Turmoil in Toronto as “Tigers” Target TNA Meeting

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Last Saturday (November 20) saw a group of self-styled political activists create a ruckus and disrupt a public meeting in the Scarborough area of Toronto City in Canada. The incident -though distorted and misreported in sections of the media – received wide publicity in Sri Lanka. Moreover it has generated a multi-faceted debate through social media within and outside Sri Lanka. This is because the Toronto fracas involved Sri Lankan Tamils and Canadian Tamils of Sri Lankan origin. The event organizers, audience, troublemakers and their targets were all Tamils. In short it was a homegrown “ Lankan Tamil tussle”transplanted on Canadian soil.



The Novemnber 20 meeting was organized by the Canada Tamil National Alliance (CTNA). The chief speakers were two Tamil National Alliance MP’s from Sri Lanka. They were Jaffna district MP Mathiaparanan Abraham Sumanthiran and Batticaloa District MP Shanakiyan Ragul Rajaputhiran Rasamanickam. A group consisting mainly of men and a few women carrying the tiger flags of the proscribed Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and placards engaged in a protest outside the meeting venue. Although slogans were shouted against both the Tamil MP’s, the primary or main target of the demonstration was Sumanthiran. The placards almost exclusively attacked the Jaffna MP who is also the TNA spokesperson. The protest demonstration was supposedly staged by an outfit calling itself “Canadia Thamizhar Munnani” (Canadian Tamil Front)

Continue reading ‘Turmoil in Toronto as “Tigers” Target TNA Meeting’ »

Murugeysen Tiruchelvam: Former Chief Political Strategist of the ITAK/FP

by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

In the ‘Political Pulse’ column of 10 November titled ‘Tiruchelvam QC and Sabry PC: A tale of two resignations,’ I had written to some extent about former Local Government Minister Murugeysen Tiruchelvam known as M. Tiru or Tiru. Interestingly much of the feedback I received displayed great interest and curiosity about M. Tiruchelvam. Many youngsters wanted to know greater details about him while some seniors were keen on refreshing their memories more.

Senator M Tiruchelvam with Prime Minister of India, Mrs. Indira Gandhi in 1967

November was a significant month as far as Murugeysen Tiruchelvam was concerned. M. Tiru who was born on 19 November 1907 and passed away on 23 November 1976. These days of November therefore mark both his birth and death anniversaries. As such this week’s article will focus on Murugeysen Tiruchelvam, the father of Dr. Neelan Tiruchelvam.

Let me begin on a personal note. There were two occasions where I had a chance to interact with Murugeysen Tiruchelvam. These were in the mid-seventies of the 20th Century when I was a member of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF) Colombo branch and also the Colombo Thamil Ilaingar Paeravai (Tamil Youth Federation) branch. I was not a journalist then.

On both occasions a small group of us youths was asked by the TULF leader S.J.V. Chelvanayagam to meet with M. Tiruchelvam and clarify certain doubts that we raised with “Thanthai” Chelva. Those were times when several Tamil youths including this writer were becoming greatly enamoured of Tamil Eelam.

M. Tiruchelvam was not in favour of separation but most sympathetic to the reasons leading to such a demand.

Tiruchelvam was charmingly gracious and answered our heated questions with cool detachment and a disarming smile. He also spoke in detail to us about issues like the Palestinian cause, Bangladesh independence and the Dravidian separatist demand, etc. On the second occasion we departed with an invitation from M. Tiruchelvam to visit him again soon. But this was not to be! On 23 November 1976, he was studying a case at home and passed away peacefully late at night.

Family background and early years

Tiruchelvam’s father Murugeysen hailed from Vaddukkoddai in Jaffna District. He got a degree from the Calcutta University and served as a postmaster and also a station master in Malaya during British colonial rule. Tiruchelvam was the eldest child. The mother came to Jaffna during her early pregnancy. After Tiruchelvam was born in Jaffna on 19 November 1907 she returned to Malaya with her three-month-old son.

Father-Murugeysen Tiruchelvam with his Two Sons.

Murugeysen sent two of his sons, Tiruchelvam and Rajendra (later to become a top civil servant), to the home country for their secondary education after the end of the 1st World War. They studied at St. Thomas’ College that had shifted in 1918 from Mutwal to Mount Lavinia. Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi (ITAK) Co-founder and Leader S.J.V. Chelvanayagam whose father Velupillai was also a Malayan resident was a friend of Murugeysen. As a result Chelvanayagam was made guardian of the two boys. An old boy, he was teaching at STC then. But he left STC because of a dispute with Warden Stone and joined Wesley College. The brothers remained as SJV’s wards.

Tiruchelvam remained close to Chelvanayagam. In later life he drew closer to Chelvanayagam politically. He was the most trusted deputy and adviser to Chelvanayagam. As a result Tiruchelvam became the Chief Political Strategist of the ITAK/FP. This affinity with SJV was resented by many within the party.

Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson, Professor of Political Science and the son-in-law of S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, writes thus about this special relationship:

“Senator M. Tiruchelvam QC was in every way, but in name and blood relationship, the son of my father-in-law, the late S.J.V. Chelvanayakam. I came to know him in 1952 and was his close and admiring friend throughout this phase of his life until his sad and premature demise in 1976.”

“My father-in-law regarded him with love and affection, chided him at times as if he were his own child, and had implicit faith in him. Tiruchelvam for his part reciprocated this confidence and trust and never ever uttered a word of criticism against my father-in-law. Such was the bond that held these two men together.”

Murugeysen Tiruchelvam entered University College and completed an honours degree in History. He then pursued legal studies and became a lawyer in 1935.After practising for a while at the bar, Tiruchelvam served as the Magistrate in Negombo, Panadura and Galle up to 1945. He was subsequently appointed Assistant Legal Secretary to the then Legal Secretary Sir Alan Rose. Later Tiruchelvam became Deputy Solicitor-General and then Solicitor-General in 1957.

Love at first sight

He was in his early thirties when “Manmathan” or cupid struck. Punithavathy Canagaratnam known as Punitham was an undergraduate when Tiruchelvam first saw her. Her mother was a teacher at Driebergs College Chavakachcheri. Her father was V. Canagaratnam, a Proctor, one of her brothers was former District Judge C. Manohara.

It was apparently love at first sight. They were married soon after and she abandoned her tertiary studies.

Punitham Tiruchelvam was a dynamic personality in her own right. She was involved with the Tamil Refugee Rehabilitation Organisation (TRRO) set up by the lawyer K. Kandasamy after the 1977 anti-Tamil violence. The TRRO is not to be confused with the controversial TRO of later times. I did some “volunteer” work for the TRRO in the early days of its existence.

It was then that I witnessed Punitham’s humanitarian commitment and selfless service. She had an amiable disposition but would stand firm on certain issues. She passed away a few years after her husband.

Murugeysen and Punitham Tiruchelvam had four children. They were Hindus but had a secular and liberal outlook towards life. Three of their children got married to spouses from Muslim, Christian and Buddhist families.

Constitution making and minority interests

Tiruchelvam being in the service of the crown did not involve himself directly in politics during the Colonial period. But he did participate in helping formulate the Dominion Constitution known as Soulbury Constitution. Sir Ivor Jennings is credited with the drafting but Sir Alan Rose too contributed extensively. Rose was ably assisted by Tiruchelvam.

Prof. Wilson once told me that Tiruchelvam’s role in protecting minority interests in constitution making had gone unrecognised. According to Wilson, Tiru played a significant role through Sir Alan Rose in getting the famous Section 29 of the Soulbury Constitution included as a minority safeguard.

When Independence dawned on 4 February 1948 the Union Jack came down. In a pointer to the future, the flag that went up was the Lion flag identified with the majority community. The minorities resented this.

Tiruchelvam in his own way defied the powers that be. He flew the ‘Nandhi’ or crouched bull flag in his vehicle. The Nandhi flag was the standard of the Pallava dynasty in India as well as that of the Jaffna kingdom. When the Jaffna Youth Congress demanded ‘Poorana Swaraj,’ or complete independence from the British, they hauled down the Union Jack and raised the Nandhi instead.

Entry into politics

The Solicitor-General was deeply troubled by events of the fifties. He prematurely retired as S-G in 1960 and reverted to the unofficial bar. He also entered politics in support and by the side of Chelvanayagam. Given his personal relationship with Chelvanayagam and also his politico-legal acumen, it was soon apparent that Tiruchelvam was the new “Saanakkiyan” (Chanakya) in the Ilankai Thamil Arasuk Katchi (ITAK) known as the Federal Party (FP) in English.

Tiru participated in the Satyagraha campaign of 1961 and was detained at Panagoda for six months. The man who had spent most of his life in Kuala Lumpur and Colombo was exposed to what the people of the north east were thinking during this incarceration. Tiruchelvam gained much insight into Tamil political consciousness as a result.

The 1965 elections saw the UNP getting 66 seats and the SLFP-LSSP-CP combination 56. The ITAK/FP with 14 seats held the balance of power. Both sides wooed the FP and Chelvanayagam was content to let Tiruchelvam handle the intense negotiations. It was decided that the FP would throw in its lot with Dudley Senanayake.

An agreement was reached at the house of Dr. M.V.P. Peiris. On the suggestion of J.R. Jayewardene, the agreement reached was documented. It was signed by Senanayake and Chelvanayagam and became known as the Dudley-Chelva pact. Agreement was reached on a number of matters including the use of Tamil Language and the establishment of district councils.

Senanayake also offered three ministerial portfolios to the ITK/FP but the party in condemning GG Ponnambalam for accepting a ministerial post in the D.S. Senanayake Cabinet had declared consistently that no Federal Party MP would join a Cabinet before Tamil rights were restored.

Thus none of the 14 MPs could become ministers. There was however a need for someone to be in Cabinet and help push things through. So the party decided to accept one ministry. The only choice was to appoint a non-MP as minister. He could be made a Senator to be eligible. So Tiruchelvam was made Minister and appointed Senator.

Tamil Language Special Provisions Act

Tiruchelvam became Local Government Minister so that he could help usher in the District Councils. His first task however was to draft the Tamil Language Special Provisions Act known popularly as Reasonable Use of Tamil Act. Using his legal dexterity to the maximum M. Tiru interpreted the provision “specific administrative purposes” as to mean that Tamil “shall” be used “for all administrative purposes” regarding the north-east.

Murugeysen Tiruchelvam

This created a furore in Parliament and J.R. Jayewardene who presented it in the House requested Tiruchelvam to change “shall” to “may,” but the Local Government Minister stood firm. The bill was passed. Tiruchelvam was elated.

Chelvanayagam summed up the Tamil mood when he said in Parliament: “The Sinhala Only Act deprived the Tamil-speaking people of their self-respect in this Ccountry. By passing these regulations and implementing the act, this lost respect is restored in some measure.”

District Councils

The next objective was the District Councils. The Government dragged its feet. An impatient Tiruchelvam wanted to resign on many occasions over prickly issues, but Chelvanayagam urged patience. A case in point was the nationalisation of Trincomalee harbour. Tiruchelvam found himself unable to prevent it and was prepared to resign as a last resort. But the party did not back him. Even Trinco MP Manickarajah was reluctant.

Finally in 1968 the green light was given by Senanayake for the District Councils. In July 1968 a White Paper drafted by Tiruchelvam on the District Councils scheme was presented. But the DCs were bitterly opposed by the SLFP-LSSP-CP combine and a ‘ginger group’ of 16 backbench MPs within the UNP led by Festus Perera. Dudley got cold feet and backed out. He offered to resign his Premiership. ITAK Leader Chelvanayagam ruled that out as an option. Meanwhile a disappointed Tiruchelvam wanted to quit the Cabinet in protest. But the party leadership prevailed upon him to desist and continue as a Government Minister.

Resignation as Minister

The final break came two months later in 1968 when Fort Frederick in Trincomalee was to be declared a Hindu sacred precinct by the Local Government Minister because the famous Koneshwaram Temple was within. When Buddhist monks protested to Senanayake the Prime Minister intervened and rescinded the order over the head of the LG Minister.

This was a gross insult to Tiruchelvam’s self-respect. His friends in the Cabinet like J.R. Jayewardene and V.A. Sugathadasa tried hard to change his mind but Tiruchelvam was unshaken. He resigned as Minister of Local Government on 15 September 1968. (The resignation by M. Tiruchelvam over the Koneshwaram Temple issue has been related in greater detail in the 10 November article.)

A project close to Tiruchelvam’s heart was the setting up of a Tamil university in Trincomalee. The Tamil university movement had bought much land in Uppuvely for the purpose. These plans could have succeeded when Tiruchelvam was minister but the stumbling block was G.G. Ponnambalam who demanded a Hindu University in Jaffna. Neither projects were fulfilled as Senanayake was able to “shelve” both by exploiting the rivalry.

Trial-at-Bar case

Tiruchelvam like G.G. Ponnambalam went to Chennai in 1976 to appear for DMK Leader Muttuvel Karunanidhi when the ex-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu was charged for corruption by the Sarkaria Commission. Likewise both of them were engaged together at the Amirthalingam Trial-at-Bar which was their grand politico-legal swansong.

GG Ponnambalam, SJV Chelvanayagam & M Tiruchelvam

The High Court Trial-at-Bar case was against Appapillai Amirthalingam and three others (V.N. Navaratnam, K. Thurairatnam and K.P. Ratnam) for sedition. Attorney-General Shiva Pasupathy was prosecuting. The three Judges were JFA Soza, Siva Selliah and Ananda Silva.

A total of 73 Tamil lawyers including Six Queen’s Counsels marked their appearances in court for the defence. It was an impressive sight that day when Tamils flocked at the court house to see this impressive turnout. It was also an occasion where Tamils sank political differences and rallied around a common cause.

The scene that captured the mood of the times was that of S.J.V. Chelvanayagam, G.G. Ponnambalam and M. Tiruchelvam posing together for a photograph. They were regarded then as the “Trinity” or “Trimoorthigal” of Sri Lankan Tamil politics. But within a year this triumvirate was no more. Tiruchelvam the youngest of the trio passed way in November 1976. Ponnambalam died in February 1977. Chelvanayagam departed in April 1977. Their deaths marked the end of an era in Tamil politics.

The Trial-at-Bar case where Tamils “fought” the oppressive State legally was as symbolic as it was politically explosive. The protracted Trial-at-Bar proceedings continued at Bullers Road. I was then a law student and used to spend hours watching G.G. Ponnambalam and M. Tiruchelvam in court.

It is said that Sir Ponnambalam Arunachalam’s address on ‘Our Political Needs’ in 1917 was the “Bible” of the Ceylonese movement for Independence from the British. Likewise I would say that Murugeysen Tiruchelvam’s address to court in the Trial-at-Bar provided an intellectual basis for the cause of Tamil freedom in Sri Lanka.

Tamil sovereignty

M. Tiru argued in depth about the right of self-determination and of Tamil sovereignty. He spoke of the Tamils as a distinctive people with their own language, territory, history and common heritage and consciousness. He also referred to the Jaffna Kingdom in detail and pointed out with facts that the Tamils had lost their sovereignty on the battlefield to the Portuguese.

This sovereignty had been transferred from the Portuguese to the Dutch and from the Dutch to the British. The British had then transferred it to the “Sinhala” rulers who enacted the 1972 Republican Constitution without the consent of the Tamils.

M Tiruchelvam & M_Karunanidhi, in 1968

While arguing that the 1972 Constitution was imposed on the Tamils, M. Tiruchelvam observed that Tamil sovereignty had not been ceded to the Sinhalese on the battlefield. At that point Justice Siva Selliah remarked from the bench, “Yes. We were not a militarily-conquered people.”

As a lawyer Tiru went to the aid of both the high and the low. When J.R. Jayewardene was having intra-party differences with Dudley Senanayake, Tiruchelvam was at hand to help him. He defended Jayewardene when threatened with expulsion.

Likewise it was Tiruchelvam who took up the case of a Tamil journalist dismissed by the management for trade union activity. He did not charge a cent and appeared free despite the displeasure of the newspaper owners who were all well-known to him.

Up-close and personal view

Let me conclude with excerpts from an interview given by Neelan Tiruchelvam to well-known journalist Roshan Peiris, where the son also talks about his father. They provide an up-close and personal view of M. Tiruchelvam. Here are some excerpts:

“Growing up in the shadow of such a person whose agility of mind, devotion to duty and capacity for work, was legendary, I wondered could I measure up to his standards.”

“For instance, in his law practice he gave of his professional best, but I as a youngster found he was deeply emotional and personally concerned with the welfare of his clients, if they suffered injustice. He used all his legal skills, legal integrity to devise a remedy.”

“When he was a Minister, I did accompany him on a few occasions on some of his tours and was deeply impressed by his ability to relate to people. He would switch from his elegantly-tailored suits, to a spotless vershti. He moved with great ease and acceptance amongst ordinary people although he was never a candidate for elective office.”

“From 1973 to 1977, I worked as his junior. He was a very severe and demanding senior. He had a substantial amount of appellate and trial work. He specialised on questions of public law, and more specifically administrative remedies. He had a nimble mind and quick grasp of ideas. He was totally absorbed in his cases and in every sense a lawyer’s lawyer, one whose judgement and knowledge of the law and legal acumen was valued by his colleagues.”

“He had this great capacity to persuade. In Courts his voice was soft and sometimes hardly audible, yet he commanded complete attention by the skill with which he marshalled his facts and presented his case on behalf of his clients. He had the capacity to think on his feet, and would suddenly change his legal strategy, much to the exasperation of his juniors”

“While he was Solicitor-General, his colleagues were Victor Tennekoon, Rajah Wanasundera, H. L. de Silva and V. S. A. Pullenayagam. They worked closely, and formed a formidable team in taking on the best in the unofficial Bar. In many a complex case on constitutional law and administrative law, they outdistanced the unofficial Bar.”

DBS Jeyaraj can be reached at dbsjeyaraj@yahoo.com

This is an updated version of an article written for the “Political Pulse” Column in the “Daily Financial Times” dated November 25, 2021.It can be accessed here:

https://www.ft.lk/columns/Murugeysen-Tiruchelvam-the-ITAK-s-Chief-Political-Strategist/4-726401

“Kaadhal Mannan” Gemini Ganesan: On- screen Romancer and Off-screen Casanova.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

Popular Tamil cinema actor Gemini Ganesan whose 101st birth anniversary falls on November 17th is regarded widely as the greatest romantic lover in Tamil cinema . In a career spanning more than five decades Gemini Ganesan made his mark in Tamil films as the romantic hero par excellence. In fact he was dubbed “Kaadhal Mannan,” meaning “King of Romance”. Though he played a number of diverse roles , it was as a lover on screen that Gemini shone brightly. This hallmark earned him the evergreen laurel of Romance king.

Gemini Ganesan (17 November 1920 – 22 March 2005)


What is most interesting about Gemini Ganesan is the fact that his romantic on-screen and off-screen persona got intertwined in reel life and real life.While the actor hero crooned and danced his way into the hearts of many lovely heroines on screen, the off-screen Gemini too romanced many women in real life. Gemini had four wives plus several liaisons including live -in relationships with attractive women. He himself admitted to his numerous affairs with other married women to the Indian magazine”Debonair” in an interview . When the magazine wanted more details, Gemini declined to elaborate saying, “Gentlemen don’t tell!”

Continue reading ‘“Kaadhal Mannan” Gemini Ganesan: On- screen Romancer and Off-screen Casanova.’ »

Sri Lanka must be the first country in the world where the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act, No 56 of 2007 is being used as the main legal tool by state agents to terrify those who speak out against them


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Has the law been forgotten to such an extent in Sri Lanka that individuals who happen to antagonise the politically (or militarily) powerful are being summoned to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) on the basis that they have offended repealed laws? Does no one know what laws are in force in the country and what have been repealed? What is this colossal joke that is being inflicted upon us?

What constitutional promises when basic norms are disregarded?
In the absence of infantile foundational knowledge on the laws which may be invoked to allege that a violation has occurred, is it not a veritably Alice-in-Wonderland dream to dwell on constitutional reforms or promise the nation, a new Constitution in the coming year? When the basic criminal law and criminal procedure been subverted to such an extent that notional obedience or a semblance of propriety ceases to be demonstrated by those tasked with implementing the law, where is one to turn to? We live in the shadow of the 20th Amendment to the Constitution which effectively subordinates all institutions and branches of state to the Office of the Presidency.

Consequently, is it not a farce of the highest order to talk of a constitutional balance of power between the executive, legislature and the judiciary? And for that matter, what is the point of learned perambulation on a Rights Bill to be put before the people? For these discussions to be taken seriously, the reversal of the 20th Amendment is imperative in that sense and sobriety must return to the constitutional discourse. That must trickle down to the working of the governance process rather than this madhouse of the absence of law and order that we see.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka must be the first country in the world where the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) Act, No 56 of 2007 is being used as the main legal tool by state agents to terrify those who speak out against them’ »

Residents of Northern Village Chundikulaam Deprived of heir Traditional Agricultural Lands by Wildlife Conservation Dept’s Arbitrary Expansion of Area for Wildlife Park


By

Meera Srinivasan

In Chundikulam village, located on the eastern tip of Jaffna Peninsula, farmers are facing a peculiar challenge.

They are unable to access their lands in which they have recently sowed vegetables. “Border stones of the Department of Wildlife Conservation have sprouted on our plots,” said S. Arunthavaraja, a resident, pointing to a dull grey stone with the letters ‘DWC’ painted on it. “Once a stone like this is put on our lands, we have been told not to enter the area, as it is part of the government’s conservation effort,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Residents of Northern Village Chundikulaam Deprived of heir Traditional Agricultural Lands by Wildlife Conservation Dept’s Arbitrary Expansion of Area for Wildlife Park’ »

The “Gotabaya Keliya” is fast doing turns and twists on policies of the government. The Rajapaksas are being surrounded by faults and failures. The Prevailing reality today is the rising farce of family power.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Former President Maithripala Sirisena has struck hard on warnings of being deprived of Civil Rights by President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

In his recent statement, President Gotabaya was clear on observing the policies laid down in his Saubhagya Dekma manifesto. He recalled how the Yahapalana government had given no importance to the war heroes, intelligence services, and national security, which led to the Easter Carnage.
He was very clear that having a two-thirds majority in Parliament, this government is ready to respond to the false propaganda of the Opposition, and provide a meal free of poison to the people.

He said the Presidential Commission appointed by Yahapalana has stated very clearly who was responsible for the Easter Carnage. This included the then President, Prime Minister and the entire Cabinet of that time.
Continue reading ‘The “Gotabaya Keliya” is fast doing turns and twists on policies of the government. The Rajapaksas are being surrounded by faults and failures. The Prevailing reality today is the rising farce of family power.’ »

The Nallur Kandasamy Kovil became the premier temple of the Northern province Under the Custodianship of Kumaradas Maapana Mudaliyar

By

Radhika Coomaraswamy

The piercing sound of the nadaswaram filled the air. A soul-rending call, expressing the constant yearning of the human spirit, I would hear echoes of it in dark spaces in New York in the sound of the tenor saxophone. It was “ther” day at the Nallur Kandasamy temple and musicians came from all over Sri Lanka and India to compete with each other, one drummer more powerful than the next.


Throng of devotees at Nallur temple. Pic by Sivashanthan
The piercing sound of the

Simplicity and authority: Kumaradas Maapana Mudaliyar. Pic by Visakan

As the afternoon faded, Lord Skanda, dressed in green, would be taken back to his abode, dancing on the shoulders of his followers. These scenes from my childhood have always associated music and dance with the sacred and the divine.

Home for my brother and cousins in our early childhood was where my grandmother and great grandmother lived.

Continue reading ‘The Nallur Kandasamy Kovil became the premier temple of the Northern province Under the Custodianship of Kumaradas Maapana Mudaliyar’ »

Tamil National Alliance -Global Tamil Forum joint delegation calls for a more engaged US Govt role in promoting human rights, accountability, political resolution and reconciliation in Sri Lanka

(Text of a Press Statement Issued by the Global Tamil Forum in London on 25 November 2021)

Tamil National Alliance (TNA) delegation together with Global Tamil Forum (GTF) representatives (the “Delegation”), had many significant engagements in the US between November 15 – 22, articulating Tamil people’s concerns to key US Government policymakers and Members of the US Congress. We are pleased with our discussions and remain encouraged by their concerns and responses.

In Washington, the Delegation met with Assistant Secretary of State, Ambassador Donald Lu; Deputy Assistant Secretary, Ambassador Kelly Keiderling; Acting Assistant Secretary for Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Lisa J. Peterson; Ambassador Michael Kozak of the Office of Global Criminal Justice; and Director for South Asia Security Affairs and Director for Democracy and Human Rights of the National Security Council at the White House.

The delegation also met with senior staff members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; the Assistant Administrator of the USAID; Legislators from the United States Congress; and former US Ambassadors to Sri Lanka and Assistant Secretaries for the region.

Continue reading ‘Tamil National Alliance -Global Tamil Forum joint delegation calls for a more engaged US Govt role in promoting human rights, accountability, political resolution and reconciliation in Sri Lanka’ »

President Rajapaksa is not known to be corrupt, a rare distinction from his brothers. Yet the economic crisis, he is partly responsible for perpetuating, has resulted in runaway corruption by the rent-seeking businessmen associated with his party.


By

Ranga Jayasuriya

A glorious day passed without much funfair. Two years ago on November 16, 6.9 million Sri Lankan voters elected as their executive president Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the wartime defence secretary cum the presidential brother. Younger Gotabaya Rajapaksa was anointed as the candidate of the newly formed Sri Lanka Podu Jana Peramuna (SLPP) by the elder brother Mahinda Rajapaksa, who was deprived of the chance to run for a third term – or even fourth or fifth like the peers in Africa and Russia and now in China – by the 19th amendment. Yet Mahinda knew how important it was to keep the post within the confines of the family.

Though handpicked by the elder brother, Gotabaya soon built his own brand and fellowship, the kind of folks who believed Gotabaya, a former military man and a political outsider (which he isn’t) as the panacea for the ills of Sri Lankan politics. His Sinhala Buddhist credentials were seen as the icing on the cake.

Having rescinded his American citizenship to run for the presidency, Gotabaya campaigned on a patriotic platform, prioritizing national security and offering prosperity. Elsewhere, his campaign was replete with Sinhala Buddhist exclusivist rhetoric, anti-minority dog-whistling and pledges to defeat many concocted foreign conspiracies.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa is not known to be corrupt, a rare distinction from his brothers. Yet the economic crisis, he is partly responsible for perpetuating, has resulted in runaway corruption by the rent-seeking businessmen associated with his party.’ »

Will Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Be Able to get Urgent Assistance From Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modito help Tide Over the Economic Crisis in the Island?

By P.K.Balachandran

Sri Lankan Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa is planning to visit New Delhi at the earliest, to seek from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urgent help to tide over the economic crises in the island, especially the part concerning foreign debt repayment. According to sources, a request has been made for an appointment with Modi. If the appointment is given, the Lankan Minister will make a day’s trip.

As stated by Foreign Minister G.L.Peiris, Basil Rajapaksa’s agenda is wide – to seek loans, investment and economic cooperation. Rescheduling debt repayment could be an unstated item, as Sri Lanka had already sought it earlier from India and China.

But experts wonder if a hurried one-day trip will help Sri Lanka, when the agenda is large, and lacking in focus. There is a manifest absence of detailed planning with the involvement of both sides. Further, it is not even clear if the Sri Lankans have worked out details to make the discussions useful.

Continue reading ‘Will Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Be Able to get Urgent Assistance From Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modito help Tide Over the Economic Crisis in the Island?’ »

Mangala Smaraweera was a courageous leader who dedicated his life to pursuing his vision for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-lingual Sri Lanka that would as he described it, “guarantee equal rights, justice and dignity for all.”

By

Samantha Power

Mangala Samaraweera was a remarkable public servant and one of the most remarkable individuals I have ever known. He was also a courageous leader, who dedicated his life to pursuing his vision for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-lingual Sri Lanka that would, as he described it, “guarantee equal rights, justice and dignity for all.”

I was devastated by Mangala’s passing, and these days find myself craving his wise counsel, irrepressible mischief, and rare gift for friendship. I also miss knowing that Mangala is out there hustling, refusing ever to give up on the idea that people could change for the better, that his country could realise his ideals, and that the world’s nations could think—and act—beyond their immediate self-interest.

The son of an open-hearted, trailblazing mother and a pioneering human rights lawyer father, the seeds of Mangala’s immense impact began as he witnessed the brutality of Sri Lanka’s civil war, with a simple thought: “Maybe I can make a difference.”

Continue reading ‘Mangala Smaraweera was a courageous leader who dedicated his life to pursuing his vision for a multi-ethnic, multi-religious, and multi-lingual Sri Lanka that would as he described it, “guarantee equal rights, justice and dignity for all.”’ »

People elected the Political Outsider Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President because they thought here was a man with some integrity and a no-nonsense air about him. But what he has done is to further erode people’s faith in the integrity and probity of politicians.

By

Rajpal Abeynayake

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa was elected not despite his lack of political experience, but because of it. On the campaign trail, he was seen as the outsider who was not tainted by politics. He was Defence Secretary, but that was a public office, not a political office.

The outsider element became especially important after the cry “all 225 are useless” became a dirge for political venality during the Yahapalana era.

The slogan was seen as a death march for politicians that had failed the nation. It was clear in the fact that people were disenchanted with politicians, after it became obvious that the then Government could not even put up a united front, let alone govern.

The ugly goings-on in Parliament during the 52-day crisis and other scenes of unruliness in the legislature also contributed to the idea that a proper leader would be one that was never tainted by previous political experience.

Continue reading ‘People elected the Political Outsider Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President because they thought here was a man with some integrity and a no-nonsense air about him. But what he has done is to further erode people’s faith in the integrity and probity of politicians.’ »

President Rajapaksa Emphasises that his 100% Organic Agriculture Policy Will Continue and that Hereafter Govt will Provide Subsidies only to Farmers Using non-Chemical Fertilizer;Tells Officials who Diasagree are Free to Leave


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Emphasising that the policy of the Government is to direct agricultural activity in the country entirely towards the use of organic fertilisers, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said that the officials who do not agree with it are free to leave.

“Stressing the need for officials to seek solutions for the protesting farmers within the green agriculture policy, Rajapaksa said that there is no impediment for officials who do not agree with the Government’s policy to leave. He said that the support of an honest team of officials is needed for the success of this programme,” stated the President’s Media Centre (PMC).

He made these remarks during a special meeting held at the Presidential Secretariat yesterday (22), where the Maha cultivation season and the supply of organic fertiliser were discussed.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Emphasises that his 100% Organic Agriculture Policy Will Continue and that Hereafter Govt will Provide Subsidies only to Farmers Using non-Chemical Fertilizer;Tells Officials who Diasagree are Free to Leave’ »

Govt to relax Chemical Fertilier ban Partially and import specialised chemical fertilisers and pesticides required for vegetable cultivation in limited quantities for a limited period due to lack of organic and liquid fertilisers and the prevailing rainy season.

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has instructed Agriculture Director General (DG) Dr. Ajantha de Silva to take necessary steps to import specialised chemical fertilisers and pesticides required for vegetable cultivation, in limited quantities, for a limited period, owing to the lack of organic and liquid fertilisers for the same, and the prevailing rains, The Morning learnt.

When contacted by The Morning for confirmation and further details, Dr. de Silva said that this decision was taken yesterday (22) as there are no organic fertilisers and liquid fertilisers that can be used for vegetable cultivations as at present.

“This decision does not mean that the policy of organic farming mentioned in the President’s manifesto has been abandoned, but considering the current situation, the President instructed to take necessary steps to import a limited quantity of chemical fertilisers as there are no organic and liquid fertilisers that can be used for vegetable cultivations,” he explained.

Continue reading ‘Govt to relax Chemical Fertilier ban Partially and import specialised chemical fertilisers and pesticides required for vegetable cultivation in limited quantities for a limited period due to lack of organic and liquid fertilisers and the prevailing rainy season.’ »

When the State remains deaf, dumb and blind to the cries of people who have been pushed to the brink, there is little option for the affected but to violate the law, whether this comes through a court directive or not.

By

Kishali Pinto Jaywardene

There is a certain sense of sanctimonious humbuggery on our part when we raise our hands to the heavens to scorn the sight of mass crowds on Colombo’s streets agitating against policies of the Government which have dire impact on Sri Lanka’s poor.


Responsibility of the State for unjust policies

That too, when remaining (largely) silent as official and religious events occur with nary a thought as to covid-19 health protocols. So when health officials lecture the public on these matters, it is best that the finger of responsibility is first directed towards the Government itself. Timidity in that regard while holding forth on the perils of protests in covid-times is disingenuous at best and politically sycophantic at worst. And there is a larger question in issue here.

Which comes first, the political chicken or the (purported) agitators’ egg? In other words, when protestors gather or are brought out to the streets against political actions that use a global pandemic as a cover to heap untold miseries on the people, on whom must the responsibility lie? The protestors or ruling politicians?

There is an easy answer to those questions. When the State remains deaf, dumb and blind to the cries of people who have been pushed to the brink, there is little option for the affected but to violate the law, whether this comes through a court directive or not.

Continue reading ‘When the State remains deaf, dumb and blind to the cries of people who have been pushed to the brink, there is little option for the affected but to violate the law, whether this comes through a court directive or not.’ »

Frank Sinatra’s Song “And I did it my way.Yes, I did it my way” Appeals to Many Strongman Rulers Including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa

By Gamini Weerakoon

(The writer is a former editor of The Sunday Island, The Island and consultant editor of the Sunday Leader)

Frank Sinatra in his smooth, melodious and pugnacious style of delivery described how a strongman would want to accomplish his tasks: ‘Doing it my way’. This American singer and actor, considered as being the greatest musical artist of the 20th Century, is said to have sold over 150 million records worldwide. And ‘Doing it my way’ was one his favourites.

Even in millennia before to the present day, history reveals that world conquerors — big and small — are pushed by their inner compulsions to ‘Doing it my way’.

The first post-Independent Sri Lankan strongman was Junius Richard Jayewardene. Soon after he swept the polls in 1977, parodying Napoleon on ‘Rolling up the map of Europe’ declared that he wanted to ‘Roll up the electoral map’ (of Sri Lanka) and created a constitution that gave him full executive power with a five-sixth majority backing in parliament.

Continue reading ‘Frank Sinatra’s Song “And I did it my way.Yes, I did it my way” Appeals to Many Strongman Rulers Including President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’ »

Gotabaya Govt has decided to back down in the dispute over the Chinese organic fertiliser shipment found to be contaminated;“We cannot afford to damage diplomatic relations With China over this issue,” Says Agriculture minister Mahindanand Alutgamage


The Government has decided to back down in the dispute over the Chinese organic fertiliser shipment that was found to be contaminated.

Preparations are underway to resolve the dispute by paying 75 percent of the claim by the Chinese company. This amounts to US$ 6.7 million.

The Government has also decided to buy fresh stocks from the same company, Agriculture Minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage told the Sunday Times.

“We cannot afford to damage diplomatic relations over this issue,” the minister said.

Continue reading ‘Gotabaya Govt has decided to back down in the dispute over the Chinese organic fertiliser shipment found to be contaminated;“We cannot afford to damage diplomatic relations With China over this issue,” Says Agriculture minister Mahindanand Alutgamage’ »

Terms of 340 local bodies Comprising 24 municipal councils, 41 urban councils and 275 Pradeshiya Sabhas will be extended by One Yer after their mandated four-year term expires in April next year.


The Government is to extend the local councils’ term by one year without elections, the Sunday Times learns.

Accordingly, the terms of 340 local bodies — 24 municipal councils, 41 urban councils and 275 Pradeshiya Sabhas — will be extended after their mandated four-year term expires in April next year. The term of another local council — the Elpitiya PS — ends later on.

Continue reading ‘Terms of 340 local bodies Comprising 24 municipal councils, 41 urban councils and 275 Pradeshiya Sabhas will be extended by One Yer after their mandated four-year term expires in April next year.’ »

“The mass murder of tens of thousands Tamilians certainly happened. Hospitals and civilian institutions were shelled. It was very, very bad; it may qualify as a war crime.” – Erik Solheim


By Lakshmi Subramanian

Sri Lanka’s 30-year civil war ended in 2009, with the killing of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) leader Velupillai Prabhakaran. More than decade later, the Sri Lankan government led by the Rajapaksa family is still battling allegations that the final days of the war witnessed mass murders.

Erik Solheim

Prabhakaran’s younger son, then 12 years old, was captured by Sri Lankan forces. And then he disappeared. In all likelihood, he was executed after surrendering. A war crime, of course.
Prabhakaran was allegedly shot dead by the Sri Lankan army, but not much is known about his final days. There are unconfirmed claims that he had offered to surrender.

THE WEEK interviewed Erik Solheim, former Norwegian diplomat and minister who had tried to negotiate a peace deal between the Sri Lankan government and the LTTE in the early 2000s. Solheim was a confidant of Prabhakaran, and the only outsider who met him several times before the ceasefire was broken and the final battle played out.

Solheim is now the convenor of the advisory committee of The Belt and Road Initiative International Green Development Coalition (BRIGC) at the World Resources Institute (WRI) in Washington, DC. BRIGC is a non-profit organisation that works with leaders in government, business and civil society to promote green initiatives. It is supervised by the Chinese Ministry of Ecology and Environment and has its own secretariat.

Solheim was in Chennai recently on WRI business. He spoke to THE WEEK about how the LTTE reached out to the world during the final days of the war, and how Prabhakaran rejected an offer from Norway and the international community.


Excerpts from the interview.

Q/ What actually happened in the last leg of the war?

Continue reading ‘“The mass murder of tens of thousands Tamilians certainly happened. Hospitals and civilian institutions were shelled. It was very, very bad; it may qualify as a war crime.” – Erik Solheim’ »

Sri Lanka is now on the brink of a grave catastrophe. The stupid actions of the Government will only exacerbate and expedite the destruction.


By

Victor Ivan

The Government’s Budget clearly indicates that the Government does not have a pragmatic vision at all for overcoming the crisis facing Sri Lanka other than its greed for holding on to power.

The Government seems to be contemplating that it would be able to overcome the crisis facing Sri Lanka if the instalments and interest on foreign loans that it has obtained at commercial rates could be repaid by reducing imports to the maximum and refraining from resorting to new loans. The senseless and stupid nature of the Government’s thinking can be well understood by this fact alone.

Sri Lanka, with the size of its economy and the limited potential of foreign exchange earnings, does not possess the ability to repay foreign loan instalments and interest while maintaining socio-economic activities at a healthy level. It was after carefully evaluating all these facts relating to the current issue that the international credit rating agencies have predicted that Sri Lanka will inevitably go bankrupt.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka is now on the brink of a grave catastrophe. The stupid actions of the Government will only exacerbate and expedite the destruction.’ »

For nearly two years we have been talking about a virus – that came from China. What we see today is much more than a China Virus. It is the Chinese direction of the political leadership of this country.


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayke

The beginning of November is known for its Remembrance Events — All Souls, Poppy Days and in our political past the Suriyamal Day too.

But as we move to mid-November it marks the highlights of Political Power. Who could forget the election of Gotabaya Rajapaksa as President of Sri Lanka, by 69 lakhs of voters! Just two days after that is the birthday of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa – reaching 76, with a political record of much success.

Continue reading ‘For nearly two years we have been talking about a virus – that came from China. What we see today is much more than a China Virus. It is the Chinese direction of the political leadership of this country.’ »

“The opposition thought that I will tax the people and put additional taxes and try to get more money, but I did not do that. So they are not happy.”- Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa


By

Ruwani Fonseka

While acknowledging that the economic situation in Sri Lanka is worse than in previous years, Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa said that Sri Lanka is not alone in facing such a crisis.

He made this statement during an interview on Ada Derana’s Hyde Park programme yesterday (18).

“Sri Lanka is not alone in facing an economic crisis. This is a worldwide crisis. The situation is severe compared to other years and if I had a good private sector that earns more to tax them and get more money into the government’s revenue, I would have done so. If people earned more money, then I could have taken that money and done some other things,” said Rajapaksa.

Continue reading ‘“The opposition thought that I will tax the people and put additional taxes and try to get more money, but I did not do that. So they are not happy.”- Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’ »

Cabinet Approves Proposal by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa to Recognize Sri Lanka’s Cinema Trade as an Industry and Grant it Official Status to the Effect


By Charumini de Silva

Cinema stakeholders hailed the Government’s decision to officially grant ‘industry’ status, but said they were awaiting more clarity on the move, as details on how it would benefit them were yet to be disclosed.

The proposal to this effect was jointly submitted by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa in his capacity as the Cultural Affairs Minister and Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa was granted approval by the Cabinet of Ministers this week.

“The contribution of the cinema industry to the GDP stood at Rs. 1.9 billion in 2019,” Cabinet Co-Spokesman and Mass Media Minister Dullas Alahapperuma said at the post-Cabinet meeting media briefing.

Continue reading ‘Cabinet Approves Proposal by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and Industries Minister Wimal Weerawansa to Recognize Sri Lanka’s Cinema Trade as an Industry and Grant it Official Status to the Effect’ »

Fascinating Features of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Early Life.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

( Former Sri Lankan President and Current Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa was born on November 18th 1945. This Article written last year is being reposted here without any Changes to denote Mahinda’s 76th Birth aniversary this year)

Mahendra Percy Rajapaksa known to the world as Mahinda Rajapaksa has been sworn in as Prime Minister of Sri Lanka for the fourth time at a grand ceremony held within the precincts of the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara.

The Kelaniya Buddhist temple is venerated by Sri Lankan Buddhists who believe Lord Buddha visited the place during his third and last journey to the island. Besides the belief of being hallowed by the Buddha’s visit, the Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara has also acquired a certain amount of political significance in recent times due to its linkage with leading families in the hierarchy of the United National Party (UNP). In the current situation where the UNP led by Ranil Wickremesinghe has been electorally vanquished by the Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), the swearing in ceremony being conducted at the Kelaniya Vihara is somewhat symbolic of that political triumph.

Wedding Day

Mahinda Rajapaksa was sworn in as Premier for the first time in April 2004 under President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga. It was that premiership which paved the way for Mahinda’s elevation as President in November 2005.

Mahinda’s second shot at being Prime Minister in 2018 was an ignominious fiasco. He teamed up with President Maithripala Sirisena who ousted the legitimate Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and appointed Mahinda Rajapaksa in his place as PM. Mahinda could not cobble together a majority while many of his MPs ran riot in Parliament. Finally the eight-week-long illegitimate Government was put out of its misery by conclusive verdicts from the Supreme Court as well as the Court of Appeal.

Continue reading ‘Fascinating Features of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa’s Early Life.’ »

Karthigai Vilakkeedu: Devotional Lighting of Lamps of Purity on the day of the November Star

Text and pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Statue of Santhaana Gopaalar

The Tamil month of “Kaarthigai” is dedicated to devotion and purity. “Kaarthigai Deepam” or “Vilakkeedu” as it’s popularly known was recently celebrated by the Hindus, which fell on the day of the “Kaarthigai” star.

“Kaarthigai Deepam” is celebrated by lighting of ghee or coconut oil lamps and clay lamps forming direct lines, circles or specific designs at temples, houses and business premises at dusk, and with the hope of dispelling darkness. The lamps are not put out until the next days.
Continue reading ‘Karthigai Vilakkeedu: Devotional Lighting of Lamps of Purity on the day of the November Star’ »

Tamil Film “Jai Bhim” is Rated Top Film by Users on IMDB; It’s the latest in a line of hard-hitting Indian movies telling stories of repression against Dalits who are at the bottom of a rigid Hindu caste hierarchy,

By

Aseem Chhabra

At the beginning of Jai Bhim, police officers are shown separating a group of suspects based on their caste.
Those who are from the dominant castes are asked to leave, while others who are Dalits (formerly untouchables) or belong to tribal communities are asked to stay back. Later, police file false charges against those in the second group.

It’s a stark, disturbing scene, with frightened men standing in the corner, somewhat aware of their fate – a reminder that such activities occur routinely, and how precarious are the lives of the marginalised, especially Dalits, in small towns and rural India.

Dalits make up about 20% of India’s population, and despite laws to protect them they continue to face discrimination and violence.

Jai Bhim’s title translates to “Long Live Bhim”, a slogan made popular by the followers of BR Ambedkar, a Dalit scholar and leader, who was the chief architect of India’s constitution and also the country’s first law minister.

Continue reading ‘Tamil Film “Jai Bhim” is Rated Top Film by Users on IMDB; It’s the latest in a line of hard-hitting Indian movies telling stories of repression against Dalits who are at the bottom of a rigid Hindu caste hierarchy,’ »

New Northern Province Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah Says he would take action against politicians and state officials who were involved in irregularities in the Province


By Dinasena Ratugamage

The Northern Provincial Council (NPC) has misused the annual allocations from the government for a long time, Governor of the province, Jeevan Thiagarajah alleged on Tuesday in Vavuniya.

The NPC had not spent the annual budgetary allocations it received from the government and there were many irregularities in the way money was spent, he said.

Continue reading ‘New Northern Province Governor Jeevan Thiagarajah Says he would take action against politicians and state officials who were involved in irregularities in the Province’ »

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa says that in the history of Sri Lanka no Budget has allocated money to address the cost of living and food security to the extent to which the 2022 Budget has.

By Sumudu Chamara

On 12 November, the Government presented what, in economic terms, can be referred to as a recovery Budget, in a context where the country has just started paying attention to and supporting the revival of sectors that did not receive adequate attention last year.

In other words, unlike in the pre-Covid-19 pandemic era, this Budget is expected to ease the economic burden on almost all segments of the society, not only a select few. Doing so has also been challenging, as almost all modes of revenue have also been affected owing to disrupted economic activities.
The public and the Government both expect a lot from this Budget, and different parties point out how the Government has either succeeded, or failed, at living up to these expectations.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa says that in the history of Sri Lanka no Budget has allocated money to address the cost of living and food security to the extent to which the 2022 Budget has.’ »

The “Trapped” Economy of Sri Lanka: Is There a Way out?

By

Arusha Cooray

(Arusha Cooray is a Professor of Finance at James Cook University, Australia. She served as Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Norway, Finland and Iceland.)

Professor Arusha Cooray

Sri Lanka is currently facing an unprecedented set of economic challenges: a large and increasing public debt, rising fiscal and current account deficits, foreign exchange shortages and declining investor confidence. The collapse of tourist revenues and remittances due to the pandemic, have compounded the situation. Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves are at an all-time low, currently sufficient to cover two months of imports. As a rule of thumb, a country’s foreign exchange reserves should be sufficient for at least three months of imports.

The fall in foreign exchange reserves has led to a depreciation of the rupee against the US dollar, making it more difficult to service the debt denominated in foreign currency. Sri Lanka’s debt to GDP ratio currently stands at 101%. Businesses relying on imports are struggling to make foreign currency payables. Prices of essential food items have risen, leading to hoarding and black markets. The government’s ban on the use of chemical fertilizer for farming and the printing of money by the Central Bank, has intensified the situation.

Sri Lanka has responded to these challenges hereto, by imposing capital controls, restricting imports, and engaging in currency swaps. Import controls have led to a shortage of essential goods. Currency swaps and capital controls are short terms measures. There is no strong evidence to show that import and capital controls succeed during a foreign exchange crisis.

Is there a way out? It is imperative that the government undertakes a reform plan that addresses key priority areas to salvage the economy.

Continue reading ‘The “Trapped” Economy of Sri Lanka: Is There a Way out?’ »

Tiruchelvam QC and Ali Sabry PC; A Tale of Two Ministerial Resignations

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The controversial appointment of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero as chair of the ‘One Country, One Law’ (OCOL) Presidential Task Force (PTF) by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has created a political furore.

Tiruchelvam QC and Ali Sabry PC

The purported OCOL objective of the PTF as well as the alleged unsuitability of Gnanasara Thero to head such a body has come in for heavy criticism by several political leaders, religious organisations, human rights activists and influential sections of civil society.

In a bizarre twist Sri Lanka’s Justice Minister Mohamed Uvais Mohamed Ali Sabry too has resigned his ministerial portfolio and Parliament membership in this regard. However President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has reportedly refused to accept Ali Sabry’s resignation letter.

Continue reading ‘Tiruchelvam QC and Ali Sabry PC; A Tale of Two Ministerial Resignations’ »

Chinese Organic Fertilizer With Harmful Bacteria Crisis: Will President Rajapaksa step in and put out the fire or will he allow it to consume Sino-Lankan relations? With the US and India emerging as a possible alternative to China, Would Gotabaya take a hard stand on the issue?


By
P.K.Balachandran

Relations between Sri Lanka and China were excellent between 2010 and 2015 when the pro-China Mahinda Rajapaksa was President. During this period, China constructed the US$ 1.1 billion Hambantota port, an ultra-modern container terminal in Colombo, a state-of-the-art airport at Mattala, and had begun constructing the US$ 1.4 billion Colombo Port City.

But relations struck a bad patch when the Mahinda Rajapaksa government was replaced by the pro-West regime led by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremseinghe. The port city was stalled for a year and a half for alleged corruption. China reportedly incurred a loss of US$ 380,000 per day as a result of the suspension of work.

Eventually, the government had to bow to China. It had to give China outright possession of 20 hectares of land and another 88 ha on a 99 years lease in the Port City. Unable to pay loan instalments for the Hambantota port, the government leased it out to China for 99 years.

When Gotabaya Rajapaksa, brother of Mahinda Rajapaksa, assumed the Presidency in 2019, he jolted China by telling an Indian interviewer that he will re-examine the Hambantota deal. Eventuallyhe restricted himself to ensuring that the security of the port was in the hands of the Lankan navy.

Continue reading ‘Chinese Organic Fertilizer With Harmful Bacteria Crisis: Will President Rajapaksa step in and put out the fire or will he allow it to consume Sino-Lankan relations? With the US and India emerging as a possible alternative to China, Would Gotabaya take a hard stand on the issue?’ »

Appointing Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera to any post with State patronage was an injury but following that up with the Ali Sabry Resignaion pantomime was adding a grievous insult to that injury.


By

Rajpal Abeynayake

So, Ali Sabry didn’t resign after all. But he did resign to the inevitable. What was Minister Ali Sabry’s purported wish to resign his ministerial portfolio all about? To be charitable to Mr. Sabry, he could not have expressed the desire to resign on a matter of principle. It appeared he just wanted to resign for “technical” reasons, i.e the fact that the findings of the “One Country, One Law” committee were to be made into law bypassing him. Or, at least, that they were to be placed before the legislature, without so much as a “by your leave” from the Minister.

But resignations are not resorted to for technical reasons. For example, ministers in other countries – god forbid, not Sri Lanka – have resigned when there were train derailments that cost lives.

Yet none of them said: “Well, if the Prime Minister can prove that I was in fact asleep when the accident happened – which I was – then, I’m not resigning, hallelujah, so help me God.”
If such resignations were common, they would not have been called resignations. They would have been called threats. When Minister Ali Sabry said he would resign because the President had appointed a controversial task force to draft new laws, the people thought he was as good as his word.

Continue reading ‘Appointing Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera to any post with State patronage was an injury but following that up with the Ali Sabry Resignaion pantomime was adding a grievous insult to that injury.’ »

“Lucky Aiya” Also Known as ” Apey Lucky” and his Indelible Footprints in the Children’s Music Sphere of Sri Lanka

(Veteran musician, singer and actor Lakshman Wijesekera has passed away at the age of 73. This article was posted on this Blog first on March 13th 2018.It is being re-posted without any changes here as tribute to the ever popular Lucky Aiya.)

by Prof.Theodore Warnakulasuriya
Open University of Sri Lanka.



“Some people come into our lives
and quickly go.
Some stay for a while and leave
Footprints in our heart
And we are never, ever the same”

To those who know him closely, “Ape luckiya,” “Lucky ayiya” , or “Ape Lucky” are some of the special, sentimental and fond nick names they use to talk about Mr. Luxman, Wijesekera. All of us know Luxman as a popular and well known singer, and a composer of music, especially for Children. Further, Luxmanis an extremely talented,Television drama producer, an advertising director and a singer of solo and duets which are very popular today. My good friend late“some”, (Mr, Somapala HewaKapuge) always referred to Luxmanas “Ape lukiya” fondly whenever he spoke about him. My association with Mr. Luxman Wijesekera, is more than 20 years, and I consider that it is a great privilege to write a short felicitation about LuxamanWijesekera and his contribution to the Children’s Music in Sri Lanka.

His parents were late Mr. Walter Wijesekera and late Mrs. Daisy GeterueWijesekara. He studied firstly at Anuradapura Central College, and Maliyadeva College in Kurunegala. Later he got admission to Government College of Music (Hewood) and received his first appointment, as a music teacher in Welusumana Vidyalaya. After a stint in Anuradapura, Luxman joined and taught music at Isipathna College and D.S.Senanayake Colleges in Colombo. In 1975,as an auditioned singer of Sri Lanka Broad Casting Cooperation, he earned popularity in Radio and Television in Sri Lanka. We, young and olds, still remembernostalgically his well-known “Muthu AhurakGayana” Children Song Program aired by Sri Lanka Rupawahaini Cooperation in the 80s.

Laxman Wijesekara, definitely is very close to our hearts and minds, and one of the key figuresin Children’s Music in Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘“Lucky Aiya” Also Known as ” Apey Lucky” and his Indelible Footprints in the Children’s Music Sphere of Sri Lanka’ »

“if presidents in Sri Lanka foolishly believe that they are monarchs, or monarchs in the making, and unaccountable for their actions, it is because they are surrounded by sycophants who allow them to believe so.”


BY Dr. Sakuntala Kadirgamar

(The writer is the Law and Society Trust’s Executive Director)

“We are not a monarchy. We are a republic.”

Justice Minister President’s Counsel (PC) M.U.M. Ali Sabry’s words were heartening to read and to hear. However, it is worth reminding Minister Ali Sabry PC that if presidents in Sri Lanka foolishly believe that they are monarchs, or monarchs in the making, and unaccountable for their actions, it is because they are surrounded by sycophants who allow them to believe so. Historically, most of the sycophants who fuel the grandiose dreams of leaders and promote their infallibility are a part of their inner circle. The authoritarian or monarchical tendencies of presidents and prime ministers are supported by sycophants in the Cabinet of Ministers, in the Parliament, and key operatives within the political parties.

The citizens of Sri Lanka are quite aware of their rights; their desire not to become subjects of a king has been demonstrated time and again when they periodically turf these leaders out of power. Incumbent Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa lost the Presidential Election in 2015 when he was the President, despite enjoying backing from within his Cabinet, the Parliament, and his party when he promoted the 17th Amendment to the Constitution to lift presidential term limits forever.

Sycophancy was surely at its highest when the Cabinet, parliamentarians, and even the Supreme Court found creative arguments to justify the said Amendment and assure the people that the President’s right to contest elections in perpetuity enhanced the freedom of the electorate. We were told that it took democracy to a new height.

The people did not award Gotabaya Rajapaksa with unlimited power. He had strong support in Parliament but not a two-thirds majority. Yet sycophants seeking favour and position crossed over to give him that majority – it was not the people’s doing. Now, armed with the powers vested through the 20th Amendment to the Constitution, the President believes that he is beyond accountability.

Continue reading ‘“if presidents in Sri Lanka foolishly believe that they are monarchs, or monarchs in the making, and unaccountable for their actions, it is because they are surrounded by sycophants who allow them to believe so.”’ »

There is Little Doubt that Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s off the cuff quip about the 2022 Budget that, ‘there is nothing to give, we may only have to take’ (from Sri Lankans) would soon return to haunt him.


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

There was little doubt that Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s off the cuff quip that, ‘there is nothing to give, we may only have to take’ (from Sri Lankans) when quizzed by reporters as to what relief the 2022 National Budget promises to the citizenry, would soon return to haunt him.


Public discontent and political racketeering

This was not perhaps the wisest riposte that the Finance Minister should have made on the eve of presenting the Budget against a rising groundswell of popular anger, severe economic stress and wildly out-of-control racketeering by politically ‘protected’ traders. From fluctuating purchase prices of covid tests and vaccines to skyrocketing consumer essentials including cooking gas, garlic, rice and sugar, Government insiders no less allege that massive profits are being skimmed off ‘deals’ by Ministers.

Add to that, we have trade unionists, the Buddhist clergy, the Catholic Church and a motley collection of the Government’s constituent parties challenging a Cabinet decision that they say was made in secrecy, to transfer 40 percent of the state-owned shares of the Kerawalapitiya Yugadanavi power plant to an American company. Now before the courts, the issue is bound to generate substantial public discontent amidst talk of ‘deals’ and more ‘deals.’ We are far too disconcertingly familiar with such accusations.

At another level, as farmers call down ancient curses upon the heads of ruling politicians for depriving them of fertiliser for their fields, protests erupt elsewhere. In Negombo, fisherfolk and the clergy gather in their thousands against a proposed government acquisition of portions of the Muthurajawela wetlands. Demonstrations continue against failures to afford justice to victims of the 2019 Easter Sunday jihadist attacks on churches and hotels while the Government and the Opposition engage in shadow boxing in Parliament.

Continue reading ‘There is Little Doubt that Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa’s off the cuff quip about the 2022 Budget that, ‘there is nothing to give, we may only have to take’ (from Sri Lankans) would soon return to haunt him.’ »

Sri Lanka has just achieved a world record. Its national Budget has been presented in Parliament by a foreigner. Yes, yes – A Dual Citizen!


By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Sri Lanka has just achieved a world record. Its national Budget has been presented in Parliament by a foreigner. Yes, yes – A Dual Citizen. Are you sure this Budget is not really meant to help US President Joe Biden to get over his problems?
We must wonder whether our American/Sri Lankan Finance Minister agrees with a US federal judge who has said that “Presidents are not kings”.

That will depend on what his brother – until recently a US citizen, too – thinks of the Sri Lankan presidency.
Surely, he won’t be thinking of any monarchy or royalty!
What short memories you have. It was only a few days ago that President Gotabaya made that speech where he showed how he could get the military to hold a goviya down by the neck, and ask him to use organic fertiliser. As this Budget plan gets underway, the goviyas will have to wear special neck guards, and avoid the military as much as possible — to escape the President’s monarchic thinking.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka has just achieved a world record. Its national Budget has been presented in Parliament by a foreigner. Yes, yes – A Dual Citizen!’ »

Gnanasara Thero, Bodu Bala Sena and the Anti-Muslim Violence in Aluthgama and Beruwela

by D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The appointment of militant Buddhist monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero as Chairman of the ‘One Country, One Law’ (OCOL) Presidential Task Force has shocked the country in general and the Sri Lankan Muslim community in particular.

The controversial Gnanasara Thero is the General-Secretary of the Buddhist organisation Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) – meaning Buddhist Power Force. The Bodu Bala Sena described by some political analysts as an “ethno-religious fascist organisation” has a notorious reputation of targeting the Muslim minority in Sri Lanka by thought, word and deed. The vitriolic hate propagated against the minorities, especially the Muslim people, by BBS supremo Gnanasara Thero has been strongly condemned by right-thinking people in Sri Lanka and elsewhere.

The elevation of the BBS General Secretary as Head of a Presidential Task Force assigned the sensitive goal of reforming Sri Lanka’s legal system and evolving a uniform civil law has been criticised and continues to be criticised. There is genuine suspicion and fear among many that this appointment in the long run would be detrimental to the country and its people. Given the BBS Secretary-General’s track record of alleged involvement in the instigation, aiding and abetment of anti-Muslim violence in the past, there is much apprehension and insecurity among the Muslim people over Gnanasara Thero’s new avatar.

Continue reading ‘Gnanasara Thero, Bodu Bala Sena and the Anti-Muslim Violence in Aluthgama and Beruwela’ »

Key Take ways From the Budget Presented by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa on November 12th 2021

By

Azzam Ameen

Minister of Finance Basil Rajapaksa, delivered his inaugural budget speech today (12). This is the 76th budget of an independent Sri Lanka and it is also the second budget of the incumbent Government.

Key takeaways from the Minister’s speech are detailed below:

Annual Warrant for State expenditure to be made a Quarterly Warrant in the future

Telephone expenditure in State institutions to be slashed by 25%
Construction of new office buildings for State institutions to be suspended for two years

Eligibility for MPs’ pensions to be extended to 10 years from the current 5 years

Radio/TV Broadcasting & Telecasting licences to be issued on an auction basis

Continue reading ‘Key Take ways From the Budget Presented by Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa on November 12th 2021’ »

Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Openly Supportive of “Ethno Religious Fascist”Organization Bodhu Bala Sena.


By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

(The appointment of Bodu Bala Sena(BBS) General- Secretary Ven. Galagoda Aththe Gnanaasara Thero as chairman of the Presidential Task Force on “One Country,One Law”(OCOL) by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has caused much controversy.It is being widely criticized. The appointment has also blatantly exposed the nexus between the President and the BBS.Gota’s BBS connection received much negative publicity when Mahinda Rajapaksa was President, when the former Defence secretary ceremonially declared open a BBS institution in Galle on Msrch 9th 2013. I wrote this article and posted it on my Blog on March 10th 2013. Eight uears and eight months have passed since then. However the article has acquired some significance in the aftermath of Gnanasara Thero’s elevation as PTF chair.I am therefore re – posting the article on my Blog now without any changes to the contents or original heading-D.B.S.Jeyaraj


In what seemed to be a harmless act in the public interest the Secretary of Defence and Urban Development Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has engaged himself in a controversial move that is likely to have far reaching implications.

On Saturday March 9th 2013, the Presidential sibling regarded widely as the second most powerful man in Sri Lanka was the chief guest, ceremonially opening an institution linked to the Ethno Religious Fascist movement known as the “Bodhu Bala Sena” meaning Buddhist Power Force.

Methsevana opening ceremony ~ pic courtesy of: defence.lk

The Defence secretary ceremonially declared open the Buddhist Leadership Academy of the Bodhu Bala Sena on Saturday in Galle, the capital of the Southern Province, referred to as the Ruhuna historically.The Bodhu Bala Sena’s Buddhist Leadership Academy is located in the Pilana area at Wanchawala of Galle amidst picturesque surroundings.

Continue reading ‘Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa Openly Supportive of “Ethno Religious Fascist”Organization Bodhu Bala Sena.’ »

Ali Sabry will Remain as Justice Minister Without Resigning Following Compromise Reeached wih President Rajapaksa who Issues Amended Gazette Diluting Supervisory Powers Given to “One Country One Law”Presidential Task Force Chaired by Convicted Monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The government has amended a controversial Gazette dated Oct 26, 2021on the appointment of Presidential Task Force (PTF) headed by Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara to examine the implementation of ‘One Country, One Law’ principle and prepare a draft Act following strong objections by Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC.

SLPP National List lawmaker Sabry declared that he couldn’t remain the justice minister unless the authority given to the PTF over the justice ministry was done away with. The PTF consisted of 13 persons.

Continue reading ‘Ali Sabry will Remain as Justice Minister Without Resigning Following Compromise Reeached wih President Rajapaksa who Issues Amended Gazette Diluting Supervisory Powers Given to “One Country One Law”Presidential Task Force Chaired by Convicted Monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero’ »

Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Will Unveil His Maiden Budget at 2 PM On Friday November 12th; Basil is on record saying ” We won’t be able to give, only take.” Which means the new Budget will not provide increased welfare measures to the people

BY Pamodi Waravita

The 76th Budget reading for the financial year (FY) 2022 will begin in Parliament today (12) at 2 p.m., with a focus on transforming Sri Lanka into a manufacturing-based economy.
“The Budget aims to utilise Sri Lanka’s geopolitical location and address the ongoing loss of foreign income to the country, whilst planning on how to successfully face the post-Covid-19 situation in the country,” a press release from the Ministry of Finance said yesterday (11).

Accordingly, the second reading of the Budget debate will take place from tomorrow (13) whilst 22 November will be the date of the vote on the second reading.
The third reading will take place from 23 November onwards for 16 days, following which the final vote will take place on 10 December.

Continue reading ‘Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa Will Unveil His Maiden Budget at 2 PM On Friday November 12th; Basil is on record saying ” We won’t be able to give, only take.” Which means the new Budget will not provide increased welfare measures to the people’ »

Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church is opposing the government acquisition of a part of the Muthurajawela wetlands near Negombo saying it would affect the livelihood of local people and harm the environment.

By Robin Gomes

In an official Gazette notification on October 07 by the government of Sri, the Western Province’s Urban Development Authority (UDA) has decided to take over a part of the land of the Muthurajawela wetlands, situated some 30 km north of the capital Colombo, near the western coastal city of Negombo.
Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, on Saturday filed a petition with the Sri Lankan Supreme Court against the appropriation, saying the project would affect the livelihoods of the people and various religious sites in the area.

On Sunday, the Archdiocese of Colombo, under whose jurisdiction comes Negombo and the marshlands, released brochures and leaflets explaining to the faithful about the possible damages the government’s move could cause.

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka’s Catholic Church is opposing the government acquisition of a part of the Muthurajawela wetlands near Negombo saying it would affect the livelihood of local people and harm the environment.’ »

President Rajapaksa Issues Fresh Gazette amendinng OCOL Terms of Reference; Dayananda Banda and Mohamed Inthika Quit Task Force; Ramalingam Chakrawarthy Karunakaran, Yogeswari Patgunarajah and Iyyampillai Dayanandaraja Included;PTF has 8 Sinhalese, 3 Muslims and 3 Tamils’ Ex-Jaffna Mayor Yogeswari is Sole Woman member


By

Ruwani Fonseka

A new gazette has been issued for One Country One Law task force, where amendments have been made by taking into account the views and opinions held by various parties.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Issues Fresh Gazette amendinng OCOL Terms of Reference; Dayananda Banda and Mohamed Inthika Quit Task Force; Ramalingam Chakrawarthy Karunakaran, Yogeswari Patgunarajah and Iyyampillai Dayanandaraja Included;PTF has 8 Sinhalese, 3 Muslims and 3 Tamils’ Ex-Jaffna Mayor Yogeswari is Sole Woman member’ »

Neither the Prime Minister nor the Justice Minister were aware of Gnanasara Thero’s Appointment Beforehand says Anura Kumara Dissanayake:”Is the President trying to Create a Racist Conflict? asks the JVP Leader.

By

Ruwani Fonseka

Questioning President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s decision to appoint Bodu Bala Sena Secretary General Venerable Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thero to lead the One Country One Law Task Force, Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) Leader Anura Kumara Dissanayaka said that he suspects the President is attempting to split the country by causing racial differences and unrest.

He made this statement while speaking in Parliament today (10).

Continue reading ‘Neither the Prime Minister nor the Justice Minister were aware of Gnanasara Thero’s Appointment Beforehand says Anura Kumara Dissanayake:”Is the President trying to Create a Racist Conflict? asks the JVP Leader.’ »

Delegation Representing the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Will be in the US this week for Discussions Commencing on Nov 13 with State Dept Officials on Constitutional Issues

BY Pamodi Waravita

Representatives from the Tamil National Alliance (TNA) are due to leave for the US this week for discussions with the US State Department officials regarding the proposed new Constitution, The Morning learnt.

It is learnt that TNA representatives will be at these discussions in the US from 13 November.

Continue reading ‘Delegation Representing the Tamil National Alliance(TNA) Will be in the US this week for Discussions Commencing on Nov 13 with State Dept Officials on Constitutional Issues’ »

Batticaloa District MP Shanakiyan Rajaputhiran Rasamanickam Tells Parliament that Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath has Pressurised a Senior DIG to Inquire into Speech made by him in Parliament and Appeals to Speaker to Protect his rights and Privileges as an MP

By

Ruwani Fonseka

Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) MP Shanakiyan Rajaputhiran Rasamanickam said in Parliament today (09) that his privileges as an MP have been violated as the Eastern Province Governor has allegedly spoken ill of him, and that serious action should be taken against those who “name call” in Parliament.

“The Governor of Eastern Province Mrs Anuradha Yahampath has spoken ill of me to several newspapers. She had insisted that the Senior Deputy Inspector of Police (SDIG) initiate an independent inquiry into a statement I had made in Parliament. When the SDIG spoke to me, he in fact mentioned that it was against my rights as a Parliamentarian, but went on to say that because a Government official has insisted, an inquiry has to be made. This is not the first time that the Governor has violated my rights, and it has happened several times even when I am in the Parliament. I have also been called names within the Parliament on several occasions,” said Rasamanickam.

Continue reading ‘Batticaloa District MP Shanakiyan Rajaputhiran Rasamanickam Tells Parliament that Eastern Province Governor Anuradha Yahampath has Pressurised a Senior DIG to Inquire into Speech made by him in Parliament and Appeals to Speaker to Protect his rights and Privileges as an MP’ »

University Teachers condemn the appointment of Narahenpita Abayarama Temple Chief Incumbent Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera as Chancellor of the University of Colombo.

BY Pamodi Waravita

The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations (FUTA), the Colombo University’s Academic Federation, the Faculty of Medicine Teachers’ Association (FMTA), and the Government Medical Officers’ Association (GMOA) yesterday (9) condemned the appointment of Narahenpita Abayarama Temple Chief Incumbent Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera as the Chancellor of the University of Colombo.

The FUTA said yesterday that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s statement that Narahenpita Abayarama Temple’s Chief Incumbent Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera had helped the Government to come to power, made a few days after the monk was appointed as the Colombo University’s Chancellor by him, is “dangerous”.
“The chancellor position is a ceremonial one. However, it is a position which demands a certain respectability as it is a reflection of the university’s culture. We have a problem with the premise of this appointment, especially since the President said this weekend that Ananda Thera helped the current Government to come to power. Thus, we stand against this appointment, alongside the Colombo University’s Academic Federation which has communicated to us their protest at this appointment,” FUTA President Prof. S. Banneheka told The Morning yesterday.

Continue reading ‘University Teachers condemn the appointment of Narahenpita Abayarama Temple Chief Incumbent Ven. Muruththettuwe Ananda Thera as Chancellor of the University of Colombo.’ »

Discussions Underway to Amend Gazette Issued by President Rajapaksa Appointig the “One Country One Law” Presidential Task Force in Order to Restore the Original Intention Behind the Setting up of the PTF

BY Pamodi Waravita

Discussions are underway to restore the original intention of the Extraordinary Gazette which appointed the Presidential Task Force for “One Country, One Law”, as the current one, although it is unclear at this point whether or not the Gazette will be amended in that process, The Morning reliably learnt.

“The Gazette did not reflect the original intention behind creating the said Task Force as it was done to conceptualise the thinking behind ‘One Country, One Law’. It was not done to undermine the Justice Ministry in any way and plans are underway to fix this,” an official government source told The Morning yesterday (9).

Continue reading ‘Discussions Underway to Amend Gazette Issued by President Rajapaksa Appointig the “One Country One Law” Presidential Task Force in Order to Restore the Original Intention Behind the Setting up of the PTF’ »

Harin Fernando MP Tells Parliament that Zahran’s Wife had Confessed that her Husband had met Itelligence Officers Several Times Prior to the April 21st Terror Bomb Attacks


By

Yohan Perera and Ajith Siriwardana

Zahran’s wife had confessed that her husband had met the intelligence officers several times prior to Easter Sunday attacks, SJB MP Harin Fernando told Parliament today.
Whilst making this disclosure, MP Fernando requested the Public Security Minister to table a copy of the statements given by Zahran’s wife to Parliament.

“We don’t know whether Zahran’s wife is alive or not, but we request Minister Sarath Weerasekera to table the statement given to police by her in Parliament. We have evidence to prove that Zahran met intelligence officers prior to April 21 suicide attacks. Zaharan’s wife had confirmed this in her statement,” the MP said.

Continue reading ‘Harin Fernando MP Tells Parliament that Zahran’s Wife had Confessed that her Husband had met Itelligence Officers Several Times Prior to the April 21st Terror Bomb Attacks’ »

President Rajapaksa Refuses to Accept Justice Minister’s Resignation after Ex[linin to him that the PTF under Gnanasara Thero was Appointed to Advise him and not to make Laws; “The matter is in sort of limbo,” says Ali Sabry

By Shamindra Ferdinando

Justice Minister Ali Sabry, PC, yesterday (7) said that he had offered to give up his portfolio over the appointment of Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera as the head of Presidential Task Force (PTF) to study the “One Country, One Law’ concept.

Minister Sabry said so when The Island asked him whether he had informed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa of his decision to quit the ministerial position over the controversial appointment. The SLPP National List lawmaker met President Rajapaksa last Friday (6), the day after his return from Glasgow, Scotland.

Continue reading ‘President Rajapaksa Refuses to Accept Justice Minister’s Resignation after Ex[linin to him that the PTF under Gnanasara Thero was Appointed to Advise him and not to make Laws; “The matter is in sort of limbo,” says Ali Sabry’ »

“We have long crossed that familiar point where the expectation is that politicians in power will not aggravate their electorates beyond a point due to fear that they will meet with a rude reckoning at the polls”

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

As Sri Lanka’s farmers abandon their rice fields, burning effigies of politicians and shouting their agonies to the heavens over the deprivation of fertiliser, elsewhere a desperate man breaks into the government-run Sathosa to steal three packets of milk doubtless for his family. These vistas of desperation have not been seen in the country, even at the height of numerous civil and ethnic conflicts, let it be said.

Cruel travesty of the law

Layers of misgovernance, thievery and the open abuse of the law are so pervasive that it seems there is little point in talking of the law at all. Perhaps that is the very idea, we dare say. There are those who are appointed as vice chancellors of universities in an open subversion of the spirit and the law of the Universities Act. The Government has shown little remorse over the appointment of a politically controversial monk to head a presidential Task Force to oversee law reform with the aim of bringing about ‘one country, one law’ in a cruel travesty of those very terms.

Murmurs of dissent from within its ranks, including the Minister of Justice who has been placed in the incredulous situation of having reforms proposed by the Ministry being ‘supervised’ by this Task Force have not resulted in any noticeable impact. And all this while indictments are withdrawn willy nilly by the Attorney General against the politically (and militarily) powerful with little more than a cursory explanation as to why criminal charges lodged with substantial material at one point are suddenly not found to be relevant any more.

Continue reading ‘“We have long crossed that familiar point where the expectation is that politicians in power will not aggravate their electorates beyond a point due to fear that they will meet with a rude reckoning at the polls”’ »

The renegade, racist monk Gnanasara Thero has achieved both high visibility and notoriety for his belligerent anti Muslim sentiment expressed on widely circulated video and U-tube interviews, discussions, press briefings and public speeches


by Anura Gunasekera

Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, pardoned after serving one and half years of a six-year rigorous imprisonment sentence for Contempt of Court, has been appointed the Chairman of a Presidential Task Force, mandated to study the implementation of the “One Country, One Law” concept, as well as to examine amendments prepared by the Ministry of Justice in furtherance of this rather fluid hypothesis, and to submit amendments to the latter as appropriate.

Basically, a convicted felon has been assigned the responsibility for evaluating the competence of a legal system, which was earlier responsible, after due process, for convicting him. The arbitrariness, the ridiculousness of the very notion is such that at first the news was perceived as a bad joke circulating in social media.

By extension of that patently absurd determination, it would then seem quite logical to appoint Lohan Ratwatte, presently under investigation for threatening select Tamil prisoners with death at gun-point, as the chairman of a committee to study and recommend prison reforms, or ” Wele Suda”, currently in jail for drug trafficking, as head of a task force to advise law enforcement bodies on the prevention of drug smuggling.

An appointment to any important position is, generally if not invariably, preceded by an evaluation of the curriculum vitae of the proposed appointee. The priest from Galagoda first gained prominence as the head of the “Bodu Bala Sena” (BBS), a body inaugurated in 2012 and publicly provided patronage by the then Defence Secretary and now President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa. Since then, the cleric has been both vocally and physically involved in anti-minority (read Muslim) agitation. Most prominent was his alleged involvement in inciting anti-Muslim violence in Beruwala and Aluthgama in 2014, which resulted in four fatalities, injuries to dozens and the destruction of a large number of Muslim owned establishments. In March 2018, in Teldeniya and Digana, mobs of Sinhala Buddhists ramapaged, unchecked for over a week, destroying Muslim owned property, as well as damaging four mosques. The reported presence of Gnanasara in the area during this period is unlikely to have been accidental.

Continue reading ‘The renegade, racist monk Gnanasara Thero has achieved both high visibility and notoriety for his belligerent anti Muslim sentiment expressed on widely circulated video and U-tube interviews, discussions, press briefings and public speeches’ »

“Once the concept of “One Country One Law” has been drafted by the PTF headed by Ven.Gnanasara Thero, I will give it to the Minister of Justice. If there are any shortcomings, they can be fixed and then presented to Parliament”-President Rajapaksa


(Text of Address by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa at the ceremony to declare open 1,500 completed roads on the same day at the Mandaduwa Stadium in Weeraketiya on 2021-11-06)

A year ago, I laid the foundation stone for the National Programme of Developing 100,000 Km of Roads Project. At the end of the year, we completed the construction of 1,500 roads. We fulfilled our duties during this period amidst countless obstacles. On several occasions the country was completely locked down. We know how difficult it was for the contractors to bring their labourers because of the COVID situation. I thank the Minister for completing the work on 1,500 roads amidst those obstacles.

At present, there are two groups that criticize me. One group is the ones who have no idea about the last two years; they think that these last two years are ordinary years. But not only me, all the world leaders too faced two years with the Covid-19 outbreak. The other group is the crowd that requested me to make a revolutionary change. When I tried to make this change, many were upset and those in that offended group also criticized me.

I became the President on November 19th. In December 2019, coronavirus began to rapidly spread in Wuhan, China. At that time no one in the world knew what type of pandemic this was or how we should face it, or whether there was a vaccine available against this virus. It was under such circumstances that 34 students who were studying in Wuhan were brought back to Sri Lanka. We sent a special aircraft and brought them to Mattala according to the health guidelines and from there these students were taken to a special quarantine facility at the Diyatalawa Army Base Camp. From then on we started the quarantine process. More than 150,000 persons serving in the Middle East were brought back to Sri Lanka and quarantined.
We had to shut down the country more than ten times.

Continue reading ‘“Once the concept of “One Country One Law” has been drafted by the PTF headed by Ven.Gnanasara Thero, I will give it to the Minister of Justice. If there are any shortcomings, they can be fixed and then presented to Parliament”-President Rajapaksa’ »

Ali Sabry Submits Letter Resigning as Justice Minister, Member of Parliament and SLPP party Member but President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Refuses to accept Resignation

Justice Minister Ali Sabry submitted his letter of resignation, from his membership in the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP), his parliamentary seat, and the justice portfolio, to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa last Friday (5), The Sunday Morning reliably learnt.

The President had, however, refused to accept the resignation letter.

Highly placed sources told The Sunday Morning that the Justice Minister had taken his resignation letter to the President, but that the President refused to accept it.

Continue reading ‘Ali Sabry Submits Letter Resigning as Justice Minister, Member of Parliament and SLPP party Member but President Gotabaya Rajapaksa Refuses to accept Resignation’ »

The Monkey Business of Establishing a “Monkocracy”of Sihala Buddhist Power; Murutthettuwe Ananda Thera as Colombo University Vice Chancellor and Galagadaaththe Gnanasara Thero as “One Country One Law”Presidential Task F orce Chairman

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

Many supporters of Rajapaksa governance have begun to turn away from this family leadership in national governance.
Amidst the hugely rising cost of living – or will it soon be the cost of dying – there is also the issue of One Country, One Law that is pushing the political swing.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has returned home from Glasgow, Scotland, where he told the world about his great new thinking on governance in Sri Lanka.

He told world leaders at COP26 that Sri Lanka recently “restricted the imports of chemical fertilisers, pesticides, and weedicides due to public health concerns, water contamination, soil degradation, and biodiversity impacts; and that although opposed by entrenched lobbies, this has created opportunities for innovation and investment into organic agriculture that will be healthier and more sustainable in future.”

Continue reading ‘The Monkey Business of Establishing a “Monkocracy”of Sihala Buddhist Power; Murutthettuwe Ananda Thera as Colombo University Vice Chancellor and Galagadaaththe Gnanasara Thero as “One Country One Law”Presidential Task F orce Chairman’ »

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says the “one country, one law”” concept once presented by the Task Force Chaired by Ven. Galabodaaththe Gnanasara Thera would be handed over to the Justice Ministry for the relevant laws to be drafted.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa yesterday (6) called on the youth of the country to have faith in the Government, and to continue with the work they had started.

The President made the request at the event held to launch 100,000 km of roads that were developed by the Government in Weeraketiya. The event was also attended by Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and visiting World Bank Vice President Hartwig Schafer.

Responding to criticism of the controversial Presidential Task Force (PTF) on “one country, one law” chaired by Ven. Galabodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, President Rajapaksa justified the appointment of the Thera, pointing out that it was the Thera who had spoken of the “one country, one law” concept during the past few years.

Continue reading ‘President Gotabaya Rajapaksa says the “one country, one law”” concept once presented by the Task Force Chaired by Ven. Galabodaaththe Gnanasara Thera would be handed over to the Justice Ministry for the relevant laws to be drafted.’ »

Presidential Task Force (PTF) for the “one country, one law” initiativechaired by Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera may Divide Rather Than Unite Communnities

By Skandha Gunasekara

The Presidential Task Force (PTF) for the “one country, one law” initiative took heavy flak ever since its appointment, with many asserting that it would be counterproductive in the aim of uniting communities.

On 27 October, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a presidential task force chaired by Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera and comprising 12 other members.

Gnanasara Thera, speaking to The Sunday Morning, said the goal of the task force was to bring about one Sri Lankan identity and that the views of all communities would be garnered in that effort.

“We have to somehow make this country united and have a national view. We must bring the Muslim community into the conversation. They are now separate and in different camps. We must get their views as well. We will make sure that no group is treated unfairly, but we must bring the communities together. The country cannot go forward in the current state it is in,” the Thera said.

Continue reading ‘Presidential Task Force (PTF) for the “one country, one law” initiativechaired by Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera may Divide Rather Than Unite Communnities’ »

The recent task force with an ethno-majoritarian bent in the guise of “one country, one law” is the latest in a string of attempts to shape a particular single story.

By Bhavani Fonseka

(The writer is an Attorney-at-Law and a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives)

The recent appointment of a task force mandated with law reform headed by a controversial Buddhist monk has raised concerns from multiple fronts. Yet, considering recent trends in Sri Lanka, this should not come as a surprise. The practice of appointing task forces comes naturally to the Gotabaya Rajapaksa Presidency, having appointed over 10 such entities in less than two years.

Furthermore, the prominence given to Buddhist clergy in recent years is also not new, considering their role in the presidential election campaign in 2019, to subsequent appointments to advisory bodies, task forces, and academic institutions, to name a few. It is the combination of the two and the audacity of such action – the appointment of a convicted rabble rouser with a track record of incitement against minorities in Sri Lanka – which took many by surprise. Added to this is its impact in terms of consolidating Sinhala-Buddhist hegemony and shaping a particular narrative that is deeply troubling and carries significant consequences for Sri Lanka.

Continue reading ‘The recent task force with an ethno-majoritarian bent in the guise of “one country, one law” is the latest in a string of attempts to shape a particular single story.’ »

Politics of majoritarianism, security, and scams Prevailed in Sri Lanka During October

By Col. R. Hariharan

Happenings in Sri Lanka during the month of October 2021 can be summarised as “politics of majoritarianism, security, and scams”. President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is known for goal-oriented action. But two of his recent decisions, the abolition of the use of chemical fertilisers, and introducing “one country, one law”, are having ripple effects, not only on economy and ethnic peace, but also on relations with China and India.

The name of one of the Rajapaksas featuring in the Pandora Papers is probably yet another scam in the making.

This month saw India making news more than once in the media. Visits by External Affairs Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla and Indian Army Chief Gen. M.M. Naravane, the Indian and Sri Lankan armies’ joint exercise, and the visit by six warships of the Indian Navy highlighted India’s sustained interest in making India-Sri Lanka relations multi-faceted.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had imposed a total ban on agrochemicals, including fertilisers and pesticides, in May to make farming totally organic. It also helped the cash-strapped Government save around $ 400 million in fertiliser imports. The President’s action was ill-timed, as the economy was already reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. The tea industry and farmers cried hoarse as the shortage of fertilisers peaked and food prices shot up. In August, the Government placed an order for the import of 96,000 metric tonnes (MT) of organic fertiliser with Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group, a Chinese company.

Continue reading ‘Politics of majoritarianism, security, and scams Prevailed in Sri Lanka During October’ »

How and Why the Tamil National Alliance was Formed Twenty Years Ago

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Tamil National Alliance(TNA) is now twenty years of age . The premier political configuration of the Tamil people in the Northern and Eastern provinces of Sri Lanka came into being on October 22nd 20, a few weeks ahead of the 2001 December Parliament election.

Much water has flown down on either side of the Elephant Pass Isthmus since then. Nevertheless the TNA has continued to remain the chief political representative of the Sri Lankan Tamils by consistently winning the most number of seats in the Tamil inhabited areas of the North and East in elections.The TNA has regularly obtained a bloc of MP seats numbering double digits in the Parliamentary polls of 2001,2004, 2010, 2015 and 2020. It also got the highest number of Tamil representatives in the Eastern Provincial Council election of 2012 and the Northern provincial council poll of 2013. Besides these successes, the TNA also came “first” in over 40 Local authorities in the North-East at the 2018 local elections.

R.Sampanthan (TULF), N.Kumarakuruparan (ACTC) N. Srikantha (TELO) and K.Premachandran (EPRLF)

The TNA of 2021 is not the TNA of 2001.When the TNA was formed in 2001, four political parties were its constituent members. They were the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF),the All Ceylon Tamil Congress (ACTC), The Tamil Eelam Liberation Organization (TELO) and the Eelam Peoples Revolutionary Liberation Front(EPRLF). Of these the Tamil Congress and EPRLF are no more with the TNA. The TULF too underwent a transformation.
Continue reading ‘How and Why the Tamil National Alliance was Formed Twenty Years Ago’ »

JR Jayewardene’s Infamous Kandy March Against the Banda-Chelva Pact


By
D.B.S. Jeyaraj

In my article ‘SWRD’s flirtation with federalism’ published in these columns on 29 September 2021, I had referred to the pact signed by the then Prime Minister Bandaranaike and Tamil political leader Chelvanayagam in 1957. What I wrote then was as follows:

JR Jayewardene’s Infamous Kandy March Against the Banda-Chelva Pact – by D.B.S.JEYARAJ

Dudley Senanayake and JR Jayewardene during the march

“The agreement signed by S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike and S.J.V. Chelvanayagam in 1957 was a significant event in the political history of post-independence Sri Lanka. The Prime Minister of the day and the Leader of the biggest Tamil political party had come to an understanding which if implemented may have helped contain the ethnic conflict at its nascent stages.”

“The agreement known generally as the ‘Banda-Chelva Pact’ was never allowed to work because of political opposition in the south. The opposition came from hardliners among the Sinhala Buddhist clergy and laity as well as hawkish elements among both the Government and Opposition.”

Continue reading ‘JR Jayewardene’s Infamous Kandy March Against the Banda-Chelva Pact’ »

Sri Lanka Among Countries Under Considertion by China to set up a Peoples Liberation Army military base support for Chinese power projection in the naval, air, ground, cyber, and space spheres says Latest Pentagon report to the US Congress


The US Department of Defense in a report presented to the US Congress has placed Sri Lanka among a group of Countries where the Peoples Republic of China may establish a military facility or base to enhance support for Chinese power projection in the naval, air, ground, cyber, and space spheres.

The Pentagon report “Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China” was presented to the US Congress on November 4th 2021.

The report’s section on the Chinese Peoples Liberation Army’ overseas Basing and Access states as follows-

Continue reading ‘Sri Lanka Among Countries Under Considertion by China to set up a Peoples Liberation Army military base support for Chinese power projection in the naval, air, ground, cyber, and space spheres says Latest Pentagon report to the US Congress’ »

If the CID Arrests Fr.Cyril Gamini Due to Complaint Made by State Intelligence Service Head the Community will not bee Silent Warns Harin Fernando;“If they arrest our priest, We will take to the streets. We are ready to lay down our lives”States MP

By

Ruwani Fonseka

The Head of the State Intelligence Service has become a thug, as he wants a Priest to be arrested over something that was discussed in Parliament, said Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) MP Harin Fernando.

He made this statement during a press conference held yesterday (04).

Continue reading ‘If the CID Arrests Fr.Cyril Gamini Due to Complaint Made by State Intelligence Service Head the Community will not bee Silent Warns Harin Fernando;“If they arrest our priest, We will take to the streets. We are ready to lay down our lives”States MP’ »

“There is a conspiracy going on that I am not close to the Catholic community, but I want people to know that I stand with the Catholic community.” Declares SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa

By

Ruwani Fonseka

Claiming that he is not a politician that acts upon the instructions of the intelligence chief, Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) leader Sajith Premadasa said that his loyalty to the Sri Lankan Catholic community is obvious due to his close connections with Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.

He made this statement yesterday (04) after paying a visit to Archbishop of Colombo Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith.

Continue reading ‘“There is a conspiracy going on that I am not close to the Catholic community, but I want people to know that I stand with the Catholic community.” Declares SJB and Opposition Leader Sajith Premadasa’ »

May the Sparkle of “Deepaaval”i the ‘Festival of Lights’ on November 4th Lift Our Inner Spirit.

The inner light

Text and Pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Beautiful fresh flower garlands made for the festival

“Deepavali” is a celebration and joy and wisdom, and will be celebrated on the 4th of November 2021 around the world, with great pomp and enthusiasm. “Deepavali” is popularly known as the “Festival of Lights”.

It is celebrated with sweets, savouries, firecrackers, greetings, gifts and lights. The annual festival is usually celebrated in late October or early November according to the new moon, has been predominantly celebrated by the Hindus since the time immemorial.

Continue reading ‘May the Sparkle of “Deepaaval”i the ‘Festival of Lights’ on November 4th Lift Our Inner Spirit.’ »

On 20 September 2000, Monk Gnanasara was fined Rs. 12,000 by Traffic Court of Colombo 12, after pleading guilty to nine charges including drunk driving, speeding, driving without licence, and failing to report an accident.

By Tisaranee Gunasekara

“This country still has a Sinhala police, a Sinhala army. If after today a single Muslim or some other alien lays a hand on a single Sinhalese, let alone a robe, it will be the end of all these creatures” – Monk Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara, pre-riot speech in Aluthgama – 15 June 2014

Last week a curious theft happened. A man broke into a CWE store Galle to steal a few packets of milk powder.

According to a World Food Programme survey (conducted in five districts between December 2020 and February 2021), 50% of the households were either moderately or severely food insecure (Food Insecurity among farmers in rural Sri Lanka and the perceived impact of Covid-19 https://academic.oup.com/cdn/article/5/Supplement_2/248/6292663).

Last week. Moody’s downgraded Sri Lanka’s sovereign rating to Caa2 (poor quality and very high credit risk); two more notches and we’d hit the rock bottom. The same day, Minister Namal Rajapaksa inaugurated a dune racing track in the Port City and promised to set up a billion dollar sports economy.

Thomas Piketty opens the introduction to his Capital and Ideology with a statement and a warning. “Every human society must justify its inequalities; unless reasons for them are found, the whole political and social edifice stands in the danger of collapse.” When inequalities turn too rampant for justification, as in Sri Lanka today, diversion is the only recourse. A red herring is needed, as red as blood.

Last week, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa appointed a Presidential Task Force on ‘One Country, One Law’ and placed at its head a monk who is a master in rabblerousing and minority-baiting. Is this another bungle by the most cerebrally-challenged administration in modern Lankan history? Or a coldly calculating measure to save the ruling dynasty by turning the clock back to 2019?

Continue reading ‘On 20 September 2000, Monk Gnanasara was fined Rs. 12,000 by Traffic Court of Colombo 12, after pleading guilty to nine charges including drunk driving, speeding, driving without licence, and failing to report an accident.’ »

Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) says “One Country One Law(OCOL)Presidential Task Force would usurp the functions of many institutions established under the Constitution and the law, including Parliament and the Ministry of Justice

By

Azzam Ameen

In a letter addressed to President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, the Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) has pointed out that the preparation of draft legislation and the study of existing legislation which the One Country One Law Task Force has been directed to perform are tasks of a serious nature involving several institutions of the State, and added that no useful purpose would be served by the Task Force.

While stating that Legislative power is one of the aspects of the sovereignty of the people, the BASL states that the Constitution itself provides a framework for the legislative process which is supplemented by other laws and by the Standing Orders of Parliament.

The Sectoral Oversight Committees of Parliament as well as Standing Committees and Select Committees which can be constituted as per the Standing Orders of Parliament, the Law Commission which is an institution established by law are among these mechanisms. In addition, during the last year the Ministry of Justice has appointed several committees to propose reforms to various laws, according to the BASL.

Continue reading ‘Bar Association of Sri Lanka (BASL) says “One Country One Law(OCOL)Presidential Task Force would usurp the functions of many institutions established under the Constitution and the law, including Parliament and the Ministry of Justice’ »

If “Hippo Spirit” Vessel docks in Colombo after it has been denied entry into the Port and tries to unload the consignment of Chinese organic fertilizer that has been Rejected it would be considered as some sort of terrorist act says Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Prof. Udith Jayasinghe.


By

Ruwani Fonseka

If the Hippo Spirit vessel docks in Sri Lanka after it has been denied entry into the Port and tries to unload the consignment of Chinese organic fertiliser, it would be considered as some sort of terrorist act, says Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Prof. Udith Jayasinghe.

He made this statement while speaking exclusively to The Morning today (02).

Continue reading ‘If “Hippo Spirit” Vessel docks in Colombo after it has been denied entry into the Port and tries to unload the consignment of Chinese organic fertilizer that has been Rejected it would be considered as some sort of terrorist act says Secretary to the Ministry of Agriculture Prof. Udith Jayasinghe.’ »

Narendra Modi led BJP Govt Targets India’s colossal Hindi-language film industry with Secular and Liberal Values Because it is simply too great a threat to Modi’s narrow vision of a Hindu Nation.

(This article appeared in the Asia section of the “Economist print edition under the headline “BJP v Bollywood)

If bollywood is India’s secular religion, then the Khans—Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh—are its holy trinity. The three actors, who are unrelated, have for three decades sat at the top of India’s colossal Hindi-language film industry, their films, their characters and their personas wallpapering the country’s imagination. They are, perhaps as much as the prime minister and the captain of the national cricket team, the most recognisable faces in India. They also happen to be Muslim.

For most Indians, to the extent they think about it at all, that is a source of pride: the Khans’ pre-eminence a sign of the country’s tolerant secularism. But it sticks in the craw of Hindu chauvinists, who are well represented by the government of Narendra Modi, the prime minister, and his Bharatiya Janata Party (bjp). All three Khans have faced criticism from bjp figures in recent years, along with the usual gibes that they should “go to Pakistan”. By the debased standards of Indian political discourse, where even the use of the indigenous Urdu language is seen as “Abrahamisation”, that is not surprising.

Continue reading ‘Narendra Modi led BJP Govt Targets India’s colossal Hindi-language film industry with Secular and Liberal Values Because it is simply too great a threat to Modi’s narrow vision of a Hindu Nation.’ »

The appointment of the presidential task force on “one country one law” needs to be challenged due both to the composition and mandate.

by Jehan Perera

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has appointed a presidential task force to take forward the concept one country, one law that proved to be an effective slogan at the election campaign that won him the presidency in 2019. Of course, those were different times. At that time the country was still trying to recover from the shock and demoralisation of the Easter bombing that had taken place six months before. The Muslim community came under special scrutiny as the suicide bombers had been Muslim. The concept of one country, one law came across as a powerful unifying theme to the majority of the population who felt that ethnic and religious minorities had created enclaves, both in territory and in law, which undermined the unity of the country.

In a context in which the previous government leadership had failed to act cohesively, the candidacy of Gotabaya Rajapaksa was projected as being that of a strong leader who would unify the country in all aspects. However, the situation that exists at the present time no longer supports such expectations. The country is beset by many problems of varying intensity and the expectations that people had with regard to the positive and developmental aspects of strong government are no longer being met. The appointment of the presidential task force has come at a time when the attention of the general population is focused upon the difficulties they are experiencing in growing food, feeding their families and educating their children in the midst of fertiliser bans, teachers strikes and economic hardship.

The basic concept of one country, one law continues to be welcomed by the ethnic and religious majority population who see in it no specific threat to their identity or to their interests. The principle of one law, one country is upheld by the constitution of the country, which however makes an exception for Buddhism which is given the foremost place and for personal laws that apply to Kandyan Sinhalese, Jaffna Tamils and Muslims.

Continue reading ‘The appointment of the presidential task force on “one country one law” needs to be challenged due both to the composition and mandate.’ »

Appeal filed by former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya challenging Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss a writ petition filed regarding his diplomatic immunity dismissed by Supreme Court as having no merit

By

Lakmal Sooriyagoda

An appeal filed by former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya challenging Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss a writ petition filed regarding his diplomatic immunity has been dismissed by the Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court further refused to issue a writ of Mandamus directing the Minister of Foreign Affairs to write to the Government of the United States of America, informing that Wickreamasuriya continue to enjoy all the diplomatic privileges and immunities in terms of Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Privileges and immunities respect of acts performed by him in exercise of his functions the America and United Mexican States.

Supreme Court three-judge-bench comprising Justice Vijith K. Malalgoda PC, Justice Kumuduni Wickremasinghe and Justice Mahinda Samayawardhena observed that there is no merit in the appeal before Supreme Court and thereby decided to dismiss the appeal with cost fixed at Rs. 50,000.

Continue reading ‘Appeal filed by former Sri Lankan Ambassador to the United States Jaliya Wickramasuriya challenging Court of Appeal’s decision to dismiss a writ petition filed regarding his diplomatic immunity dismissed by Supreme Court as having no merit’ »

Gnanasara Thero Says Issues Close to the Bodu Bala Sena such as Steriliztion, Religious Conversion and Cultural Invasion would be accommodated in Draft to be pre[red by the “Pne Country One Laaw’ Presidential Task force headed by him

By

Ajith Siriwardana

The ‘Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law’ was a golden opportunity to make the social issues discussed by the Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) organisation a reality, Head of the Task Force Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera said today.

He told during a virtual press conference of the Presidential Media Centre that what was expected from the Presidential Task Force according to the gazette notification was the same matters that the BBS had focused on over the years.

Continue reading ‘Gnanasara Thero Says Issues Close to the Bodu Bala Sena such as Steriliztion, Religious Conversion and Cultural Invasion would be accommodated in Draft to be pre[red by the “Pne Country One Laaw’ Presidential Task force headed by him’ »

Representatives of Fishing Organiztions from Northern districts of Sri Lanka along with TNA Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran meet Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay in Colombo and convey their concern over ‘delay in India’s response’ to bottom trawling issue

By

Meera Srinivasan

The Indian High Commissioner in Colombo on Monday assured Sri Lanka’s northern fishermen that he would convey their concerns over bottom trawling by Indian fishermen in the Palk Strait to both New Delhi and Tamil Nadu and look at some immediate measures to address the problem.

A delegation of fisher leaders from Sri Lanka’s northern districts, along with Jaffna legislator M.A. Sumanthiran, met Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay in Colombo on Monday, and voiced concern over the “delay in India’s response” to the issue of bottom trawling in the Palk Strait.

Continue reading ‘Representatives of Fishing Organiztions from Northern districts of Sri Lanka along with TNA Jaffna District MP Sumanthiran meet Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay in Colombo and convey their concern over ‘delay in India’s response’ to bottom trawling issue’ »

Justice Minister Ali Sabry Likely to Resign his Post in Protest Against Appointment of Gnanasara Thero as PTF Chair After President Rajapaksa Returns from Scotland;PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Advises Sabry not to take a Hasty Decision

By Shamindra Ferdinando

President’s Counsel Ali Sabry, the only Muslim among the Cabinet ministers, is likely to quit the justice portfolio over the recent appointment of Ven. Galagodaatte Gnanasara Thera as the head of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) to make recommendations in respect of ‘One Country, One Law’ concept.

Well-informed sources say Sabry, who campaigned alongside civil society group ‘Viyathmaga’, at the 2019 presidential election, is quite disappointed at the unexpected development.

Sabry, who appeared for Gotabaya Rajapaksa in several high-profile cases, including the controversial acquisition of MiG-27 fighters, entered Parliament on the SLPP National List. Sabry is expected to make an announcement after President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s return to the country from the UK.

Continue reading ‘Justice Minister Ali Sabry Likely to Resign his Post in Protest Against Appointment of Gnanasara Thero as PTF Chair After President Rajapaksa Returns from Scotland;PM Mahinda Rajapaksa Advises Sabry not to take a Hasty Decision’ »

“Our responsibility is to create a one nation that can get together under one flag and to formulate one law suitable for the country”says “One Country One Law”Presidential Task Force Chair Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero at his first Media Briefing after assuming Office

By

Azzam Ameen

No citizen should be subjected to any difference or discrimination before the law on the basis of their race, religion, caste or any other factor, according to the Chairman of the Presidential Task Force for ‘One Country, One Law’ Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera.

He made these remarks while addressing the first media conference on the role of the Presidential Task Force for ‘One Country, One Law’ which was held today (01) at the Presidential Media Centre via video technology.

Continue reading ‘“Our responsibility is to create a one nation that can get together under one flag and to formulate one law suitable for the country”says “One Country One Law”Presidential Task Force Chair Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero at his first Media Briefing after assuming Office’ »

When this regime touts “one country, one law” it is not talking about equality before the law for all; rather the entire campaign for “one country, one law” emerged from a very pointed, anti-Muslim position.

By Harini Amarasuriya

(The writer is a former senior lecturer at the Open University of Sri Lanka [OUSL] and is currently an MP representing the National People’s Power)

One of the most prominent slogans the current Government, and particularly, President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, used during election campaigns was “one country, one law”. At first glance, the sentiments behind this slogan are perfectly acceptable. After all, what not to like about a promise to implement the law equally for all in the country?

As we all know, the law does not apply equally in most instances – privilege triumphs justice each time, and any effort to make the law equitable in its implementation is certainly most laudatory. Except, when this regime touts “one country, one law”, it is not talking about equality before the law for all; rather, the entire campaign for “one country, one law” emerged from a very pointed, anti-Muslim position.

Continue reading ‘When this regime touts “one country, one law” it is not talking about equality before the law for all; rather the entire campaign for “one country, one law” emerged from a very pointed, anti-Muslim position.’ »

Justice Minister Ali Sabry was unaware of the setting up of “One Country, One Law” Presidential Task Force headed by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Gen Secy Galagoda-aththe Gnanasara Thera. Saying he was not consulted on the setting up of the Task Force,Sabry says “I am not happy about the move”

By Chris Kamalendran

Justice Minister Ali Sabry said he was unaware of the setting up of the “One Country, One Law” Presidential Task Force headed by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagoda-aththe Gnanasara Thera.

Mr Sabry told the Sunday Times he was not consulted on the setting up of the Task Force. “I am not happy about the move,” he said.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa issued a gazette notification on Tuesday announcing the appointment of a 13-member Presidential Task Force for “One Country, One Law,” with Ven. Gnanasara Thera appointed as its chairperson. The task force’s other members are Prof. Dayananda Banda, Prof. Shanthinandana Wijesinghe, Prof. Sumedha Siriwardana, N.G. Sujeewa Panditharathna, Iresh Senevirathne, Sanjaya Marambe, Eranda Navarathna, Pani Wewala, Moulavi Mohomad, Mohomad Inthikab, Kaleel Rahuman and Azeez Nizardeen.

Continue reading ‘Justice Minister Ali Sabry was unaware of the setting up of “One Country, One Law” Presidential Task Force headed by Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Gen Secy Galagoda-aththe Gnanasara Thera. Saying he was not consulted on the setting up of the Task Force,Sabry says “I am not happy about the move”’ »

A Presidential Task Force to recommend ‘one country, one law’ in an avatar that invokes contempt and fear in equal if not uncanny parts is not a message that the Sri Lankan people, majority and minorities, will take kindly to.

By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Interestingly enough, this week’s Presidential appointment of a controversial monk who once served a jail term for contempt of court, as head of a Presidential Task Force to suggest law reform to bring about ‘one country, one law’ no less, has provoked freewheeling ridicule rather than fury in Sri Lanka.


An unkind blow to the idea of law reform

It is not only the imagery thereof that serves as wonderful inspiration for satirical cartoonists giving unfettered rein to their mockery but also, the very intertwining of two diametrically opposed realities that leads to mirth. More so, the Task Force is directed to ‘study draft Acts and amendments’ prepared by the Ministry of Justice, determine their ‘appropriateness’ and propose amendments to the same.

Indeed, this is an unkind blow that renders ridiculous, at one fell stroke, all the ambitious programmes planned by the Justice Ministry to ‘modernize’ Sri Lanka’s ‘outdated’ civil and criminal laws. In fact, one may well pity those in the seats of Government struggling to retain relevance or perchance, even sanity, in the face of such profound absurdities. How can one talk sensibly of law reform in these circumstances?

Continue reading ‘A Presidential Task Force to recommend ‘one country, one law’ in an avatar that invokes contempt and fear in equal if not uncanny parts is not a message that the Sri Lankan people, majority and minorities, will take kindly to.’ »

All the powers that Gotabaya Rajapaksa enjoys and uses today, thanks to 20A is certainly the best way to bring Political Buddhism against Saddharma Buddhism to the people of Sri Lanka.

By

Lucien Rajakarunanayake

It’s time to cheer. We have a Sand Dune – not in a desert – but on the beach of the Port City. A great Veli Keliya Vella.

Isn’t it truly great to see Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa – with Tourism Minister Prasanna Ranatunge lodged behind him – riding an All Terrain Vehicle (ATV) in the only artificial beach in Sri Lanka?

This Sand Dune display, in the Port City, is a big move for the development of tourism, as the green of agriculture is being forced out of the country, with tea estates and paddy cultivation facing great danger from the fertiliser attack. Sand Dune Tracking and Tracing can be the big new tourism exercise, not of a green country.

This is certainly keeping in line with the plans to have Formula One – F1- racing in Hambantota. Let’s prepare for the day when Lewis Hamilton – UK, Sebastian Vettel – Germany, Sergio Pérez – México, and many other F1 racers show their skills here, with their very special and expensive racing cars.

Continue reading ‘All the powers that Gotabaya Rajapaksa enjoys and uses today, thanks to 20A is certainly the best way to bring Political Buddhism against Saddharma Buddhism to the people of Sri Lanka.’ »

Massive demonstration organised in the UK opposite the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow where President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference:full-page advt in the Scottish newspaper “The Herald” against President Rajapaksa calls him “The Terminator”

by Sujeeva Nivunhella

A demonstration has been organised by LTTE sympathisers in the UK opposite the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow where President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26).

The Sunday Island reliably learns that the organisers of the protest have invited people from all over the UK and arrangements have been made to use six luxury buses to transport them.

A full-page paid advertisement has also been placed in the widely circulated Scottish broadsheet newspaper “The Herald” against President Rajapaksa calling him “The Terminator” and accussing Sri Lanka’ armed forces of genocide against Tamils.

Continue reading ‘Massive demonstration organised in the UK opposite the Scottish Event Campus in Glasgow where President Gotabaya Rajapaksa is scheduled to attend the United Nations Climate Change Conference:full-page advt in the Scottish newspaper “The Herald” against President Rajapaksa calls him “The Terminator”’ »

All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) is shocked and dismayed by the establishment of the Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law being under the leadership of “a controversial individual”.

By

Azzam Ameen

The All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) has stated that it is shocked and dismayed by the establishment of the Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law under the leadership of what it refers to as a controversial individual.

While stating that the citizens of Sri Lanka have been living for many centuries as one country and one Nation, with individual, cultural, religious laws and identities under the protection of one Sri Lankan constitution, the ACJU expressed disappointment over Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero’s appointment as the Chairman of the Task Force.

Continue reading ‘All Ceylon Jamiyyathul Ulama (ACJU) is shocked and dismayed by the establishment of the Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law being under the leadership of “a controversial individual”.’ »

13 Member Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law Holds inaugural meeting;Chairman of the Task Force Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera says an official statement will be made next Monday about the discussions


By

Camelia Nathaniel

The Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law held its inaugural meeting yesterday.

According to the Chairman of the Task Force Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera, an official statement will be made next Monday following the discussions.

Continue reading ‘13 Member Presidential Task Force for One Country, One Law Holds inaugural meeting;Chairman of the Task Force Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera says an official statement will be made next Monday about the discussions’ »

Fort Magistrates Court Told that Three TID Officers Allegedly Tortured “Save the Pearl”Organization Employee Mohammed Sulthan to Force him into Giving False Evidence Implicating Detained Lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah

By

Ruwani Fonseka

An employee of the Save the Pearl organisation told the Fort Magistrates Court on the 27th that he was tortured to implicate Hejaaz Hizbullah.

Speaking to The Morning, an informed source confirmed that the above practice has been ongoing by the Terrorist Investigations Department (TID) for a long time, and this was another scenario created by the TID to implicate Hizbullah.

Continue reading ‘Fort Magistrates Court Told that Three TID Officers Allegedly Tortured “Save the Pearl”Organization Employee Mohammed Sulthan to Force him into Giving False Evidence Implicating Detained Lawyer Hejaaz Hizbullah’ »

The Centre for Policy Alternatives wants the Government to immediately rescind the relevant Gazette notification appointing Presidential Task Force mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept headed by Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero

By

Ruwani Fonseka

The Centre for Policy Alternatives (CPA) has issued a statement saying that it is deeply shocked and disturbed by the appointment of the latest Presidential Task Force (PTF) mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept, including the drafting of a law to give effect to it, headed by Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero, and called on the Government to immediately rescind the relevant Gazette notification

The statement read that the appointment of the Task Force at a time of unprecedented economic hardships and unravelling of government policies raises a plethora of questions including the compounding of a culture of governance by task forces, the promotion of divisive Buddhist clergy linked to incitement of violence and attacks against religious minorities; all of which entrench impunity.

The CPA notes that the phrase ‘One Country, One Law’ – widely deployed in the run up to and during the 2019 Presidential election, has a very specific majoritarian connotation, and is by no means an expression of a desire for equality or the equal protection under the law. Rather, the advocates of the phrase deliberately distort Sri Lanka’s legal history and legal system, and promote a false narrative of a legal system which benefits minorities and harks to a mythical time where Sri Lanka was governed by “one legal system”.

Continue reading ‘The Centre for Policy Alternatives wants the Government to immediately rescind the relevant Gazette notification appointing Presidential Task Force mandated to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept headed by Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero’ »

The Present Crisis Faced by President Rajapaksa and his Regime has Four Interconnected Dimensions – Economic, Social, Governance and Legitimacy.


By

Dr.Jayadeva Uyangoda

(Jayadeva Uyangoda is Former Professor of Political Science, Department of Political Science and Public Policy, University of Colombo, Colombo, Sri Lanka)

What has Gotabaya Rajapaksa achieved when he enters his third year in office as Sri Lanka’s President on November 18? A not-so-attractive record of failures in governance.
President Rajapaksa has also been losing much of the public support, popularity and trust that brought him into power in November 2019.

The present crisis which President Rajapaksa and his regime are facing has four interconnected dimensions — economic, social, governance, and legitimacy.

Sri Lanka’s worsening economic crisis is not Mr. Rajapaksa’s creation. Yet, he and his team of policy advisers seem to be at a loss even to comprehend its gravity and its disastrous consequences which the people are forced to bear.

While the impact of the protracted public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic on Sri Lanka’s economy may take a few years to manage, its social impact has been devastating. The absence of any effective government interventions to alleviate economic hardships faced by the poor, the new poor produced by the pandemic, the working people and all strata of the middle class, both urban and rural, have a fresh social crisis too.

Continue reading ‘The Present Crisis Faced by President Rajapaksa and his Regime has Four Interconnected Dimensions – Economic, Social, Governance and Legitimacy.’ »

How and Why the LTTE Evicted Muslims from the Northern Province in “Black October 1990”.

By D.B.S.Jeyaraj


This article was written in 2015 to mark the Twenty – Fifth Anniversary of Muslim Mass Expulsion From North by the LTTE.It is being re-posted without any changes to denote the 31st annivrsary of the tragic event

The Investigation launched by the office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has in accordance with its terms of reference probed the period of time from the 2002 February ceasefire until the end of the war in May 2009 to ascertain whether war crimes, crimes against humanity and human rights violations occurred in Sri Lanka during the final phase of the war as alleged. The focus on these particular years has naturally led to the overlooking of many other terrible incidents which happened in the years preceding 2002. Notable among these horrors is the mass expulsion of Muslims from the North by the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam(LTTE).

The twenty-fifth anniversary of this cruel, inhuman episode in the history of Tamil –Muslim relations in Sri Lanka is being widely remembered at present. It was in October 1990 that the tiger organization (LTTE) forcibly expelled the Tamil speaking Muslim people from the Northern Province in an atrocious act amounting to ethnic cleansing. Within a few days the Muslims were chased out of their homeland where they had lived for many, many centuries.

Mosque in Chavakachcheri, October 2010

Mosque in Chavakachcheri, October 2010

The mass expulsion of Muslims from the North in 1990 was a humanitarian catastrophe. Uprooting a people from their habitat at gun point and driving them away after depriving them of their cash and jewellery was despicable and unpardonable. I have often written about this tragedy in the past. I now intend to focus upon this mass expulsion on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. I shall be drawing on some of my earlier writings in a bid to revive memories of this mass expulsion by relating in brief the tale of this terrible tragedy. I also want to trace the sequence of events that led to this sordid exercise in which the Tamil speaking Muslims were chased out by their gun toting linguistic brethren.
Continue reading ‘How and Why the LTTE Evicted Muslims from the Northern Province in “Black October 1990”.’ »

Appointment of Gnanasara as “One Country One Law” Presidential Task Force Chair by Gotbaya is Strongly Condemned by Opposition Parties and Civil Society Group.

BY Pamodi Waravita

A number of civil society groups and Opposition parties have condemned President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s appointment of Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) General Secretary Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thera as the Chairman of the new Presidential Task Force (PTF) for “One Country, One Law”.

“The appointment of Gnanasara Thera to this PTF ridicules the mandate of the PTF itself. The country has not forgotten Gnanasara Thera’s actions in the past few years. The consequences of his actions and words in targeting the minority Muslim population are evident. He is also a person who was once in jail on charges of contempt of court,” the Samagi Jana Balawegaya (SJB) said in a statement released yesterday (28).

Similarly, SJB Parliamentarian Harin Fernando Tweeted on Wednesday (27): “It is very clear what President Rajapaksa’s agenda is after he failed to deliver on all aspects. The ‘One Country, One Law’ PTF is headed by someone who is blamed by the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) which probed the Easter Sunday attacks of 21 April 2019, and whom the said Commission has also called to be prosecuted.”

Continue reading ‘Appointment of Gnanasara as “One Country One Law” Presidential Task Force Chair by Gotbaya is Strongly Condemned by Opposition Parties and Civil Society Group.’ »

“We have a Cabinet minister who is notoriously known as Mr. Ten Percent. Imagine the shame on this nation when there is such a minister taking ten percent of commission from every project he passes’ says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith

By Norman Palihawadane and Nishan S. Priyantha

Monies taken in the form of commissions by forfeiting people’s welfare will never do any good to those who take them, says His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith.

“The biggest malady our society is afflicted with is the commissions earned by politicians through various deals. They take commissions from companies by depriving the people of their dues. Such money has blood on them and they would not do any good to those who take them,” the Cardinal said yesterday.

Continue reading ‘“We have a Cabinet minister who is notoriously known as Mr. Ten Percent. Imagine the shame on this nation when there is such a minister taking ten percent of commission from every project he passes’ says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith’ »

Harin Fernando MP flays President on the Appointment of a Presidential Task Force Headed by Gnanasara Thero; Calls it “One Country, One CRAZY Law” and says “Seeing the team appointed for such a task gives everyone chills down their spine.”


Firebrand Opposition Parliamentarian Harin Fernando yesterday flayed President Gotabaya Rajapaksa over the selection of the Chair of a key task force, which the Samagi Jana Balawegaya MP described as his “One Country One Crazy Law”.

Issuing a statement following President Rajapaksa’s decision to appoint the controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) Leader Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero as Chairman of Presidential Task Force to recommend proposals to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’, Fernando said: “Seeing the team appointed for such a task gives everyone chills down their spine.”

“Not to forget that they got reminded of the base of their mandate i.e., ‘One Country, One Law’ after a whole two years, before actually taking steps to implement it,” Fernando said.

Continue reading ‘Harin Fernando MP flays President on the Appointment of a Presidential Task Force Headed by Gnanasara Thero; Calls it “One Country, One CRAZY Law” and says “Seeing the team appointed for such a task gives everyone chills down their spine.”’ »

Galalagoda Aththe Gnanasara to head 13 member ‘One Country, One Law’ Presidential Task Force that Will recommend proposals to prepare draft law ensuring all citizens are treated alike before the law


President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has set up a Presidential Task Force to make proposals to implement the ‘One Country, One Law’ concept and named the controversial Bodu Bala Sena (BBS) leader Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara Thero as its Chairman.

The task force will study the implementation of the concept ‘One Country, One Law’ within Sri Lanka and prepare a draft act for this purpose, a gazette notification issued last night by Presidential Secretary P.B. Jayasundera said.

The 13-member task force will also study the draft Acts and amendments that have already been prepared by the Ministry of Justice in relation to this subject and suggest any suitable amendments which are to be included in a draft law.

Continue reading ‘Galalagoda Aththe Gnanasara to head 13 member ‘One Country, One Law’ Presidential Task Force that Will recommend proposals to prepare draft law ensuring all citizens are treated alike before the law’ »

The People’s Tribunal Will Commence Hearings at Hague in Jan 2022 against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for allegedly ordering the murder of Sri Lankan Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge when he was Defence Secretary; The lead prosecutor is prominent human rights lawyer Almudena Bernabeu, supported by former International Criminal Court judge Sir Howard Morrison

By Hamid Mir

In 2017, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told an aide that he would “use a bullet” on Jamal Khashoggi if the journalist, who was then living in exile, didn’t cease his criticism of the Saudi government. Ultimately, a team of assassins killed Khashoggi during his visit to the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul in October 2018.

A Saudi court later sentenced five people to death for Khashoggi’s murder. Yet it is clear to anyone who knows the details of the case that those judges never dared to touch the real culprit. The awareness of this grim reality has led Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, to continue to seek genuine accountability for the killing.

On Nov. 2, Cengiz will finally get her chance. On that day she will testify in Khashoggi’s case at the Permanent People’s Tribunal, a forum created by leading civic society groups to hold states to account for human rights abuses. Nov. 2 is also the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists 2021, and the session at which Cengiz will appear has been organized by three leading press freedom organizations: the Committee to Protect Journalists, Reporters Without Borders and Free Press Unlimited. Khashoggi’s case is not the only one to be investigated at the tribunal, which will address attacks on journalists around the world.

Continue reading ‘The People’s Tribunal Will Commence Hearings at Hague in Jan 2022 against President Gotabaya Rajapaksa for allegedly ordering the murder of Sri Lankan Editor Lasantha Wickrematunge when he was Defence Secretary; The lead prosecutor is prominent human rights lawyer Almudena Bernabeu, supported by former International Criminal Court judge Sir Howard Morrison’ »

Public Security Ministry Secy Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis says Catholic Priest Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando and several others who participated in online forum where allegations relating to the Easter Sunday terror attacks were made against SIS Chief Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay, are to be summoned for recording of statements

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

National Catholic Centre for Social Communications Director Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando and several others who attended a recent online forum, in which allegations related to the Easter Sunday terror attacks on 21 April 2019 were made against State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay, are likely to be summoned by the law enforcement agencies to record a statement regarding the said allegation.

Fr. Fernando, who is also the Parish Priest of St. Anne’s Church, Kurana, had claimed that the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ) terror group was supported by the intelligence services, including Maj. Gen. Sallay, who was the then Directorate of Military Intelligence (DMI) Director. On 25 October, a complaint was filed at the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) against Fr. Fernando by Maj. Gen. Sallay with regard to the aforesaid statement.

Accordingly, when contacted by The Morning, Ministry of Public Security Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Jagath Alwis said that Fr. Fernando and others who attended the said discussion would have to come and give a statement regarding the basis on which the allegations against Maj. Gen. Sallay were made.

Continue reading ‘Public Security Ministry Secy Maj. Gen. Jagath Alwis says Catholic Priest Rev. Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando and several others who participated in online forum where allegations relating to the Easter Sunday terror attacks were made against SIS Chief Maj. Gen. Suresh Sallay, are to be summoned for recording of statements’ »

Ven Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera Appointed Chair of 13 member Presidential Task Force to tudy the Concept of “One Country, One Law” and prepare a draft Act to implement it

By

Ruwani Fonseka

An extraordinary gazette has been issued to appoint a 13-member Presidential Task Force (PTF) to study the implementation of the concept “One Country, One Law” and prepare a draft Act.

The task force is chaired by Ven. Galagodaaththe Gnanasara. It consists of Prof. Dayananda Banda, Prof. Shanthinandana Wijesinghe, Prof. sumedha Siriwardana, N.G. sujeewa Panditharathna, Iresh Senevirathne, Sanjaya Marambe, Eranda Navarathna, Pani Wewala,, Moulavi Mohamed of Ulama Council in Galle, Lecturer Mohamed Inthikab, Kaleel Rahuman and Azeez Nizardeen.

Continue reading ‘Ven Galagoda Aththe Gnanasara Thera Appointed Chair of 13 member Presidential Task Force to tudy the Concept of “One Country, One Law” and prepare a draft Act to implement it’ »

Govt to send organic fertiliser samples from China-based Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd., which were found to contain harmful bacteria in two tests to a third party for a hird test following China’s refusal to accept the previous two test findings

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

Following requests from China, the Government has agreed to send the organic fertiliser samples from the China-based Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd., which have been found to contain harmful bacteria on two previous occasions, to a third party and to retest their quality.

Promoting the Production and Regulating the Supply of Organic Fertiliser, and Paddy and Grains, Organic Foods, Vegetables, Fruits, Chillies, Onion, and Potato Cultivation Promoting, Seed Production, and Advanced Technology Agriculture State Minister Shasheendra Rajapaksa told the media yesterday (26) that China had refused to accept the results of the tests conducted so far.

“They (China) said that the tests carried out on these fertiliser samples by the local agencies could not be accepted as they were not accredited laboratories. They said that this company in question manufactures fertilisers for about 16 countries, including Australia, Canada, and the US, and therefore asked us to understand the quality of these fertilisers.”

Accordingly, Rajapaksa said that the Government had agreed to refer these fertiliser samples to a third party laboratory in order to ascertain their quality.

He made these remarks when the media questioned him regarding a meeting which is said to have been held between the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka and the local agricultural authorities on the matter.

Continue reading ‘Govt to send organic fertiliser samples from China-based Qingdao Seawin Biotech Group Co. Ltd., which were found to contain harmful bacteria in two tests to a third party for a hird test following China’s refusal to accept the previous two test findings’ »

Unless urgent structural reforms are introduced to independently investigate and prosecute crimes in Sri Lanka coupled with a paradigm shift in the political culture, we are likely to continue to witness more violence and a further entrenching of impunity.


By Bhavani Fonseka


(The writer is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Policy Alternatives)

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s maiden speech to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September this year contained several ambitious statements. In particular, the following lines in his speech raised the hopes of some: “Fostering greater accountability, restorative justice, and meaningful reconciliation through domestic institutions is essential to achieve lasting peace. So too is ensuring more equitable participation in the fruits of economic development. It is my Government’s firm intention to build a prosperous, stable, and secure future for all Sri Lankans, regardless of ethnicity, religion, or gender.” These, among other references in his speech, provide a positive spin and opportunities to some in the international community who search for openings to engage. Yet, for many Sri Lankans, these words are facetious and hollow.

Whilst the speech was targeting an international audience, there seems a disconnect with the very real challenges faced by many Sri Lankans. Notable was the omission that Sri Lanka was under a state of emergency at the time President Rajapaksa delivered his speech. It also missed the very real concerns of heightened authoritarian and military governance, structural inequalities reinforced by the pandemic, and multiple policy blunders by the Rajapaksa regime with direct bearing on the cost of living and livelihoods with implications for significant sections of the population.

Continue reading ‘Unless urgent structural reforms are introduced to independently investigate and prosecute crimes in Sri Lanka coupled with a paradigm shift in the political culture, we are likely to continue to witness more violence and a further entrenching of impunity.’ »

Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Faults AttorneyGeneral Sanjay Rajaratnam for Making former State Intelligence Service Director Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Nilantha Jayawardena a state witness Instead of Prosecuting him;sends letter to A-G citing 15 reasons for Prosecuting Instead of Citing as State Witness

BY Buddhika Samaraweera

The Catholic Church has said that instead of naming former State Intelligence Service (SIS) Director Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police (SDIG) Nilantha Jayawardena as a state witness in the cases pertaining to the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019, he should be prosecuted for not having prevented the said terror attacks despite receiving prior warnings of such an attack.

Attending an online meeting with a group of Sri Lankans living abroad, Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith revealed that the last warning, which was given to Jayawardena before the terror attacks, contained all the information such as where the bombings were going to take place.

“Despite these warnings, he didn’t do anything. However, he could have, as a responsible police official, acted upon this intelligence information. Under the Police Ordinance, if a police officer comes to know that there is a threat to any citizen, it is their responsibility to take actions regarding it without waiting for orders from higher authorities,” he said.

Continue reading ‘Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Faults AttorneyGeneral Sanjay Rajaratnam for Making former State Intelligence Service Director Senior Deputy Inspector General of Police Nilantha Jayawardena a state witness Instead of Prosecuting him;sends letter to A-G citing 15 reasons for Prosecuting Instead of Citing as State Witness’ »

Director-General of the State Intelligence Service Major General Suresh Salley files Comlaint at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) against Reverend Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando for allegedly making multiple malicious statements

By

Ruwani Fonseka

A complaint has been filed at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) against Reverend Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando by the Director-General of the State Intelligence Service Major General Suresh Salley. The complaint was filed today (25) in regard to multiple malicious statements made in reference to Maj. Gen. Salley.

The Morning spoke to Police Spokesperson Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nihal Thalduwa who confirmed the same.

Continue reading ‘Director-General of the State Intelligence Service Major General Suresh Salley files Comlaint at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) against Reverend Fr. Cyril Gamini Fernando for allegedly making multiple malicious statements’ »

Revisiting the Attack on Thirukkumar Nadesan at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu by Pro-LTTE Goons.

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

The Pandora Papers are a series of papers being continuously published since October 3rd 2021 by the Washington based International Consortium of Investigative Journalism(ICIJ).The ICIJ is a worldwide network of 280 Investigative journalists and more than 100 Media organizations from many different countries spanning the globe. The Pandora papers are based on 11.8 million documents uncovered by ICIJ journalists pertaining to secret offshore accounts, “shell” companies and covert business dealings undertaken by some of the rich,famous and powerful persons of this world. The Pandora papers published so far have named and possibly shamed, 35 past and present world leaders as well as over 500 persons comprising celebrities, multi-millionaires, politicians, public officials and ruling dynasty members. The prominent personalities mentioned cover a wide spectrum ranging from Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair to retired Indian Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar.

Sri Lanka too has been caught up in the exciting controversy after a detailed article concerning two Sri Lankan personalities by Italian woman journalist Scilla Alecci was published in Pandora Papers. This article titled “Pandora papers: Sri Lankan power couple piled up luxury homes, artwo rks and cash offshore as ruling family rose and rose”was about Sri Lankan businessman and commercial entrepreneur Thirukkumar Nadesan and his politician wife Nirupama Rajapaksa.Nirupama is the daughter of former cabinet minister George Rajapaksa and grand daughter of former state councillor Don Mathew Rajapaksa. She is also the niece of Chamal.Mahind,Gotabaya and Basil Rajapaksa. Nirupama Rajapaks has served as Parliamentarian and State minister in the past.
Continue reading ‘Revisiting the Attack on Thirukkumar Nadesan at Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu by Pro-LTTE Goons.’ »

Rishad Bathiudeen Targeted in Witch Hunt After his Fall From Rajapaksa Grace

By
D.B.S.Jeyaraj

United National Party Leader and National list MP Ranil Wickremesinghe has expressed concern over the continued detention of Wanni District Parliamentarian, All Ceylon Makkal Congress (ACMC) Leader and former Cabinet Minister Rishad Bathiudeen.

Ranil Wickremesinghe, who has been a MP without a break since July 1977, said in Parliament on 4 October that Bathiudeen should either be prosecuted if there was any evidence regarding his involvement in the Easter Sunday terrorist attacks or be released if there was no evidence against him.

Bathiudeen was arrested and detained on 24 April under the Prevention of Terrorism (Temporary Provisions) Act No. 48 of 1979 as amended for investigations into his alleged involvement in the Easter Sunday bombings of 21 April 2019. In a further development the Colombo Magistrate’s Court also remanded Bathiudeen in September 2021 in connection with the death in July 1921 of a 16-year-old girl working as a domestic aide at his residence. Incidentally Rishad was under detention when the death occurred.

Continue reading ‘Rishad Bathiudeen Targeted in Witch Hunt After his Fall From Rajapaksa Grace’ »

“Permitting Chinese footholds in the North with such proximity to India will unnecessarily upset the security balance of the region. Therefore the TNA would prefer to avoid Chinese investments in the North.”-TNA Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP


By Asiri Fernando

The communities in the North and East are often disproportionately affected by most crises that impact Sri Lanka. The current crisis caused due to a sudden ban on the use of chemical fertiliser and the continued fisheries dispute regarding poaching by Indian fishing vessels add to the woes of these communities.

Many in the North and East continue to call for devolution of power, particularly for the full implementation of the 13th Amendment, and for meaningful engagement on justice and reconciliation following nearly 30 years of conflict.
In an interview with The Sunday Morning, Tamil National Alliance (TNA) parliamentarian M.A. Sumanthiran shared his views on some of the key issues that the communities in the North and East face.

Following are excerpts of the interview.

Continue reading ‘“Permitting Chinese footholds in the North with such proximity to India will unnecessarily upset the security balance of the region. Therefore the TNA would prefer to avoid Chinese investments in the North.”-TNA Spokesman MA Sumanthiran MP’ »

Hypothetically Will the Supreme Court Feel Compelled to Intervene if the Attorney General proceeded to exercise the powers of office only to benefit politicians of a particular political party (indict/not to indict, withdraw indictments/not to withdraw indictments) while ignoring others?


By

Kishali Pinto Jayawardene

Under cover of a seductively glittering propaganda blitz that laws are being ‘modernized,’ is the Government ferociously bent on a pursuit of turning even the remnants of Sri Lanka’s civil liberties safeguards on its unsteady constitutional head?


Withdrawals of indictments and privileging the police

This is a question that legitimately arises in the wake of the country’s Public Security Minister reportedly proposing amendment of the Establishments Code to ‘cancel’ charge sheets issued for human rights violations against police officers if not ‘completed’ within six months. Indeed, in a twist that would be funny if it was not so spine-chillingly outrageous, some media reported that the cases would be ‘annulled.’ Both the media and the Public Security Minister need to be educated that a mere ‘amendment’ of the Establishments Code will not suffice to ‘cancel’ or annul’ charge sheets.

But I must also enter a rider here. This is a nation after all, where a Presidential Commission of Inquiry recommended not so long ago to ‘charge’ state law officers for engaging in their lawfully mandated tasks of investigating crimes including that of murder. Those crimes included the abduction for ransom and killing of eleven Tamil and Muslim persons in 2008-2009 in which Navy personnel were implicated and Admiral Wasantha Karannagoda was charged with covering the incidents up. As we may recall, that Commission report recommended quite scandalously, that indictment against the navy personnel be withdrawn in the ongoing trial.

At the time, it was predicted that this undermining of judicial, prosecutorial and legal institutions will not (finally) spare judges themselves, there will be no privileged immunity for the devastation (‘A hard rain destined to fall on Sri Lanka’s institutions of justice,’Focus on Rights, 7th February 2021, commenting on the recommendations of the Upali Abeyratne Commission). We have yet to see officers of the Attorney General themselves being charged for carrying out their official duties but that day too, may not be long off. But obligingly, the indictment against Karannagoda was withdrawn recently by the Attorney General.

Continue reading ‘Hypothetically Will the Supreme Court Feel Compelled to Intervene if the Attorney General proceeded to exercise the powers of office only to benefit politicians of a particular political party (indict/not to indict, withdraw indictments/not to withdraw indictments) while ignoring others?’ »

His Holiness Pope Francis Sends Hand Written Letter to his Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Expressing his Sadness and asking what assistance or action the Colombo Archbishop requires from the Pope regarding the investigation into the Easter Sunday terror attacks in 2019.

Catholic Archbishop of Colombo Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith said last Saturday (23) that His Holiness Pope Francis had written to him asking what assistance or action the Archbishop requires from the Pope regarding the investigation into the Easter Sunday terror attacks in 2019.

He revealed this during a discussion held yesterday (24) with Sri Lankans living in Europe, held via video conference, to brief them on the investigations into the Easter Sunday terror attacks and the actions they are expecting to take on the matter in the future.

Cardinal Ranjith said that the Holy Father Pope Francis had written the letter, dated 19 September, in his own handwriting and in response to a letter sent by him previously.

The Archbishop also read out the following excerpts from the letter, which he said he translated from Italian:

Continue reading ‘His Holiness Pope Francis Sends Hand Written Letter to his Eminence Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith Expressing his Sadness and asking what assistance or action the Colombo Archbishop requires from the Pope regarding the investigation into the Easter Sunday terror attacks in 2019.’ »

Several Indian businesses Including Adani Green Energy express interest in investing and carrying out renewable energy projects earmarked in the Northern Province While Chinese bid for northern renewable energy projects take a backseat

By Asiri Fernando

Several Indian businesses have expressed interest in investing and carrying out the proposed renewable energy projects earmarked in the Northern Province, The Sunday Morning learnt.

It is reliably learnt that one of the Indian investors interested in the renewable power generation projects in the North is Adani Green Energy, with plans afoot for representatives of the regional green energy giant to meet with senior government members in Colombo this week.

The company is part of the Indian conglomerate Adani Group, which last month signed a deal worth over $ 700 million to build-operate-transfer (BOT) the West Container Terminal (WCT) at the Colombo Port.

Continue reading ‘Several Indian businesses Including Adani Green Energy express interest in investing and carrying out renewable energy projects earmarked in the Northern Province While Chinese bid for northern renewable energy projects take a backseat’ »

Plantation Workers are not Benefitting from 1000 Rupee Daily Wage Arrangement Due to Plantation Companies Reducing Workdays to 13-15 days per Month instead of 25 days every month as Stipulated Complain Trade Unions and Non -Governmental Organizations

By Skandha Gunasekara

Regional plantation companies (RPCs) were reducing the pay of workers by reducing the number of working days, in an effort to reduce the cost following the gazetting of Rs. 1,000 as the minimum daily wage, trade unions (TUs) and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) told The Sunday Morning.

The move was pushing an already disadvantaged community to the brink, TUs said. However, the Planters’ Association of Ceylon (PA) rejected these allegations.

Earlier this year, the Ministry of Labour published the gazette notification establishing Rs. 1,000 as the minimum daily wage of estate workers. It came into effect on 5 March 2021.
Accordingly, Rs. 900 would be the daily wage for time worked and Rs. 100 would be the budgetary allowance.

However, TUs as well as NGOs alleged that RPCs were undercutting the move by the Government to ensure a minimum monthly wage of Rs. 20,000-25,000 by reducing the number of workdays provided per month.

Continue reading ‘Plantation Workers are not Benefitting from 1000 Rupee Daily Wage Arrangement Due to Plantation Companies Reducing Workdays to 13-15 days per Month instead of 25 days every month as Stipulated Complain Trade Unions and Non -Governmental Organizations’ »

TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran States in Parliament that two TNA MP’s Shritharan and Shanakkiyan were Compelled to Walk out of a Meeting Convened by Ministry of Forest and Wildlife After Being Called “Terrorist, LTTE and Tamil Tiger” by Govt MP’s

BY RUWANI FONSEKA

Two members of the Illankai Tamil Arasu Kadchi (ITAK) party were bullied by Government MP’s during a meeting held by the Ministry of Forest and Wildlife, said ITAK MP M A Sumanthiran.

This was brought up in Parliament yesterday (22) just as Sumanthiran stood up to deliver his speech.

Continue reading ‘TNA Spokesperson MA Sumanthiran States in Parliament that two TNA MP’s Shritharan and Shanakkiyan were Compelled to Walk out of a Meeting Convened by Ministry of Forest and Wildlife After Being Called “Terrorist, LTTE and Tamil Tiger” by Govt MP’s’ »

There is no doubt that this SLPP Presidency was built on a vicious and relentless campaign of hate against Sri Lanka’s minority communities in general, and the Muslims in particular.


(Text of an Editorial appearing in the “Daily Financial Times”of October 21st 2021 under the heading “The Politics of Hate”)

A new report published by Amnesty International this week is a damning indictment against the Sri Lankan state that continues to countenance – and promote – consistent discrimination, harassment and violence against the country’s Muslim people, since at least 2013.

Amnesty International said that its new report, From Burning Houses to Burning Bodies – Anti-Muslim Harassment, Discrimination and Violence in Sri Lanka, traces the development of anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka since 2013 amid surging Sinhala-Buddhist nationalism.

The report speaks to sharp regression of the situation in recent years, with violence against Muslims, committed with the tacit approval of the authorities, occurring with alarming frequency. The current Government had also adopted rhetoric and policies that have been openly hostile to Sri Lanka’s Muslim community, noted AI Deputy Secretary-General Kyle Ward on the publication of the report.

Continue reading ‘There is no doubt that this SLPP Presidency was built on a vicious and relentless campaign of hate against Sri Lanka’s minority communities in general, and the Muslims in particular.’ »

Why is the Gotabaya Govt Not Taking Legal Action Against Former President Maithripala Over the Easter Sunday Bombings?Sirisena should not be spared simply because he is a government MP and his party has 14 members in the SLPP parliamentary group.


(Text of Editorial Appearing in “The Island”of October 22nd 2021)

His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith has once again demanded that the recommendations of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI), which probed the Easter Sunday terror attacks be fully implemented. The PCoI has not revealed the mastermind behind the carnage; it has only cursorily dealt with the alleged foreign involvement in the attacks. However, those who are seeking justice for the families of the terror victims have been left with no alternative but to call for the implementation of the PCOI recommendations, while demanding a thorough probe. This is what the Cardinal and others have been doing.

Two and a half years have elapsed since the Easter Sunday killings, and it was nine months ago that the PCoI report was handed over to the Attorney General (AG) for carrying out its recommendations. The Cardinal has said that in March, the then AG met him and promised to study the PCoI report and initiate legal action thereafter. But the recommendations have been implemented only selectively.

One cannot but endorse the Cardinal’s call. Why the government has not had the PCoI recommendations implemented fully defies comprehension. The reason may be that the PCoI has recommended that criminal proceedings be instituted against the then President Maithripala Sirisena, who is now a government MP. The Commission has said it is of the view that there is criminal liability on Sirisena’s part. Its report specifically states: “The CoI recommends that the Attorney General consider instituting criminal proceedings against President Sirisena under any suitable provisions in the Penal Code.”

One of the main promises the present-day rulers made before the 2019 presidential election was to conduct a thorough probe into the Easter Sunday carnage and bring those responsible for it to justice. But this pledge remains unfulfilled. The Cardinal is asking for access to the entire PCoI report, which consists of 22 documents including five volumes. Only Volume One has been released; it may look self-contained, but one has to peruse all documents to get a better understanding thereof. Why the Cardinal’s request cannot be granted is the question.
One may recall that initially the government refused to hand over the entire report even to the AG, citing various reasons, and we had to point out that the PCoI wanted the whole set of documents handed over to the AG. Its report says: “The COI recommends that Your Excellency the President transmit a complete set of the Report to the Attorney General to consider institution of criminal proceedings against persons alleged to have committed the said offences.”

It may be politically difficult for the government to implement all PCoI recommendations, given that former President Sirisena’s SLFP is a coalition partner of the ruling SLPP. But that is no reason why it should refrain from allowing legal action to be taken against him. Criminal proceedings have already been instituted against former Defence Secretary Hemasiri Fernando and former IGP Pujith Jayasundera. Sirisena should not be spared simply because he is a government MP and his party has 14 members in the SLPP parliamentary group.

The SLFP is bound to react aggressively if its leader is prosecuted, and the government might even suffer a split, but that should not be allowed to stand in the way of the full implementation of the PCoI recommendations. The government is duty bound to make good on its promise, which helped it muster a lot of votes at the last presidential election held a few months after the Easter Sunday attacks, and at the last parliamentary polls.

The Cardinal did not mince his words when he said, at St. Anthony’s Church, yesterday, that he did not think it was possible to have the PCoI recommendations fully implemented under the present administration. It is only natural that the government is seen to be a party to a grand cover-up.

Courtesy:The Island

Will we see a Maha Vipakaya – A Great Disaster – in the cultivation of the people’s meals, and a Maha Badaginna or Huge Hunger on the rise?


By

Lucien Raajkarunanayake

The schools will fully reopen on Monday. The trade unions, parents and children will certainly consider this a special day for education in Sri Lanka. It’s best not to think too much about the last two days, with very low presence of children and teachers in most of the smallest schools in the country.

What is facing the country today is the need for proper education—not about principals, teachers and students, but the education of those who are chosen by the people to lead and guide this nation.

There were opponents of the teachers’ unions who were pleased to warn both teachers and principals of having rotten eggs and tomatoes thrown at them, and even them being staked on a crowbar, in keeping with Sinhala culture. The Minister of Education, Dinesh Gunawardena may have been thinking of the Boralugoda tradition of his late father, when he was strongly opposed to the teacher/principal strikers. But the Boralugoda traditions, which we remember most, did fade away with the white national dress and ministerial portfolios in different governments.

Continue reading ‘Will we see a Maha Vipakaya – A Great Disaster – in the cultivation of the people’s meals, and a Maha Badaginna or Huge Hunger on the rise?’ »

“If anyone tried to come to power on the blood of innocent people, they would not be able to enjoy that power for too lon”, says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith in reference to the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019; Who is the Target of this “Bombshell” by His Eminence ?


BY Buddhika Samaraweera

If anyone tried to come to power on the blood of innocent people, they would not be able to enjoy that power for too long, said Archbishop of Colombo His Eminence Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, in reference to the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019 and the probe into it.

During a service held yesterday (21) at St. Anthony’s Church in Kochchikade, one of the targets of the Easter Sunday bombings, he said: “If anyone tried to come to power on the blood of innocents, they would not be able to enjoy that power for too long. They must remember that.”

He further said that if “they” are innocent, they should allow to carry out the investigations into the Easter Sunday bombings independently and should not be afraid to take action against those implicated in the report of the Presidential Commission of Inquiry (PCoI) that investigated the 21 April 2019 bombings.

Continue reading ‘“If anyone tried to come to power on the blood of innocent people, they would not be able to enjoy that power for too lon”, says Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith in reference to the Easter Sunday terror attacks of 21 April 2019; Who is the Target of this “Bombshell” by His Eminence ?’ »

Supreme Court Grants Leave to Proceed in Fundamental Rights Petition Filed by Eight Tamil Prisoners Detained Under PTA in Anuradhapura Jail;Attorney -General Refuses to Appear for State Minister Lohan Ratwatte Citeds First Respondent

By Asiri Fernando

The Attorney General (AG) had refused to appear for State Minister Lohan Rattwatte in the case related to the fundamental rights (FR) petition filed by eight prisoners of the Anuradhapura Prison who were allegedly intimidated and threatened by Ratwatte, The Morning learnt.

The AG had appeared for the Prisons Commissioner General and the Minister of Justice.

The Supreme Court yesterday (21) granted leave to proceed with the FR petition filed by the prisoners, and arguments are to be heard on 15 February 2022.

The Anuradhapura Prison incident, which drew local and international criticism, followed former State Minister of Prison Management and Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Lohan Ratwatte’s alleged actions at the prison, where he is said to have abused and threatened prisoners at gunpoint.

The incident came amidst the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) discussing Sri Lanka’s track record. Ratwatte stepped down from one of his portfolios after mounting pressure from within and outside the Government.

Continue reading ‘Supreme Court Grants Leave to Proceed in Fundamental Rights Petition Filed by Eight Tamil Prisoners Detained Under PTA in Anuradhapura Jail;Attorney -General Refuses to Appear for State Minister Lohan Ratwatte Citeds First Respondent’ »

Save Our Motherland Unity Organisation Demands Removal of Sri Lanka From the “Akhand Bharat” Map Within 7 Days as Sovereign Sri Lanka is not Part of India’; alleges that Narendra Modi’s BJP has formed brnches in Sri Lanka

By

Ruwani Fonseka

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Party has formed branches in Sri Lanka, according to the Save Our Motherland Unity Organisation Secretary Chirantha Amarasinghe.

Such statements, along with demands to remove Sri Lanka from the Akhand Bharat Map within 7 days, were raised by the Organisation outside the Indian High Commission in Colombo yesterday (21). The group had arrived to deliver a letter to the High Commission on the same, but as they had arrived after hours, an email was sent instead.

Continue reading ‘Save Our Motherland Unity Organisation Demands Removal of Sri Lanka From the “Akhand Bharat” Map Within 7 Days as Sovereign Sri Lanka is not Part of India’; alleges that Narendra Modi’s BJP has formed brnches in Sri Lanka’ »