 Charges Against Naufer Moulavi and 15 Others Connected to the National Thowheed Jamath Over the Vandalising of Buddha Statues in Mawanella in 2018; A-G Requests Chief Justice to Appoint Trial-at-bar

By
Dilshan Tharaka

Attorney General Dappula de Livera filed indictments against 16 accused in the Kegalle High Court in connection with causing damage to Buddha statues in Mawanella in 2018, as a prelude to the Easter Sunday attacks by the members of the National Thawheed Jamaath (NTJ) Organisation including its leader Mohammed Zahran Hashim, who carried out suicide bomb attacks on April 21, 2019.

Coordinating Officer to the Attorney General State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne said that the Attorney General has also requested the Chief Justice to appoint a Trial-at-Bar to try the case.

Continue reading ‘Attorney-General Files Indictments in Kegalle High Court Comprising 21 Charges Against Naufer Moulavi and 15 Others Connected to the National Thowheed Jamath Over the Vandalising of Buddha Statues in Mawanella in 2018; A-G Requests Chief Justice to Appoint Trial-at-bar’ »

“No one should harm anyone belonging to another religious group or ethnic group to achieve his or her personal goals. This is common to people who belong to all ethnic and religious groups” States Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

BY
Yohan Perera

Colombo’s Archbishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said today the brutal attacks on Easter Sunday in 2019 was unleashed by a group, which tried to consolidate their political power by using religious extremism as a tool.

The Cardinal made these remarks during the unveiling of a monument constructed at General Cemetery in Borella, in memory of nine persons, who died in the attacks and buried at the cemetery.

Continue reading ‘“No one should harm anyone belonging to another religious group or ethnic group to achieve his or her personal goals. This is common to people who belong to all ethnic and religious groups” States Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’ »

Mannar Emeritus Bishop Rayappu Joseph and the Madhu Church Crisis of 2008

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Former Catholic Bishop of the Mannar Diocese the Most Rev. Rayappu Joseph passed away peacefully in Jaffna on 1 April, just 15 days before his 81st birthday. He served as Mannar Bishop from 1992 to 2016. There was spontaneous grief and widespread mourning. Having served as Bishop for over two decades in Mannar, the prelate was immensely popular with his flock and fellow shepherds. Moreover the outspoken Bishop had endeared himself to the Tamil people at large by speaking out courageously on issues affecting the community.

The Mannar Emeritus Bishop’s funeral was held on Monday 5 April, at the St. Sebastian’s Cathedral in Mannar. Most of the Sri Lankan Catholic Bishops including Colombo Arch Bishop Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith participated in the requiem mass. The remains of former Mannar Bishop was laid to rest within the hallowed precincts of the St. Sebastians Cathedral. The entire Catholic -majority Mannar district observed Monday as a day of mourning.

Continue reading ‘Mannar Emeritus Bishop Rayappu Joseph and the Madhu Church Crisis of 2008’ »

Bishop Rayappu Joseph like Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Sought Justice for Victimised People

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Easter Sunday bombings of April 21st 2019 and its consequences have caused a profound impact on the body politic of Sri Lanka. A significant feature of his fall-out has been the bold initiative taken by the Catholic Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith. Immensely disappointed by the slow and tardy progress shown by the State in taking legal action against those allegedly responsible for the explosions that killed over 250 and injured over 500 on Easter Sunday, the Catholic prelate has been pressuring the Government in several ways to enact legal proceedings speedily against those perceived as being responsible. Since a very large number of the victims were Christians worshipping at the Catholic St. Anthony’s Shrine in Kochikade,Colombo and St. Sebastian’s Chuch in Katuwapitiya, Negombo, Cardinal Ranjith’s demands are seen as valid and reasonable.(the third Church attacked was the Evangelical Christian Zion Church in Batticaloa).

From left seated – Bishop Winston Fernand SSS, Bishop Vianney Fernando, His Excellency Archbishop Joseph Spiteri Apostolic Nuncio, His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, Bishop Thomas Suvndranayagam, Bishop Rayappu Joseph, Bishop Kingsley Swampillai ;
From left standing – Bishop Harold Anthony Perera, Bishop Marius Peiris, Bishop Joseph Ponniah, Bishop Cletus Perera OSB, Bishop Valence Mendis, Bishop Norbert Andradi OMI and Very Rev. Fr. Nihal Nanayakkara-Pic: Sri Lanka Catholic Bishops Conference ~ 2010

In his zealous bid to seek justice for members of the Catholic flock who were affected victims of horrendous attacks Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has upset quite a few including former President Maithripala Sirisena.
Continue reading ‘Bishop Rayappu Joseph like Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Sought Justice for Victimised People’ »

“OUR LANDS ARE UNDER THREAT”:Lands in Batticaloa District Where Tamils Have Been Living for Generations Under Increasing Threat from Different Governmental Bodies Overseeing agriculture, conservation and archaeology.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Over the last few months, farmers of Mavadi Odai in Sri Lanka’s eastern Batticaloa district frequently spotted something crop up on their land overnight — a border stone they had not planted.

“The Forest Department people come and put their stones when we are asleep, and then claim the land to be theirs,” says Marimuthu Raveendrakumar, 51, speaking of a growing insecurity among residents over land that they returned to only in recent years, after years of displacement during the civil war.

According to many in Batticaloa, the land where Tamil communities have resided and farmed for generations, is increasingly under threat from different governmental bodies that oversee agriculture, conservation and archaeology.

Continue reading ‘“OUR LANDS ARE UNDER THREAT”:Lands in Batticaloa District Where Tamils Have Been Living for Generations Under Increasing Threat from Different Governmental Bodies Overseeing agriculture, conservation and archaeology.’ »

Chinese communication facility TETRA — Terrestrial Trunked Radio — to be provided as Part of a Grant to Sri Lankan Police to improve communication between officers and police stations and provide for tabs to support the body cameras but cybersecurity professionals express concerns over the system.

By Damith Wickremasekara

The Chinese Government is to provide a grant to Sri Lanka to improve the communication facilities for the Police.

As part of the Chinese grant, a widely used communication facility known as TETRA — Terrestrial Trunked Radio — will be provided to the Police to improve communication between senior officers and police stations. It also provides for tabs to support the body cameras which will be initially available for police stations in the Western Province where a base station will be set up.

The grant will be officially provided when the Chinese State Councillor and Defence Minister General Wei Fenghe visits Sri Lanka later this month.

Continue reading ‘Chinese communication facility TETRA — Terrestrial Trunked Radio — to be provided as Part of a Grant to Sri Lankan Police to improve communication between officers and police stations and provide for tabs to support the body cameras but cybersecurity professionals express concerns over the system.’ »

Catholic Church Asks all devotees to observe two minutes silence at 8.45 a.m. on Wednesday April 21 on Second Anniversary of Easter Bombings;no major protest to mark the day but Catholics would gather in prayer and worship seeking justice for the victims. Holy Mass at St. Anthony’s Church,Kochchikade and St. Sebastian’s Church,Katuwapitiya.

By Chrishanthi Christopher

In the run up to the second anniversary of the Easter Sunday bombings on Wednesday April 21, the Catholic Church said there will be no major protest to mark the day, but Catholics would gather in prayer and worship seeking justice for the victims.

An Archdiocese spokesperson said holy masses, holy hours and prayer meetings would be conducted at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade and at St. Sebastian’s Church in Katuwapitiya where the bombings took place. Some 271 people died in the suicide bomb attacks during Easter Sunday mass on April 21 2019. Prayers would also be offered for more than 300 people who were injured, some maimed for life.

Continue reading ‘Catholic Church Asks all devotees to observe two minutes silence at 8.45 a.m. on Wednesday April 21 on Second Anniversary of Easter Bombings;no major protest to mark the day but Catholics would gather in prayer and worship seeking justice for the victims. Holy Mass at St. Anthony’s Church,Kochchikade and St. Sebastian’s Church,Katuwapitiya.’ »

Arrest of consumer rights advocate Asela Sampath who pointed out alleged faults concerning the Rs 1000 “relief pack” distributed through Lanka Sathosa outlets shows Govt. will silence anyone raising uncomfortable questions say activists

By Sandun Jayawardana

The arrest of a consumer rights advocate who pointed out alleged issues concerning the Rs 1000 “relief pack” distributed through Lanka Sathosa outlets is an attempt to silence those who raise questions on behalf of consumers, activists claim.

Asela Sampath, National Organizer of the Canteen Owners’ Association, was taken into custody on April 13 by the Police through a warrant issued for his arrest over an incident at the Consumer Affairs Authority (CAA) head office in April, 2019. CAA officials had lodged a police complaint that Mr Sampath had been abusive and had threatened them. The case is pending at the Fort Magistrate’s Court. Mr Sampath is currently in remand custody till April 19.

Fellow activists however, point out that the arrest came just days after Trade Minister Bandula Gunawardana publicly called for the arrest of those who had spread “lies” about the Rs 1000 relief pack that the Government was distributing through Lanka Sathosa outlets during April. The subsequent arrest of Mr Sampath was highly unusual and disturbing, his attorney Senaka Perera told the Sunday Times. “He was not hiding. He was living at his home and was openly giving press conferences. When we visited the police station to see him, we were also told that there had been several other complaints lodged against him over more recent comments he made to the media regarding the relief packs, and police were going to notify the court about them as well.”

Sathosa and the State Trading (General) Corporation had been among the institutions that had lodged complaints against Mr Sampath over his comments regarding the relief packs, Mr Perera stated. “He was kept in police custody for more than 24 hours before being produced in court. The Officer-in-Charge (OIC) of the Slave Island Police personally appeared in court for the police in this case and made it sound as if the police launched an operation to arrest my client though he had never hid from the courts. The OIC repeated several times in court that he had not come under any political pressure regarding this case, which to us is an indication of the exact opposite.”

Continue reading ‘Arrest of consumer rights advocate Asela Sampath who pointed out alleged faults concerning the Rs 1000 “relief pack” distributed through Lanka Sathosa outlets shows Govt. will silence anyone raising uncomfortable questions say activists’ »

18 Petitions filed against the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill claiming that the proposed Commission violates Sri Lanka’s Constitution will be taken up on April 19th for hearing by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jayanatha Jayasuriya with Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Murdu Fernando and Janak de Silva.

By Ranjith Padmasiri

A host of petitions filed against the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill claiming that the proposed Commission violates Sri Lanka’s Constitution will be taken up tomorrow for hearing by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jayanatha Jayasuriya.

The other judges are: Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Murdu Fernando and Janak de Silva.

Among the 18 petitioners are the Bar Association of Sri Lanka, the United National Party, the Smagi Jana Balawegaya, the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna, the Centre for Policy Alternatives, the President of the IT Professionals Association, and several other civil society members, including former LECO chairman Bandula Chandrasekara.

The petitioners have cited various clauses in the Bill which has been gazetted and are seeking a Supreme Court’s determination that one or more provisions of the bill require to be passed by a special majority in Parliament and approved by a referendum.

The moves came as concerns were expressed by political parties, professional organisations, civil society and the public regarding the bill’s clauses giving sweeping powers to a commission.

Continue reading ‘18 Petitions filed against the Colombo Port City Economic Commission Bill claiming that the proposed Commission violates Sri Lanka’s Constitution will be taken up on April 19th for hearing by a five-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Jayanatha Jayasuriya with Justices Buwaneka Aluwihare, Priyantha Jayawardena, Murdu Fernando and Janak de Silva.’ »

59 Year old Popular Tamil Film Actor Vivek Passes Away on Saturday ( April 17) at a Chennai Hospital to Which he was admitted on Friday After Suffering a Massive Heart Attack at Home


Tamil actor Vivek passed away in a Chennai hospital early on Saturday following a cardiac arrest. He was 59.

Vivek was admitted to the intensive care unit of the hospital on Friday morning after he suffered a heart attack. A medical bulletin said he underwent “emergency coronary angiogram followed by angioplasty” on Friday.

Soon after he fell sick, there were claims that his illness was linked to him receiving the Covid-19 vaccine, following which the Tamil Nadu Health Department was forced to call a press meet to dispel the rumours.

Continue reading ‘59 Year old Popular Tamil Film Actor Vivek Passes Away on Saturday ( April 17) at a Chennai Hospital to Which he was admitted on Friday After Suffering a Massive Heart Attack at Home’ »

Vivekh was a rare actor who practised what he preached through comedy and lived his life based on those beliefs


By

Srivatsan S

Actor Vivekh died early Saturday morning (4.35a.m.) after suffering a massive cardiac arrest on Friday. He was 59. The comedian’s untimely demise has shaken up the Tamil film fraternity, and legions of fans.

Vivekh was one of the lambs shepherded by legendary filmmaker K Balachander, who introduced the actor as ‘Vivek’ in Manathil Uruthi Vendum, in which he played a small role. But what was truly a breakthrough for Vivekh was his character in Balachander’s Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal (1989), wherein he played the hero’s manager. The film saw Vivekh doing a near-perfect impression of Tamil cinema actors, particularly of Rajinikanth, and effortlessly delivering punchlines that were so unique of its time — like, “Inniki setha nalaiki paal (today’s death is tomorrow’s milk),” which most people have pointed out on social media, drawing a parallel with the actor’s death.

This rather effortless idea of comedy spoke to the audience and Pudhu Pudhu Arthangal was the launchpad for a career of more than three decades, in making the audience laugh and introspect as well.

Continue reading ‘Vivekh was a rare actor who practised what he preached through comedy and lived his life based on those beliefs’ »

From Housewife in “Tintagel” To “Prime Minister At “Temple Trees”: Contours of Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s Political Journey


by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

( The World’s first Woman Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranaike was born on April 17th 1916. This article published in 2019 July is being re-posted here without any changes to commemorate her 105th Birth Anniversary)

Germany’s defence minister Ursula von der Leyen has been elected president of the European Union (EU) Commission following a secret ballot among Members of the European Parliament. She is the first woman to be elected as President of the EU commission and will replace current President Jean-Claude Juncker on November 1st this year. With Ursula von der Leyen’s victory another traditional male bastion has fallen.

There was a time when women were kept out of politics and denied even the right to vote. The adoption of the universal franchise principle along with the spread of democracy has led to a situation where more and more women are participating in politics now as elected representatives. Many hold ministerial portfolios while some have reached the top as heads of State and heads of Government. It is currently estimated that 22 women are functioning as Presidents, Prime Ministers or Chancellors in their countries respectively. Though impressive this number is by no means enough. We have miles and miles to go before women are elected to office worldwide in proportion to their numerical strength.

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

Even as this process of women becoming political leaders progresses it would be worthwhile to recall how Sri Lanka known formerly as Ceylon made history by swearing in the world’s first woman Prime minister fifty -nine years ago. It was on July 21st 1960 that Sirimavo Ratwatte Dias Bandaranaike assumed office as Prime minister. It is said that the British press had to coin a new description “Stateswoman” instead of the usual statesman after she assumed office.
Continue reading ‘From Housewife in “Tintagel” To “Prime Minister At “Temple Trees”: Contours of Sirimavo Bandaranaike’s Political Journey’ »

Wijedasa Rajapakshe MP Accuses President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Threatening him Over the Telephone for Alleging that the Port City would become a Chinese Colony; Former Minister Alleges Gota Used Filth on his and Says he is Fearful About Family and his Safety.

By
Sandun A. Jayasekera

Parliamentarian Wijedasa Rajapakshe today alleged that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had telephoned him early morning and threatened him over his allegations yesterday that the Port City would transform into a Chinese colony.

Continue reading ‘Wijedasa Rajapakshe MP Accuses President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of Threatening him Over the Telephone for Alleging that the Port City would become a Chinese Colony; Former Minister Alleges Gota Used Filth on his and Says he is Fearful About Family and his Safety.’ »

Opposition parties, civil society groups, and labour unions Mount Challenges in the Supreme Court Against Gazetted Bill on the Chinese-backed Port City in capital Colombo arguing it “directly affects” Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.

By

Meera Srinivasan

Filing about a dozen petitions at Sri Lanka’s Supreme Court on Thursday, opposition parties, civil society groups, and labour unions challenged a recently-gazetted Bill on the Chinese-backed Port City in capital Colombo, arguing it “directly affects” Sri Lanka’s sovereignty. The cases are scheduled to be heard by the top court on Monday.

The ruling Rajapaksa administration tabled a Bill, titled Colombo Port City Economic Commission’, in Parliament last week, outlining proposed laws for the $1.4 billion-Port City being built on reclaimed land at Colombo’s seafront.


Constitutional validity

However, Sri Lanka’s Opposition parties Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB or United People’s Front), Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), the United National Party (UNP), Colombo-based NGO Centre for Policy Alternatives, and labour organisations have challenged the constitutional validity of the proposed legislation for the Port City, touted by the government as an investment hub for foreign capital.

Continue reading ‘Opposition parties, civil society groups, and labour unions Mount Challenges in the Supreme Court Against Gazetted Bill on the Chinese-backed Port City in capital Colombo arguing it “directly affects” Sri Lanka’s sovereignty.’ »

No New Year for Women Satyagrahis Protesting in Hinguragoda Over Failure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Implement Election Campaign of Abolishing Microfinance Debts and Setting up Alternative Sources of Credit

By

Meera Srinivasan

M. Champa Irangani is in no mood to celebrate ‘Avurudu’, or New Year, the biggest annual festival that Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese community observes mid-April, while Tamils celebrate the Tamil New Year around the same time.

“The New Year will dawn only the day our debts are cancelled. Until then we cannot celebrate. Surely not, when so many women have died by suicide under the pressure of microfinance loans,” she says, seated with dozens of affected women who have been observing a ‘satyagraha’ off the main road in Hingurakgoda town, in Sri Lanka’s Polonnaruwa district, for a month now.

Continue reading ‘No New Year for Women Satyagrahis Protesting in Hinguragoda Over Failure of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to Implement Election Campaign of Abolishing Microfinance Debts and Setting up Alternative Sources of Credit’ »

US $ 500 Million FTFF signed in Beijing between the China Development Bank (CDB) and Sri Lankan Finance Ministry Described as a Sinhala/Tamil New Year gift To Sri Lanka by the Chinese embassy in Colombo

On Monday a USD 500 Million Foreign Currency Term Financing Facility (FTFF) was signed in Beijing between the China Development Bank (CDB) and Sri Lankan Finance Ministry.

This is the second tranche of the total RMB 2 billion plus (USD 1 billion) FTFF pledged by the Chinese side to Sri Lanka after the outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic. The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka described as a Sinhala/Tamil New Year gift.

Continue reading ‘US $ 500 Million FTFF signed in Beijing between the China Development Bank (CDB) and Sri Lankan Finance Ministry Described as a Sinhala/Tamil New Year gift To Sri Lanka by the Chinese embassy in Colombo’ »

Chinese Defence Minister’s Sri Lanka Visit Assumes Special Significance Against Backdrop of Beijing Developing Stronger Ties With India’s Neighbours To Wean Them Away From New Delhi


By P.K.Balachandran

The visit to Sri Lanka of China’s Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe later this month, may be described as a “routine ministerial visit”. But seen in light of the developing situation in Sri Lanka and the South Asian and Indian Ocean region, the visit is significant.

China is keen on developing ties with India’s neighbors in South Asia to wean them away from New Delhi. Beijing is effectively using its infrastructural development program under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) towards this end. It is also strengthening its military ties albeit only incrementally so far. At present it is keen to project itself as a “benign” power only promoting joint prosperity unlike the Western powers whose aims are imperialistic.

On their part, the US-led powers have formed the “Quad” comprising the US, India, Japan and Australia to protect the Indian and Pacific Oceans from coming under China’s hegemony. They see the BRI as a vanguard of China’s imperialistic project using financial debt to enslave recipient developing countries and reinforce subjugation by military might. The West is looking to outmaneuver China by military means. While this tactic may be appropriate in South China Sea, where China is using military muscle, it does not appear to be so in the Indian Ocean arena, where China’s intrusions are economic through its BRI, rather than military.

However, given the reality of the militarization of the Indian Ocean and South Asia due to Quad, and also because of the border and sovereignty conflict with India, China is building up military ties with Nepal and Sri Lanka. This is besides consolidating its existing politico-economic and military ties with Pakistan. In December 2020, China’s Defense Minister Wei Fenghe visited Pakistan and Nepal. He will be in Sri Lanka this month.

Continue reading ‘Chinese Defence Minister’s Sri Lanka Visit Assumes Special Significance Against Backdrop of Beijing Developing Stronger Ties With India’s Neighbours To Wean Them Away From New Delhi’ »

Notorious Underworld Figure Sanjeewa Samararatne alias Ganemulla Sanjeewa and 10 others Detained Since 2019 as Suspects for Complicity in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran Released by Colombo Chief Magistrate Following A-G Opining Insufficient Evidence to Prosecute

Well-known underworld figure Sanjeewa Samararatne – popularly known as Ganemulla Sanjeewa or Malingamuwe Sanjeewa – who was in custody for plotting to assassinate M. A. Sumanthiran MP, trading weapons and several other charges was released along with 10 others by the Colombo Chief Magistrate Court on April 12, 2021.

Colombo Chief Magistrate Buddhika Sri Ragala released the 11 suspects when the case came up before him.

Alongside the plot to assassinate M. A. Sumanthiran MP, investigators had probed related threads including digging up claymore mines and Type 56 assault rifles buried in the North by the LTTE, smuggling the same to Colombo and suburs and trading with underworld figures.

Continue reading ‘Notorious Underworld Figure Sanjeewa Samararatne alias Ganemulla Sanjeewa and 10 others Detained Since 2019 as Suspects for Complicity in Alleged Plot to Assassinate Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran Released by Colombo Chief Magistrate Following A-G Opining Insufficient Evidence to Prosecute’ »

Cinematic Links Between Director Lester and Actor Gamini

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Sinhala cinema’s pioneering director Lester James Peries is the Sri Lankan filmmaker I like, admire and respect most. The master movie maker’s 102nd birth anniversary falls on April 5. Sri Lankan Superstar Gamini Fonseka remains my favourite actor on the Sinhala silver screen since childhood. The Movie monarch’s 85th birth anniversary was on March 21. I have written extensively on both in the past. I intend focusing this week – drawing from some of my earlier writings – on the professional and personal bonds between my favourite actor and favourite director in the sphere of Sinhala cinema. From this April onwards I hope to write an article in these columns about a cinema-related topic on the first week of each month.

Cinematic Links Between Director Lester and Actor Gamini – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

The Lester-Gamini “partnership” in movies spanned several decades and paid great dividends. It was Lester James Peries who gave Gamini Fonseka his first break in movies through his path-breaking film ‘Rekawa’.It was Lester who made Gamini an assistant director for his second film ‘Sandesaya,’ in which he also played the second lead to Ananda Jayaratne. Gamini’s first attempt at directing was ‘Parasathumal’ in which Lester played a behind the scenes role as an adviser and guide. Three of Gamini Fonseka’s memorable character portrayals on screen were as Jinadasa, Willie Abeynayake and Saviman Kabalana in the films ‘Gamperaliya,’ ‘Nidhanaya’ and ‘Yuganthaya’ respectively. All three were directed by Lester.
Continue reading ‘Cinematic Links Between Director Lester and Actor Gamini’ »

Mayor of Jaffna Viswalingam Manivannan Arrested by the Police TID Released on Bail by Jaffna Magistrate.Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran PC Along with 25 Lawyers Makes Submissions on Behalf of Jaffna Mayor

By

Meera Srinivasan

Sri Lanka police’s Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) on Friday arrested the Mayor of Jaffna for allegedly promoting the LTTE’s ideology, in the choice of uniforms for an environment task force of the local municipal council.

The move has drawn wide condemnation, including from the country’s Tamil polity and civil society. Late on Friday, the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court released him on bail, on a surety bond, amid a growing backlash.

In the early hours of Friday, police arrested the Jaffna Mayor Viswalingam Manivannan, in connection with the municipal body assigning light blue coloured uniforms to a newly set-up team tasked with monitoring environmental violations.

Continue reading ‘Mayor of Jaffna Viswalingam Manivannan Arrested by the Police TID Released on Bail by Jaffna Magistrate.Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran PC Along with 25 Lawyers Makes Submissions on Behalf of Jaffna Mayor’ »

Mrs. World Caroline Jurie says her only intention was to stand up against injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which she alleged was tainted with heavy politicization.

Mrs. World Caroline Jurie, today said she was ready to hand over her crown stating that she stood by her values even if she has to stand alone.

In a video statement, Jurie said as a woman, a mother and the crowned Mrs. World, she was aware that she held a great responsibility towards protecting the image of Sri Lankan women across the world.

Jurie said her only intention was to stand up against the injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which she alleged was tainted with heavy politicization. “It upsets me greatly when justice doesn’t prevail. This is why I stood up against injustice, from the beginning of the event, I stood up for what was wrong, but my efforts were futile until the very last moment, which led me to do what I did,” Jurie said.

She said she only stood for what she believed was right and will follow all legal procedures – as a normal Sri Lankan citizen – without influence – while always holding her head up high.

Continue reading ‘Mrs. World Caroline Jurie says her only intention was to stand up against injustice caused to the competitors throughout this competition which she alleged was tainted with heavy politicization.’ »

UNP condemns arrest of Jaffna Mayor and Calls on Govt. to present clear evidence regarding allegations and treat the Elected official with dignity and respect.


The United National Party (UNP) yesterday condemned the arrest of Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA), and called for the official to be treated with dignity and respect.

Issuing a statement, the UNP said the arrest allegedly took place due to concerns raised regarding the uniforms worn by members of the Jaffna Municipal Council.

Continue reading ‘UNP condemns arrest of Jaffna Mayor and Calls on Govt. to present clear evidence regarding allegations and treat the Elected official with dignity and respect.’ »

Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan Who was Arrested Under PTA for Allegedly Promoting Pro-LTTE symbols Is Granted Bail by Jaffna Magistrate

By Asiri Fernando

Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan who was arrested for allegedly promoting pro-LTTE symbols yesterday was later granted bail by the Jaffna Magistrate’s Court.

He was moved to Vavuniya for questioning and to record a statement, according to Public Security Minister Rear Admiral (Retd.) Sarath Weerasekara.

Manivannan was arrested by the Jaffna Police and subsequently handed over to the Terrorism Investigation Division (TID) in relation to employing five persons and providing them with a uniform, which the Police allege is similar to what was worn by the former Police division of the now defunct LTTE.

Continue reading ‘Jaffna Mayor Visvalingam Manivannan Who was Arrested Under PTA for Allegedly Promoting Pro-LTTE symbols Is Granted Bail by Jaffna Magistrate’ »

Re-crowned Winner of “Mrs Sri Lanka for Mrs.World” Beauty Pageant Pushpika de Silva May Enter Politics by Contesting from Ex-President Maithripala Sirisena’s Polonnaruwa District

By

Chaturanga Samarawickrama

The winner of Mrs Sri Lanka for Mrs. World Pushpika De Silva yesterday said that she may enter politics in the future. This may be possible now that Pushpika has received widespread publicity following the brawl on Sunday evening, with her even landing in tears in front of cameras yesterday.

While answering a question raised by a journalist during a media briefing at the Shangri-La Hotel yesterday, Pushpika, after initially breaking out in tears in front of the cameras, said that although she had no immediate plan for politics as she had to fulfil her duties for the crown, she may enter the political stream in the future.

Continue reading ‘Re-crowned Winner of “Mrs Sri Lanka for Mrs.World” Beauty Pageant Pushpika de Silva May Enter Politics by Contesting from Ex-President Maithripala Sirisena’s Polonnaruwa District’ »

Mrs. World Beauty Pageant Will be held in Sri Lanka as Scheduled Despite Ugly Catfight Between Curent Mrs. Sri Lanka Winner Pushpika de Silva and Last Year’s Winner Caroline Jurie

By

JAMILA HUSAIN

The Mrs.world International pageant will go ahead in Sri Lanka as scheduled in December and the recent incident where the reigning Mrs World, Caroline Jurie uncrowned Mrs Sri Lanka, attracting international attention will not have any impact, national Director for Mrs.sri Lanka for Mrs.world, Chandimal Jayasinghe said yesterday.

After returning the Mrs Sri Lanka crown back to Pushpika De Silva, who was uncrowned by Jurie on Sunday night on allegations that she was a divorcee, Chandimal said this incident would have no effect on the Mrs. World pageant, and it would go ahead in Sri Lanka as planned.

Continue reading ‘Mrs. World Beauty Pageant Will be held in Sri Lanka as Scheduled Despite Ugly Catfight Between Curent Mrs. Sri Lanka Winner Pushpika de Silva and Last Year’s Winner Caroline Jurie’ »

Eleven Islamic Organizations Allegedly Connected to Extremist Activity are to be Proscribed in Sri Lanka Upon a Directive Issued by Attorney-General Dappula de Livera

Attorney General Dappula De Livera has authorized the Proscription of eleven Islamic Organisations connected to extremist activities, AG’s Coordinating Officer State Counsel Nishara Jayaratne.

The 11 organisations to be banned are as follows:

Continue reading ‘Eleven Islamic Organizations Allegedly Connected to Extremist Activity are to be Proscribed in Sri Lanka Upon a Directive Issued by Attorney-General Dappula de Livera’ »

Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency faces multiple Pressures Due to Domestic, external, economic and political Problems.


By P.K.Balachandran

The Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency, which is in its second year, is facing multiple problems, both domestic and external, economic as well as political.

Divisions have arisen in the ruling Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) and also with alliance partners. There is difficulty in kick-starting the economy derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to flaws in the decision making and implementing apparatuses. The external debt repayment issue is looming in the horizon.

And last, but not the least, there is pressure from the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on war time and post-war accountability issues with the Council getting authorization for the setting up of a mechanism to collect data on alleged war crimes and rights violations after the war.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency faces multiple Pressures Due to Domestic, external, economic and political Problems.’ »

Catfight at Mrs. Sri Lanka Beauty Pageant!Reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie Snatches Crown From New Winner Pushpika de Silva Alleging she is a Divorcee and therefore Ine;igibe and Crowns First Runner Up Instead;Huge Brawl Erupts Backstage

By

Jamila Husain

Following the brawl which erupted at the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant in Colombo on Sunday night where the winner, Pushpika De Silva, was uncrowned by reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie over allegations that she was a divorcee, the Mrs. World Organization yesterday responded saying delegates sent by Mrs. Sri Lanka-world to compete in the international pageant must be married.

The Mrs. World Organization, however in an email response to the Daily Mirror said they regretted the actions of reigning Mrs.. World Caroline Jurie at the Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant and added they were reviewing the incident to take steps as deemed appropriate based on the outcome of their assessment.

The Mrs. Sri Lanka pageant received widespread attention throughout the country since it was held on Sunday evening, after Jurie uncrowned the winner, Pushpika De Silva on stage and crowned the first runner up instead claiming that Pushpika was a divorcee and hence was ineligible for the crown.

Mrs.world organization said they were deeply disturbed and sincerely regretted the behavior of their current titleholder, as her actions went against the Mrs. Sri Lanka code of conduct and the predetermined regulations she is obliged to follow during her reign.

Continue reading ‘Catfight at Mrs. Sri Lanka Beauty Pageant!Reigning Mrs World Caroline Jurie Snatches Crown From New Winner Pushpika de Silva Alleging she is a Divorcee and therefore Ine;igibe and Crowns First Runner Up Instead;Huge Brawl Erupts Backstage’ »

Setback in Geneva For Sri Lanka at UNHRC Despite Strong Fightback

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

‘Is Sri Lanka fighting a lost battle in Geneva?’ was the heading of the article by this writer in these columns a fortnight ago. The answer became known conclusively as events unfolded at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on 23 March.

UNHRC#46

In spite of Sri Lanka’s strong opposition, the resolution titled ‘Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ was adopted by the UN Human Rights Council at its 46th session held in Geneva. Twenty-two member states out of 47 voted in favour of resolution; 11 voted against the resolution while 14 abstained from voting.

Continue reading ‘Setback in Geneva For Sri Lanka at UNHRC Despite Strong Fightback’ »

Sri Lanka has again become a global cause of International civil society. Once you get on the agenda of international civil society, it is difficult to get off.

By

Radhika Coomaraswamy

(Radhika Coomaraswamy is former Under Secretary General and Special Representative of the Secretary General on Children and Armed Conflic)t

“Hey Geneva” laments Ajith Kumarasiri (musician, songwriter, and composer in Sri Lanka) in powerful Sinhala rhythm and blues. “We no longer kill.” “We don’t shoot anymore.” “Give us our island back.” Geneva as an idea is firmly embedded in the Sri Lankan consciousness. For many Sri Lankans, especially the Sinhalese, it is an attack on national honour, a place where their vulnerability as a small island is exploited. For many Tamils and now Muslims, it is a place of hope. For human rights activists the world over, it is their forum.

UNHRC

The setting

The Human Rights Council in Geneva is a place where Sinhala and Tamil nationalisms meet, confront each other and fight countless shadow battles. In some of the side events of the Council, before the novel coronavirus pandemic, people have fainted, come to fisticuffs and been removed by UN security. It is the place where both communities have large demonstrations next to the legless chair that reminds the Palais de Nations of the consequence of war. There are heated, blood-chilling speeches aimed at the supporters. For bystanders, much of this drama is quite unsettling.

The government playbook with regard to the Geneva process at the UN Human Rights Council is to present it as an enormous power play full of double standards. It is seen as western countries ganging up on Sri Lanka for its closeness to China. Imperialism and neocolonialism remain in the frame. There is no government recognition that there may be any grievance or a victim. This just compounds the insensitivity.

The government’s aim this year was to have no resolution at all, while the major Tamil groups wanted the Human Rights Council to begin a pathway to the International Criminal Court. In the end, the resolution decided to create capacity at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to collect, preserve and consolidate evidence not only on war crimes but also on other gross violations of human rights and serious violations of humanitarian law. There is no date or time period.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has again become a global cause of International civil society. Once you get on the agenda of international civil society, it is difficult to get off.’ »

Is Sri Lanka Fighting a Lost Battle at the UNHRC in Geneva?

    By
    D.B.S.Jeyaraj

    The final version of the proposed resolution to promote “reconciliation, accountability and human rights” in Sri Lanka was tabled on 12 March at the 46th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva. It was sponsored by the United Kingdom (UK) and co-sponsored by Germany, Canada, Malawi, Montenegro and North Macedonia.

    Is Sri Lanka Fighting a Lost Battle at the UNHRC in Geneva? 🖋 by D.B.S.JEYARAJ 🇺🇳🇱🇰🇺🇸🇬🇧🇲🇼

    A preliminary draft was tabled on 22 February at the commencement of the current session by the UK along with the other five countries known collectively as the “core group” on Sri Lanka. The resolution on Sri Lanka would be taken up for voting on 22 or 23 March by the 47 member states of the UNHRC. Sri Lanka is firmly opposed to the resolution and has called upon UNHRC member states to vote against and defeat the resolution.

    UK Stance

    Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK Minister of State for South Asia and the Commonwealth, summed up the position and approach of the UK in tabling the resolution, in his response to a group of Tamil organisations in Britain which were clamouring for a stronger text in the resolution.

    Continue reading ‘Is Sri Lanka Fighting a Lost Battle at the UNHRC in Geneva?’ »

UNHRC, Gotabaya Government and the Great Game in Geneva

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The ‘Great Game’ in Geneva involving Sri Lanka is now underway at the UNHRC! The 46th regular session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) that commenced on 22 February at the Palais des Nations in Geneva is scheduled to end after 30 days on 23 March.

The current membership (2021) of the UNHRC is as follows: Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, (Plurinational State of) Bolivia, Brazil. Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, China, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Czechia, Denmark, Eritrea, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Libya, Malawi, Marshall Islands, Mauritania, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, Pakistan, Philippines, Poland, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Togo, Ukraine, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Uruguay, Uzbekistan and (Bolivarian Republic of) Venezuela.

via: UNHRC/FB

In speaking of the great game at the UNHRC in Geneva, it would be pertinent to refer to a pithy observation made by Sri Lanka’s Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Geneva last year. Addressing the UNHRC its 43rd sessions in February 2020, Gunawardena said that Sri Lanka’s foreign policy had been reduced to a “zero-sum game” and that his country was a “pawn on the chess board of global politics”. The Foreign Relations Minister’s remarks in 2020 aptly describe the nature of the Geneva ‘Great Game’ being played in 2021.

Continue reading ‘UNHRC, Gotabaya Government and the Great Game in Geneva’ »

300 kg heroin from Iran Seized in Sri Lankan Fishingboat “Ravihansi” off Kerala Coast by Indian Coast Guard Vessel;six Sri Lankan crew members L.Y. Nandana, H.K.G.B. Deshapriya, A.H.S. Gunasekara, S.A. Senarath, T. Ranasingha and D. Nissanka remanded to judicial custody


The Indian Coast Guard has seized a Sri Lankan fishing vessel carrying 300 kilograms of heroin and firearms and arrested six Sri Lankans during a raid carried out in the waters off the coast of Vizhinjam in Kerala, South India.

According to Indian media, on the intelligence received by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India and the Indian Coast Guard, the fishing vessel Ravihansi was seized on Thursday, 25 March.

All the six Sri Lankan crew members – L.Y. Nandana, H.K.G.B. Deshapriya, A.H.S. Gunasekara, S.A. Senarath, T. Ranasingha and D. Nissanka – were taken into custody on Saturday and they have been remanded to judicial custody.

Continue reading ‘300 kg heroin from Iran Seized in Sri Lankan Fishingboat “Ravihansi” off Kerala Coast by Indian Coast Guard Vessel;six Sri Lankan crew members L.Y. Nandana, H.K.G.B. Deshapriya, A.H.S. Gunasekara, S.A. Senarath, T. Ranasingha and D. Nissanka remanded to judicial custody’ »

Former Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph was a Passionate Human Rights Defender and an untiring advocate of Tamil rights and justice during Sri Lanka’s civil war and post-war years.

By
Meera Srinivasan

Former Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph, an untiring advocate of Tamil rights and justice during Sri Lanka’s civil war and post-war years, passed away on Thursday. He was 80.

The Bishop was a vocal critic of the state, periodically taking up allegations of war-time killings and disappearances in the Northern Province, according to those familiar with his activism.

Continue reading ‘Former Roman Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rt. Rev. Rayappu Joseph was a Passionate Human Rights Defender and an untiring advocate of Tamil rights and justice during Sri Lanka’s civil war and post-war years.’ »

Former Catholic Bishop of Mannar Rayappu Joseph (81)passes away at a private hospital in Jaffna.

Former Bishop of Mannar, Rayappu Joseph, passed away at the age of 81 on Thursday (01), while receiving treatment at a private hospital in Jaffna.

The late Right Reverend Rayappu Joseph had rendered a great service to the Roman Catholic Community in Sri Lanka, said Rt. Rev Dr. Emmanuel Fernando, Bishop of Mannar.

>Courtesy:News 1st

Indian Govt Bestows the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Tamil Cimema “Superstar”Rajinikanth for his contributions as an actor, a producer and screenwriter;the honour is considered India’s highest award in cinema

Five days ahead of the Tamil Nadu poll, the Narendra Modi government on Thursday announced the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Rajinikanth for his contributions as an actor, a producer and screenwriter.

The honour is considered India’s highest award in cinema

Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar made the announcement at his Delhi residence.

“Happy to announce #Dadasaheb Phalke award for 2019 to one of the greatest actors in history of Indian cinema Rajnikant ji. His contribution as actor, producer and screenwriter has been iconic,” Mr. Javadekar later tweeted.

Continue reading ‘Indian Govt Bestows the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for Tamil Cimema “Superstar”Rajinikanth for his contributions as an actor, a producer and screenwriter;the honour is considered India’s highest award in cinema’ »

People of this country must not be fooled by grandstanding and the same old lie being repeated over and over again. Please listen to what others are saying and then decide who the real traitors are and who the true patriots are”- Ex-Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera

( Remarks on the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka made by former Foreign Minister Minister Mr. Mangala Samaraweera at the Press Conference held at the Solis Hotel on 31.03.2021.)

During the last few weeks, much has been talked about the Geneva resolution which was presented on March 23. I felt it as my duty to speak about this as the Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time when Sri Lanka along with the United States, United Kingdom and 40 other countries co-sponsored the 30/1 resolution on Sri Lanka.

If we are to go back to the beginning, it was on May 23, 2009, just a week after the conclusion of the deadly war with the LTTE, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, came to Sri Lanka on the invitation of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

In the joint communique which was issued at the conclusion of this meeting, the two sides agreed to conduct an inquiry into the alleged war crimes and the alleged human rights violations in the country. Within four days of Mr. Ban Ki-moon’s arrival, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva called a special Session on Sri Lanka to discuss the situation here.

For this Session, Sri Lanka very hurriedly presented a resolution to the UNHRC, the 25/1 resolution of May 2009 on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka and to undertake a comprehensive investigation into the alleged serious violations and abuses of human rights and related crimes by both parties.

Continue reading ‘People of this country must not be fooled by grandstanding and the same old lie being repeated over and over again. Please listen to what others are saying and then decide who the real traitors are and who the true patriots are”- Ex-Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera’ »

Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Tells Parliament that the Recent UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka was “Illegal” but Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the UN agencies.

By Saman Indrajith

The government yesterday told Parliament that the recently ratified UNHRC resolution against Sri Lanka was illegal.

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena said that the resolution was an attempt to interfere in Sri Lanka’s internal affairs. “Sri Lanka considers the resolution unwarranted. This resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal.”

Minister Gunawardena said that Sri Lanka was a sovereign state and the government would protect the country’s sovereignty.

Gunawardena said that the new resolution had not been backed by a majority of the UNHRC members.

Minister Gunawardena tabled the resolution in Parliament along with details of the co-sponsors of the document.

However, the Minister said that Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the UN agencies.

The resolution co-sponsored by the former government had been a great betrayal, the Foreign Minister said, adding that the Government would address accountability issues in Sri Lanka through a domestic mechanism.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena Tells Parliament that the Recent UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka was “Illegal” but Sri Lanka would continue to engage with the UN agencies.’ »

The Adani Ports Group Seeking to Develop Colombo West Container Terminal is paying up to $US52 million over a proposed container port Deal in Yangon to a Myanmar military Junta -controlled company that has just been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.

Exclusive by investigative reporter Josh Robertson

The Adani Group is paying up to $US52 million ($68.1 million) to a Myanmar military-controlled company that has just been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.

Leaked documents in a report by human rights lawyers and activists obtained by the ABC reveal the scale of Adani’s cooperation with the junta over a proposed container port in Yangon.

Video and photos show Adani Ports’ boss met with the junta’s top general in 2019, contradicting the company’s claim last month that it had never “engaged with military leadership” in Myanmar.

The US government sanctions against Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC) are likely to ramp up pressure on the Australian government’s Future Fund to dump its $3.2 million investment in Adani Ports, which also owns North Queensland operations linked to the Carmichael mine.

The leaked documents, from the Yangon Region Investment Commission, show Adani’s subsidiary is paying $US30 million to MEC in “land lease fees”.

) Continue reading ‘The Adani Ports Group Seeking to Develop Colombo West Container Terminal is paying up to $US52 million over a proposed container port Deal in Yangon to a Myanmar military Junta -controlled company that has just been slapped with sanctions by the United States over human rights violations.’ »

Zahran Hashim, Kattankudy and the Islamic State in Sri Lanka.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The final report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) into the Easter Sunday attacks was handed over to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa by the Chairman of the Commission Supreme Court judge Janak de Silva at the Presidential Secretariat on February 1st 2021. Former President Maithripala Sirisena appointed the Commission of Inquiry on September 22, 2019 to investigate and report on the series of terrorist attacks on Easter Sunday and to recommend necessary action based on the findings. The first and second interim reports were handed over to President on December 20, 2019 and on March 02, 2020 respectively.

pic via: Screengrab of video by Aamaq

The report’s release has once again drawn attention to Mohammed Zahran Mohomed Hashim known as Zahran Hashim. The fiery Muslim preacher from Kattankudy in Batticaloa was a man about whom very little was known outside of Islamic circles before the Easter Sunday bombings. However his name is now a household word as the alleged mastermind behind the Terror attacks on April 21st 2019. This column intends to focus on Zahran Hashim alias “Abu Ubaidah” and his deadly legacy this week.

Continue reading ‘Zahran Hashim, Kattankudy and the Islamic State in Sri Lanka.’ »

Countries which did comply with UN Resolutions were made to do so by a powerful country or a set of powerful countries through sheer coercion, economic or military or both.

By P.K.Balachandran

As early as 2002, the UN correspondent of the Los Angeles Times, Maggie Farley, noted that more than a hundred UN resolutions were being violated, and that in many cases, enforcement of resolutions was blocked by the US or its allies.

She made this observation based on a 15-year review of compliance with UN resolutions done by the University of San Francisco Professor Stephen Zunes. Zunes had concluded that compliance depended on the influence of each State and its backers. The more powerful the backer, the less the chance of compliance, he said. Those countries which did comply were made to comply by a powerful country or a set of powerful countries through sheer coercion, economic or military or both.

For a start, UN resolutions are not binding, and if they are, as in the case of some Security Council resolutions, the powers-that-be might not enforce them for economic, political or geo-political reasons. Between 1967 and 2002, Israel had violated 31 resolutions. Twelve violations related to the “Fourth Geneva Convention for Occupying Powers,” relating to deportations, demolitions of homes and seizure of property.

Among the resolutions violated was No: 487 of 1981 which had called upon Israel to place its nuclear facilities under the safeguard of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency. While the US went to war with Iraq for violating UN resolutions, it would not envisage war against Israel to enforce a UN resolution. In fact, the US had used the veto several times to block resolutions on Israel. In 2018, the US quit the UNHRC complaining against its bias against Israel.

Continue reading ‘Countries which did comply with UN Resolutions were made to do so by a powerful country or a set of powerful countries through sheer coercion, economic or military or both.’ »

Chinese President Xi Jinping Tells Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to enhance Belt and Road Cooperation and contribute to the economic revival of Sri Lanka in post-pandemic era.

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday told Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to enhance Belt and Road Cooperation and contribute to the economic revival of Sri Lanka in post-pandemic era.

Xi said China will continue to provide necessary assistance to Sri Lanka, conduct cooperation in areas including aviation and education and explore other potential cooperation areas.

Continue reading ‘Chinese President Xi Jinping Tells Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa that China is willing to work with Sri Lanka to enhance Belt and Road Cooperation and contribute to the economic revival of Sri Lanka in post-pandemic era.’ »

“Not one Muslim country did vote against Sri Lanka, though four countries voted for Sri Lanka, notwithstanding utterances by sections in the government violative of the human rights of the Muslims.”


(The following is the text of the statement issued by M M. Zuhair PC, former MP, Latheef Farook, Journalist and Author, Mass L Usuf, Attorney-at-Law and Advocacy Columnist and Mansoor Dahlan, Theology Scholar)

“We as a country may not be happy about the outcome of the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) resolution adopted on 23rd March 2021. Indeed the government must explain the serious implications of the ‘anti-Sri Lanka resolution’ to all Sri Lankans without attempting to save face on deceptive technicalities. We need to explain how and why the development and economic recovery of the nation will be adversely affected, unless the early warnings are heeded. The government must, as a necessary preliminary step, take the lead in encouraging all ethnic and religious groups to come under the umbrella of a united nation, eschewing all divisive rhetoric.

Neither the contents of the UNHRC resolution nor the detailed report of the High Commissioner that preceded it, has received the coverage they deserve, particularly in the country’s Sinhala media. On the other hand the report of the Commission of Inquiry into the 21/4 Easter Sunday attacks (COI) had however received ‘anti-Muslim coverage’ excessively in sections of the country’s mainstream Sinhala media over a continuous period of two years. This has regrettably created unwarranted new lines of hatred and divisions instead of unitedly overcoming the 21/4 tragedy. We appeal to the Sinhala media to give reasonable coverage to Muslim responses, which only sections amongst them have done.

Primarily the COI report is faulty, ignores geo-politico-strategic implications and in addition Sinhala media coverage on the subject is mostly one sided. What is required today is a fair, balanced and robust public discussion on the UNHRC report and resolution, followed by remedial action on the issues, the UN-HCHR was tasked with on 23/3 by the UNHRC. That will help avoid Sri Lanka’s economy plunging down any further.

Continue reading ‘“Not one Muslim country did vote against Sri Lanka, though four countries voted for Sri Lanka, notwithstanding utterances by sections in the government violative of the human rights of the Muslims.”’ »

” We are not ready to bring back separatism in the name of devolution of power and betray our sovereignty” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa


(Views expressed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa addressing the gathering at the 16th “Discussion with the Village” programme held at the Derangala Maha Vidyalaya premises in the Kiriwelkele North Grama Niladhari Division 3, of Pitabeddara Divisional Secretariat Division in the Matara District on 2021-03-27)

We are conducting the “Discussion with the Village” programme at the district level. This is the 16th in the series. For this programme, we select the poorest village in the district. The other villages I went so far were more remote and difficult areas than this village. There were many long-standing unresolved problems. Those villages even don’t have proper road networks and there were no infrastructure development.

I know you also have various issues. We hope to find solutions for your existing problems giving considerations to your own suggestions. The Secretaries of the respective Ministries are participating with me on this occasion. You have an opportunity now to submit your grievances directly to the officials and find solutions.

Even after coming to power, we go among the people to witness ourselves the difficulties suffered by fellow citizens first hand and to listen to them in order to relieve them of their burdens with a correct understanding. All of you are aware that everything is done through government officials in our country. People’s day to day life depends on their decisions. My primary objective is to transform public servants into responsible officers, who clearly understand the problems of the people and take steps to solve them speedily.

Continue reading ‘” We are not ready to bring back separatism in the name of devolution of power and betray our sovereignty” – President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

By Abstaining at the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka Vote, India has utilised the opportunity to preserve its diplomatic space and to contain the pervasive influence of China over Colombo even while maintaining its support for the Tamil minority to achieve equality, justice, dignity and peace.

(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Hindu”of March 25th 2021 Under the Heading “Tactical abstention: On the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka”)

By abstaining from the vote on the U.N. Human Rights Council resolution on Sri Lanka, India has signalled its unwillingness to upset its neighbour. At the same time, it does not want to be seen as ignoring Sri Lanka’s reluctance to meet the political aspirations of the Tamils or endorsing the country’s stubborn refusal to ensure any sort of accountability for its war-time past.

It may be easy for the political opposition to dismiss India’s abstention as showing an intent to shield Sri Lanka from a credible investigation into allegations of war crimes. A more reasonable assessment would be that India seems to have utilised the opportunity to preserve its diplomatic space and to contain the pervasive influence of China over Sri Lanka even while maintaining its support for the Tamil minority to achieve equality, justice, dignity and peace.

Continue reading ‘By Abstaining at the UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka Vote, India has utilised the opportunity to preserve its diplomatic space and to contain the pervasive influence of China over Colombo even while maintaining its support for the Tamil minority to achieve equality, justice, dignity and peace.’ »

Cultural Cross-border collaboration and exchange between Sri Lankan and Indian Artistes has been halted by the COVIS -19 Pandemic Travel Restrictions

By

Meera Srinivasan

Yazhpanam P.S. Balamurugan had to cancel nearly a dozen performances in India last year, after the pandemic made it impossible to travel from Jaffna, where he lives, in Sri Lanka’s Northern Province.

“I participated in some online events, and in another instance recorded a performance here and shared it with organisers there, but there’s nothing like a live performance in front of an eager audience,” says the nagaswaram artiste, who has a steadily growing fan base in south India.

Those who heard him play Charukesi at a Chennai concert over two years ago have neither forgotten the rendition nor been able to appreciate other Charukesis since, without being reminded of his. The robust sound emanating from his wind instrument, sustained by long, full breaths, brimming with life and emotion, casts a spell on audiences.

For Sri Lankan artistes like him, performing in India defied the usual logistical complications of going abroad. The relatively friendly visa regime, innumerable flight options, and the short travel time — a Colombo-Chennai flight takes less than an hour, and a Jaffna-Chennai flight was introduced in 2019 — made travel fairly simple. “I can’t wait to travel and perform there again once borders open up,” says Balamurugan.

Kandyan dance exponent and guru Upeka Chitrasena has performed across the world, but the audience in India, especially Chennai, is “something else,” she says. “Rows and rows of elderly people and children sit through performances, keeping taal and responding with spontaneous applause when they like something. It is rare to see that sort of engagement and passion.”

Continue reading ‘Cultural Cross-border collaboration and exchange between Sri Lankan and Indian Artistes has been halted by the COVIS -19 Pandemic Travel Restrictions’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Declares Sri Lanka will face the aftermath of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without fear and emphasises the Government would never succumb to international pressure as it represents a free nation.


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa on Saturday (Mar 27) said Sri Lanka will face the aftermath of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without fear and insisted the Government would never succumb to international pressure as it represents a free nation, the President’s Media Division (PMD) said.

The President also said Sri Lanka will not be a victim of big power rivalry in the Indian Ocean.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Declares Sri Lanka will face the aftermath of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) without fear and emphasises the Government would never succumb to international pressure as it represents a free nation.’ »

Parliament Asst Secy Gen refuses to disclose details about educational qualifications of ministers and MP’s Citing “invasion of Privacy” in Response to Application Filed Under Right to Information Provisions

s
By S. Rubatheesan

Parliament has refused to disclose educational qualifications of ministers and Parliamentarians (MPs) on the basis it would be an ‘invasion of privacy’.

Responding to a Right to Information (RTI) application filed by the Sunday Times, Parliament’s Assistant Secretary General and Information Officer Tikiri Jayatilleke said: “Educational qualifications relate to personal information, the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information or the person concerned has consented in writing to such disclosure.”

Continue reading ‘Parliament Asst Secy Gen refuses to disclose details about educational qualifications of ministers and MP’s Citing “invasion of Privacy” in Response to Application Filed Under Right to Information Provisions’ »

The presidency was supposed to save us from oblivion, but what can save us from the presidency?

By Krishantha Prasad Cooray

In 1978, J.R. Jayawardena ushered in the executive presidential system in Sri Lanka as a panacea for all the nation’s woes. By 1991, his co-architects in this venture, Gamini Dissanayake and Lalith Athulathmudali, had realized the dangers inherent in the executive presidency. They formed the DUNF not only as an opposition movement aimed at defeating President Premadasa, but also as a national movement to abolish the executive presidential system entirely.

Every president elected since, from Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Mahinda Rajapaksa to Maithripala Sirisena campaigned for president promising to abolish the presidency. Though these promises remained unfulfilled, under Kumaratunga and Sirisena two constitutional amendments were enacted limiting the draconian powers of the presidency. The 17th Amendment was never properly implemented while the 19th Amendment was. Although Sirisena’s administration sadly did not go through with calling for a referendum to abolish the presidency entirely, President Sirisena became our first ever head of state to voluntarily prune his own powers.

The 18th Amendment on the other hand strengthened presidential powers while removing the term limit provision, the only democratic safeguard in the system. The purpose of the bill was to enable President Mahinda Rajapaksa to contest for a third term and more. Ironically, this piece of legislation was a significant factor in his defeat in January 2015. The idea of a presidential king in all but name was an anathema to many and helped unite and rally a divided opposition.

The executive presidency was said to have been designed for J.R. Jayawardena to bring out the best in his ability to govern. In practice, it brought out the worst and led directly to anti-democratic episodes like the 1982 referendum and stripping Srimavo Bandaranaike of her civic rights.

The executive presidency was supposed to usher in an era of stability, peace and prosperity. Instead, the 43 years of its existence had been a time of relentless instability. With or without a civil war, the excesses of presidents, drunk on power, exacerbated existing problems and sparked new ones. President after president was dazzled by the trappings of their office and overwhelmed by the power of this beast. They all ultimately left office with more shame than pride. It has taken barely four decades of executive presidency to bring Sri Lanka to the brink of becoming a failed state.

Continue reading ‘The presidency was supposed to save us from oblivion, but what can save us from the presidency?’ »

United National Party blames Govt for colossal failure at recent UNHRC sessions in Geneva.UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena says the Government’s decision to withdraw from the previous resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka that resulted in the fresh resolution.


The United National Party (UNP) yesterday blamed the Government for a colossal failure during the recent UNHRC sessions in Geneva.

UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena, speaking to media at Sirikotha, stated that it was the Government’s decision to withdraw from the previous resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka that resulted in the fresh resolution. Under the UNP Government in 2015, the country co-sponsored a resolution that had the unanimous support of the council. The current Government reversed that decision and left us with only the support of 11 countries.

He also said that it was Mahinda Rajapaksa in 2009, who entered into an agreement with the then UN Secretary-General.

Continue reading ‘United National Party blames Govt for colossal failure at recent UNHRC sessions in Geneva.UNP Chairman Vajira Abeywardena says the Government’s decision to withdraw from the previous resolution, which was co-sponsored by Sri Lanka that resulted in the fresh resolution.’ »

“Sri Lanka considers the draft resolution to be unwarranted, unjustified and in violation of the relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter that provides for the mandate of the Human Rights Council.For the above reasons, this Resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal.”Says Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament

(Text of Special statement made by Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament on March 25th 2021 on the UN Human Rights Council Resolution Regarding Sri Lanka)

The United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva adopted by a vote, the draft Resolution titled ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability, and human rights in Sri Lanka’ (A/HRC/46/L.1/Rev.1) tabled by a ‘Core Group’ of countries, on 23 March during its 46th Session. Out of the 47 Members of the Council, 22 countries voted in favour, 11 voted against and 14 abstained. It is implicit from the voting result that the majority of the Council did not support this Resolution.

At this meeting, Sri Lanka, as the country concerned, reiterated its position on this Resolution against the country, and the politically motivated process behind it, as has been briefed to the Human Rights Council before, including through my statement at the High-Level Segment of the 43rd Session, in February last year. Sri Lanka rejected this Resolution which had no consensus and requested the Members of the Human Rights Council to reject this Resolution by a vote.

I have provided a briefing on this matter to the Cabinet of Ministers itself.

Sri Lanka considers the draft resolution to be unwarranted, unjustified and in violation of the relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter, in particular Article 2(7) and relevant Sections of the United Nations Resolution 60/251 that provides for the mandate of the Human Rights Council. For the above reasons, this Resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal.

Continue reading ‘“Sri Lanka considers the draft resolution to be unwarranted, unjustified and in violation of the relevant Articles of the United Nations Charter that provides for the mandate of the Human Rights Council.For the above reasons, this Resolution against Sri Lanka is illegal.”Says Foreign Relations Minister Dinesh Gunawardena in Parliament’ »

Five Indian Fishing Boats Seized and 54 Fishermen Arrested by Sri Lankan Navy;Indian High Commission Seeks Exoeditious Consular Access to Provide Emergency Supplies to Apprehended Indian Nationals

(Text of Statement Issued by the High Commission of India in Colombo on the apprehension of 54 fishermen and 5 boats from India)

High Commission has been informed about the apprehension of 54 fishermen and five boats from India by Sri Lanka Navy on the night of 24 March 2021. We reiterate that issues associated with Indian fishermen are to be dealt in a humanitarian manner.

Continue reading ‘Five Indian Fishing Boats Seized and 54 Fishermen Arrested by Sri Lankan Navy;Indian High Commission Seeks Exoeditious Consular Access to Provide Emergency Supplies to Apprehended Indian Nationals’ »

Dinesh Tells Proponents of UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka to divert millions sought for implementation for SL resolution to welfare of people in war-affected areas


Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday called on the proponents of the UNHRC resolution on Sri Lanka to divert millions of dollars it is seeking for the implementation of the proposal to improve the lives of the people affected by the conflict.

“This huge amount of funds is sufficient to build thousands of houses in the areas affected by the conflict, possibly to vaccinate the population of the entire Jaffna peninsula against COVID-19, or to provide drinking water to the entire province,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Dinesh Tells Proponents of UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka to divert millions sought for implementation for SL resolution to welfare of people in war-affected areas’ »

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau Welcomes Adoption by the UNHRC of resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka saying ” Canada, as part of the Core Group on this resolution, worked alongside members of the council for the passage of this resolution.”

(Text of Media Release Issued by the Canadian Ministry of Foreign Affairs)

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today issued the following statement:

“Canada welcomes the adoption of the UN Human Rights Council’s (UNHRC) resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka.

“Today’s resolution represents the international community’s continued support for ensuring reconciliation, accountability and respect for human rights in Sri Lanka.

Canada, as part of the Core Group on this resolution, worked alongside members of the council for the passage of this resolution.

Continue reading ‘Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Marc Garneau Welcomes Adoption by the UNHRC of resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka saying ” Canada, as part of the Core Group on this resolution, worked alongside members of the council for the passage of this resolution.”’ »

Resolution on Sri Lanka Adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva with 22 Member States Voting for and 11 Voting Against While 14 Abstain from Voting; Resolution A/HRC/46/L.1 Co- Sponsored by 6 Core Group Countries Gets Additional Co -sponsorship by 35 More Countries Including the USA

By

D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva on Tuesday March 23rd 2021 adopted a resolution titled ‘Promotion of Reconciliation Accountability and Human Rights in Sri Lanka’ with Twenty-two member states out of Forty -Seven voting in favour of it. Eleven members voted against the resolution while fourteen countries abstained from voting.

via: @unhumanrights – March 23, 2021

The Resolution A/HRC/46/L.1 was presented to the Council by Julian Braithwaite, the UK representative to Geneva, on behalf of the Core Group of countries co-sponsoring the resolution on Sri Lanka. These countries comprise the UK, Canada, Germany, Montenegro, Malawi and North Macedonia.

The vote was called for by China and Pakistan taken online through Zoom as all 47 members of Council could not attend in person due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Continue reading ‘Resolution on Sri Lanka Adopted by the UNHRC in Geneva with 22 Member States Voting for and 11 Voting Against While 14 Abstain from Voting; Resolution A/HRC/46/L.1 Co- Sponsored by 6 Core Group Countries Gets Additional Co -sponsorship by 35 More Countries Including the USA’ »

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expresses hope that Sri Lanka would “change course” from current policies after passage of Resolution in the Geneva UN Human Rights Council

UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet has expressed hope that Sri Lanka would “change course” from current policies as she welcomed the decision of the Human Rights Council to ramp up monitoring of human rights and war-time abuses in the island.

On Tuesday, 22 member states of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to adopt Resolution 46/1 to promote reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka and expand UN oversight on the country’s rights record and justice failures.

Speaking to the BBC on Tuesday (23) after a vote on the Sri Lanka resolution at the Council, High Commissioner for Human Rights Bachelet said the UNHRC had decided to pursue accountability for past crimes.

Continue reading ‘UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet expresses hope that Sri Lanka would “change course” from current policies after passage of Resolution in the Geneva UN Human Rights Council’ »

India Abstains from Voting at the UNHRC in Geneva While China and Pakistan vote against the resolution in support of the Sri Lankan government.

By

Meera Srinivasan

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India on Tuesday abstained from a crucial vote on Sri Lanka’s rights record at the UN Human Rights Council. The resolution on ‘Promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka’ was however adopted after 22 member states of the 47-member Council voted in its favour.

Both, the Government of Sri Lanka and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA), the main grouping representing war-affected Tamils of the island’s north and east, that sought the exact opposite outcomes on the passage of the resolution, had earlier expressed hope about obtaining India’s support to their respective calls.

Continue reading ‘India Abstains from Voting at the UNHRC in Geneva While China and Pakistan vote against the resolution in support of the Sri Lankan government.’ »

UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka is a a clear reminder from the international community that the alleged abuses in the Sri Lankan conflict will not be forgotten or ignored.


By

Anbarasan Ethirajan, BBC World Service South Asia Regional Editor>

Despite weeks of intense behind-the-scenes diplomatic campaigning, the UN Human Rights Council resolution has gone against the Sri Lankan government.

The new resolution gives more powers to the UN human rights chief to ensure accountability for the alleged war crimes during the conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebels which ended in 2009, and the evidence gathered can be used for any future prosecutions.

Continue reading ‘UNHRC Resolution on Sri Lanka is a a clear reminder from the international community that the alleged abuses in the Sri Lankan conflict will not be forgotten or ignored.’ »

“I welcome the Human Rights Council’s decision to continue its monitoring of human rights in Sri Lanka and pursue accountability for past crimes”- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet


The United Nations human rights chief Michelle Bachelet has been authorised to collect and preserve evidence of alleged war crimes during Sri Lanka’s long civil war, which ended in 2009.

The UN believes 80,000-100,000 people died in the 26-year conflict with the Tamil Tiger rebel group.

A resolution passed by the UN Human Rights Council accused Sri Lanka of “obstructing accountability”.

Sri Lanka described the resolution as “unhelpful” and “divisive”.

The council’s resolution also called for trials of suspects in foreign countries.

Continue reading ‘“I welcome the Human Rights Council’s decision to continue its monitoring of human rights in Sri Lanka and pursue accountability for past crimes”- UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michele Bachelet’ »

Resolution to promote accountability, reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka Presented by the UK with Over 30 Co-sponsoring Counries will be taken up for Voting by the United Nations Human Rights Council around 10.30AM Geneva time as the first item on Tuesday March 23rd 2021 UNHRC Agenda

Forty-seven member states of the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council will cast their votes on a resolution that will keep the international spotlight on human rights violations in Sri Lanka, and establish a central database of evidence to future prosecutions against perpetrators of war-time abuses.

The database which will be managed by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) will be the second international mechanism established pertaining to war crimes and human rights violations in Sri Lanka. The UNHRC established a OHCHR-led investigation on Sri Lanka (OISL) when it adopted a resolution in 2014.

Daily FT learns that the resolution on Sri Lanka has over 30 co-sponsors and has been championed by a core group of countries led by the United Kingdom. The US, which has pledged to rejoin the UNHRC, has strongly supported the resolution on Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘Resolution to promote accountability, reconciliation and human rights in Sri Lanka Presented by the UK with Over 30 Co-sponsoring Counries will be taken up for Voting by the United Nations Human Rights Council around 10.30AM Geneva time as the first item on Tuesday March 23rd 2021 UNHRC Agenda’ »

Tamil National Alliance “Hopes are High” that India Will Vote for the resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva Says Party Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP.

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Tamil National Alliance’s (TNA) “hopes are high” that India will vote for the UN resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka next week, according to its spokesman and Jaffna legislator M.A. Sumanthiran.

Whether India votes for the resolution or abstains is “entirely a matter that they will decide”, but the TNA’s expectations are “clearly” that India must support and vote for the resolution, he says, speaking to The Hindu on the coming vote.

Despite its diminished presence in Parliament since the August 2020 general elections, the TNA remains the largest grouping representing the Tamils of the north and east in Sri Lanka, with 10 MPs in the 225-member House.

“Our hopes are high this time, since India’s statement at the Interactive Dialogue segment placed the political aspirations of the Tamil people on par with recognising the territorial integrity of Sri Lanka,” Mr. Sumanthiran says, referring to the intervention made by India’s Permanent Representative in Geneva, on February 25.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance “Hopes are High” that India Will Vote for the resolution on promoting reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka at the UNHRC in Geneva Says Party Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP.’ »

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakasa,that India “will not do any injustice to Sri Lanka,” at the UN Human Rights Council says the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Prof .Jayanath Colombage.

By P.K.Balachandran

In his recent telephone conversation with the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakasa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured that India “will not do any injustice to Sri Lanka,” says the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Prof.Jayanath Colombage.

He denied a report in the State-owned Daily News which quoted him as saying that India had assured that it would “support” Sri Lanka, and “protect the country’s sovereignty during the UNHRC sessions.”

The paper further quoted the Foreign Secretary as saying: “Being the super power they (India) are, Sri Lanka greatly appreciates their position.” The Foreign Secretary was speaking at the Third Digital Dialogue hosted by the Media Center for National Development, the paper said.

Clarifying the position, Colombage said that in his recent telephone conversation with the Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakasa, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the latter assured that India “will not do any injustice to Sri Lanka.”

Continue reading ‘Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapakasa,that India “will not do any injustice to Sri Lanka,” at the UN Human Rights Council says the Sri Lankan Foreign Secretary Adm.Prof .Jayanath Colombage.’ »

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena hits out at the resolution pending before the UNHRC on Sri Lanka calling it a political move by the core group of countries and not one put forward to assist the country in its efforts to address accountability and human rights-related issues.

By Chandani Kirinde

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena yesterday hit out at the resolution pending before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Sri Lanka, calling it a political move by the core group of countries and not one put forward to assist the country in its efforts to address accountability and human rights-related issues.

“The resolution refers a great deal to the internal day-to-day affairs of the Government, such as running a department or a ministry, or appointments given to public officials, and ignores the progress Sri Lanka has made in the last few years on human rights and related issues. The core group of countries have been preoccupied since the election victory of the President and subsequently of the government. This is a political resolution,” Gunawardena told the Daily FT.

He said it was particularly unfortunate that the United Kingdom as a country that heads the Commonwealth is being unfriendly to Sri Lanka and sponsoring a resolution on another Commonwealth member nation.

Continue reading ‘Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena hits out at the resolution pending before the UNHRC on Sri Lanka calling it a political move by the core group of countries and not one put forward to assist the country in its efforts to address accountability and human rights-related issues.’ »

As the military seeks to consolidate power, it is increasingly targeting journalists with lawsuits and violence in order to stop them from reporting the truth about what’s happening in Myanmar.


By FRONTIER

“Don’t be afraid of them,” The Hakha Times CEO Ya Lalawmpuia, also known as Pa Pui, advised his newsroom on March 3. “If we are afraid, we will not be able to reveal the truth about what they [police and soldiers] are doing.”

Less than a week earlier, on February 27, Pa Pui, 50, had been arrested in Hakha, the Chin State capital, while live streaming a protest.

“They [the police] beat me. I told them I was from the media, but they cursed and told me to stop talking nonsense,” he told Frontier. “They did not f*cking care ­– they threw me forcefully into the police truck.”

Pa Pui said more than 10 officers detained him, then took him to the Hakha Myoma police station and held him overnight. He was released at 2pm the following day.

“They forced me to sign an agreement not to livestream any protests or military deployments, which doesn’t make sense – I’m a journalist,” he said.

He signed the paper but told them he would not abide by the agreement.

“Although I signed the agreement, I told them I’ll keep covering protests without hesitation because it’s my job,” he told Frontier. “If I’d refused, I would have stayed in jail. I wanted to get out as soon as possible and get back to work.”

Hakha is home to at least six media outlets, as well as a handful of reporters for Yangon and Mandalay-based publications. Pa Pui is not the only one to be arrested: another journalist at The Hakha Times and a reporter for the Chinland Post were also detained and later released for reporting on the coup and the popular resistance to it.

Continue reading ‘As the military seeks to consolidate power, it is increasingly targeting journalists with lawsuits and violence in order to stop them from reporting the truth about what’s happening in Myanmar.’ »

“In Sri Lanka now there are warrants, seizures and disinformation campaigns, which erode public trust in critics and the news media. As one of the earliest targets of this subdued terror campaign, I can attest to its effectiveness” States Former “Sunday Observer”Editor Dharisha Bastians


By

Dharisha Bastians

Terror tore through me when I heard that my friend and editor of the Nation newspaper, Keith Noyahr, had been abducted. It was May 2008; the civil war was raging and Sri Lankan troops were chalking up victories against Tamil Tiger separatists in the north. In the fog of war, government critics were being terrorised all over the country. We had learned to expect the worst when a journalist went missing.

Within days, Noyahr had fled the country. He told investigators he had been suspended in midair, stripped and beaten by his captors.

Seven months later, we realised the attack had been a trial run. In January 2009 the murder of Lasantha Wickrematunge, another Sri Lankan journalist and editor of the Sunday Leader, sent shockwaves across the world.

The man Wickrematunge’s daughter has accused of planning her father’s killing, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, is now president of Sri Lanka. His election in 2019 heralded an immediate crackdown against the media.

Human Rights Watch says the Sri Lankan media practices “rampant self-censorship” – perhaps because there is an eerie familiarity to the recent intimidation. The last time this regime held power, journalists had a front-row seat to repression.

Continue reading ‘“In Sri Lanka now there are warrants, seizures and disinformation campaigns, which erode public trust in critics and the news media. As one of the earliest targets of this subdued terror campaign, I can attest to its effectiveness” States Former “Sunday Observer”Editor Dharisha Bastians’ »

Sri Lanka to ban the wearing of burqas;Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara cites national security for decision saying garments are ‘sign of religious extremism’; plans to close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas.

Sri Lanka has announced plans to ban the wearing of burqas and said it would close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas, citing national security.

The minister of public security Sarath Weerasekara, said he had signed a paper on Friday seeking the approval of the cabinet of ministers to ban burkas – outer garments that cover the body and face worn by some Muslim women.

“The burqa has a direct impact on national security,” Weerasekara told a ceremony at a Buddhist temple on Saturday. “In our early days, we had a lot of Muslim friends, but Muslim women and girls never wore the burqa,” Weerasekara said, according to video footage sent by his ministry. “It is a sign of religious extremism that came about recently. We will definitely ban it.”

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka to ban the wearing of burqas;Public Security Minister Sarath Weerasekara cites national security for decision saying garments are ‘sign of religious extremism’; plans to close more than 1,000 Islamic schools known as madrassas.’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wants to Re-open Over 50 Dismantled Security Camps in the Pre-dominantly Tamil Speaking Eastern Province “Because separatist terrorism or Islamic extremism will not be allowed under our government.”


By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has said that security will be beefed up in the Eastern Province to stem separatist terrorism and Islamic extremism.

Tamils and Muslims together outnumber the Sinhalese in the Eastern Province.

The province had been the base of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and also Jehadists who staged the April 21, 2019 suicide bombings in Colombo and other places.

Speaking at the 14 th. “Discussion with the Village” program in Galagoda East in Galle District on March 13, the President said: “ There were about 50 camps in the Eastern Province. They had been removed and only a handful of camps remain. I have advised that these camps be opened again, because separatist terrorism or Islamic extremism will not be allowed under our government.”

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Wants to Re-open Over 50 Dismantled Security Camps in the Pre-dominantly Tamil Speaking Eastern Province “Because separatist terrorism or Islamic extremism will not be allowed under our government.”’ »